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Does anyone know who called the election first?  Wikipedia quotes Politico, who sources AP - as do several other news resources I've checked.  But, nothing is listed on the AP site but a bunch of articles praising Walker's victory.  When it comes to the actual calling of the election, there are no election numbers nor any articles or press release on the AP site to call the election…yet, it appears that they called the election.  Certainly, no Wisconsin official has - the Government Accountability Board has stated it will not post any final numbers at least until June 23, 2012.  In fact, the GAB is deferring people to AP for pending results.  I don't like the sound of that, and when I add to all this the fact that very few counties or cities seem to be posting their numbers, and that Madison reports 44,000 more than Dane County is for Madison, and I’m getting more than just a bit concerned about the integrity of this election.  And my research into this "who called the election first" question isn't easing my mind...

According to this New York Times article, Edison Research (out of New Jersey) did the exit polling, which was provided to the National Election Pool.  Wikipedia describes the NEP as “a consortium of American news organizations formed in 2003 to provide "information on Election Night about the vote count, election analysis and election projections." (Note:I was unable to find a web site or any physical location for the NEP).  AP (our "official" unofficial source for election results) being a member of the NEP, gets its election poll information from NEP (see AP’s FAQ).  Interestingly, according to that same Wikipedia article, the NEP relies on the Associated Press to perform vote tabulations"  Isn’t that a nifty little loop for whomever they say won?

Also interestingly, the other members of the NEP include: FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC.  All the major networks and, as you probably know, the first four called the election for Walker almost simultaneously within an hour of the polls closing.  

Seriously, am I the only one who smells something rotten in Fitzwalkerstan???  Does it help to know that Edison Research was embroiled in the stolen 2004 Florida election?  


UPDATE: The New York Times article quote above said this about how the poll results NYT posted were done:

"The exit poll was based on questionnaires completed by 2,457 voters on Tuesday as they left 35 randomly selected precincts throughout Wisconsin. The poll was conducted by Edison Research of Somerville, N.J. for the National Election Pool which consists of ABC News, The Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News.

In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results from such polls should differ by no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points from what would have been obtained by seeking to survey all voters who participated in the Wisconsin recall election. Results based on smaller sub-groups, like demographic groups or backers of a particular candidate, have a larger potential sampling error.

In addition to sampling error, the practical difficulties of conducting any survey of voter opinion on election day, like the reluctance of some voters to take time to fill out the questionnaire, may introduce other sources of error into the poll. Michael R. Kagay of Princeton, N.J. assisted The Times in its polling analysis."

Was the election decided based on this small sampling?  Is that why it was called so quickly?

Do you believe the integrity of the Walker recall election meets Wisconsin's history of high standards?

29%50 votes
52%88 votes
17%30 votes

| 168 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The GAB says June 23rd, for official results. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  interesting information you've uncovered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As the poll results currently show, i'm not the only one who would like to know more. However, i think the last line of the diary is premature.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:56:33 PM PDT

  •  I thought it was very suspicious (5+ / 0-)

    when they called it for Walker less than an hour after the polls closed, with less than 25% of the votes counted, and by a margin of more than 5 points.  It made no sense after such close polling, especially the exit polls themselves.  I can see Walker squeaking by with a margin of 2 or 3 points after a long night of counting votes, but something smelled fishy to me.  I just figured since no one else more learned in these matters than me was protesting, I was being paranoid.  But nothing would surprise me when it comes to "fair" elections these days, even in our country.

  •  It is worth recalling (4+ / 0-)

    that Wisconsin uses the same electronic voting machines that have been called into question in South Carolina and other states--iVotronic machines, formerly made by Diebold.  There is a long list of voting experts that have pointed out that, without paper ballots to recount, it is impossible to know if an election conducted with electronic machines has been counted accurately.  

    •  Funny -- I filled in a paper ballot (5+ / 0-)

      It may not be consistent throughout the state, but Milwaukee County uses a paper ballot.  Fill in the body of the arrow pointing to the person you are voting for.  Once you've done that, the paper ballot is fed into a machine that tabulates the votes.

      The paper ballot is not destroyed, and is available for recount if needed.

      That aside, the fact that we don't have a certified result almost a week later is... disturbing.  Did what's-her-face in Waukesha lose the ballots again?  Or crash her very special, one of a kind, highly technical Microsoft Access database?

      "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

      by stormicats on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:14:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your presumption that Wisconsin uses all (0+ / 0-)

      the same machine is false.  It varies by community and most use paper ballots read by optical scanner.

      •  "Republican machine", not "voting machine" (0+ / 0-)

        I did not say that everyone use the same (type of) machine...The "republican machine" is the republican party and their corporate supporters.  

