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Accu-Vote Recount Limitations
With the election over, a number of areas are having to do
recounts and I've been asked to post a statement regarding
some limitations of our system when it comes to handling
In a recount situation, usually only particular races are
to be counted so only these are downloaded. Both VTS and
GEMS have features to support this. Unfortunately the 1.94
Precinct Count firmware is not able to handle all recount
configurations. I'll discuss each in turn.
First, the download protocol requires at least some data
for each of the data types including precincts, cards,
races, candidates, and voting positions. If there is no
data for one of these, the download fails with the message
"MSG OUT OF SYNC". All this means is that it got data, say
the Accu-Basic .abo file, when it was expecting something
else, say races. What this means it that the Accu-Vote
can't have a vote center that has no cards or no races.
Ideally if a vote center had no ballots with the races being
recounted, it could still be download and it would accept
and ignore all of its cards but we'll have to wait for
version 2 for that.
Second, the Accu-Basic interpreter can't handle looping on
no data. This is a bug that causes the interpreter to go
into an infinite loop. The common occurance is if, in a
recount, there are no cards downloaded for a downloaded
precinct, then the printer will just keep jumping back to
the beginning of the report. The workaround is to remove
all precincts for which no cards will be counted before
downloading the recount memory cards.
Otherwise the recounts appear to be going well.