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View Diary: Armando's Challenge, Or The Informed Citizen's Guide To The 2004 Election (389 comments)

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  •  Armando (4.00)
    I just read (although I admit I read it rather quickly), and I think it's worth a serious read now, without waiting for a subsequent version.

     FWIW, here are my impressions:

    (1) there is good evidence of sytematic voter suppression activity

    (2) there is good evidence that many voting machine executives are a bunch of extreme partisan republicans

    (3) there is good evidence of past elections where the voting machines did not work properly and where there were unexplainable voting errors which could suggest fraud

    (4) There is good evidence of a huge mystery surrounding what happened with the exit polls.  (more below)

    (5) there is good evidence that the Ohio "recount" was a travesty

    However:

    (1) there is insufficient evidence of actual voting machine fraud in election 2004

    (2) there is insufficient evidence of actual fraud in the counting of votes in election 2004

    (3) there is insufficient evidence that the voter suppresion activities, taken together, were on a scale where they would have swung the election from Bush to Kerry, in Ohio, or nationally.

    (4) With respect to the exit polls, this is the most infuriating aspect of election 2004 for me ,because it seems clear to me that there was some form of "systematic error," in the exit polling (as opposed to sampling error).  But because the exit polling data is proprietary, we are not in a position to analyze the error.  

    If there was no "systematic error" however, as is alleged by many of the "PhD's" cited by Georgia10, then to establish fraud you have to posit a precinct by precinct organized campaign of fraud --- across dem and repub precincts, and across punch card precincts, optical scan precints, electronic voting precincts, etc. etc.  Literally tens of thousands of people would have to be in on the fraud, and many of those people would be democrats.  Nevertheless, there is no real evidence in Georgia10's piece of any actual vote counting fraud (I'm not including the apparent instances of fraud that occured in the Ohio recount, as opposed to the original count) anywhere, in any precinct whatsoever, in election 2004.

    What went wrong with the exit polls, however, is a huge mystery.  We need to get to the bottom of this mystery.  A good start would be a having a Senator, any Senator, join Conyers in objecting to the elector count on Tuesday.

    Fight the American Taliban

    by pontificator on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 06:59:10 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Adding the numbers (4.00)
      "there is insufficient evidence that the voter suppresion activities, taken together, were on a scale where they would have swung the election from Bush to Kerry, in Ohio, or nationally."

      *7,00-21,000: election officials throughout the state improperly told convicted felons no longer incarcerated that they could not vote.  
      *22,000:  conservative estimates of voters in Franklin County who were denied the right to vote because of the voting machine allocation.
      *62,513: number of absentee ballots "up for grabs"
      *96,000: number of uncounted punch card ballots

      Equals: 201, 153
      Bush's margin of victory: 136,000

      I think it at least raises the possibility that, in a clean and proper election, Kerry could have won.

      •  No need to prove it here (none)
        in the comments.  The work goes to the front page.  We just need to work out the stuff I mention in my other comment to you.

        I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'

        by Armando on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 07:11:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I for one am damn glad (none)
          Georgia responded immediately to your comment.  If there is no need for here to prove it here, lets not discredit it here eiether.

          Georgia, I haven't reda it yet -- just noticed the diary.  You are a champ.  Make sure no one sticks you in some little cubicle in a law library for the next 5 years 9unless you like that stuff) cause god knows they'll want to . . 56 pages!

          Mambo, FC

      •  Like I said, I gave it a "quick" read (none)
        When you put the numbers together like that, that certainly persuades me that my quick reaction there was incorrect.  Perhaps there is enough evidence of vote suppression to put Ohio in the ballpark for Kerry absent the suppression.

        Anyway, Georgia10, I have to congratulate you on a first rate job putting this info together.

        Fight the American Taliban

        by pontificator on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 07:17:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This claim by Jeff Graessle: (none)
        (page 20 in your fabulous paper) simply isn't true:
         Jeff Graessle, Franklin County Election Operations Division Manager, says they allocated their machines based on a new criteria determined by active registered voters

        I did an analysis here  of data from Franklin County. Machines simply were not allocated on the basis of "active voters".  The more likely basis was turnout in 2000, thereby "capping" turnout at 2000 levels in strongly Democrat precincts because of the overall machine shortage.  The correlation between "active voters" per machine and Kerry's share of the vote in Franklin county, using the most conservative, non-parametric methods is huge and positive (p<0.00001).  The more pro-Kerry a precinct, the more "active voters" had to share a machine.

