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Republicans Do NOT Understand Technology

by: DocJess

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 13:38:09 PM EST

Oh those Wacky Wepublicans...stymied by technology. Again. Remember when they claimed John Boy McCain invented the Blackberry? Called the Blackberry a "miracle"? Well, the Blackberry wasn't a miracle, John boy didn't invent it, and who uses them anymore anyway?

We all do use email. You know email, with all the easy ways to develop spam filters to avoid the mail you don't want...and ways to create lists of people you do want to hear from. Well, the Maine GOP didn't count a bunch of caucus returns because, wait for it....they went into their spam folder. I'm not joking.  H/T Scott for letting me know this...I would have hated to miss it.

They'll be announcing new results in March. Likely including the caucus results from those that will be held tomorrow. 

Remember, though, it's all about the delegates, and the Paul folks might well come out ahead on that. Some thoughts:

In the Minnesota caucuses, for instance, Paul won 27 percent of the presidential preference vote, but 75 percent of the delegates chosen to attend the state convention are Paul supporters. In the Colorado caucuses, Paul got only 12 percent of the vote, but 50 percent of the state delegates are Paul supporters.

Delegate counts on the GOP side are so fluid...look at New Hampshire. And last week's beauty contests? No telling until there are state and county conventions.

I'm telling you, these guys ought to consider things like databases, spreadsheets, or at least pieces of paper on which are tally sheets that they hold on to. Thankfully, they're not in charge of the actual voting.

DocJess :: Republicans Do NOT Understand Technology

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One addition (0.00 / 0)
In the CSM article that the second excerpt comes from, the delegate stats are followed by "That's what the Paul campaign claims, anyway."

The Paul campaign is sneaky, and I don't trust them to tell the truth. They kept claiming, for instance, that Washington County (the New Hampshire County that postponed their caucus because of a non-existant snow storm) went for Paul in '08. It didn't.

My hunch is the delegate truth lies somewhere between the results of the straw polls and the Paul campaign's exaggerated claims. I wouldn't be surprised if he did win the most local delegates in Minnesota, but 75%? And in Colorado? Tough to leverage 12% of the vote in to 50% of the delegates.

I don't know.... (0.00 / 0)
I think the Paul campaign might really have what they claim, or close to it, once the final tallies are in. They know how to play the caucus game, only Paul and Romney have made all the ballots where others haven't (so far) and Paul has a lot of practice with the delegate game.

I think the possibility of a brokered convention rises by the week, and while Paul won't win, he'll be a legitimate player.  

[ Parent ]
They want us to live like it's 1850, So they should stick (0.00 / 0)
with the contemporary technology, the Telegraph and Pony Express.

to be fair (0.00 / 0)
I think it is hysterical that they lost votes due to a spam filter, but I think inadvertently you showed that this is a harder problem than you might assume.  I think the only foolproof method is to create a dedicated e-mail account which has no spam filtering whatsoever.  Really an e-mail account that you've just created and will only use for a couple of weeks should get little to no spam.  Whitelists strike me as prone to error when you are dealing with several hundred people who each may have multiple e-mail addresses that they could potentially send the results from.  You could tell people to add a header or a keyword to the subject line which you filter on, but then you are relying on people who might not fully understand e-mail to follow directions/not make a typo.  At least if they get the e-mail address wrong they aren't likely to blame anyone but themselves.

What about regular e-mail you may ask?  There are several main differences.  Most spam filters auto-whitelist regular correspondents, and most of your e-mail is from regular correspondents[if its not you likely need to be much more careful about false positives].  Most regular e-mail is 'wordy'.  If the e-mail is just a list of names followed by the number of votes they got it will look data-ey and more likely to be marked as spam.  If the names are in all caps...  In regular e-mail you have a higher tolerance for false positives.  If you never respond the sender might resend or try to contact you in another way.  Similarly some false positives while technically not spam you might not care about never getting.  I suppose though that the flip side of this is that you might have expected them to contact any precinct they thought they hadn't heard from...

A simple solution (0.00 / 0)
Create a domain, such as @MaineGOP.org. Then, create email addresses like Precinct1@MaineGOP.org -- send them to all the caucuses and say that is the address they should send FROM, and they all go TO results@MaineGOP.org. It's not that big a state, it makes it pretty easy to see who submitted tallies and who didn't.

They could actually do what they do here in Pennsylvania and have all the results delivered in hard copy. As per Joe Giannasio, above, older "technologies" are likely best for them.  

[ Parent ]
indeed (0.00 / 0)
Creating a domain shouldn't even need to be done.  Surely the Maine GOP already has one that it could use.  I'm not sure what the point of creating FROM e-mail addresses is as you can put arbitrary text in the FROM header anyway.  Which brings up a related issue...  In practice this shouldn't be a big deal, if you get multiple e-mails each purporting to contain the results than you'd just need to call someone.

[ Parent ]
I was going to mention a fax, but that's far too advanced. (0.00 / 0)

If you wanted to talk technology and security, you set up a mysql database on a dedicated server, I might even do it off the internet with a dial-up network server, have each county supervisor have an pen drive encryption key needed to log into the database as well as a user name and password, then they can enter data onto a php spreadsheet that updates the database. Then if each county isn't updated you still pick up the phone and say "We need your totals."

A really low tech low security way, share a spreadsheet in google docs, you could even publish it read only publicly for complete transparency.. stop laughing don't the Republicans want transparency?..seriously stop laughing...

[ Parent ]
Also (0.00 / 0)
I can understand losing emailed results to the spam filter. The GOP operation in Maine is not a big-time thing, and they're going to make some logisitical mistakes. The same could be true of some Democratic party operations in smaller states.

The problem is what they did when they haven't heard. Wouldn't you expect the process of talllying the votes to feel exciting? Waiting to get each report and then entering it in to the master spreadsheet (or whatever they're doing). And then the deadline passes, and a bunch of places are missing. At that point, wouldn't you expect them to pick up the phone, call the places that were missing, and say "we didn't get your tallies"?

That's the part that's ridiculous to me.  

[ Parent ]
I was thinking the same thing (0.00 / 0)

and with only 16 total counties and only 15 voting, it would take less than an hour to phone every county if you make small talk, even shorter if the call was just "We need your tallies....OK got em thanks have a goodnight".

[ Parent ]
email is not dependable. (0.00 / 0)
Cox is my ISP.  I have no spam filtering set (I use thunderbird and do my own on my pc.)

So I see some of what Cox thinks is spam (they mark it spam in the subject field.)  Very little is actually spam. Mostly it is newsletters to which I subscribe (issues at random - some get through, some don't) and sometimes for some baffling reason a normal message from a friend.

However, I know that they throw away other email that they "are sure" is spam without letting it through to their users' inboxes.

This is why I get paper statements from banks.

You can never count on email.




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