READER COMMENTS ON
"'Washington Post' Discusses Election Fraud...Again."
(47 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 12:30 pm PT...
The funny business in Ohio was carried out by thwarting the ability of Democrats to vote in some Democratic precincts. There is plenty of well-documented evidence (see John Conyers website) to support this.
However, in Republican precincts, votes could be padded and go unnoticed. There is little documented evidence of this method of vote fraud because, not suprisingly, the Ohio "recount" was focused non-randomly in the heavily Democratic areas, but not the potential vote padded areas.
Correct me if I'm wrong. That's just Ohio. And, as a subscriber to the Washington Post, I've come >.
I think false information ala imbalanced reporting is tantamount to fraud. And it certainly garners my anger. Either get it right or don't report it at all.
Or hey, WaPo, pander to the ill-informed - how hard is that?! Setting the bar just a tad low I'd say.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 12:32 pm PT...
BTW, I don't mean a violent bang, I mean a vocal bang.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 12:34 pm PT...
well, color me skeptical.. but it's a start!
Problem is, as you pointed out, there is still this idea that "it takes lots and lots of people on both sides working together to pull this off".. and in a "paper only" world, that might be true. Again, as a software engineer and someone who watches viruses and trojans and worms hit the internet daily, I -know- it would only take 2 or 3 people in key places to pull this off in the e-voting world. Closed software may well have -nothing- to do with it, but results in plain text transmitted over the internet and set on only a few tabulator systems is VERY easy to hack/corrupt. And, that's what I'm guessing happened.. Funny thing is, the exit polls show that that's what happened too (given the lack of "inconsistencies" where paper balloting was used and 'serious inconsistencies' where e-voting was used..)
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 12:39 pm PT...
Gandhi ended up assassinated; it's a grim fact.
This business where newspaper writers and editors assume people are Democrats, which we have seen at least twice recently, is very distressing. This is an elementary error and so indicates serious inability to keep in touch with "reality." These people probably shouldn't be allowed within a mile of news-writing.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 12:49 pm PT...
IMO the foundation of Bushist vote fraud is not the use of transistors instead of paper, but confidence in the ability of Bushists to break the law with impunity. Other Bushists will not finger them; the Democrats will not finger them; the media will not finger them.
The same principle is the foundation of Bushist lying. It is why Frist thinks he can get away with implying the Democrats invented the phrase "nuclear option" and that Bushists are innocent victims of this vicious language; Frist is confident no one with much power will make an issue of his having lied.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 1:19 pm PT...
John Conyers 102 page report.
Hidden software by Republican supported companies.
Clint Curtis sworn testimony.
Well documented dirty tactics by Republican officials.
Exit poll mismatch in states using touch screen voting.
And yet, he says there's no evidence. Even worse, falsely claiming that it would take a hundred thousand or so voters to enable fraud, never mentioning that a few codes on a "patch" would do it. That only requires one person to write the code and one to insert it. Is he that dumb? This is a Washington Post writer right? Apparently, they lowered their standards from the days of Woodward-Bernstein.
I've got a vicious email I need to send to the Washington Post, and not gentle like before.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 1:32 pm PT...
We will prevail as a great country once again, it's only a matter of time. Be patient. "God Is Watching"
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 2:04 pm PT...
It takes a "conspiracy of 1" to remotely hack into a Diebold central vote tabulator through the modem. A "conspiracy of 1" could likely hack into several Diebold central vote tabulators on election night. ES&S central vote tabulators are likely as vulnerable as Diebold's.
We have a voting system that:
1. Maximizes the scale of potential fraud (due to the large # of votes that get routed to vote tabulators, just like a bank sitting with a gazillion dollars)
2. Maximizes vulnerability (due to the hundreds of reported bugs, backdoors, lack of security, access to modems, etc.)
3. Minimizes transparency (by voting in black boxes that don't get audited or examined by the public.)
Seems like a good recipe for vote fraud to me. A perfect recipe.
Is it just me, or do the highest levels of the GOP seem to want to avoid paper verification? When you take all of the election data (exit polls, etc) and put it in the context of a GOP elite that hates paper verification, what does that mean? There are so many examples of GOP paper-phobia.
1. Tom Delay, Denis Hastert et al sitting on paper trail legislation, killing it in committee.
2. ACVR with phony vote fraud reports, pointing only at voter registration, and completely avoiding the issue of electronic vs. paper.
3. The tendency in the 2004 OH recount to do anything BUT a manual hand recount in any county. Blackwell locking down poll books, etc, during the recount.
4. Vote machine companies that strongly resist paper, and either want to charge exorbitant fees for a printer, or propose even less transparent encryption schemes.
