READER COMMENTS ON
"Democracy Breakin': Ohio's Electric Boogaloo"
(50 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 12:45 pm PT...
Now that's what I really like to see ... Cole's commenters. They ARE seeing the light. 'Bout time. You are so right, Brad. This isn't about Right or Left, it's about Right or Wrong. Period.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 12:48 pm PT...
The manual "Did George Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?" by Fitrakis, Wasserman, and Rosenfeld is a monster, but in listening to Fitrakis give a synopsis, and even reading a small amount of testimonial contained within the manual, I can't fathom that any concerned citizen wouldn't be entirely outraged at the lack of attention this matter is being given, both by lawmakers and the mainstream media.
Yet I know that some people look at this mountain of evidence and are not phased. I've heard things like "Elections are always crooked." "All politicians do whatever they can get away with to fix the vote." "Stupid people vote, so elections are biased towards idiocy anyway." These folks, who happen to live in Ohio, just go about their daily lives and either resign to live within the confines of a flawed system, or don't believe that a working system of elections will have any serious consequences in their daily existence (for instance, my father who lives in Ohio, says "Not much was different for me under Bush than Clinton, so what do I care?" This, from a man who spent 23 years of his life in the military and does not support the war.)
Why the apathy? Does a large portion of the country really believe that this is a non-issue? What is patriotism to these people? The protection of the vote is fundamental - all other freedoms are derived from it.
Once again, the message needs to be not just the vote is stolen, but the consequences of that theft for the average American.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 12:49 pm PT...
I thought Google News would provide a good check re: 'not one word' in the mainstream media. Searching on 'GAO' and 'electronic voting' reveals a lot of blog articles, but truly, not many if any words in the MSM in the last few weeks. Searching on 'GAO' at the NYT produces articles on Chinese people, but little else. These results are preliminary.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 1:16 pm PT...
...I had no Idea where John Cole's political center of gravity is because I rarely visit the site. But if his commenters are any indication, they argue mostly well-reasoned, cogent, topical, and thoughtful points ON THE MERITS, and isn't that refreshing?
...All electoral fraud stories carry the kernal of truth that has sprouted leaves and is seeing, and being nurtured by, the sunshine of truth.
...Our election system is black water rotten.
...AND (no conspiricacy intended) but if the Democrats start to use the same channels available in the porous tabulation software to steal elections back, because we are tired of losing to the thieves...then all hell will break loose, as maybe it should.
...Nobody repairs something that is not broken, and that is why JFK II once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when following a conversation with Mark Crispin Miller where he [allegedly] admited he had been cheated...sent an aparatchack to disavow the whole conversation.
...Bob Koehler addressed it so eloquently...we need some high profile advocates to bring this HUGE story to the American Public.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 1:32 pm PT...
One of the things that I noticed about Cole's commenters is many of them were throwing around ideas on how electronic systems could be made to work. I didn't read anyone (after reading about 50 or so) who locked onto what Cole had actually said which is...
throw the buggers out! Why have them at all if there is an apparent systematic ability to manipulate them?
Another thing I didn't read in the "how to correct the problem" posts was the idea that IF electronic voting machines are to be used, there should be at least two independent machines used to tabulate the votes at each polling site. And the vote counts on each of those machines should match.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 1:38 pm PT...
Again, I'm going to point this out: The MSM quotes a dozen polls a day, just watch the news on TV. They consciously DID NOT quote the polls that said Kerry won the 2004 election, but quote every other polls on earth.
That was the only poll they were suppressing on TV news...except until now...they will add a 2nd poll to suppress: this one!
So, now we have 2 single polls being suppressed by the MSM, and both have to do with electronic voting machines being way off whack of exit polls.
It is obvious to everyone, that there is a blackout in the U.S. media, on any poll that shows that electronic voting machine counts differ horendously from exit polls!
So, the only conclusion anyone can reach, is that the 5 or so MSM corporate owners have gotten together and sent orders downward to all the MSM they own, to blackout only these 2 polls...both of which have to do with electronic voting machines.
WHAT ARE THE NAMES OF THE 5 OR SO MEDIA MOGULS BLACKING OUT NEWS THAT SHOWS ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES ARE RUINING OUR DEMOCRACY???????????????????
BRAD: PRINT THEIR NAMES HERE!
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 1:40 pm PT...
Add to that, though, that the MSM covered 24×7, when the Ukraine exit polls differed from the final count.
What does that tell you?
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 1:43 pm PT...