        •  OK, but you have a problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Are you sure you didn't mean "sheeple"? ;)

          You've presented nothing at all to support that. The election results were reasonably consistent around the state, so it was not a hard election to "call" based on limited vote counts; there was no need to rely on the exit poll results. Unless calling the election somehow affects the vote count (how would that be?), it isn't relevant.

          It's at least logically possible that the vote counts around the state are systematically wrong, but again, you've presented nothing at all to support that.

          Please edit your diary.

          •  I shall do no such thing. (0+ / 0-)

            "Please edit your diary."

            Even my own mistakes, I'm not changing.  I'm entitled to my opinion and free speech.  I believe something is amiss with this election, and you're just going to have to get over it.

            •  OK, but familiarize yourself with Daily Kos rules (0+ / 0-)

              As the FAQ says (in part),

              The rule for posting such diaries is "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". The more extreme the claim, the higher the burden of proof that commenters will demand. If you can't provide evidence to back up your claim, it is best not to post the diary.... Diaries advancing 'Conspiracy Theories' are subject to ridicule and derision from the community at the very least. Repeat offenders can and will be banned.
              The sentence I quoted verges on conspiracy theory parody.

              From what I've seen, there is no chance that you would be banned for one recklessly unsupported assertion about an election; that would be nuts. But someone ought to tell you -- and as a seven-year member, I am stepping up to do it -- that you aren't inherently entitled to post recklessly unsupported assertions on Daily Kos. It's fine to raise reasonable questions about the accuracy of the vote count, and anything else; it's not necessarily fine to state facts that aren't factual. Daily Kos is not an unrestricted "free speech" zone in this or any other respect. It just isn't.

              Even my own mistakes, I'm not changing.
              Not that you have to tell me, but why not? We all make mistakes, but why would anyone prefer not to correct them? Presumably anything you regard as a mistake isn't even your opinion, so why would you not change it?
              •  The reason I'm not chaning my post... (0+ / 0-)

       if I'm wrong in my actions I am willing to accept the consequences, But I'm not going to change my opinion (in print or anywhere else) simply because someone says I'm not allowed to share that opinion.  Not you, not all of DailyKos.  They can delete it or ban me, but I'm not changing what I think, which is what I posted (my thoughts), and my thoughts are based on information I shared.  YOU might not think I've provided enough to support MY OPINION, but I do.  And so do, it seems, the nearly 40 people who shared this post...or the one guy I know of who used it to continue researching.  

                Oh that what bothers you? That someone might agree, share, and continue to pursue that line of thinking?

                Anyway....why not change my mistakes?  Because once my post has been read, unless there small typos, I try to correct myself in the I did when someone questioned my interpretation of the Madison count.  As soon as he (she?) did that, I checked myself, then came back and posted that I was wrong.  I did that here and I did that on my Facebook.  I also called and texted people I spoke to about it so they knew I had erred.  But to change it - as if I never said it - feels too much like dishonesty and secrecy.  I made a mistake - if people see it and want to get on me about it, I am a big girl and can take it.  Thanks for the advice, though.  I'll take it into consideration every time I post my opinion here.  :)

                •  mmmmm (0+ / 0-)
         thoughts are based on information I shared.  YOU might not think I've provided enough to support MY OPINION, but I do.
                  If you really think that your diary provides information that supports your stated opinion, why didn't you (1) say so and (2) point to some?

                  (By the way, do you see a gap between "I believe that something is amiss with this election" and "Wake up people, THE REPUBLICAN MACHINE STOLE THE RECALL ELECTION"?)

                  Oh that what bothers you? That someone might agree, share, and continue to pursue that line of thinking?
                  If the "line of thinking" is that the results might be wrong, and pursuing it leads to interpretable evidence, then I would be delighted. It's kind of sad that I have to explain this.

                  If the line of thinking is that the results must be wrong, and that you somehow supported that in your diary, then I think we have a problem. I can't even tell what you think you were demonstrating: that counties around the state were suppressing their vote counts and AP was making numbers up? How would that work?

                  But to change it - as if I never said it - feels too much like dishonesty and secrecy.  I made a mistake - if people see it and want to get on me about it, I am a big girl and can take it.
                  That's fair. There's an easy way around that, as regards the diary text -- a few ways, really. One is to strike out text you no longer agree with, using the <strike> and </strike> tags. It would look like this: the Devils will win the Stanley Cup. (By the way, I used a backslash before those tags in order to get them to display.) If you don't want to strike out text, you can insert comments in brackets, perhaps referencing a fuller discussion in a diary update.

                  It's great that you're engaging substance in comments.

                  •  Okay :) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I get what you're saying - or, at least, I think I do: you don't believe that I have supported my opinion.  Or, you disagree with me and would need more to feel I supported my opinion, regardless of whether or not you agree with me.  Am I getting close?