5. Senator Chuck Hagel (R) Nebraska. Needs no rehash here.
6. In general, resistance to almost any request for documents that would aid transparency. Look at the difficulties of BBV.org had with FOIA requests for PUBLIC documents.
7. Baker in FL 2000 - definitely did not want to have hand counted paper ballots (what was Bolton's role in FL 2000, by the way?). Guess who would have been president if they had?
8. Bradblog troll Chris Myers, an Ohio Republican, posted several times on BB to promote his "papertrailmyth" site that can be summed up as "paper = bad".
This is just off the top of my head. You could write a PHD thesis in political science on GOP paper-phobia.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 2:19 pm PT...
My main problem with the article is that, Mitofsky's general quote aside, he fails to mention the fact that we aren't talking about a "widespread conspiracy." We're talking about two states, Florida and Ohio, in which elections were administered by partisan operatives Harris in 2000 and Blackwell in 2004. Their aggressive partisan involvement itself provokes questions, especially when Rep. Conyers has documented so many election anomalies in the latter Blackwell's state of Ohio. I certainly wouldn't want actively partisan Democrats to run things, either, because I want my candidates to be above suspicion. It's also more than suspicious that so many of the discrepancies can be traced to a particular technology (optical scanners) and that the places where Republicans are particularly over-represented are in highly Republican precincts, where investigators are less likely to look for vote fraud. At any rate, the "vast conspiracy" dismissal doesn't fly when in fact it only takes a few partisan geeks in one or two states to hack into tallying databases.
Can anyond find Neal's email? It's nice that word is getting out, but I want a fuller context.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 2:40 pm PT...
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 2:46 pm PT...
It would not even require "thousands" of "characters” of (computer)code to falsify the results of an electronic election ,a well engineered “Trojan” could “boot up” at say 8.00pm Nov 2nd ,alter the results to a pre-determined “percentage” then delete all traces of it self and its “handy work”.
If results are “transmitted” via the internet it could be altered “on the fly” at a “server/node” level , mid transmission at any “hop”, if result “files” had/have a common naming protocol intercepting and altering wouldn’t be impossible.
P.S. Don't WAIT for God if you want the truth in this lifetime.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
Dr. Coilín ÓhAiseadha
said on 4/26/2005 @ 3:02 pm PT...
This is not the balanced article its author makes it out to be. In particular, it gives the comments of a dubious source undue prominence.
The article quotes Mark Blumenthal as follows:
"Ultimately, the USCV report is interesting. But is it anything more than that? Given the statistical complexity of the information, I don't feel qualified to answer that question after a few days of investigation. ... "
From his own description of his training in statistics, Blumenthal is not qualified to answer that question - period. He may have practical experience as a pollster, but unless he has omitted vital information from his own biographical notes, his university qualifications in statistics are NIL.
Here is Blumenthal's own summary of his academic training:
"My academic background includes a Political Science degree from the University of Michigan and course work towards a Masters degree at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) at the University of Maryland. I have also served as a guest lecturer at the Communications School at American University and at training seminars sponsored by EMILY’s List, the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs."
Closing the article on Blumenthal gives his comments undue prominence, as if he were qualified to dismiss an analysis authored or endorsed by no fewer than eight experts with PhD qualifications who are currently working in university departments of statistics, mathematics, government, organisational dynamics, finance and computing at different American universities. This reveals an unwise bias on the part of Neal or the relevant editor.
Blumenthal writes: "Scientists and statisticians will continue to debate these issues for months, if not years to come." This sounds like an attempt to confuse the issue, to create the impression that there is controversy about this analysis in the academic community - and this kind of obfuscation is unfortunately characteristic of Blumenthal's comments on this issue in his blog over recent months.
US Count Votes' press release presents a different picture: "This group's preliminary study on the exit poll discrepancies was not refuted by any PhD statistician in America, and we expect our final study to be similarly received in the academic community."
Certainly, if Blumenthal is the strongest critic of the analysis, then we may be assured that it will enjoy universal approval within the academic community.
I hope some American readers will write letters to Terry Neal and to the editor to raise awareness of this fundamental weakness and bias in the article.
You can reach Terry Neal by e-mail at CommentsForNeal@ washingtonpost.com
Details for letters to the editor are here:
Dr. Coilín ÓhAiseadha.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
Dr. Coilín ÓhAiseadha
said on 4/26/2005 @ 3:18 pm PT...
On re-reading the article, it looks as if I have quoted some of Terry Neal's comments as Blumenthal's.