Has there ever been an exit poll that showed a Republican won, but the "final count" had a Democrat winning? Like the college & university professors of statistics stated, the odds are hundreds-of-millions-to-1 that all discrepancies randomly favor one party.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 1:51 pm PT...
If these electronic voting machines are so easy to hack into and change election results then why don't the democrats hire some smart hacker to ensure the election results favor democratic causes? I'm so tired of reading how republicans keep winning elections and screwing the majority of the population.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 2:27 pm PT...
YOu gotta love the Mystery Pollster. He says he is going to investigate the issue, as if he is planning some scientific, ie objective, journey of truth, and then he goes on to say that 'at least this shows how shark infested the polling waters are', which virtually forecasts the results he expects from his investigation.
What worthless tripe.
But at least a widening circle is at least beginning to attend to the issue of election fraud a little more seriously, it seems.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 2:51 pm PT...
What we should do is hire a reputable polling firm to poll the state on how people voted on these 5 referendums. That might provide more proof of fraud.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 3:21 pm PT...
Good idea, HM. Any idea how much that would cost?
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 3:25 pm PT...
I was thinking..
It seems by the very nature of the definition of "conservative" when it comes to politics.. Republicans, conservatives, religious persons.. Now, doesn't it basically mean "resist change, leave things as they are", etc. etc? I mean, "progressive" and "liberal" (as in, put a liberal amount of cheese on that hogie!, lots, more, change that thing further) tend to go with "let's change this, it's not right like it is"..
Ever notice how most intellectual types are Democrats? Progressives? Liberals? Scientists like facts, they feel cozy knowing "the truth" since they know things become repeatable and PREDICTABLE.. Thinkers tend to be "liberal" and "progressive", not fearing change because they sit and analyze various variables to see what might happen (not saying mistakes aren't ever made, but that's where the fear component comes in).
On the other side.. you have religious types.. and people who don't seem to like change in a daily context (not just a political context). So, we have folks who don't want to have to think... don't want to have to ask questions because they might not like the answers.. they -fear- dealing with things that are uncertian, there by being drawn to religion (the priest/father/minister/preacher/blahblah tells you what to think, how to feel, what to do in this and that circumstance.. all things are blamed on someone else, no need to fear making a mistake, it's God's fault .. he's testing your faith.. etc etc) and don't like doing anything that might "shake things up" because they fear not knowing how it will end..
I think that applies a LOT to this particular issue. I keep trying to understand why/how people refuse to look at the EVIDENCE and go "hmm.. that's odd", and instead go "your evidence is obviously wrong.. your science means nothing in the graces of God, I don't want to listen!". It seems more and more then, with a lack of discernable "malice" by "the remaining masses", that perhaps people just don't want to have to think, don't want to have to admit "change is good" and admit "this change to these new machines was a mistake, no harm done, dump them", don't want to step out of their comfortable little spaces and see that there really -are- bad people out there trying to steal their belogings, wealth, rights, freedoms, happiness. Perhaps it's just that those still clinging on to the lies just can't cope if they let those warm fuzzy delusions go..
Just a thought..
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 3:35 pm PT...
I sent out a wave of letters about Ohio '05 to all the usual MSM suspects, without a peep in response. The media blackout is still in effect, and I suspect it will be until Cheney & Co. are vanquished and the editors and publishers are free of reprisals.
Bad news indeed.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 11/17/2005 @ 4:47 pm PT...
Yesterday in the mail came a "survey" from Hillary Rodham Clinton, telling me she was prepared to listen to voter concerns (meaning mine), meanwhile outlining various issues facing the electorate (budget, abortion, environment, jobs, etc.). Which of these did I consider the most important? Of course, the survey was constructed in such a way that I had to choose from her issues.
Election fraud wasn't mentioned. Not a word. We're supposed to believe that by fighting the good fight on boilerplate Democrat issues (and, of course, by sending Hillary a fat check for her 2006 campaign), we can effect meaningful change in the country.
I responded that as an Indpendent, I preferred not to contribute money to advance partisan politics. And I told Hillary that until she addressed the issue of election fraud, and the fact that the last two elections have been stolen, that she had zero crediblity with me. I added that her husband had made the foolish mistake of saying, "Bush won fair and square."
Maybe the debacle in Ohio on Nov. 8 will be the turning point, once and for all. And so may it be.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 5:29 pm PT...
# 11 and 12 - There are rumors that Zogby is doing such a poll.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 6:05 pm PT...