                    If it helps to know where or how this post (and my thoughts) came about, all I can really say is that while I was looking for the numbers (county-by-county count that AP and others have provided in the past that are updated as precincts report), all I could find were articles with grand totals that used AP as the source.  So, I started looking into where AP got their information and was surprised and gravely disappointed to find out how AP and the whole election calling thing works...which (from the links I posted) is within an inner-circle of powerful media sources (our major networks).  

                    I decided to share my findings and thoughts when my dozens of searches to find the AP results page came up with nothing - and when I also found very little on city and county sites -  and I started to feel as though this inner-circle of powerful media sources have a bit too much involvement in the calling process. And I say this ONLY because people take a reputable news service like AP to be nearly as good as fact.

                    That said, I know that calling it does not finalize it - nor do the preliminary numbers that are posted - until the powers that be declare an official winner.  But I'm very miffed at the thought that AP had the numbers and did not post them (or, so it seemed until late last night when someone provide a link for me...more on that later).  

                    Do I think the numbers are wrong?  I have no way of knowing because  I wasn't able to watch the counts grow as the results came in...which is what started this whole thing.  If I had been able to see what they (AP, NEP, and Edison Research) used to call the election, I wouldn't have researched, found what I did, formed the opinion I have, and posted this.  There have been 10 elections in the last year and the only one's that have raised concerns with me (in terms of results) are the Prosser/Kloppenburg and Gov. recall elections.  All others I was able to monitory the results before the races were called.  I hope this is making SOME sense to you.  If not, well, I guess "I'm sorry" will have to do!

                    Now, about the tips for editing.  Thanks!  While I am not new to posting and commenting online (just in general) I appreciate the tip.  I will - from here on in - use that technique to edit my original post if it helps keep communications clear.  :)

                    •  Excuse my typos! LOL It's been a LONG day! :) (0+ / 0-)


                    •  thanks, this is cool (0+ / 0-)

                      Yes, for me, "supporting" a factual opinion is a lower threshold than convincing me or anyone else in particular.

                      As you know from comments, some people on election night were actually watching county returns on certain news sites. Those would still be gathered by AP, so they could be wrong, but at least they weren't mysteriously missing. I think part of the problem may have been that for big elections, CNN and the networks generally have "dashboards" that make it easy to find vote counts and exit poll results; last week, not so much. As for whether counties themselves were failing to post results as quickly as in past elections, I honestly don't know.

                      Vote counts in Wisconsin, basically, percolate up from polling places to municipalities to counties, and ultimately to the GAB. AP could misreport the vote counts, but that in itself wouldn't suffice to change the election outcome. If CNN had called the election for Hari Trivedi, that would have been interesting, but in itself it wouldn't do Trivedi any good. The vote counts would actually have to be tampered with. That's logically possible. At least conceptually, the easiest way to do it is to hack the scanners -- in which case there would be no need for AP or CNN to misreport the vote counts and/or blow the call.

                      I understand (I think) why you would feel more secure about the numbers if you had watched them come in, but given how Wisconsin elections work, I'm not sure it makes much difference. Wisconsin elections are relatively decentralized, so what polling place observers see is more important than how fast the totals hit the internet. Again, it seems to me that the best way to steal an election in Wisconsin (once people have actually voted) is to hack the scanner counts. (Some WI voters use DREs, but most of the votes are counted on scanners.) If someone was able to do that, then the way in which results came in probably wouldn't be unusual. The results themselves would be somewhat surprising -- maybe very surprising, if the attacker was able to hack some scanners but not others. Or, then again, if election observers around the state reported that they were illegally prevented from examining the scanner results, of course that would be alarming.

                      I hope I didn't imply that you're an internet discussion n00b. DKos diaries have some conventions of their own. (The conventions have changed somewhat in the last year, and I'm probably kind of old-school....)

  •  I was listening to Mic 92.1... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dskoe, HudsonValleyMark, JVolvo, Sunspots

    progressive radio from Madison...they reported NBC first...then CNN, FOX...AP was 14 minutes after NBC.

    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:21:25 PM PDT

    •  GAB refers people to AP (2+ / 0-)

      Yes, and NBC, CNN, FOX, and AP all are part of the NEP.  That's kind of my point - they are all part of the same media organization that "unofficially" calls elections. I question this - in this election - because very few results have been posted for an election that was called less than an hour after the polls closed.  I have a problem with that.

      •  I'm a 100% with sucks..!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Blue Bell Bookworm

        We are not broke, we are being robbed.

        by Glen The Plumber on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:33:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which results? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HudsonValleyMark, rosarugosa

        Which results are you having trouble finding?