I think these are Neal's comments:
"Ultimately, the USCV report is interesting. But is it anything more than that? Given the statistical complexity of the information, I don't feel qualified to answer that question after a few days of investigation. Scientists and statisticians will continue to debate these issues for months, if not years to come."
The positioning of this quote mark confused me:
... individually."Ultimately, ...
My overall assessment of this article stands, and in fact Neal's bias emerges even more clearly if these comments are his/her own. But obviously Neal's dismissive comments must not be quoted as Blumenthal's!
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 3:26 pm PT...
Re-posted from Open Thread
THE WASHINGTON POST 24/04/2005
"Vote Fraud Theorists Battle Over Plausibility
Study Gets Blog Love, But Comes Short of Proof".
By Terry M. Neal
Neal in his fairly detailed look at the US Count Votes Exit Poll study remains sceptical of systematic electoral fraud, but hey! it's a start, right? a MSM journalist is actually using the "F" word!
I believe Neal needs a bit of help with joining the dots, and I have no doubt that 6 or 7 from here will be only too happy to lend him a hand ...and some pencils!
NEAL'S STORY IS SCREAMING OUT FOR A VERY COMPREHENSIVE "RIGHT OF REPLY" FROM BRAD FRIEDMAN! IMO
Re: my #15 post, before 6 or 7 of my friends here set me straight!
Neal DOES NOT use the "F" word himself, but quotes others such as Mitteldorf who use it... maybe I've tied myself in a semantic knot? Help!
I guess the mere fact of the "F" word appearing in a MSM piece, will cause some to begin to question whether their vote was actually counted. PHEW!!
...from the article
Warren Mitofsky said. "I know they're very serious about believing that there was fraud, but I don't happen to share their view. I find myself in the awkward position of having to argue that the exit polls were wrong.
"This is not the first election with errors --- and the simplest explanation is probably the right one. I think fraud on a massive scale that their conclusion essentially requires is totally implausible. TO MAKE IT PLAUSIBLE, IT WOULD HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER*, and you know from being in the news business how hard it is to keep something secret. I just think their whole explanation is implausible."
*No Warren, NOT LOTS OF PEOPLE, just a few networked tabulating machines and e-voting terminals running secret code, in a few Swing States, controlled by a couple Republican Supporting Electronic Voting Machine Manufacturers and Hey Presto!
I called [Joshua] Mitteldorf for an explanation, and he said he only knows the "what," not the "why." The "what" is that the unprecedented discrepancy between exit poll and vote counts cannot be explained merely by statistical error. It is possible though, he said, that there was widespread fraud --- particularly in key battleground states --- without a conspiracy.
And I believe Mitteldorf demolishes the straw man of a massive electoral conspiracy so effectively in the following quote:
"It doesn't necessarily take a conspiracy," he said. "It could just be that there was an atmosphere [from Republican leaders] of 'Hey, we really need to win this election, wink, wink. Whatever you do, we'll stand behind you. There will be no investigation because Republicans control the courts and everything, especially in places like Ohio.'
Warren mitofsky is contactable at:
Joshua Mitteldorf is contactable at:
Couldn't find Terry Neal's addy,
So here's Bob Woodward's email@example.com
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 3:48 pm PT...
Brad & friends,
I just posted my letter to Terry Neal, which I haven't sent yet, on the previous open thread. Took me the whole damn day (damn, I'm slow) even though I quoted heavily from Chuck Herrin. Hope he doesn't mind.
My question is, should I send it? And will he even read it?
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 3:56 pm PT...
I really wouldn't want to finger them either...eeewww!
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 4:08 pm PT...
Joan, I wonder If Brad may be successful in seeking a right of reply on behalf of all those "wide-eyed Bloggers", to Neal's piece?
If the 6 or 7 here support your sending your letter,
I'd cc to Bob as well.
Assistant managing editor, reporter
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 4:30 pm PT...
Another great take-down. The only journalists who ever cry about being attacked for being biased are the ones who pretend that they aren't. You pretty much proved that Terry Neal is a liar.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 4/26/2005 @ 5:07 pm PT...
Christopher Hitchens debunked the "it takes a huge village" theory about two months ago.
Hitchens hates John Kerry, so his article carries great weight. He wrote that at first he also believed a vast, incomprehenisble conspiracy would have been required to rig the election. After educating himself, he came to understand that electronic voting machines (AND TABULATORS) can be programmed IN ADVANCE to flip votes according to a systematic pattern...every tenth vote, every twentieth vote, etc.
It's the same as setting a clock radio to play music beginning at 12 noon. How many "conspirators" does it take to do that? How "vast" a conspiracy is required to plant a worm in a computer network? Hasn't this been done by some obscure teenaged nerd somewhere in Oshkosh, a thousand times in the last 20 years?