Brad, Robert etc
How do we get the ball rolling with this, really big? And the Zogby poll, or an afterdowningstreet equivalent to do a poll about how Ohio voters voted on the referendum?
We could then conclusively prove it was fraud once and for all, and hopefully start an open criminal investigation of the entire Ohio board of electors.
What say you all?
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 6:29 pm PT...
Onyx, that is hopeful to hear.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 7:52 pm PT...
I hope its true. I can't seem to find where I saw this. I'll keep looking.
Let's don't leave anything to chance though. Anyone got any suggestions on how to encourage Zogby? Or other pollesters.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 7:57 pm PT...
Onyx - Rumors from where?
That said, I'm afraid such a poll would be the equivalent to the question of whether to take a lie detector test for someone who claims to be innocent. If they pass, everyone says lie detectors prove nothing, if they fail, everyone screams about how they failed a lie detector test.
Same things with such a poll-after-the-fact in Ohio. If the results show that the initiatives should have passed (or at least failed by a much smaller margin) then everyone screams polls are no good, people lie in them, etc. (as we've already seen). If the poll bears out the election results, everyone runs around saying the polls are proof that there was no fraud.
No. What's needed is an electoral system which doesn't require such nonsense. Because it is secure as possible from the get-go, and where it's not, there remains proof of any tampering. Unlike what Ohio (and so many other places) have now.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
Swift Boat Weenies for treason
said on 11/17/2005 @ 8:15 pm PT...
"Read My Lips"
We Found WMD
Weapons of Mass Defecation
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 10:55 pm PT...
Brad or anyone -
I just read a book review (dealing with the Conyers Report, Fitrakis and Wasserman, and Miller) in the November issue of Mother Jones in which Mark Hertsgaard (the author of the piece) claims that "[Ohio] exit polls were off by much more than [the ~9% they were off in the 2004 election] in the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections." Since this is obviously critical to deciding how unlikely a poll result actually is, I think we should really focus on this issue. I'm glad to see this addressed in this post, in Fitrakis' response, but we need a little more than what he gave. If the average error for the Dispatch is ~5%, but the standard deviation for that error is 20%, then an error of ~30% is not all that unlikely. I know this is early in the game, but could we get some people together to actually put some numbers together?
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 11:10 pm PT...
Some of us argue that the way to go is to hand count paper ballots. No machines.
The compexity of some of our ballots is a major problem here. But there may be ways to cope.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2005 @ 11:33 pm PT...
More on hand counting paper ballots
Annual costs summarized [per citizen]
[Canada population about like California]
San Francisco run-off mayoral election, $3.27 [one election only!]
Sarasota County, Florida, $8.00
Canadas Paper Ballot System
Registered voters - 21,243,473
Number of polling stations - 60,728
Average of registered voters per station (minimum of 250 per precinct)-350
Total ballots cast - 12,997,185
Average ballots cast per polling station - 214
Ballots rejected - 139,412 or 1.1% -
Voter turn-out - 61.2%
Key to timely hand-count: limit the size of each precinct iaw length of the ballot.
The length of the ballot could determine the number of voters per precinct.
Within four hours after the last polls closed in Canada's parliamentary election, officials had hand-counted virtually every one of nearly 13 million paper ballots.
No concerns about incompetent and venal equipment makers
Less time to put up with pundits
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 6:34 am PT...
Brad - read a post from someone claiming that they had just received a mail poll questionnaire from Zogby asking how they had voted on the referendums.
For the life of me I can't find it anywhere - maybe I just dreamed it.
Anyways, you are mostly right about it not settling anything - just one more thing to debate with those that will never change.
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 11:44 am PT...
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 11:45 am PT...
Thank you so much for your info on Canadian election/voting costs. Could you please post a link(s) to the source of your information?
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
Another Voice in the Wilderness
said on 11/18/2005 @ 12:49 pm PT...
Can someone provide a link to the academic studies that Mr. Fitrakis mentions about the accuracy of the Dispatch polling? Perhaps these studies can answer the CRUCIAL question in evaluating this: What is the standard deviation of error for this poll? From that info, assuming a normal distribution, you can calculate how likely these discrepancy arose from chance alone.
In simpler terms: "Are these errors truly as unusual as Fitrakis claims? Or are they, as Mystery Pollster claims, merely "one of the more spectacularly inaccurate performances in recent memory?"
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 2:09 pm PT...
Here's what Mystery Pollster had to say today.
