Voting Project Needs Python People

Alan Dechert adechert at
Sun Jul 27 20:09:48 CEST 2003

"Andrew Dalke" <adalke at> wrote in message
news:bfo1k3$n2s$1 at

> BTW, I don't think you need to distribute a calculator for this.  I think
> you just need some tables which give values for a few select points,
> as in:
I still want a calculator.  Here's what Bill Buck ( billbuck at ) sent
me.  It turns out there is a BINOMDIST function in Excel.  I think it might
be what I want.

Let me try to clarify what I'm after.  The paper record should always match
the electronic record.  So the allowable defects is zero.  If there is a
mismatch found in the sample, we don't publish the electronic tally: we take
all the paper ballots and check them.

We are talking about an election conducted with computer-generated paper
ballots.  The paper ballots represent the actual vote since these ballots
are what voters actually saw, verified, and cast.  We will have an
electronic record obtained from the computers which should match each paper
ballot generated.  We want to use the electronic record since it will give
us an instant result -- but we have to check it against the paper ballots to
be sure the election result is correct.  So, in this scenario, the
electronic count is a prediction (or preliminary tally).

So, if by the preliminary electronic tally a candidate won a race by 1
percent, I want to know how many ballots we have to check (random sample) to
be certain that the result predicted is true.

When I put one million into this Confidence Level Calculator, and Acceptable
Quality Level of .01, a sample of 10,000 shows a confidence level of "1."  A
sample of 2000 give C.L of 0.999999998  Presumably, "1" is really
.9999999999+ more 9s.  Can we get more decimal places?

So I guess the Lot Fraction Defective is analgous to the predicted victory
margin.  Is that right?

I would still like a standalone calculator that doesn't require Excel.

Alan Dechert

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