        The Milw Journal had a map that you could mouse over to see results from individual counties

        •  Yes, but... (0+ / 0-)

          There is no OFFICIAL numbers out yet.  The media called the race without official numbers being posted.  Visit random city and county web site and see how many election results  you can find.  I have spent 4 days looking for results since finding out that Dane County is reporting 44,000 fewer votes for Madison than the City of Madison reported, I am looking into who calls elections and where do they get their numbers...BTW, JSOnline is posting 900 less than Dane County is that's 45,000 votes lost from Madison and Dane County.  I want answers.

          AP usually posts a county-by-county count as the results are coming in...this time they did not.  Why not?  Why can't we see what numbers were used for AP, FOX, NBC, and CNN to call the election.  

          •  Because of absentees, and canvas (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HudsonValleyMark, scotths

            There are no official results for (at least) two reasons: 1) absentees postmarked by election day and arriving as late as Friday afternoon are still be valid, and were counted this weekend, or are being counted today (there won't be very many, but there will be some), and 2) the "canvas" then happens tomorrow. The canvas is everyone getting together on a county by county basis to double check that all the numbers from all the precincts agree - the number of signatures matches the number of ballots counted, etc.

            Now your contention "The results of the Prosser/Kloppenburg were available the moment the polls closed" is clearly not true. Because days later (I believe as part of the canvas), Waukesha clerk Kathy Nicholaus discovered her 14K vote error in the spreadsheet. So what we knew on election night that night was clearly not OFFICIAL. This election is no different than that one, or any other.

            If you want the AP county-by-county numbers, I believe that is what can be found at the Milw Journal link I gave you. But those are not official (eg. they don't include any of the late absentees).


            •  quibble: two kinds of canvass (0+ / 0-)

              The municipal canvasses happen today; the county canvasses happen (or at least begin) tomorrow.

              I only bother to mention this because many people aren't aware of the role that municipalities play in Wisconsin elections. The votes that Kathy Nickolaus "found" (quoting others, not you) last year, from the city of Brookfield, were votes that had already been reported by the city clerk on election night.

            •  ??? Yes, the numers from Pros/Klop were available (0+ / 0-)

              and online that night - that's how everyone was watching as the #s were updated.  Yes, KN found her Brookfield error the next day but AP was getting the county #s from somewhere the night of the election.  We were not in the dark about the unofficial results in near-realtime.

              To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. - Theodore Roosevelt 1918

              by JVolvo on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:53:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Once more... (0+ / 0-)

                we were not "in the dark about the unofficial results" on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning either. They were, and still are, available on a county-by-county basis here:


              •  Absolutely! (0+ / 0-)

                I still have - some where on one of my computers - several spreadsheets and screen prints from the Prosser/Kloppenburg election from that night and the next morning...and even more after the KN fiasco started.   It is BECAUSE of that fiasco that I am paying such close attention.  So, when I can't find the county-by-county results like is normally posted, I get suspicious about what's up.

        •  Where are the city counts? (0+ / 0-)

          Madison posted their results right away.  So did Dane County.  On THEIR web sites.  In previous elections - including all of the recall elections and the Prosser/Kloppenburg election - cities and counties posted their results within a day or two.  I haven't done any random checks today, but I have every day since the election and have found VERY few are posting results this time.  I'd like to know why this is.  What's more, media sites - like the AP - post a complete listing that is continually updated from the time the polls close until the counting is done.  Here is the one from the P/K election:

          I got home about 9:00 the night of the election and - knowing it had been called for Walker - I began looking for they city or county.  I found next to nothing.  Oh, there were plenty of general counts (X for Walker, Y for Barrett, etc), but not one site I've found has listed the results the way many (including AP) have done it in the past - with a county-by-county breakdown, to include the % of precincts reporting.  I want to know why this is.  So far, no one can tell me.  

  •  FWIW, TPM says NBC was first (4+ / 0-)

    At 8:52 CDT Josh Marshall put up a post at Talking Points Memo that read (in its entirety) "NBC is calling Wisconsin for Walker. No one else so far."

  •  Partially my fault... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...I called SD-13 for Fitz in the comments section of one of the liveblog threads here on DKos based on Gubernatorial exit polling about 12 minutes or so after the polls closed, since I didn't think there would be anywhere near enough Walker/Kleefisch supporters to split their tickets and also vote for Compas in order to help her win such a conservative state senate district, which, based on preliminary results by the AP, almost certainly appears to be correct. I think someone behind the scenes at MSNBC may have seen my comment on here and ran with it to the point that they based their call of the Gubernatorial race for Walker on my call of SD-13 for Fitz.

    I know that Kathleen Vinehout (a Compas surrogate) went on Facebook sometime around midday on June 5 (I'm not sure of the exact time Vinehout sent the Facebook status update in question) and mentioned that voters in the Deerfield area in Dane County (which is in the Dane portion of SD-13) were being wrongly turned away from the polls.