I have been focusing for the last several days on a post on the Columbus Dispatch poll controversy. I had hoped to have it up two days ago, but as I have been engaged in gathering the facts interest in it has grown. So it seemed more important to cover the topic completely in one post than to split it up. I'm still working on it. However, I will have a post up very soon, hopefully later this afternoon.
So sorry for the delay. Stay tuned...
I think he's having a hard time coming up with an explanation that dosen't upset his prejudices. Can't wait to see it!
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 2:20 pm PT...
In order for the standard deviation to be 30% when the poll was 60% in favor the sample size would have to only 3 people. If the sample size was 1000 then the standard deviation would be 1.5%
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 2:43 pm PT...
*Please* change the colors of your website. It really hurts my eyes.
COMMENT #32 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 2:58 pm PT...
Use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer and the Adblock extension. You will see plain white backgrounds and no moving parts.
COMMENT #33 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 3:34 pm PT...
I use Firefox, and I see a dark green background with small, barely legible yellow text.
COMMENT #34 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 4:09 pm PT...
I wonder when the time will be right for civil disobeadience?
COMMENT #35 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 6:42 pm PT...
To Editor #31 and Lilkoi #33
If you're using Firefox you can change the background color and font color/size/etc. by:
Clicking on Tools (on toolbar at top of your screen) and selecting Options and then selecting Fonts & Colors. At the bottom of that last selection you'll see this:
Always use my: Fonts Colors
You'll see the boxes to check. When done, this page will appear as you have told it to appear.
COMMENT #36 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 6:56 pm PT...
PS You have to refresh the page before you see the results.
COMMENT #37 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 8:43 pm PT...
Mystery Pollster is still scratching his head.
COMMENT #38 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 9:30 pm PT...
I'd like to second the suggestion to change the colors here. I love your website, but black/yellow/green is not an attractive color combination. I also use Firefox by the way.
COMMENT #39 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 10:41 pm PT...
I congratulate Cole on being open-minded enough to educate himself on this important topic. Republicans should be reminded that primaries can be rigged, too, potentially robbing them of the right to elect their first choice in candidates.
Perhaps the answer to getting mainstream media coverage is to mail copies of Crispin's book to every major newspaper editor and TV network newshound in America.
COMMENT #40 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 11:21 pm PT...
November 18, 2005 --- Neo-con global conspiracy under increased assault from US Attorney for Northern Illinois and Special Prosecutor in CIA "leakgate" Patrick Fitzgerald.
COMMENT #41 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2005 @ 11:35 pm PT...
COMMENT #42 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 1:35 am PT...
I believe you have excellent material but I simply cannot read your site. Have I somehow overlooked a black and white option in your very crowded and colorful environment? (cf andrew sullivan's site, which is deep blue with lighter blue type and also not easy on the eyeballs)? I'm totally daunted by BradBlog even though I know it contains posts I would like to read. What a pity that I don't. Daily Kos, TPM, Billmon, RAW Story and other sites that I read every day are quite colorful but manage to be much more readable than BradBlog. Can you do anything to help readers like me who want to follow your posts but are put off by the graphic environment your have created?
COMMENT #43 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 4:31 am PT...
First, I agree. Your color scheme is tough on the eyes. Next, how do we help get this the attention it needs. If we don't get back to honest elections, we could run Jesus Christ and still lose.
COMMENT #44 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 6:04 am PT...
There are ways to crunch numbers and get more definitive information. One thing to do would be to look at the pattern of voting on the amendments by poll, by city, by county and perhaps most importantly by type of devices used. To get the results that were obtained and not have had fraud that was statewide would cause some some numbers to be unbelievable in some districts.
Also the paper can go back and repoll its respondents or its total sample to see how they actually voted. If there are big changes in the poll reponses, they could include a question about what influenced their vote.
The bottom line is that an expert can draw conclusions based on an internal analysis of the vote. And that would not be expensive to obtain.
Let's get it done.
COMMENT #45 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 8:36 am PT...
Coming soon: legislation that will ban exit polls as a form of "voter intimidation". More difficult will be an attack on polling in general because politicians really do rely on them for strategic decisions and systemic vote fraud can not work unless there is some, however tiny, fig leaf of veracity somewhere in the system. This means judicious use of fraud. Also watch for talk of "responsible journalism" that must not give people the impression that something is seriously wrong and erode voter confidence.
What is judicious use of fraud?
- Only cheat where it is important.
- Cheat in as large a variety of ways as possible so that your critics can be accused of throwing mud at everything possible just to see what can stick where.
- occasionally cheat in a way that seems to be against your own interests.
All except the last technique was widely used in 2004 US presidential elections.
