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View Diary: Christopher Hitchens thinks the OHIO VOTE WAS STOLEN (357 comments)

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  •  Plus, What's Being Compared? (4.00)
    Febble, you've written some fine stuff on the exit polls and other aspects of the Ohio controversy.  But almost everyone who asserts major fraud starts out right from the get-go with something wrong, irrelevant or grossly misinformed.  In this case, it's Iraq war apologist Christopher Hitchens, and we get an absolute howler in the very first article excerpt posted in this diary:

    First, the county-by-county and precinct-by-precinct discepencies.  In Butler County, for example, a Democrat running for State Supreme Court chief justice received 61,559 votes.  The Kerry-Edwards ticket drew about 5,000 fewer votes, at 56,243.  This contrasts rather markedly with the behavior of the Republican electorate in that county, who cast about 40,000 fewer votes for their judicial nominee than they did for Bush and Cheney.

    This is so completely irrlevant to establishing a case of fraud it makes my head hurt.  Why is it irrelevant?  Two main reasons.  First, Supreme Court candidates don't have a partisan designation on the ballots, so unless you already know the partisanship of the candidates before seeing your ballot, you wouldn't know who's a Democrat and who's a Republican.  

    The other reason is what I'm starting to think of as the "so what, did you look at the same dynamic on the other side" problem.  Using Hithchens' "logic" regarding the "discrepancy" between the Supreme Court candidate and the Kerry vote, one can "conclude," or at least suggest, that there was fraud in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga county, and the fraud favored Kerry.  In Cuyahoga, the Democrat, Ellen Connally, pulled 59.71%, but Kerry pulled 66.59%.  In raw terms, Kerry got 5,316 fewer votes than Connally in heavily Butler county, but he got 144,508 more votes than her in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga.  Does that mean that the results in Cuyahoga were fraudlent in favor of Kerry?  No more than the resuts in Bulter suggest fraud in favor of Bush.

    Really, it's remarkable what one can find out in ten minutes of searching on Google, especially if one has a clue to the type of questions to ask that offer up obvious explanations for data that seems anamolous only to those who lack experience working with such data.  It's for reasons like this single example, repeated ad nauseum, that no respected elections analyist, pollster or pollitcal demographer has yet to come forward to support the fraud claims, becuase if you're familiar with the data, it just doesn't look as odd as so many people believe it is.  

    •  asdf (none)
      I think you are missing the point by ignoring the second part of the sentence.

      Bush received 40,000 more votes than the GOP judge.

      Kerry received 5,000 less than the DEM judge.

      Kerry got 56,000 votes total.  So a 40,000 dropoff of votes is a large percentage of the overall vote.

      Simple logic tells us that many people did not vote for judge but did vote for President.

      So a suspicion arises as to why this Democratic judge did so amazingly well in Butler County.  Or conversely, why Kerry did so badly.

      The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

      by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 02:41:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Simple Logic is Simplistic (none)
        Beside, look at my comment just below, and by the same "logic," there was fraud in Kerry's favor in Trumbull and Mahoning.

        Oh, your explanation is wrong, btw; fewer people voted for Supreme Court, but the margins were closer; thus, Kerry got such a smaller percentage of the bigger pot of presidential votes that his raw vote total was less than the Dem-nominee who didn't appear on the ballot as a partisan.  Same thing happened to Bush in the two counties listed above, and damn near happened to him in Cuyahoga County, the biggest county in the state.

        •  My explanation is not wrong (none)
          By my calculations there were 35,000 more votes for President than for judge.

          Bush got 40,000 more votes than the GOP judge.

          I can understand how a non-partisan race could lead many Bush supporters to vote for a Democratic judge.

          But it passing strange that the dropoff of 35,000 overall translated into a 40,000 advantage on one side of the aisle.

          That's all I'm saying.  And I don't that is comparable to your other examples.

          The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

          by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 02:54:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why Is It Strange? (4.00)
            Why is it strange when Kerry gets fewer votes than the Dem SC candidate but it's not strange when Bush gets fewer votes than the Repub SC candidate?  And why is the smaller dropoff to SC in Butler more significant than the larger dropoff in Cuyahoga?  After all, Moyer only lost by 98,920 votes in Cuyahoga, but Bush lost by 225,903.

            And saying "I don't that is comparable to your other examples" without demonstrating why says nothing other than you chose not to believe something that conflicts with what you apparently already believed.  Maybe there's a good reason, but you've not provided it.  Surely if one were concerned with not losing another person's respect, you'd make an effort to explain why one shouldn't believe it's odd when Kerry seems to gain an advantage but it is when it appears as though what you believe an advantage to Bush in one locale provides an even greater advantage to Kerry in another.  

            But hey, I guess you'll believe what you chose to believe, right?

            •  Don't get snotty (none)
              I have provided reasons at your request.

              The Butler numbers look fishy.  I think Bush did unexplainably well in Butler, or the GOP judge did inexplicably badly.  Or the converse for the Democratic candidates.

              I never said that it was conclusive evidence of something wrong that Kerry received less votes than his judge.  

              But when the dropoff number in the majority column exceeds the dropoff number overall, then something is suspicious.

              For instance in Cuyahoga, the dropoff column in the majority column was 145,000 but the overall dropoff was 162,000.


