Archive for the '’06 Election' Category

Evidence Suggests U.S. Attorney Firings May Have Been Part of White House Scheme to Help Game 2008 Election

Posted in '06 Election, '08 Election, Brad Blog, General, Legal on March 31st, 2007
Karl Rove Associate and GOP Operative Tim Griffin’s Appointment in Arkansas — and Others Like it — Are Worth Noting as the Scandal Continues to Unravel…

Details continue to drip out from the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal which seem to suggest that electoral politics — and perhaps the 2008 election in particular — may well have been at the heart of the White House/Dept. of Justice scheme to strategically place partisan operatives where they might be most useful prior to the next Presidential Election.

One such detail revealed itself on Tuesday March 20th when Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball to discuss the recent purge of several US Attorneys by the Bush Administration. Host Chris Matthews opened the segment by asking Pryor how much he knew about the White House’s decision to replace the US Attorney in his state, Bud Cummins, with one of Karl Rove’s associates, a partisan operative named Tim Griffin.

Pryor criticized the Attorney General for firing Cummins and replacing him with Griffin, who had very little professional experience in Arkansas and had only recently moved there when Cummins was fired in December of 2006. Cummins, on the other hand, whom George W. Bush himself had appointed in 2001, had been well respected, competent, and non-partisan (despite personally being a Republican).

But the real bombshell came near the end of the interview….

Cummins told Matthews before going on the air that he had heard a “conspiracy theory” about why the Administration had chosen to replace Cummins with Griffin, and Matthews asked him about it a short time later when they were live. “Well,” Pryor said, slightly uncomfortable. “There’s kind of a conspiracy theory about that.”

“Some people have pointed to that, said isn’t that strange, here [the Administration is] putting in a maybe highly-political US Attorney in Hillary Clinton’s backyard… Isn’t that odd right before the Presidential race?” Pryor explained.

The implication was that if Republicans had a partisan prosecutor in Arkansas where the Clintons lived while Bill had served as governor during the 1980s, he would be able to drudge up old political dirt on the couple in time for the 2008 elections.

Pryor was quick to add that he didn’t personally subscribe to the theory, but that it was just speculation he had been hearing among political insiders.

But Griffin’s nomination wasn’t the only one with political and electoral undertones that might not bode well for Democrats in 2008. In fact, a report from the McClatchy Newspaper syndicate last Friday indicated that the Bush Administration has replaced US Attorneys in several key states, just in time for the 2008 Presidential election.

In April 2006, Karl Rove gave a keynote address to the National Lawyers Association, a partisan legal group. “He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in 2008,” McClatchy recalled in their report.

“Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005.”

Incidentally, during the same speech, Rove also acknowledged his friend, Thor Hearne, who had been both General Counsel to the Bush-Cheney 2004 election campaign and also Executive Director of the GOP front group “American Center for Voting Rights” or ACVR, which has engaged in voter suppression efforts via phony propagandistic reports on America’s non-existent “voter fraud” epidemic since 2004. (BRAD BLOG’s extensive coverage of ACVR can be found here. The group’s website has suddenly disappeared since the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal has come to light.)

“I ran into Thor Hearne as I was coming in,” Rove told the audience. “He was leaving; he was smart, and he was leaving to go out and enjoy the day.”

“I want to thank you for your work on clean elections,” he continued. “I know a lot of you spent time in the 2004 election, the 2002 election, the 2000 election in your communities or in strange counties in Florida, helping make it certain that we had the fair and legitimate outcome of the election,” Rove told the Republican attorneys.

He also compared elections in “some parts of the country” to those that take place in third-world dictatorships where the “guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored sunglasses.” Whether he was aware of the irony of his comments is still unknown.

In any event, three of the US Attorneys Bush has nominated since the 2004 election were, remarkably enough, from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which has been criticized for implementing policies which unfairly disadvantage poor, often minority voters whose political tendencies historically favor Democrats.

And Griffin himself had allegedly been involved with voter suppression. Griffin, as investigative journalist Greg Palast discovered in 2004, was one of the RNC operatives that had thought up a complicated scheme to disenfranchise Americans who did not respond to letters sent to their home addresses. Victims of the scheme whose votes were thrown away, Palast reported, included homeless people, and black soldiers serving overseas who obviously could not respond to mail, marked with “do not forward” instructions, delivered to their home addresses.

The scheme Griffin played a role in also reportedly targeted predominately African American areas in swing states such as Florida.