People who make this argument are either flat out stupid, or on Karl Rove's payroll. It's infurating! All anyone has to do is the following: Add up the citations of vote flipping (I saw it happen myself as a pollwatcher in Florida, so that's one, but there are tens of thousands in Youngstown, Ohio alone), multiply that number by a reciprocal of the fraction of incidents that were reported (by ten, if we assume one in ten was reported), and factor in that 1) all this happened in swing states, and 2) virtually every "flipped" vote went from Kerry to Bush.
What do you get? A hijacked election. It isn't even tough to get there from here.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 5:34 pm PT...
Terry Neal may or may not be a liar. However, it is worth noting that regarding the events of June, 1972 that those erstwhile reporters woodward and berstein didn't conceive of the enormity of Nixon's plot. Deep Throat finally had to tell them long after Watergate - then things really started unravelling.
So, Terry Neal, wherever he may be tonight, should perhaps retreat to some place of ambiance and conceive not just the conception of stealing the 2004 election, but 2000 also. And then from that point of view reflect on some salient points such as those Benjamin075 pointed out in #8. And there's even more. Much more to consider. Lots of dead people, too.
But if Neal can't conceive he's no more than a blind man rubbing around on the proverbial elephant, just like bernstein and woodward. Does Neal want the Pulitzer or does he prefer to be just another fly blow on the shitpile of history? Neal, like so many reporters, has a choice. I personally don't forgive such imcompetence in the face of history.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 6:31 pm PT...
I found this story yesterday morning at "What Really Happened" and wasn't able to unclench my teeth for the rest of the day. It certainly DOES scream out for a rebuttal some some knowledgeable someone. I agree.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 6:32 pm PT...
"...by some knowledgeable someone."
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 6:35 pm PT...
Again I come up against my ignorance (not a bad thing...grist for the mill of growth) and I confess I am unfamiliar with a "right of reply"...can you explain?
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 6:40 pm PT...
Miss P #s1 and 2 -
I'll go bang right along with you. We don't subscribe to any newspapers because of this very thing. Nor do we pollute ourselves by watching much of any television, except for Link TV and Amy Goodman's DemocracyNow!
You're right, I think: poor, misleading coverage of an issue is worse than none at all, because it deflates the story to a small, risible "item of interest."
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 6:48 pm PT...
Warren Mitofsky said. "I know they're very serious about believing that there was fraud, but I don't happen to share their view. I find myself in the awkward position of having to argue that the exit polls were wrong.
Warren argued that his poll was wrong due a difference in the response rate between Dems and Repubs. USCV shot some pretty big holes in that explaination. I think Warren has to now reveal the reasons he still refuses share their views or is he too scared to admit there is no plausable non-fraud explainition. Warren has all the data - he should know!
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 6:59 pm PT...
At one point in Neal's article he talks (maybe quoting someone) about the possibility that there may be multiple "small" conspirators who play their part because they know they'll be covered & supported by the larger GOP structure...so where do writers like Neal fit in, I wonder? When he repeats talking points like "it's only Democrats" or "they're focusing on the past, or misinformation like "it would take a vast conspiracy", is it ignorance & incompetence? Or believing that the ends justify the means? Is he feeling righteous or is he cackling over his cauldron? It's got to be one or the other, I would think.
Jesus, if David Brock could wake up & smell the coffee, there have to be others with consciences that keep them awake at night....WHERE ARE THEY???
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 7:22 pm PT...
A cross posting of my response to Terry Neal follows
At no point in the USVC report do they claim a proof of fraud. They simply demonstrate that the polls were not biased in favoring Kerry. In fact they do a great job of debunking the "shy Bush voter" hypothesis for the polls being so wrong. Counter to your statements this was indeed the reason put forth for the least accurate election polls in over 40 years. I’m a bit surprised you focus on a claim of vote fraud where there is none.
The members of the uscountvotes group are not "Vote Fraud Theorists" as your article claims. They are a group of concerned citizens, scientists and statisticians. Is calling them names a fair way to deal with their scientific analysis?
I suggest you read the report and their statements before judging them. http://www.uscountvotes.org
Not scholarly? 10 PhDs signed on to this report after months of work. Yet the typical response is they must all be conspiracy theroists. Time to get over your own prejudices and consider the simple conclusion of the report. The results of the study indicate there should be an investigation of the 2004 election results.
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 8:44 pm PT...
Re: JOAN #23
Excuse my aussie lingo, "right of reply" broadly = rebuttal!
