Guest Blogged by John Gideon, Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org
In the weeks following last November's mid-term election, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) sent retiring Commissioner Paul DeGregorio out to cheerlead and to make the voters feel warm and cozy about the election.
The Commissioner keeps telling the voters that we should have confidence in the election process. He constantly states that everything worked just fine except for isolated incidents. Meanwhile, he ignores the facts about failures that happened across the nation. He ignores data such as that which is reported in "E-Voting Failures in the 2006 Mid-Term Elections" written by VotersUnite, VoteTrustUSA, VoterAction and Pollworkers For Democracy.
Early last week Commissioner DeGregorio had an Op-Ed posted by a McClatchy-Tribune News Service newspaper in Mississippi. In this Op-Ed he opens with the following paragraph:
My immediate attention was brought to the mention of an exit poll which showed that 98 percent of voters had a confidence level not seen since before 'Election 2000'. This was news to me and I wanted to see this exit poll so I sent an email to the EAC's spokeswoman, Jeannie Layson:
From: John Gideon
Subject: DeGregorio Op-Ed
In the op-ed that Commissioner DeGregorio has written for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service he says, "Despite some isolated problems, exit polls showed that in 98 percent of U.S. jurisdictions, the process worked so well that voter confidence rose to levels not seen since before Election 2000."
Who conducted that national exit-poll and where are the results posted? I think that is an important piece of information and would like to discuss it with my colleagues and perhaps write an article on the results.
I'm a little surprised that the EAC considers over 18,000 under-votes in Sarasota Co., Florida as an isolated problem. Or over 18,000 voters walking away without voting in Denver, Colorado. Or the just revealed news that Sequoia and David Orr in Chicago/Cook Co. have admitted to failures, including using voting equipment that was never tested, that cost voters their voices. Or any of the 1022 incidents in over 300 jurisdictions in 36 state that were reported in the VotersUnite/VoteTrustUSA/VoterAction/Pollworkers For Democracy report on the recent election.
Here is the remarkable response I received back from Ms. Layson...
Subject: Re: DeGregorio Op-Ed
Per your question, Commissioner DeGregorio's op-ed stated that: "Despite some isolated problems, exit polls showed that in 98 percent of U.S. jurisdictions, the process worked so well that voter confidence rose to levels not seen since before Election 2000." What this sentence meant was that the voting process worked well in 98 percent of US jurisidictions[sic]. I understand how this could be confusing, and you are correct that exit polls showed that 88 percent of voters expressed confidence. The 98 percentage was reached by identifying public accounts of jurisidictions[sic] that reported problems and dividing that by the total number of jurisdictions. The words "exit polls" referred to "voter confidence."
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
My first impression on reading this was, "Huh?" According to Ms. Layson, Commissioner DeGregorio performed some mathematical hocus-pocus and changed some exit poll results from 88 to 98 percent. He apparently also ignored nearly all negative public accounts in order to come up with the 98 percent number. But I still didn't have an answer to my question of where this exit poll came from. I hadn't seen any exit poll data that showed voter confidence, let alone a percentage that high. So I asked again for the source of the exit poll. Ms. Layson responded back to my request:
Subject: your inquiry
Attached are two articles that cite the 88 percentage you asked about.
So I looked at the two links Ms. Layson provided in hopes of finding a scientifically done exit poll. I found two news articles merely mentioning an exit poll. One from USA Today dated Nov. 8 and time stamped at 2:44AM EST and the second article from the Christian Science Monitor dated Nov. 9.
I was disappointed to see that neither article gave any source for the exit poll. It seems that a national exit poll may have been accomplished but no one has published any findings except the results mentioned in these two articles. At least the EAC can't seem to find a source for this exit poll. A poll, by the way, that was done so scientifically that the results had all been compiled before 2:44 AM EST or within less than three hours of the polls closing on the West Coast. Also, it is notable that all of the data used in the USA Today article was provided by The Election Center. The Election Center is the non-profit organization that provides classes and instruction for state and local election officials. They also work 'hand-in-hand' with the vendors and spread misleading propaganda such as that voiced by Commissioner DeGregorio.
And where in these two articles did Commissioner DeGregorio get the idea that "voter confidence rose to levels not seen since before Election 2000"? Does he make this claim as part of the artistic license that comes with being the Election Assistance Cheerleader? How much confidence should the voter have in our elections when a national election official misinforms and puts up smoke-screens to hide the truth? Not much I think.
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