        So if the BoE really was using "active voters" as their formula, they were also stacking the odds against Kerry voters.  I find it suspicious that this is what they claim (though I have heard more recent claims that they used 2000 turnout figures), as it suggests that they may be aware that using turnout 2000 figures (as I believe they did) would result in under-supplying pro-Kerry precincts.  Which, to my view, makes it look more like willful than accidental incompetence.

    •  This will be a front page post (4.00)
      We have to work a couple thing out on the timing and the presentation.

      But it is a fantastic effort.

      I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'

      by Armando on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 07:10:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (4.00)
        though we both know I was never writing for the front page ;)
      •  I'm guessing this'll get passed along ... (none)
        ... to a lot of people beyond dkos in the next few days.

        -- We may need more mirrors (monitor as the situation develops?  I've only had 10-12 downloads so far)

        -- Georgia and/or Armando, could you let me know when new .doc or .pdf revisions are available?  I'll replace what's on my server with the latest.

        eric at a-horizon dot com

        Other mirrorers out there may want to do the same (let 'em know when there are revised versions?)

        Thanks!

        •  traffic (none)
          I had about 30 downloads of the doc version as of 1o:15 PM EST, but I don't get real time infomration. . . there's a delay in my stat reports.  But I'll monitor this as well.

          We are not a "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

          by Pachacutec on Sun Jan 02, 2005 at 08:23:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  My counterpoints. (none)
      I agree with your first five points.

      With regard to your next two points, it depends on what you mean by "insufficient evidence." I completely agree that the evidence is insufficient for proving beyond any doubt that machine and voting counting fraud (i.e., deliberate miscounting) actually occurred. But I would also argue that the information we have (suspicious patterns, access, motive, etc., etc.) is certainly sufficient enough to warrant an investigation. I would also point out that it's next to impossible to have concrete proof without first having a thorough investigation. The only way you could have incontrovertible evidence of vote tampering is if you have access to the actual ballots, machines, polling books, software, etc. We haven't been given access to these. So it's important to keep in mind that although we don't have indisputable proof, we also haven't been given access to the information that would be necessary for that proof. In short, even if proof exists, it simply not possible for us to know about that proof with the access that we've been given thus far. Again, we need a thorough investigation, and in my opinion, the information we have is certainly sufficient to warrant one.

      Finally, I completely disagree with your argument that tens of thousands of people would've had to be in on the fraud. I think that based on the information we currently have, the "fraud hypothesis" would be that votes were skimmed in a wide variety of ways. If there was systematic suppression and differential ballot spoilage, it might've only been necessary to pick up what, another 1-2% of the vote? That could be accomplished very easily by just a programmer or two. A programmer at ES&S and/or Diebold--just ONE programmer--could write a couple of lines of code to switch 1 of every 20 votes or something like that, and it could be enough. OR, just ONE programmer could write the software to default to Bush, so that when a vote isn't registered, the machine counts it for Bush. Or it could be programmed to count undervotes and/or overvotes as Bush votes.

      If you only need to pick up a couple percentage points, it could be done very easily, and no one other than the programmer would need to be in on it.

      •  You've made good points Georgia10 & (none)
        Pointsoflight.

        The default idea is what makes voter reports of vote-hopping so important to investigate.  Vote hopping could be the result of programing Bush as the default.  Programming the default to register no vote for president could result in a large undervote which I believe has been shown in a couple of precincts at least.  Just one more reason for a complete investigation.

        I haven't had time to fully read your document yet or all of its' footnotes Georgia10.  I apologise if the paper contains this idea and I just haven't gotten to that part, but perhaps you could reference some of the scholarly work by people like Rebecca Mercuri (sp?) on how vulnerable computerized voting is to hacking.

        I think that there are a lot of people who continue to believe that computerized vote fraud would, by necessity, require a conspiracy of thousands including Dems and Repubs at the county level.  Some expert opinion countering this notion might be helpful.

        Great document so far...the hard work you've put in really shows!

    •  I almost stopped reading (none)
      After the part about the pack of rascals who are in charge of counting votes in this country.  Michael Moore wondered aloud how many of us have been arrested as many times as GWB.  These rascals also are outliers.  Can't we find even one non-ex-con crazy wingnut to count votes?  These sound like shady characters.

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