As Mr Terry Neal has chosen to smear all Bloggers as conspiracy theorists without offering the people he insults, the opportunity to put their case before his readers, Neal's bias should therefore automatically demand a "right of reply" from those he has maligned!
Our Australian Parliament probably nicked this from the British, as our system is based on the Britain's Westminster System of Government.
Here's a link to a definition.
Hope that clears rather than muddies the water!
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 4/26/2005 @ 11:40 pm PT...
Several commenters said that someone should write a full response to Mr. Neal's remarkably poor piece of "journalism". Not knowing that Joan had written her excellent letter, I spent 2+ hrs. writing the following absurdly long rebuttal to Mr. Neal's article, relying heavily on comments and links provided on this Blog. At this point, I don't have the time or patience to edit it. If anyone wants to take a stab, I'd greatly appreciate it!
Dear Mr. Neal-
I have just read your article “Vote Fraud Theorists Battle Over Plausibility” from Sunday’s Washington Post. All I can say is that it provides an excellent example of why the so-called mainstream media is losing so much credibility with much of the public. It seems that you and too many other journalists are either unable or unwilling to do the research, ask the important questions, or do the critical thinking that would be necessary to put issues like the one you deal with in this article in the full and proper context. You seem to be embarrassingly willing to accept Mitofsky’s “explanations” and his denigration of the USCountVote (USCV) report even though you provide no details as to why Mitofsky would state “I just think their whole explanation is implausible." What the USCV explanation shows to anyone who reads and understands it is that it is Mitofsky’s explanation that is ridiculously implausible.
Even if you accept Blumenthal's assertion that “the USCV did not consider the possibility that the cumulative impact of these factors (interviewer and sampling biases) might explain more error than any one individually” you are still left with a mountain of factors that are not explained by this. According to the USCV report, there is absolutely NO evidence to show that Kerry supporters were systematically oversampled. In fact, the evidence provided by Mitofsky’s data shows that the number of Bush supporters in a precinct is directly related to the exit poll discrepancy. The USCV report states: “This data contradicts previous experience and observations of this election that voters finding themselves in the minority in a local venue (and particularly a dwarfed minority) tend to be less willing to respond to exit poll interviewers, not more as this data requires. Certainly we would not expect the Kerry voter response rate to soar to over 84% in precincts where Bush voters outnumber them by at least four-to-one. Conversely, we would not expect the Kerry voter response rate to be at its lowest (53%) in precincts where Kerry voters were most numerous.” The USCV report goes on to speculate that “it is easy to imagine that in precincts dominated by Bush supporters, the temptation is greater to distort the count for Bush advantage because the risk for detection and punishment would be least.”
The exit polls for the 2004 election also included information about the voters intentions for the U.S. Senate races. In this case, the exit polls were far more accurate at determining who would win for Senator. There is an overwhelming probability and historical precedent that if you vote democratic for President, you would also vote democratic for the Senator. USCV concludes: “There is no logic to account for non-responders or missed voters when discussing the difference in the accuracy of results for the Senate versus the presidential races in the same exit poll”.
The most glaring absence in your article is any mention of the USCV finding that in only in precincts using exclusively hand-counted, paper ballots (as opposed to any form of electronic or mechanic vote tabulation technology) do the exit poll results consistently match the tabulated results.
The USCV report goes on to say that “an alternative hypothesis that is more consistent with the data is that corruption of the official vote count occurred most freely in districts that were overwhelmingly Bush strongholds.” And that data would be readily explainable by large-scale vote corruption in a SMALL proportion of Bush strongholds. Thus, it would NOT require the kind of “mass conspiracy” that Mitofsky or Blumenthal suggest.
In February of this year, Bev Harris of blackboxvoting.org demonstrated just how easy a real Diebold voting system could be hacked: “The hack that did work was unsophisticated enough that many high school students would be able to achieve it. This hack altered the election by 100,000 votes, leaving no trace at all in the central tabulator program. It did not appear in any audit log. The hack could have been executed in the November 2004 election by just one person.” (http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/3826.html).
There is an excellent demonstration on the web by Chuck Herrin, a Republican computer security expert, that shows just how easily “any motivated insider or hacker of moderate skill can change hundreds of thousands of votes with very little effort and almost no chance of being caught.” (http://www.chuckherrin.com/hackthevotedemo.htm)
You might also check a recent article by Christopher Hitchens (http://www.makethemaccountable.com/articles/Ohio_s_Odd_Numbers.htm), a reputable author who is certainly no fan of John Kerry. He writes: "I had the chance to spend quality time with someone who came to me well recommended, who did not believe that fraud had yet actually been demonstrated, whose background was in the manufacture of the machines, and who wanted to be anonymous. It certainly could be done, she said, and only a very, very few people would have to be 'in on it.' This is because of the small number of firms engaged in the manufacturing and the even smaller number of people, subject as they are to the hiring practices of these firms, who understand the technology. 'Machines were put in place with no sampling to make sure they were ‘in control’ and no comparison studies,' she explained. 'The code of the machines is not public knowledge, and none of these machines has since been impounded.' In these circumstances, she continued, it’s possible to manipulate both the count and the proportions of votes."
