Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kathy and her Access

So. I've seen posts from a lot of "experts" and "gurus" who are chuffed with their credentials claiming that Kathy's story "isn't possible". Well, I don't know the Waukesha vote tabulation system any better than any of those "experts" but I do know there are plenty of ways what is being said could happen. Here is what I think is most likely:

The system Waukesha Co. uses to tabulate the votes runs on Access. This we know.

We also know that Ms. Nickolaus received vote data in spreadsheet form, and was not expecting her "templates" to be changed.

I will agree with the other "experts" on one point - _if_ Kathy were, in fact, opening up Access and "pasting" data (or even using Access menus to import it), and there were a problem, she'd be notified. I doubt this is the way the system works.

More likely, when she gets those excel spreadsheets, they need to be saved to a given spot on her computer. From the discussion, it sounds like everyone else's spreadsheet is being compiled into one master Excel sheet.

Then when she wants to update the vote totals for AP, the state, whatever....there is an application written, using the access framework, that programmatically imports whatever spreadsheet data is saved in the required location. Why do it this way? Excel sheets are easier to pass from person to person than having the person send in their access .mdb files. Access has superior report generating functions.

So suppose she opens up, say, the Brookfield data and pastes it into her master Excel file. Then she gets distracted by something and having dealt with that she comes back and switches over to her tabulation / report generation software (never having saved the updated Excel master sheet...or however she was planning to save the Brookfield data). Access will only update her database / reports with the data that was out there as of the last save.

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