Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Congratulations to Clerks

Below is the text of the letter I sent to the Village of Germantown clerk, Jane Wilms, and deputy clerk, Christine Micka.

Village of Germantown
P.O. Box 337
Germantown, WI 53022

Dear Ms. Wilms and Ms. Micka:

I want to thank you for your indulgence with me at the 5.84 testing of the ballot machines for the April 5, 2005 election. I am, by profession, a software tester of 11 years. My enthusiasm for this art can sometimes be lost on those who see software testing as, at best, a necessary chore.

Given that software testing is not your passion, you are both to be congratulated. Your decks of test ballots were excellent! If you ever decide to, you have the knack for software testing.

You created 4 test decks of 29 ballots each for a total of 116 ballots. For every race on the ballot, you had a test ballot for each of the following: not marked at all, simply marked, double marks with a write-in, double marked without a write-in (over-vote). Also you had a ballot which was completely blank. These are all included in the guidelines I had sent to the State Election Board earlier this month.

But, the congratulations should extend further. You performed tests I had not even considered. You tested ballots being scanned in all 4 possible orientations. You tested ballots marked with X's through the ovals instead of with well-filled ovals. You tested ballots marked in pen as well as pencil. And you also tested a district 4 ballot in the district 3 machine.

As a programmer and software tester, I do not understand the kind of programming defect the completely marked ballots is designed to uncover.

The test decks I created from photocopies of the sample ballots were larger. The decks contained 43, 41, 43, and 46 test ballots for Districts 1 through 4; respectively. The difference though is due to my deck containing more examples of each of the ballot types. For example, you had a deck marked for both Underheim and the write-in for Superintendent of Public Instruction for District 1. My deck for district 1 had this ballot and an additional ballot marked for both Burmanster and the write-in for Superintendent of Public Instruction. As I said, my deck just had more specific instances of each kind of ballot.

Again, well done.

In Liberty,
John Washburn


Blogger Timeout said...


A friend recommended your blog, but I'm having trouble loading it. On the longer posts much of the information gets hidden behind the "wallpaper" on the right side. Is there a setting I need to change in order to view your blog?


Thu Mar 31, 06:56:00 AM CST  
Blogger John Washburn said...

It has something to do with the table I included using HTML table tags, interacting badly with my selected template, Scribe. I have tried other templates. All 10 had the same effect.

I am working with the designer of the template on what changes I need to make to the post for proper display on the blog.

I see all of the post. But the margins come first and then at the bottom of the screen is the body of the several posts.

Thu Mar 31, 10:02:00 AM CST  

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