I might add that in a vote with a margin of less than 3.5 million between the "winner" and the "loser", it would take less than a 1.75 million vote shift to reverse the result in the total vote. It would take MUCH LESS THAN THAT to swing the vote in 1 or 2 critical "battleground states" and reverse the electoral college vote winner.
In dismissing the USCV analysis you also rely heavily on the criticism of Mark Blumenthal. Blumenthal's own description of his academic training (http://mysterypollster.typepad.com/about.html) indicates that, while he may have practical experience as a pollster, he has no specific training in statistics or computer technology. It is certainly hard to see how his comments (or even those of Mitofsky) can legitimately contradict an analysis authored or endorsed by at least 8 experts with PhD qualifications in statistics, mathematics, government, organizational dynamics, finance and computing. In announcing their study, USCV's press release stated: "This group's preliminary study on the exit poll discrepancies was not refuted by any PhD statistician in America, and we expect our final study to be similarly received in the academic community."
(http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1215) Doesn't it seem that a great deal of credence should be given to a study done by a non-partisan group with these kinds of credentials and with this kind of peer review as comparted to the idle criticisms of Mr. Blumenthal or of Mr. Mitofsky, who has never presented any valid evidence or alternative explanation for his now debunked speculations regarding the discrepancies between the exit pools and the tabulated vote results.
USCV concludes that much of the speculation “would be easy to check if Edison/Mitofsky were to release their raw polling data”, something that has, remarkably, not occurred to date. These exit polls are designed to be and historically have been within 1-2% of the tabulated results. In the 2004 Presidential election there was a 5.5% difference between the official count and what the exit polls predicted. This was, by far, the largest discrepancy in the polls’ history. Recently, Mitofsky's exit polls in the Ukraine deviated from the "official count" by a similar magnitude (as in the 2004 US vote) yet, in that case, it was universally interpreted as indicative of fraud!!
For some additional perspective, I will offer a few more pieces of information for you to ponder:
-Why do you suppose that, during the last congressional term, for nearly two years before the 2004 Elections, the GOP controlled House and Senate did not allow (and still has not allowed) the bill that would require paper verified voting machines to be moved out of committee for a vote by the full body?
-In an 11/04 article titled “Mass Media In 'Lock Down' Not To Cover Vote Fraud” (http://www.rense.com/general59/ememd.htm) the author points out that, “to believe that Bush won the election, you must also believe:
1- That the exit polls were WRONG...(remember--they have been used for over a decade and considered reliable)
2- That Zogby's 5pm election day calls for Kerry winning OH, FL were WRONG. He was within a less than 1/2 % point margin of error in his 2000 final poll and previous polls for other elections.
3- That Harris Poll last minute polling for Kerry was WRONG. They were also within a 1/2% point margin of error in their 2000 final poll.
4- The Incumbent Rule (that undecideds primarily break at the end for the challenger) was WRONG.
5- The 50% Rule was WRONG (that an incumbent doesn't do better than his final polling)
6- The Approval Rating Rule was WRONG (that an incumbent with less than 50% approval will most likely lose the election)
7- That Journalist Greg Palast was WRONG when he said that even before the election, 1 million votes were stolen from Kerry. He was the ONLY reporter to break the fact that 90,000 Florida blacks were disenfranchised in 2000.
8- That it was just a COINCIDENCE that the exit polls were CORRECT where there WAS a PAPER TRAIL and INCORRECT (+5% for Bush) where there was NO PAPER TRAIL.
9- That the surge in new young voters had NO positive effect for Kerry, even though it was the largest number of youth voters 18-29 ever and a huge jump from 2000 and they were over 55% in favor of Kerry.
10- That Bush BEAT 99 to 1 mathematical odds in winning the election.
11- That Kerry did WORSE than Gore against an opponent who LOST the support of SCORES of Republican newspapers who were for Bush in 2000.
12- That Bush did better than an 18 national poll average which showed him tied with Kerry at 47. In other words, Bush got 80% of the undecided vote to end up with a 51-48 majority--when ALL professional pollsters agree that the undecided vote ALWAYS goes to the challenger.
