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View Diary: WA Gov -- s/p recount, Vance stirs (122 comments)

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  •  It depends how they provide the data (none)
    If they provide it electronically, the repubs can just write up a Perl script in 5 minutes to search through the file for whatever data fields they want (or if they are given the list of voter IDs, have a program go through and retrieve data on each ID via some website).  Of course, if they're given a big stack of paper, that task becomes more difficult.
    •  Sure, give them a big stack (none)
      of paper after charging them for the data run and print job.

      Such a shame. The killing of Head Start. My chameleons never learned haiku.

      by nargel on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 07:18:14 PM PST

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    •  Paper it is, then! n/t (none)

      "I still think politics is about who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing." -Molly Ivins

      by hono lulu on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 08:26:02 PM PST

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    •  Do like the SCO Group did (none)
      I'll speare you the details of the SCO v. IBM lawsuit, except to say that you can find excellent coverage of the brouhaha on Groklaw.

      Suffice it to say that at one point IBM requested a series of technical information from SCO -- source code for something or another, I think. SCO responded first by sending it all on paper printouts, then when IBM complained and wanted electronic media, they sent a stack of CD-ROMs filled with PDF files containing the information. They could argue that it was what IBM asked for, but in the form they sent it it was totally worthless for the purpose for which it was intended.

      So I say, get the voter records, and a filter that creates PDF files, and a CD burner . . .

      I wonder how many CDs it would take to contain 900,000 voter records.

      Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. -Mark Twain

      by Our Man In Redmond on Mon Dec 27, 2004 at 09:49:19 PM PST

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      •  PDF format: Messy but not that hard (none)
        When we did absentee matchbacks, a couple counties provided PDF files. It was a mess. They listed all the voters in the county; if they voted, the receipt date was listed. So you couldn't just pull out all the voterids. And there was lots of other information formatted into several columns. Copying and pasting the text didn't make things much easier.

        But it only took me about 10 minutes of playing with the data in Excel to pull out the voterids correctly and we were in business.

        King County, of course, is nowhere that archaic.

        I remember during the 2000 campaign, the Bush campaign liked to claim they listed all their major contributors immediately on the web... but it was in that inconvienent PDF format. But someone wrote a script to pull out the information and posted it on their site in an easy to search format.

        Really, the best solution is to just give Vance the data in a nice easy format so he can quickly shut the fuck up and move on to something else. Otherwise, he'll make hay about King County nefariously dragging their feet and impeding access to public information.

        --- My opinions are my own and not my employer's.

        by Aexia on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 12:05:46 AM PST

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        •  Hear hear! (none)
          I've missed you, aexia.  We need to grab a beer and catch up.

          I put things where they don't belong at Switzerblog.

          by switzerblog on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 12:20:21 AM PST

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        •  There's PDFs and then there's PDFs (none)
          If the PDF is just converted text data, sure a script will work. But if the PDF is a converted TIFF file you got by scanning the document, you'd need some decent OCR at the very least.

          Mostly my post was meant for amusement. Vance hasn't got a leg to stand on. We know it, he knows it, and he knows we know it. So yeah, we should just give him the data and let him stew. We don't need to make it any easier for him to do what he thinks he wants to do with it than we have to, though.

          Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. -Mark Twain

          by Our Man In Redmond on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 07:30:08 AM PST

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