The day of the Fool is over, and I must return to serious subjects. Vote fraud confirmed:
US Count Votes has come out with a remarkable paper authored by a committee of twelve, most of them highly-qualified mathematicians and statisticians from major universities. This study highlights the serious ramifications of the exit poll discrepancy while demolishing the "chatty Dem" theory (more properly known as the "reluctant responder" theory), which remains the official explanation for that incongruity.
The only possibility left is vote alteration.
Alas, this important scientific study has yet to make an impact. The media, distracted by the Pope's death, hasn't noticed that Uncle Sam is also facing the Reaper. The only significant coverage of this report has appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal
For those of you who are
paying attention, the full analysis is here
. An "executive summary" is here
And if you'd like an ultra-brief summary of the summary:
The exit poll discrepancy in the 2004 American presidential election was the largest in the poll's history -- about five-and-a-half percent. The odds against the polls being so wrong are roughly one in a million. The "chatty Dem" theory is nonsense: Responses to the pollsters were higher
in Republican strongholds -- where the exit poll discrepancies were widest.
, Mr. Mitofsky.
I suppose the only (weak) counter-argument he might offer would be along these lines: For some reason, Kerry supporters in Bush strongholds -- but not
in Democratic precincts -- were remarkably eager to push all others aside and commandeer the pollsters. Not only is this scenario counterintuitive, it goes against all previous experience. It also goes against Mitofski's own data.
Once again, I would remind readers of another oddity besetting these troubling exit polls: On November 2, 2004, pollsters did not restrict inquiries to the votes cast on that date. They also
asked voters about the 2000 election. 43% of the respondents said they had chosen Bush on that previous occasion, while 37% reported having cast a ballot for Al Gore. But Gore WON the popular vote
. This simple fact -- which even math illiterates should be able to comprehend easily -- proves that the exit pollsters favored Republicans
, not Democrats.
Author Josh Mitteldorff, in the executive summary of the US Count Votes report, does not favor the theory that touch screen voting had greater error rates than did punch cards. However, on page 18 of the report proper, we see data suggesting that mechanical voting machines had a significantly higher error rate than did paper ballots.
How to resolve this seeming contradiction? I remind readers that punch cards are run through a computerized central tabulator -- the "mother machine," as Teresa Heinz-Kerry once put it. Absentee ballots and provisionals must be counted by hand.
The issue of touch screen vs. non-touch screen voting reminds me of another important study -- the Leto-Hoffman study
of Snohomish County, Washington. This investigation revealed that the ultra-close gubernatorial contest in that state would have been won more decisively if the vote were cleaner. Unfortunately, machine-counted votes had many more problems (to put the matter delicately) than did absentee and provisional ballots. Also see this account
in the January 26-February 1 Seattle Weekly
Their study findings, issued in December, got lost among the recount chaos. "I personally am surprised that the Republicans are shouting fraud from the rooftops," Lehto [sic] says, "and yet the Lehto and Hoffman study is non-news for the mainstream media."
This report, if read carefully, is damning. I was particularly intrigued by their investigation of Diebold's strange insistence that the power cords for the voting machines be "daisy chained." Most people don't realize that data can be transmitted over power lines.
Returning our attention to the new US Count Votes report:
So far, the best analysis of this analysis comes from Newsclip Autopsy
. Highly recommend reading.
Here's an important excerpt:
The exit polls for the 2004 election not only tabulated views from the Presidential election. It also received information about the voters intentions for the U.S. Senate races. Guess what?! Yup. Strangely enough, the exit polls were far more accurate at determining who would win for Senator. As history shows us, there is no precedent for widespread "ticket-splitting" in other elections. That is, if you vote democratic for President, there is an overwhelming probability that you would vote democratic for the Senator. US Vote Counts summarizes this peculiarity this way:
"There is no logic to account for non-responders or missed voters when discussing the
difference in the accuracy of results for the Senate versus the presidential races in the same exit poll."
