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In my previous two posts about the June 5th gubernatorial recall election, I was pretty blatantly suspicious of the results and the election count process (e.g. the GAB referring to AP for results but AP not posting them) – so much so that one reader called me out for making accusations of a conspiracy theory in my “Who Called the Wisconsin Recall Election” diary, and in my "GAB Certifies Recall Results...So where are they??? (Updated!)" diary pointing out that I had missed the very thing I was bitching about not finding in that post. [blushing] (HudsonValleyMark keeps me on my toes – and, admittedly – has taught me a couple things :)  So, I will tread a little more lightly in this post as I continue my look at the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, attempting to not draw conclusions but to merely state my findings.  You all can draw your own conclusions.  ;)  Please, read on…

In “Who Called the Wisconsin Recall Election”, I questioned the process by which the big recall election had been called.  This is part of what I wrote:

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.  

But, as several people pointed out to me when I was going on and on about this, none of this really means anything because the AP (NEP) calling the election was merely a projection.  Even the GAB (in their first two posts about the recall results) referred to the AP results as “unofficial”.  Certainly, the April 2011 WI Supreme Court election (fiasco) is proof of that!  So, what was I worried about…that six major corporations which basically control the majority of news was calling the shots?  

While I was waiting for the official results to come in – those being the ones I didn’t see and was whining about in "GAB Certifies Recall Results...So where are they??? (Updated!)", I decided to look at past elections.  I started with that April 2011 WI Supreme Court fiasco (election)  between Prosser and Kloppenburg.  What I did was put the unofficial AP results next to the official GAB results, and what I found was what everyone knows: AP projected Kloppenburg the winner by 204 votes, but the official count by the GAB showed Prosser the winner by some 7316 votes.  Kloppenburg, because of all the rumors of voting issues and irregularities, asked for a recount and the official results come back again in Prosser’s favor by 7004 votes.  So basically, the first official GAB count was 17354 votes higher than the AP unofficial results, and the final count was 18408 higher.  This, of course, helps to calm my worries about AP (NEP) calling elections: their “calls” are merely projections.  

So then I decided to look at the 2010 gubernatorial election and do the same thing.  I found lots of news sites with general results, but the only site I found that had county-by-county results (what I have been looking for) was Wikipedia – which used “Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections” as its source…which used the GAB as its source.  Hence, the results matched exactly and there wasn’t much to look at there.  I’m looking for election night results…the “projections” that keep us all glued to our TV’s and computers on election night.  For whatever reason, AP – the official unofficial caller of important elections – did not seem to have an interest in the 2010 WI gubernatorial election, because (once again) I can’t find the same kind of county-by-county live results page as I was able to for the Prosser/Kloppenburg election, the August 9th and 11th senate recalls, and the recent June 5th recall elections (thanks to a reader!).  However (interestingly), I was able to find AP results for the 2010 gubernatorial primary.  Weird how they have results for the primary but not the general election...  

If anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know...

Anyway, once I was done looking at all of those results – a very brief summary of which is coming up – I was finally able to check out the GAB-certified results from the June 5th recall election…and was I ever surprised at what I found.  Unlike every other “AP election night results vs. GAB certified results” comparison from the elections listed above, which consistently showed AP with different (lower) results than the GAB, the June 5th recall election results from both sources – the unofficial AP election night results and the certified results from the GAB – were identical…right down the line.  The only thing that will make the results different in the end are the new recount numbers from Racine County. The same is true of the CNN election night results.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t much, but I do find it...well, odd.  AP projects winners based on partial information from a variety of sources, and their projections are always off from the certified results - by at least several thousand. To quote Emily Fredrix from AP:

“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.”
(Incidentally, that AP article - "How The Associated Press Calls Elections" - has been removed from several sites.  You can read it in full on Huffington Post.)  