Griffin recently dismissed Palast’s reporting in a radio interview. “I’m intimately familiar with [Palast’s] allegations. That is a web article on the Internet. It’s patently false,” he pointed out, as if a “web article,” and “on the Internet” no less, might marginalize the facts of the report. Yet Griffin may not have been so intimately familiar with the allegations from that “web article on the Internet” after all: They were aired during a report by Palast, as filed on the television program “Newsnight” for the BBC. (A video of the original report can be found on YouTube).

When Justice Department and White House officials first tried to explain the US Attorney firings, they claimed that several of the prosecutors who had been forced to resign had refused to follow up on allegations of “voter fraud.” Some immediately recognized that “voter fraud” allegations have been the weapon of choice, of late, by Republicans attempting to make it more difficult for certain groups of Americans — particularly those in minority areas whose voters do not typically lean GOP — to vote, by pushing new regulations and disenfranchising Photo ID legislation as a “protective measure.”

The DoJ claims that the firings were “voter fraud” related raised some skepticism at BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and even led to the New York Times editorial page to sharply criticize the supposed rationale for the firings. It is perhaps ironic that the public explanation the Administration has given for firing the prosecutors — specifically related to elections — may ultimately draw more attention to what some suspect is a deeper scheme to set up a system of disenfranchisement just in time for the 2008 elections.

At least one Arkansas newspaper has called for Griffin’s resignation since the US Attorney scandal began, and he has said that he would only stay until the Administration found a suitable replacement. The White House has privately worried that Griffin would not be able to pass muster in Senate confirmation hearings, which he would be required to undergo if he wanted to keep his current job. The loophole in the PATRIOT Act which allowed Griffin and others to bypass the normal confirmation process was recently closed by the Senate in a vote of 94-2. The House is expected to pick up the matter soon.


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Posted on The Brad Blog by Arlen Parsa

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Former US Atty says goal of Bush’s DOJ was to fix elections.

Posted in '04 Election, '06 Election, Disenfranchisement, General, Legal, Voter Fraud on March 30th, 2007

THE SCANDAL unfolding around the firing of eight U.S. attorneys compels the conclusion that the Bush administration has rewarded loyalty over all else. A destructive pattern of partisan political actions at the Justice Department started long before this incident, however, as those of us who worked in its civil rights division can attest.

I spent more than 35 years in the department enforcing federal civil rights laws — particularly voting rights. Before leaving in 2005, I worked for attorneys general with dramatically different political philosophies — from John Mitchell to Ed Meese to Janet Reno. Regardless of the administration, the political appointees had respect for the experience and judgment of longtime civil servants.

Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rich29mar29,0…

It was all about fixing the elections. Maybe that is what Karl was talking about when he said he had “the” math. Rigging the elections. I’m starting to think this could be more like Watergate than we originally thought.

posted by Hamlette on Democratic Underground

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Opinion: More proof of e-voting trouble (cue crickets)

Posted in '04 Election, '06 Election, '08 Election, Black Box (Electronic) Voting, Brad Blog, GAO, General on March 9th, 2007

by Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG for Computerworld.com 

GAO report a reminder that EAC has failed entirely, says Brad Friedman

March 08, 2007 (Computerworld) — Here we go again: Yet another confirmation by the non-partisan GAO on Wednesday, in yet another a sure-to-be-ignored report, that our electronic voting systems across the country are a hellish patchwork of un-overseen technological mayhem and disaster. This latest is entitled “ELECTIONS: All Levels of Government Are Needed to Address Electronic Voting System Challenges” (PDF format).

But what are the chances that anyone in the mainstream media is paying attention?

The report was released yesterday along with testimony given by Randolph C. Hite, the GAO Information Technology Architecture and Systems Director, at a hearing on “Ensuring the Integrity of Elections” in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government this afternoon.

Among the folks on the hot seat at the hearing was U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Donetta Davidson, of whom we at Brad Blog been more than critical on a number of issues, including her failure to release information to the public (or even to elections officials) concerning the disastrous state of the federally approved CIBER test lab.

That lab was one of three private companies which secretly test all American voting systems at the federally level, until they secretly failed to receive accreditation last year from the EAC. The three made up the “Independent Testing Authority” — all of which are paid for by the Voting Machine Companies themselves.

CIBER had signed off on nearly 70 percent of the electronic voting systems used last November. Despite the discovery of those serious problems at the lab by Davidson’s EAC last July, it wasn’t until a front-page story in the New York Times in January of this year that anybody learned about the mess. Instead, the EAC inexcusably allowed America to vote on those systems last November with no warning — even to elections officials — that there were known problems.