    If the GAB, by some miracle, posts Lori Compas as having beaten Scott Fitzgerald, I will hand-write Lori an apology letter and mail it to her, although preliminary results seem to indicate it's virtually impossible for enough votes to mysteriously turn up in order for Compas to overtake Fitzgerald.

    "We don't have government anymore, we have an auction." -Lori Compas

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:27:53 PM PDT

  •  This doesn't seem accurate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HudsonValleyMark, JVolvo
    Madison reports 44,000 more than Dane County is for Madison
    Madison reports 120,739 and Dane County reports 120,603 for the City of Madison.

    Are you looking at the City's # of registered voters by mistake?

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:32:37 PM PDT

  •  If you are concerned about sample size (7+ / 0-)

    2,457 seems to me to be a rather large sample size.  If you don't understand how that many responses can be used to estimate the entire statewide vote, then you're ignorant about statistics.  

    The reason why the news media called the election so quickly is because it wasn't that close of a margin.  The closer the margin, the more additional data you need, presumably in the form of reported results that you plug into a statistical model of the electorate.  A 15-point margin might allow news organizations to call the election as soon as polls close.  A 1-point margin might mean you have to wait until almost all precincts are in.

    So, the reason why the election was called more quickly than you like is probably because of math.

    •  Sampling (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not thrilled that out of over 2 million votes cast the results were called (in part, anyway) based on 2500 exit polls in 35 out of thousands of locations.  That's not even one in 1/2 of our counties.  I would feel better if I knew where these random sites were.   I'd feel even more secure in the calling of this race if I could see the numbers and do the math myself, but there seems to be a lot of secrecy for this election - previous elections, cities and counties posted results within 24-48 hours in my random checks.  The lack of transparency is causing my concern, especially since the media called the race before the people could see the counts.  

      •  calls don't change anything... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It is important to remember that the calling of a race has no  effect what-so-ever. It is simply the network saying that they think it is very highly likely that one side or the other has won the election. Regardless of a call the unofficial election night results continue to be tallied followed later by the official results. It is the official result that has the force and effect and that is where transparency is important.

        I'm not thrilled that out of over 2 million votes cast the results were called (in part, anyway) based on 2500 exit polls in 35 out of thousands of locations.  That's not even one in 1/2 of our counties.  I would feel better if I knew where these random sites were.   I'd feel even more secure in the calling of this race if I could see the numbers and do the math myself, but there seems to be a lot of secrecy for this election - previous elections, cities and counties posted results within 24-48 hours in my random checks.  The lack of transparency is causing my concern, especially since the media called the race before the people could see the counts.  
        •  My main issue with the call (3+ / 0-)

          Is that it was made while people were still queueing to vote, encouraging some to leave the lines.  Thus the act of calling it affected the election.

          It may not have affected the ultimate result in this particular case, but it's a dangerous game: the exit polls might be out quite by chance or some of the initial precincts to report might be exceptional for some reason.

          I bet Hawaiians despise the rest of the country on the night of national elections.

          Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

          by GeoffT on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:29:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's what happened in Florida in 2000 (0+ / 0-)

            The pollsters thought that the early-received vote counts, along with the exit poll results, provided strong support to call the state for Gore -- but it turned out that their precinct sample was fluky.

            I think the decision rooms are a lot more cautious after that blunder and the bad call for Bush later that night.

            But even if the call is rock solid, Hawaii still has a problem.

            •  I never quite understood the rush in this country (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HudsonValleyMark, rosarugosa

              After an election, there's (typically) two months before the victor takes part in government.  It shouldn't really matter whether the results are known the night of the election or the day after.  Or a week after, for that matter.  There's no reason to screw over Hawaiian voters (and those on the west coast) this way except for what boils down to a "first post!" claim.

              Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

              by GeoffT on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 11:28:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes, but there's a dilemma (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GeoffT, Nomi Rene

                I don't have anything positive to say about the pressure to project a winner a few minutes before some other source. The best I can say is that maybe a lot of people learned in 2000 that the calls can be wrong. Sometimes elections are just too close to call.

                But as I've said elsewhere, I don't think the west coast problem is rooted in pressure on major media outlets to call states fast. If people can obtain vote counts, they can draw their own conclusions.

                And if people can't obtain vote counts, that may create a different problem. If polling places in some states are sitting on their vote counts for hours, will people around the country trust that they are just sitting on their vote counts and not cooking them? As many DKos comment threads over the years illustrate, people get nervous when there is a long delay between when the polls close and when vote counts are released. Generally "quick counts" are considered a good thing.

                Also, it will probably cost money for the eastern states to delay reporting vote counts in presidential elections -- for instance, to pay pollworkers to wait at polling places. Will Congress appropriate funds to pay for that?