And in the June 5th recall election for Scott Walker, those early vote returns and exit polls and vote results from random samples mashed all together in that complicated (secret) process spit out a projection that was nearly dead on with the official results...which makes me question even more who (really) called WI Recall Election on June 5th...(AP/NEP or the GAB)?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Weird. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, emsprater, Gustogirl

    I have lost faith in the process.

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 10:09:15 PM PDT

  •  The U.S. process for exit polling, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    by the National Election Pool, is entirely inadequate and non-transparent.

    They won't release their actual data for anyone to look at. They say this is for privacy and confidentiality reasons, but precinct-level aggregated data doesn't really have privacy and confidentiality concerns.

    They adjust their final exit poll figures to match election results. So the process is basically nonsense in any real exit polling sense. Our exit polling only exists for the benefit of news orgs to be able make their early projections.

    I think the NEP web site, more or less, is here.

    •  NEP pays Edison Research (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Edison Research conducts the polls - news resources buy that information, combine it with reults and other data, and make projections.  According to the New York Times of the June 5th recall election,

      "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. "
      Projections are just that - they are not the final result.  But candidates act according to those projections (what is essentially the media calling the race), and the general public accepts them, as well...until, of course, the powers that be put their heads together and decide someone else won - as in the Gore/Bush election.  Edison Research provided the polling data for that election, and the media group that was doing what the NEP does now was the Voter News Service - which consisted of the exact same news corporations as the NEP.  So, the same group that leaked information that resulted in Florida being "mistakenly" called for Gore in 2000, is the same group that was responsible for releasing exit poll data early "that was significantly different than the final results..."(Wikipedia) which has lead to complete secrecy during election results projection tabulations, is also the same group that called the June 5th election less than an hour after the polls closed, with only 35% reporting, and people still in line voting.  

      Isn't that a nice piece of fat to chew on...

      I can tell you this: it makes me wonder if the NEP calls election correctly then backtracks because the political machine wants different results, or if the political machine simply uses the NEP manipulate people's perceptions of who is calling elections - ensuring to divert suspicion away from the political machine.  

      Thanks for reading and adding to the discussion!

  •  I don't know if this will help you either way, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    some counties (1/3, I think) were reporting their results directly to the GAB. That was mentioned because there had been a problem in Waukesha County during the GOP presidential primary. So, that might be why some of the counties had the exact same result, why the results came in faster, at least for the counties that used that software.

    •  Yes and no... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks!  Yes, I am aware that municipalities were reporting directly to the GAB...but they were also blocked from certifying their own results because the counties "inherited" that task for this specific election.  Interesting, eh?  Also different in this election from that of typical WI elections is the fact that the GOP hand-picked the majority of poll workers (a little known tidbit that the GOP is trying to bury as they cry "poll worker fraud!" in Racine).  

      But that is actually aside from the election night projection results.  What the GAB certifies SHOULD be different from what the AP/NEP "projects".  A projection is an educated (complicated process) guess.  How it happened to that they were EXACTLY on, is a huge question.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  •  Democratic royalists aren't really (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    all that interested in whom the voters choose, since the electorate is merely an alternative to DNA.  The people selecting rotating rulers is better than having heredity choose them for life.  Indeed, term limits insure they will soon or can be replaced.  Temporary dictators are nothing to worry about, especially since they are presumed to merely dictate (tell), not do anything.
    If you don't expect government to be effective, there's not much point worrying about who's in it.  The only thing that counts is the honor of being chosen.
    The people governing and holding their agents to account is a revolutionary idea, which has yet to win universal acceptance. People selecting their own rulers was bad enough.  Indeed, the rulers selected by the people have often turned out worse than those designated by heredity and constrained from actually doing anything (e.g. Queen of England). An impotent potentate is preferable to a despot.
    Democrats selecting people who do stuff are scary to people who don't trust themselves to do anything and can't even decide what should be done. They'd really rather, if somebody thinks something should be done, that they do it and take the risks themselves (like Bill Gates?) and leave them out of it. If they've suckled at the public teat, that's OK, as long as the public doesn't know.  See?  Knowing makes people responsible and, like Bartleby the Scrivener, they'd prefer not to.  The "Party of No" is not a pejorative; it's what its adherents prefer. Not knowing is not a deficiency; it's an option and it is preferred.
    For some people, "what you don't know, can't hurt you," is a sincerely held belief. The conundrum posed by the knowledge of good and evil and the need to make a choice can be resolved by not knowing.  Willful ignorance. Faith-based government. Idealism.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 02:59:40 AM PDT

    •  Good read! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Your comment should be a diary of its own - great philosophical food for thought :)  Thanks!

