But what reasons do we actually have for thinking the exit polls were wrong? Previously, exit polls have reflected fairly closely the finally recorded vote. (On MSNBC, I heard Matthews suggesting that Republicans not liking to talk to pollsters explained the discrepancy: that's a new one to me.)
The technology of exit polling has not changed. There has been a change in voting technology, however -- namely, electronic voting machines. Neither electronic voting machines nor exit polls leave a paper trail. (Actually, exit polls do leave a paper trail, but it has no legal import.) So why should we believe electronic voting machines more than exit polls?
Two states are critical now: Florida and Ohio. Both states make significant use of electronic voting machines. Both states have Bush ahead, even though exit polls indicated a definite Kerry victory.
Because electronic voting machines do not leave a paper trail, we simply have to take the word of the people and corporations that program the machines that they accurately register votes. But why should we take their word for it? Elections are based on transparency, and there is nothing less transparent than a computer running proprietary software.
Kerry must not pull a Gore. Until it can be shown that counties that use electronic voting machines produce comparable results to counties that don't, he should concede neither Florida nor Ohio.
Update [2004-11-3 1:44:27 by Alexander]: In another diary, Neverknowsbest points out that the only two states in which exit polls differ markedly from the recorded vote are Florida and Ohio: both critical battleground states, and both states with widespread use of electronic voting machines. In that thread, I note that the normal way of confirming that an election was properly conducted is by noting that exit poll results match the number of votes officially recorded.
Exit polls are what made Jimmy Carter declare that the recent vote conducted in Venezuela to reject a recall of their president was properly conducted. The Dem establishment put themselves in this position. They simply did not take seriously warnings by activists about the dangers of electronic voting machine fraud. But that still does not mean that Kerry needs to take this as a done deal.
The basic thing to keep in mind is: if they were going to steal the election a second time around, this is exactly how they would do it. And the way it would show up is that the exit polls wouldn't match the officially recorded votes.
Update [2004-11-3 4:58:27 by Alexander]: This thread covers the same ground.
We definitely seem to be entering into a new period of history. No one is going to be able to say that the US is a stable democracy after this. We are coming up to one of those decisive moments, like the lead-up to the Civil War. This is defenitely not business as usual.
Kerry isn't ready to concede. What is he going to do? How willing is he to speak the truth: that the republic is rotten to the core, and a little under half of the population with privileges to vote in national elections is certifiably insane?