                I don't have a strong opinion about the best thing to do. I just think that the problem is more complicated than it seems at first.

                •  I think the real problem here (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is that the folks in Hawaii or the west coast who are indifferent to their who their leaders will be and won't bother to vote in the event that the Presidential part of the election has been decided.

                  I think also that we are talking about 3 different things:

                  1) Raw vote totals which become available as soon as a given state, county or local municipality releases them either to the media or on a website. These numbers actually can become available before all the polls are closed in a state in states with multiple poll closing times (usually do to time zone differences)

                  2) Exit polls. These are embargoed until all the polls in a given state are closed.

                  3) Calls by the media which are made through a combination of 1 and 2 and other information obtained. These are usually released starting at the same time as the exit polling information.

                  The raw vote totals are usually pretty slow and without exit polling and/or knowledge of the state it would often be difficult to draw quick information from the raw vote totals alone. So, perhaps if one were to restrain the availability of information one wouldn't have to delay the vote counting, but rather the exit polling information and the calls.

                  Nevertheless, I don't think there is sufficient need to do so. With regards to results within a state, only those who are in line waiting to vote might be influenced by a quick call. I don't think there is a good way to even know when everyone in the state has voted given the large number of precincts. Further, I would suspect that the number of people who show up close to poll closing time and don't get to vote until after poll closing time represents a fairly small portion of the people voting in a given election. This percentage is made even smaller when one considers that most people who are waiting in line probably remain in line and vote the same way they would have if the call had not been made.

                  With regards to Presidential races, people who opt out of voting for Senators, Representatives, Congressman, State Legislators, Governors, other elected officials as well as on important ballot measures because the Presidential race  is already decided have limited sympathy from me. The solution I think is education on the importance of other offices and issues.

                  •  great comment (0+ / 0-)

                    Obviously people can disagree with your conclusions, but I think the analysis is very good. One extension:

                    The raw vote totals are usually pretty slow and without exit polling and/or knowledge of the state it would often be difficult to draw quick information from the raw vote totals alone.
                    I agree that without knowledge of the state, the early-reported vote counts aren't so helpful.

                    It may be helpful to disaggregate "raw vote totals." The decision teams use both precinct-level and county-level vote counts. (In Wisconsin, it seems that turnout totals are released before vote counts; they probably use those, too.) Precinct-level counts are harder to obtain in bulk, and it does take some preparation to be able to use them well, but they can provide a very clear indication of what's going on. If the exit pollsters can quickly obtain vote counts from most of their interview precincts, and perhaps some others chosen in advance, they may be able to make pretty good projections. Anyone with a network of observers could do this.

        •  This is prob. a dumb question, but what would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          happen if, based on the networks' "calls" a candidate conceded, and then the next morning he was found to have won after all?  (Kind of a Dewey Wins! but in reverse)?  I had a nightmare like that last Tuesday night.  

          Walker, your pink slip is coming, unless the orange jumpsuit gets you first.

          by non acquiescer on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 03:52:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The person who has the most (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HudsonValleyMark, non acquiescer

            votes wins the election. Giving a speech or placing a telephone call to ones opponent doesn't effect the result.

            I don't even think that if one wanted to hand the election to ones opponent that they could. If they chose not to assume the seat/office then rules of succession, appointment of a replacement or a special election would follow depending on the office.

          •  a concession isn't legally binding (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            non acquiescer

            The votes still have to be counted.

            I don't know if you were thinking of concession speeches; I can't think of any examples of that right now. But Al Gore did reportedly call W. to concede on election night 2000, and then withdrew the concession when his campaign realized that Florida was too close to call.

  •  I tweeted this AP link Wednesday morning: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Bell Bookworm, Nomi Rene

    How AP calls elections before all the votes are in

    My tweet:

    BS AP, EVERY vote matters. #AP rationalizes calling #Wisconsin while ppl still voting. Says remaining votes not enough.
    The story wasn't a story so much as a rationalization (emphasis mine).
    By EMILY FREDRIX, Associated Press

    The call came at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday, just over an hour after polls closed in Wisconsin: Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived the recall election and defeated Democrat Tom Barrett.

    And that's when the questions started coming in: How can an election be called before all the votes are counted? And how can an organization call a race if people are still waiting to vote?

    AP makes its calls based on a variety of factors, and never calls a race before poll close, says David Pace, a news editor in Washington who coordinates AP election calls.

    If people were still voting when the call was made, they had to have been in line by the time polls closed, he said. No one new is allowed to get in line once polls close.

    The AP calls races based on early vote returns provided by state and county elections offices, exit polls that conducted with voters and vote results from a random sample of precincts around the state. It's a complicated process that also compares the voting history of counties to make sure results are in line with past trends.