No logic, indeed. Unless this is a nation where "multiple personality disorder" is present in epidemic proportions!!! To allay that particular fear, this report confirmed another startling finding which was observed in a previous report by the same group. Exit polling accuracy was dependent on whether the election ballots were hand-counted or not!! This is a highly significant finding, considering that, in Ohio, only a non-random 3% of the ballots were hand recounted. Many of these instances had recounts which were different from the machine counts.
And how did Ken Blackwell, the corrupt Ohio Secretary of State, respond to all this?
"What are you going to do except laugh at it?" said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who's responsible for administering Ohio's elections and is a Republican candidate for governor. "We're not particularly interested in (the report's findings)."
There you have it: Laughter directed at science. Laughter directed at ten PhDs. As though placing the topic behind a curtain of guffaws replaces the need for a counter-argument.
Once more, the Republicans assail Reason itself.
Please do everything you can to publicize the work of US Count Votes. This important scientific analysis should be leading all other headlines on Buzzflash, Bush Watch, Air America, Daily Kos...not to mention the New York Times, CBS, ABC and the rest of the mainstream media. Alas, even the wonderful blog by John Conyers
has not yet covered this report.Let's make sure the riff-raff can't vote
: Conyers' blog does
direct our attention to important developments in Georgia, Indiana, and other states. In order to combat the alleged epidemic of non-existent registered voters (a "spin point" the G.O.P. has pushed for many months), Georgia will now tighten identification requirements. The result, of course, will be depressed turn-out among minorities and the elderly.
-- Georgia would be the first state not to permit an alternative to a photo ID, such as a signed affidavit.
-- another provision of the bill, supposedly designed to prevent voter fraud, would totally eliminate the requirement that a voter seeking an absentee ballot state a reason for wanting it, even though there is far greater concern about the use of absentee ballots for fraudulent purposes. If measures like this pass, it becomes all the more imperative to enact voting reform legislation that I and others have introduced to protect voting rights.
-- "Neither Georgia's secretary of state nor the secretary of state of Indiana, where a voter identification measure has been under consideration, could point to an allegation of voter identification fraud."
-- The AARP has observed that more than a third of Georgians over 75 lack a valid driver's license.
-- The bill would have a disproportionate impact on rural voters, given that Georgia's 159 counties have only 53 driver's license offices, and ten of them are in metropolitan Atlanta.
Readers of Cannonfire will recall that I've been predicting this very development. Indeed, the whole point
of the American Center for Voting Rights -- the now-notorious "non-partisan" Republican front group -- has been to whip up hysteria over the misleading issue of false registrations.
As we have noted earlier: Anyone
can send in a fake registration form. If
such acts have indeed taken place (the ACVR cites unofficial reports of registration forms bearing flagrantly bogus names), the listed party affiliation does not necessarily tell us who to blame. No evidence indicates that a single "fake" voter ever cast a ballot for Kerry; the exit poll discrepancy offers a profound argument against this notion.
We thus come to that famous question: Cui bono?
A Democratic registration form bearing a ridiculous "joke" name can only buttress the arguments of Republicans who favor the enforcement of strict photo ID requirements at the polls. Such requirements will make participation difficult for the poorest sectors of our electorate. Many poor people have expired driver's licenses, or no licenses at all -- and many may not relish the prospect of acrimonious interaction with cops at the poll booth.
(By way of comparison: My local library switched from a policy of allowing anyone
access to the internet to a system which allows only official library card holders to surf the web. The result: Drastically reduced usage of the computers. Since cards go only to those with addresses and photo ID, the homeless lost much-needed access to email accounts and websites helpful to the poor.)
By asking "cui bono
?," we can see the outlines of the scheme. Through the simple expedient of filling out a few bogus registration forms, far-sighted Republican operatives will now be able to fulfill their long-held goal of keeping the "riff-raff" away from the engines of democracy.