13- That Voting machines made by Republicans with no paper trail and with no software publication, which have been proven by thousands of computer scientists to be vulnerable in scores of ways, were NOT tampered with in this election.”
I would also refer you to the following for additional insight:
-“Computers Threw the Vote to Bush” (http://www.bartcop.com/110904votes.htm)
-“The Silence of The Vote Scams” (http://www.opednews.com/perlmandiane_042105_silence_of_the_scams.htm)
-The story of Clint Curtis, a Florida programmer who has sworn in an affidavit (and passed a lie detector test) that he was asked by a Florida politician to create a "vote-rigging software prototype". (http://www.bradblog.com/ClintCurtis.htm)
None of the above information addresses the additional issue of voter disenfranchisement. For a synopsis of this kind of information in the critical Ohio vote, I refer you to "The Conyers Report: What Went Wrong in Ohio" (http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf)
Now that I've done your homework for you, perhaps you can go back, research the sources I've provided (and I can give you more) and see if you come to the same conclusions. And PLEASE stop framing it as a Republican vs. Democrat thing. Responsible members of all parties should have an interest in the integrity of our voting system, without which our democracy is nothing.
I will leave you with the following from a recent story by Robert Koehler of Tribune Media Services titled "The silent scream of numbers: The 2004 election was stolen ... will someone please tell the media?" In that article, Mr. Koehler includes this quote by polling expert Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 1:14 am PT...
(and anyone else who hasn't heard and is interested)
You are a great Bradblogger and I would like you to be on the "planning committee" for the First Annual Brad Blog Blogathon. If you want to know what it's all about, please e-mail me at the link provided by clicking on my name at the top of this post.
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 4/27/2005 @ 1:56 am PT...
Walkshills' comparison of Bushgate to Watergate is very apt. I'm surprised Bob Woodward isn't actively involved in the vote fraud story; maybe he is, and we just don't know it yet.
Bush acts more and more like Nixon every day. A go-it-alone approach, a supporting cast selected not on merit but on loyalty to the master, aggressive public relations tactics designed to snuff out troublesome stories before they resonate, a press secretary that contradicts himself, lies to explain other lies, and political dirty tricks.
As the election fraud story slowly but surely filters out into the mainstream, it's reminiscent of the early days of Watergate (mid-to-late 1973). In the current case, though, there's no Elliot Richardson or Archibald Cox around...we have Gonzales, and that's no accident. There's no Judge Sirica to keep the administration in line (we have a near anagram of him named Scalia, who wants to keep liberals in line), and no Sam Ervin to hold hearings (unlike Ervin, John Conyers represents the minority). And worst of all, the mainstream media is no longer independent.
The blogosphere must do the work of Richardson, Cox, Sirica, and Ervin. We have to dig, and dig some more. Maybe Deep Throat will report not to Woodward and Bernstein, but to Brad Friedman.
COMMENT #32 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 6:51 am PT...
Dear Mr. Neal,
Warren Mitofsky said. "I know they're very serious about believing that there was fraud, but I don't happen to share their view. I find myself in the awkward position of having to argue that the exit polls were wrong”. Actually that is not true. USCV says that their analysis only indicates that fraud can not be discounted and is a plausible explanation for the discrepancies.
Also, Mitofsky argued that his poll was wrong due to a difference in the response rate between Kerry and Bush voters. This is the only explanation he has offered. USCV shot some pretty big holes in that explanation. I think they were very convincing. You should ask Mitofsky to reveal his reasons for still refusing to consider the possibility that the election was stolen. Mitofsky has all the data, he should know! The data is being withheld from the public. If it was released in full to USCV we might all know the truth. What are they hiding?
Please do a real investigative story. Don’t embarrass yourself! This needs to be resolved in the public forum before confidence in our election process can be restored. It’s your duty!
COMMENT #33 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 7:25 am PT...
"(Neal did not bother to ask Mitofsky, apparently, why Mitofsky's Exit Polls in Ukraine recently --- which were similarly different from the Final Resutls --- indicated fraud in that election, but not in ours.)"
Also why would the republican voters be shy in some years and not in others? Ludicrous.
Dr. Coilín ÓhAiseadha #12,#13 and Steve #29 very good points.
COMMENT #34 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 9:05 am PT...
Steve #29 - phenomenal!!! Send it!!!! Can 6 or 7 also sign it and send it. God bless you.
COMMENT #35 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 9:15 am PT...
Is it just me? I can't click on these email and addreses to fire off some emails, and I am so ready. Unable to do it the regular way due to lack of expertise.
COMMENT #36 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 9:22 am PT...