    Our call in the Wisconsin governor's recall election was made with 37 percent of precincts reporting. Tabulations of early returns showed Walker ahead 59 percent to Barrett's 40 percent.

    Although less than half of the state's precincts were reporting, only a handful of counties hadn't reported some of their results. So voters all across the state were represented in the calculations.

    Also, most of the big counties had reported some of their votes. Milwaukee County, the state's largest and home to Barrett, had reported the fewest votes of the big counties. But the AP could still make the call because of the size of Walker's lead, Pace said.

    "We knew Milwaukee was going to come in much more heavily for Barrett, but with such a big lead built-up statewide for Walker, there weren't enough votes for Barrett to overcome it," he said.

    I was particularly offended by the tortured logic that allows them to piously claim "they never call a race before poll close" while simultaneously acknowledging that people were still waiting to vote.

    The flaws in their logic are as apparent as the hypocrisy. Do they seriously want us to believe that people waiting in line to vote are less apt to give up than people sitting on their couch debating whether to run to cast their vote before the polls close?

    Even if you buy the premise that the election was out of reach, what of the down ballot races? They would most certainly be affected by the non-vote of discouraged voters.

    I could go on, but I won't. I can literally feel my blood pressure rising.

    Democracy got jobbed by the AP.

    •  it seems to me that AP is in a bind (0+ / 0-)

      It's not only AP that could figure out pretty easily, from partial returns, that Walker had an insurmountable advantage. Would preventing AP from calling the contest really make any difference?

      I'm not sure how to solve this problem. States could require pollworkers to wait for some amount of time after polls close before reporting the results.

    •  polls closed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This makes it sound as if this was handled in a somewhat unusual way. I don't believe that it was. It has been standard procedure for quite some time now to define the poll closing time as the scheduled poll closing time in a given state regardless of whether people are waiting in line or not. Typically (at least since 2000) they even hold off on releasing exit polls and calling a race until ALL the polls are closed in a state even if most of the polls are closed. (For instance, Florida is usually delayed until the pan-handle central time zone polls are closed even as result trickle in from the rest of the state).

      The point is, they never wait until everyone is out of line before making a call or releasing exit polling information. I think it would be difficult to do so given the large number of precincts. How would they find out that every precinct has completed voting 100%?

      Further, do we have any evidence that this is a problem? How many people get out of line after hearing a result after making the commitment of arriving to vote?  

      Personally I think that significantly long lines are a problem, perhaps discouraging people from showing up at all, and perhaps that is what should be addressed.

      I was particularly offended by the tortured logic that allows them to piously claim "they never call a race before poll close" while simultaneously acknowledging that people were still waiting to vote.


      Democracy got jobbed by the AP.

      •  I heard that because of redistricting some (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa, non acquiescer

        people stood in line for an hour at the place they voted before only to be told once they got to the front of the line that they were at the wrong place.

        I'm sure that's not a defect but a feature of the crazy new secret Republican districts.

        Oust Walker May 8th - Vote Arthur Kohl-Riggs

        by Milhawkee on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:12:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for sharing this! (0+ / 0-)

      This is what pisses me off about this article:

      "The AP calls races based on early vote returns provided by state and county elections offices, exit polls that conducted with voters and vote results from a random sample of precincts around the state."

      I have spent HOURS trying to find the pretty much the same data they used to call the election, but in particular the vote returns provided by state and county elections offices.  AP usually posts this, and I'm pretty CNN sure does, as least, the used to.  So, it burns me to find out that AP had those numbers and didn't post them.  STILL haven't posted them.  Why not?

      I stopped trusting AP as a reliable source when I realized they released a press release from Walker but it came across as a news article.  Once other credible sources picked it up, it became "fact" (((echo lying machine))).  What was that press release?  Walker's new, "corrected" jobs numbers.  

  •  I don't think they stole the election. (3+ / 0-)

    I think they should do something about the long lines in the City of Milwaukee. They always seem to have long lines there. Surely it is known that people there work and show up after work to vote.

    Also,  I think many people may have not voted in the primary who voted in this one for the first time since the districts changed, thus adding to confusion. That was not the best way to draw the districts, but was ruled legal, so there you have it.

    I was somewhat surprised that they called it so early, because we had been led to believe that if there were a high turnout in Milwaukee, we would win. So, when it was called before the Milwaukee numbers were even in, it was a disappointment.

    •  Many Milwaukee voters registered where I observed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GeoffT, rosarugosa

      They were either new voters or had moved since the last time they voted. There was also much confusion about their proper voting place, and a considerable number had to be sent to other polling locations. Whether they actually went there, we do not know. One woman had to get to work and was not able to vote in this election, which was frustrating to watch and disappointing for her.