              The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

              by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 03:38:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But You Haven't Provided Answers (4.00)
                All you're saying is they look "fishy."  You're asking me to assume the numbers are inexplicable.  And you're doing it devoid of relevant context, because you're not explaining why Butler is fishy but the near mirror image in favor of Kerry in Mahoning and Trumbull isn't fishy.  

                And I'm not picking on you.  Nobody else is aksing or answering any of these questions either, including Christopher least none of the proponents of the belief that Ohio's results are "odd" or "fishy" or cannot easily be exlpained by voter preferences, even after accounting for the obvious attempts to suppress Dem turnout and the error rates of the various machines used.  No, it's mostly just "this looks weird" comments from people who probably hadn't spent any time trying to figure out if it looks weird when compared to past elections or elections in any other state.  So I'm not singling you out other than this is your diary and you were the only person to engage my comments.  

                •  you're right (none)
                  Trumbull and Mohoning look weird for the same reason.

                  Kerry's advantage over his judge exceeds the undervote.

                  The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

                  by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 03:56:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK, Then Here's Where We Are (4.00)
                    It's not weird.  It's normal for a seemingly non-partisan race where most people don't know much about the candidates to be more clustered in the middle of the electorate than a highly-charged partisan race like the Presidential contest in a battleground state.  I'm very experienced in looking at Supreme Court numbers, and there's nothing weird in how those numbers compare to the Presidential race.  (Espcially since the Dem is a woman, which in down-ballot races in MI tends to result in a 1-2% advantage, and is probably the same in OH.)  

                    And this example, which may on first glance appear strange, but isn't strange to those who've looked at this kind of data for a long time, is consistent with just about everything offered up for why the vote had to have been rigged to benefit Bush.  If things really did look strange to those folks who're experienced in dealing with election data, a lot of them--myself included--would have been screaming from the rooftops.  [And btw, the data did look odd in Florida in 2000.]  But the fact that nobody experienced in looking at this kind of data, nobody well-versed in voting trends, nobody knowledgable on the procedural aspects of voting (separate from software issues) has come forth to support the claims or suggestions that Ohio looks "fishy" should, I would hope, tell folks something about the credibility of the claims.  For some, it has.  For too many, it still hasn't.  

                    •  I don't agree with your characterization at all (none)
                      It is not normal for judicial candidates to be distributed in this way.  These are outliers.

                      It is normal to have outliers.

                      I don't agree that none of the people speaking out have any experience in analyizing election returns (or have not acquainted themselves before issuing studies or opinions).

                      Even in this case Turnbull and Mahoning had 19 and 16% undervotes, which is considerably different than Butler and Cuyahoga.

                      The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

                      by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 04:55:16 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Who (none)
                        Name one pollster, political professional or academic whose area of specialty includes voting analysis who's supported the fraud theories.

                        As for "normal," I think you're playing semantics.  OK, these fall within the normal and predictable range of results.  Furthermore, they are "outliers" but consistent, as the outliers are those counties with the greatest partisan cleavage, which is lessened in races where partisanship is masked by no party identifier next to the candidate's name on the ballot.

                        Outlier, yes.  "Fishy" or "odd?"  No.

                        •  How about (none)
                          you give me a list of experts in the field?

                          I agree that the one point about Butler Co. is deceptive.  At least the way Hitchens portrays it as sinister is misleading.

                          But that is only one of many points.  

                          You have to remember, as well, that what is suspected is a strategic hack.  The numbers that would result would be intentionally hard to decipher.  

                          How are we supposed to gleen proof out of the difference between 2000 and 2004 numbers, or differential undervotes where the undervotes vary so much already.

                          Even though the numbers are small, one area of concern is those Badnarik and Petrouka numbers.  One theory I heard was that people were voting at one location with multiple precincts, and were given the wrong ballot.  

                          Another area is the use of stickers to cover Kerry votes on Optiscans.

                          Another is the general trend of computer errors and anomalies.

                          And so on.

                          You've made a good point on the judicial area, which I have conceded.  But that is only one point among dozens.

                          The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

                          by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 06:14:05 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  Here are the comparable numbers (none)

          Bush: 65%    GOP Judge:53%
          Kerry: 34%   DEM Judge:47%

          Bush outpaces his judge by 13%


          Bush:33%     GOP Judge:40%
          Kerry:67%    DEM Judge:60%

          Kerry outpaces his judge by 7%

          Now the narrower margins for the judge probably reflect the fact that many people didn't know what party they belonged to.

          But if that is a factor, and the controlling factor, we should not see a 6% difference between counties.

          The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

          by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 03:15:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why Shouldn't We? (none)
            Besides, did you compensate for the fact that there was a greater undervote for SC Justice in Cuyahoga?  Do you know if the undervote was greater in Dem areas?  Or are you just looking for things that look strange, but not asking if they really are strange, or for explainations other than fraud?
            •  I didn't because (none)
              there wasn't.

              Butler had a 23% undervote (rounded)
              Cuyahoga had a 24% undervote (rounded)

              The raw numbers are:

              166,000-129,000=37,000 for Butler
              670,000-508,000=162,000 for Cuyahoga

              The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

              by BooMan23 on Wed Feb 09, 2005 at 03:28:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Furthermore... (none)
   Mahoning Kerry ran 11.61% better than Connally, and in Trumbull he ran 12.3% better.

            Why aren't those significant, but the 13.65% difference in Butler is significant?

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