A few points after skimming through these comments:
1) I'd less worry about an outside attack on the tabulation machines than something planted inside the software. A separate program to flip the votes. After all, why no paper trail?
2) What about the "Shy Republian" or "Shy Pollster" hyopthesis? that is the central basis for Mitofsky's rational for the discrepancy - That pollsters and republicans were less likely to talk to each other. Yet USCV debunked that by showing that in highly republican precincts, there was actually a higher response rate. But Mitofsky makes no mention of this fact - and no rebuttal, which I think is the central rebuttal to Mitofsky's arguments.
Well, looking on page 9 here...
COMMENT #37 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 10:23 am PT...
re #36: Molly, if you can't send e-mail by clicking on the link, you might be able to do it by pasting (or copying) the following text into the "To" box of a "new message":
If that doesn't work, post another question, explaining what is happening. There are several experienced computer programmers who read this blog regularly, and it would surprise me if none of them can help you.
COMMENT #38 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 12:05 pm PT...
Wow! I just looked at my last post and I'M BORED just scanning it. I'm guessing there won't be anymore posts on this thread.
COMMENT #39 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 12:45 pm PT...
;;Steve;;glad i read your post,seem's to me you hit the hammer on the head,right to the point,at first i thought to long,then i really ,got into it..DEMS ARE THE BEST....
COMMENT #40 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 12:48 pm PT...
COMMENT #41 [Permalink]
said on 4/27/2005 @ 12:50 pm PT...
MADE THE SAME MISTAKE MEANT *ROBERT*;;sorry again;;;:hehe:
COMMENT #42 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 4/28/2005 @ 5:39 am PT...
Mitosky really didn't make an "argument." His rationale that Bush voters were more reticent about talking to exit pollsters than Kerry voters were was just a wild stab...an attempt to make sense out of something that made no sense.
He won't say any more on the issue, because he has no argument. If Bush voters were in fact less willing to talk to exit pollsters, then they would have been less willing uniformly...not only in states using electronic balloting. In paper-ballot states, the exit polls matched the electronic vote very closely. It's an absolute joke, friends.
Once again, too; in Florida, the exit polls came within a fraction of a point on the Senate race. Would Mitosky have us believe Florida voters told exit pollsters the truth about their votes for Martinez and Castor, but lied about their votes for Bush and Kerry?
The debate about exit polls vs. tabulated vote is over. It ended three months ago. Now our job is to make sure every Senator, every Congressperson, every major newspaper, and every TV network realizes it.
COMMENT #43 [Permalink]
said on 4/28/2005 @ 8:29 am PT...
Loretta, don't get too excited about the dems - look at how many of them voted for the bankruptcy bill and you'll see what I mean.
Both sides stink, it's just that some stink less than others. Weed out the smelliest (from both sides) and maybe we'll be getting somewhere.
When Conyers, Slaughter, Tubbs and Pelosi are the norm rather than the exception, we can celebrate - until then we need to keep taking names and kicking arses.
COMMENT #44 [Permalink]
said on 4/28/2005 @ 10:12 am PT...
Washington Post DOES have a good article today on Gore's responses to the recent fillibuster issues. A breath of fresh air really.
Link to Post 91 on Open Thread
COMMENT #45 [Permalink]
said on 4/28/2005 @ 3:54 pm PT...
E/M polled people on their votes for Senator in a number of states. I believe I read that in Colorado the exit polls and actual vote were right on for Senator, but skewed by 3-5% (details are fuzzy at this point) in favor of Bush.
Questions for Brad and anyone else:
Were the people who were polled for Senate the same people who were polled re Kerry/Bush?
Were there other states (particulary swing states) where the exit polls and actual vote were close for Senate, but off by a lot in favor of Bush?
The Colorado numbers indicate clear fraud, if this was actually the case. And emphatically shoots the "shy Bush" voter theory full of holes.
COMMENT #46 [Permalink]
said on 4/28/2005 @ 3:58 pm PT...
By "The Colorado numbers indicate clear fraud, if this was actually the case."
To clarify: "the case" means if the numbers in my first paragraph are correct.
Long day... :hehe:
COMMENT #47 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 4/28/2005 @ 8:11 pm PT...
For Hannah: The same voters were interviewed. But it really doesn't matter from a scientific point of view. If they sample enough voters in each category. whether the same ones or different ones, it doesn't affect the reliability of the sample... all that matter is that they sample enough voters.
To put it another way: In any cross section of voters (Democrats, Republicans, Independents), would you expect all the liars to be in one category, and specifically lying about only one election while telling the truth about the other one? That's really what Mitofsky argument boils down to.