  •  Nomi, I got an email from the Dems around (0+ / 0-)

    7:00 pm on election night, saying they needed to reach 150,000 people in the next 45 minutes. That means they had internal polling to. Sorry, I deleted it, but many volunteers must have gotten the same email, I think.

    I think it is good you are asking about the press calling the election though. It wasn't a good idea to tell those people waiting in line that the election was over. Not very encouraging and not very "every vote counts".

    •  Here it is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Barrett via
      7:24 pm (5 days ago)

      to [JR]

      Friends -

      This is what we know: turnout is extremely high and this race is going to come down to who can get more voters to the polls in the final hours. Right now we urgently need our online supporters to help place another 150,000 GOTV calls before the polls close at 8:00 PM CT.

      Can we count on you to knock out 5 of these calls and bring this election home?



      Sent from my iPad

      "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

      by JR on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:58:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks JR, and now that I read it carefully, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nomi Rene

        I guess that means they thought they needed about 15,000 votes, not 150,000. So I guess they thought it was a lot closer than it was too. So we'll see on or around June 23. I do expect it might be closer than what was published, because of early voting, but don't want or need to get my hopes up for anything at this point.

        •  Early voting = absentee ballot (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In most all locations, "voting early" means filling out an absentee ballot. Those early/absentees were processed on election day at the individual polling places, and so are already included in to numbers we know.

          There will be some late-arriving absentees that will cause the numbers to change slightly, but not very much (and certainly not by 170K votes).

  •  Was actually a pretty easy call (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    HuffPo did a good job comparing 2012 results to 2010.

    Milwaukee is almost always among the latest to report and for the first time I remember, a decent size chunk of the state was in by the time they called it for Walker. Based on how counties were going in 2012 compared to 2010, there simply weren't enough votes left in Barrett counties to make the race close.

    The mere idea that every single county was in on some sort of conspiracy seems pretty silly to me. The exit polls were 52-48 Walker after the final adjustments meaning they weren't far off.

    •  not sure about that last part (0+ / 0-)

      Are you sure that the final adjustments didn't incorporate any vote counts?

      I agree that the vote counts were pretty consistent around the state, so there would have had to be widespread miscounts.

        •  it's interesting, but cryptic (0+ / 0-)
          The first exit poll numbers to include estimates of the vote breakdowns for absentee voters was the release a half-hour after poll-close, perhaps accounting for the shift from 50-50 to 52-48.
          Perhaps. And where did those estimates come from? Not a rhetorical question. Did some municipal clerks report their absentee vote counts when the polls closed? (I know that the numbers of ballots are reported.) Meanwhile, there may have been time to incorporate some polling-place quick counts as well.

          Of course this really doesn't matter very much; it just isn't clear how close or far off the exit poll results were.

          •  Absentees are procesed at the polls (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Absentees are processed by the regular poll workers at the polls. The vote tabulator doesn't - can't - differentiate between an absentee and a regular ballot. Even if it could, nobody would know those numbers until after the polls closed.

            Maybe somebody did some 'exit polling' at the early voting sites ('early votes' turn into absentee ballots).

            •  Robert, does WI also have central count absentee? (0+ / 0-)

              There seem to be provisions for it; I don't know which counties, if any, used those provisions, nor how the vote counts are handled.

              Certainly no one should know any absentee counts until after the polls closed. We're discussing an update of the exit poll projections that was posted perhaps 30-40 minutes after the polls closed -- so it seems possible that they could incorporate central count absentee vote counts if any were released. (Does WI actually require all votes to be reported by precinct? Some states do, some don't.) It also seems possible that they estimate the vote shares based on the geographic distribution of absentee ballots received, and some assumptions.

              It's a pretty small point, at least with regard to the exit poll, but I'm always interested in learning more about election processes.

              •  My understanding (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rosarugosa, HudsonValleyMark

                It is my understanding that all absentees received by election day are processed by the poll workers at the individual polling places.

                I work at the polls in Madison. Last Tuesday we received around 90 absentees in the morning, and another 120 in the afternoon (a guy from the clerk's office will come in with what looks like a red thermal bag like a pizza delivery guy would use, so when he shows up we say 'Pizza's here!') I also voted 'early' at the clerk's office this time, and as I handed the woman at the counter my ballot sealed up in an absentee envelop I asked her if it would be handled like a normal absentee at the polling place and she said yes.

                The only absentees that would be handled otherwise would be those few late ones that arrive after election day but before the following Friday.  But of course those wouldn't enter into whatever your article is talking about.

                •  OK; some counties may do this differently (0+ / 0-)

                  Tangentially: I think that Minnesota recently changed from the practice you describe to central count, but I could be making that up. :)

                  Thanks for all your information.

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