    •  I have sensed that before from conservatives (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it seems as if to acknowledge the truth of repug policies or actions would demand some response since acceptance would be, basically, immoral. But speaking up lables you a troublemaker, so, sort of an uneasy display of weak disbelief, then a retreat into denial or change of the subject. To accept that your authority is immoral or corrupt would be too scary. What would guide you then?

      when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

      by bunsk on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 08:44:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All true to an extent but on a practical level, (0+ / 0-)

      if it can be shown to your average person that they are being robbed by the people who are supposedly saving them tax money, they should feel betrayed and "revolt" at the ballot box.

      For example, the GOP is always pro 401K and investing, but the lack of regulations results in the average investor losing money to fees, etc, while hedge fund managers make off with loads of cash.

    •  Ok, yes, I just read your comment more carefully, (0+ / 0-)

      I think this might be a lot of it,

      The conundrum posed by the knowledge of good and evil and the need to make a choice can be resolved by not knowing.
  •  I still do no believe the outcome. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nomi Rene

    Call me a nutcase, whatever you want, but I simply do not believe that the voters kept this man in office.  Even in America, in some places, those in power have the power to rig the outcome.

    That's my belief.

    'Destroying America, One middle class family and one civil liberty at a time: Today's GOP'

    by emsprater on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 05:18:04 AM PDT

  •  As I said after last year's Supreme Court fiasco.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, Gustogirl

    I see no evidence of election fraud, but I also have no confidence that the official results accurately reflect the will of the electorate.

    The AP stuff doesn't interest me at all, except that the news outlets called the race while people were still in line to vote. That is unforgivable.

    I'm much more concerned about Voter ID ( voter suppression), voter intimidation tactics, disinformation campaigns directed at minority communities, paperless voting machines running on proprietary software, and unlimited and unregulated campaign spending.

    "They are an entire cruise ship of evil clowns, these current Republicans"...concernedamerican

    by Giles Goat Boy on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 06:22:21 AM PDT

    •  I find calling the election while people were in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nomi Rene, Giles Goat Boy

      line to vote reprehensible too. Not so much because it can effect the outcome, but because maybe it was their first time voting, and what a bad experience. What a sham the election looks like to that individual.

    •  Same here... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Giles Goat Boy

      I don't have proof of legitimate election fraud, but I also have no confidence that our votes are accurately reflected.  Do I think anything I find will change the outcome of the June recall election?  Not a snowball's chance in Wisconsin this week.

      The AP stuff only interested me BECAUSE they called it while people were still in line...and because they hid (and are still hiding) the "live" results.  

      And I'm also looking at voter ID/suppression, intimidation, misinformation, and disenfranchisement...I just haven't gotten far enough to write about it yet.  But not seeing the votes of 5 people I know voted - 4 of whom were new voters (3 young, one old, and all with state ID) and 1 was a registered voter who was updating her address - has me looking into a few of those issue locally.  I'm wondering why the voter lists weren't updated yet this year (or, if they have, why certain people's information isn't included...)  

    •  The deck is stacke... n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

      by Gustogirl on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 09:49:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe United Nations observers should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosarugosa, Gustogirl

    be called in to supervise our elections - we are becoming a third world country you know.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 07:19:00 AM PDT

  •  The Wisconsin Wave, a non-partisan group is (0+ / 0-)

    trying to do a hand recount in many counties.

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