COMMENT #46 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 8:52 am PT...
I used one of these new computerized voting machines in this last election in NW Ohio (Toledo). First of all, there were no curtains around the machines, which violates my right to a secret vote. I complained to the poll workers. Secondly, although there you had to press "PRINT" to produce a paper printout of what the computer recorded, supposedly for verification purposes in case of a recount, NO VOTER actually gets to see what is printed to check the printout for accuracy. This paper printout is sealed inside the machine at all times until it is taken to the Board of Elections. What assurance do I have that what I voted is what was recorded either on the the memory disk or the printout. None! Thirdly, in Toledo it took up to 5 or 6 HOURS for over half of the precincts to get their memory disks and paper printouts to the Board of Elections downtown after the polls closed. This is in a city where it doesn't take more than 20 minutes to get from anywhere in the city limits to the downtown area. I don't know if election fraud occurred in this election, but we all need to aware that the potential for very large-scale fraud is there with these Diebolt machines the minute anyone in government chooses to exercise it.
COMMENT #47 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 9:51 am PT...
Disputes like these generally revolve around statistical analyses that to the uninformed are like arguments about angels on the head of a pin. The average voter doesn't know what a standard deviation is and those who do know understand that statistical rareties can happen. So, we are left arguing that the chances of such and such happening are extremely unlikely, yet not impossible.
The issue to bring to the public at large is the obvious manipulability of these machines. When I deal with my ATM machine I get a printout verifying the transaction. This obvious solution has been resisted by Diebold for reasons that cast their motives in sketchy light, particularly because of their founder's stated preference to have Bush re-elected. Would it cost more as they claim? Yes, but not appreciably so. Hell, even taxi meters print receipts. The technology is very widespread and inexpensive. You pays your money --- you gets your receipt. The "vote" and "money" are very similar concepts. Both are rooted in a underlying belief that the transaction is based on trust and verification. A dollar is merely a piece of paper without that trust. I suspect there are other, nefarious reasons for Diebold's resistance to inclusion in voting machines. Consequently, they have lost my trust and that of many others, perhaps millions of others.
The general public will grasp the concept that rerouting electrons inside a virtual black box is fairly easy to do without leaving traces behind and that altering millions of paper voter receipts would be impossible. A random check that finds a mismatch of receipts against counted ballots would be reasonable grounds for any disputed election to be settled by a revote. A recount of manipulated evidence would never suffice.
COMMENT #48 [Permalink]
said on 11/19/2005 @ 11:36 am PT...
Apparently not all Diebald voting machines are suspect; I've just voted in a municipal election at Courtenay, B.C. Canada, and I filled in oval spaces for the candidates of my choice on a 8 by 10 card, which was then scanned by a Diebald machine. The card was dropped into a secured box for back-up reference. It CAN be done!
COMMENT #49 [Permalink]
Another Voice in the Wilderness
said on 11/21/2005 @ 1:06 pm PT...
Onyx (#30) I do not understand your use of statistics. You say that "In order for the standard deviation to be 30% when the poll was 60% in favor the sample size would have to only 3 people. If the sample size was 1000 then the standard deviation would be 1.5%".
First off, in the textbooks I have read, the standard deviation is NOT equal to the error.
Second off, as I understand it, the standard deviation of the error can never be determined from a single error (i.e. how much the final electoral results differed from the poll-predicted results for any one issue). To get the standard deviation one would need to compile many of these errors.
Apparently, one of us doesn't understand standard deviation very well. Could that be you? If so, please discontinue posting as if you are an expert. (That's OK, I'm not an expert either. But let's not muddy these already murky waters further.)
Allow me to repeat myself that knowing the Standard Deviation of this poll's error is critical to determining how likely it was that this poll was in error. For analytical people like me, that number carries far more weight than Fitrakis' assertion that the poll's accuracy is "legendary". Or, perhaps Fitrakis means the kind of legendary that is synonymous with mythical?
COMMENT #50 [Permalink]
said on 11/23/2005 @ 2:19 pm PT...
Guys, you're missing the basics here.
ANY computer based counting device is open to abuse. Printed receipts or punched cards, make no mistake, if Diebold makes them they WILL be abused.
In places like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK hand-counted paper voting is in place.
These countries have independant, statutory national authorities to run elections. They are scrupulously nonpartisan and heavy penalties exist for electoral abuse.
USA has awesome technological capabilities. Yet your electoral methods are a licence for theft of government.
You deserve a lot better. Demand paper voting.