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The Significance of 18,181
by repost
Friday Dec 12th, 2003 1:17 PM
From the 2000 election, the now classic case of three identical Republican wins in Comal County, Texas.
The Significance of 18,181

"In another Texas anomaly, Republican state Senator Jeff Wentworth won his race with exactly 18,181 votes, Republican Carter Casteel won her state House seat with exactly 18,181 votes, and conservative Judge Danny Scheel won his seat with exactly 18,181 votes – all in Comal County. Apparently, however, no poll workers in Comal County thought to ask for a new chip."

I’d thought the machines that produced this anomoly were Diebold machines, but as it turns out, they seemed to have used the same system that we did in SF – ES&S Optical Scan.

Below are some comments from the BBVoting thread that I found interesting.


"830-620-5538 Elections Supervisor for Comal county. Comal county is using ES&S equipment. I asked her about the 18181 she got quite defensive from that point on. But she assured me that "nothing funny was going on". That all the programming of the ballots etc were done in-house and nothing was sent out. The machines being used at the time of the election were ES&S optical scan machines."


"I really wish there was a reason for them to do a handcount and see if the 18181 stands up. I guess there is no legal reason for this, so it won't be done. Too bad."


"One possible interpretation: Within a compiled computer program, letters and other characters are actually represented by a numeric code. An 'a' is represented by the number 1 and an 'h' is represented by the number 8.

Therefore, the sequence: 18181 18181 18181, when represented in it's character equivalents reads: ahaha ahaha ahaha

This could just be a coincidence, but it could also be a hacker's little joke. I use Comal County as an example of a possible hacker attack in the DRE talk I give here in New York State."


"I don't *think* this is an indicator of forged votes -- but it *is* a sign of poor coding, & suggests no quality-control standards are being kept. Heck, random numbers might *be* more accurate!

But: why the heck would a Black Box be generating random numbers in the first place? And even if there's a legit reason, why are they getting into the "final votes" are of the code?

PS-- the "ahaha" hypothesis is <g> laughable. It works only in base 17 or higher; in hexadec or duodec, A = 10, sure, but they recycle ("carry the 1") after F (15) & B (11) respectively. If you use simple alphabetic substitution, then you can make messages that only use the first 9 or 10 letters of the alphabet. If a cypher were involved at all, it'd be *more* likely that it's a series of "18"s, which in the proposed scheme would be "rrrrrrrrrrr". Kinda boring."


A mathematical analysis:
"All the actual votes for Republican candidates lie in the interval from 16504 to 19601, a range that encompasses 3098 possibilities. Suppose we round this up to 3100 and assume -- or pretend -- that each of the 3100 totals is equally likely. Then the revised probability estimate becomes:

4060 x 310028/310030 = 4.22 x 10-4

In other words, the odds against such a three-way coincidence are somewhere near 2500 to 1."


"[18,181] is a both a Dihedral Prime (reads the same upside down) and a Palindromic Prime (reads the same forwards and backwards) it might be interpeted as the same now mater how you look at it. It sure is suspicious but probability is weird, just because odds are a billion to one does not mean you can't hit it the first time. But I think the FACT that it IS VERY unlikley and that it is a very unique number for it's numeric properties SCREAMS that somthing is very wrong. This is not the kind of number that you usualy get if software has an error it is more the kind of number a hacker would leave (I used to have a Palindromic prime as an email)."

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significance of 18181Ion A. DowmanSunday Jan 25th, 2004 11:23 PM
Important numberBristowSaturday Dec 13th, 2003 4:00 PM
hey heyho hoSaturday Dec 13th, 2003 2:42 PM
united nations resolution181Saturday Dec 13th, 2003 2:30 PM
But the liklihood of that number being this unique . . .greenSaturday Dec 13th, 2003 9:49 AM
maybe ...echoSaturday Dec 13th, 2003 9:01 AM