The secret EAC reports — yes, more secrecy — revealed the sloppy, incomplete and frequently non-existent “testing” performed by CIBER. The testing process (such as it is) is now documented online, if you’ve got the tech-stomach for them.

But more on Davidson and the remarkable, documented failures of the EAC in a later detailed investigative report which we’ve been working on for many weeks. For now, Hite’s 56-page report, released Wednesday, summarizes many of the GAO’s excellent, recent, and all-but ignored reports on voting systems from over the past year or two.

Utter HAVA disarray — documented

The report covers the lack of security and reliability standards and testing for all electronic voting systems across the country at the federal, state and local levels. It reveals a system of democracy in utter disarray in the wake of the ill-conceived and ill-administered Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and the technological nightmare now facing voting jurisdictions across the United States.

One of those ignored reports, which The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively about in 2005, was also referenced in the new GAO report.

We highlight the point referenced again here, since few people (see above) heard about it the first time out:

We concluded in 2005 that these concerns have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.

Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it.

But the take-away point from the latest report is the underscore, once again, of how the entire system would be immeasurably and immediately simplified by doing away with all disenfranchising, unreliable, inaccurate and hackable — easily hackable — Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems.

As well, Hite’s report underlined yet again that the e-voting activists once criticized as “conspiracy theorists” have been right all along. It’s hard for someone who’s been following the trail for years not to break into a chorus of “I told you so,” dedicated to the Republicans, Elections Officials, Voting Machine Companies (and a few utterly reckless and reprehensible Democrats to boot) who simply refused to handle the truth.

Hite finishes big, and with an important warning:

[E]lectronic voting systems are an undeniably critical link in the overall election chain. While this link alone cannot make an election, it can break one. The problems that some jurisdictions have experienced and the serious concerns that have surfaced highlight the potential for continuing difficulties in upcoming national elections if these challenges are not effectively addressed.

Note the word “effectively” in the above paragraph. Election Reform legislation is not enough; if it’s not effective, it’s meaningless and sends democracy back over the same cliff over which the process pitched in Florida 2000, Ohio 2004 and Sarasota 2006. Without a DRE ban — as in Holt’s bill if it’s not amended — there’s nothing to stop us from heading off that same cliff all over again in 2008.

The buck passes here

One last point. The issue of a DRE ban came up in an extraordinary and enlightening phone call I had last week with the top honchos at the EAC, including Davidson. Davidson and the others at the EAC claim that they do not have the power to decertify any of the voting systems which have been approved prior to now.

They claim that voting systems approved as meeting federal standards by the Voting Systems Board of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), who handled certification of systems prior to the EAC’s newly announced program (which has yet to certify anything) cannot be decertified by the EAC’s program. That despite Davidson herself having been a member of the NASED Voting Systems Board prior to her appointment at EAC, and Tom Wilkey, the EAC’s current Executive Director, having been the chairman of that NASED board.

It wasn’t “us” (EAC) that made bad certification decisions, goes the message — it was “them” (NASED). “We can’t decertify something we didn’t certify,” EAC spokesperson Jeannie Layson told us during the call, as they each passed the buck.

But the GAO report today would seem to indicate otherwise:

“[E]xamples of EAC responsibilities include…testing, certifying, decertifying, and recertifying voting system hardware and software through accredited laboratories…”

Luckily, it’s only American democracy and the future of the entire world at stake, so it’s no big thing. Anyone know the latest on Anna Nicole?!

Brad Friedman is the proprietor of The Brad Blog.

 

 

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Landslide Denied: Exit Polls vs. Vote Count 2006

Posted in '06 Election, Exit Polls, General on November 19th, 2006

Under-sampling of Democrats in the House Exit Poll

and the Corruption of the Official Vote Count

Jonathan Simon, JD, and Bruce O’Dell1

Election Defense Alliance

Introduction: Pre-Election Concern, Election Day Relief, Alarming Reality

There was an unprecedented level of concern approaching the 2006 Election (“E2006”) about the vulnerability of the vote counting process to manipulation. With e-voting having proliferated nationwide, and with incidents occurring with regularity through 2005 and 2006, the alarm spread from computer experts to the media and the public at large. It would be fair to say that America approached E2006 with held breath.

For many observers, the results on Election Day permitted a great sigh of relief—not because control of Congress shifted from Republicans to Democrats, but because it appeared that the public will had been translated more or less accurately into electoral results, not thwarted as some had feared. There was a relieved rush to conclude that the vote counting process had been fair and that the concerns of election integrity proponents had been overblown.

Unfortunately the evidence forces us to a very different and disturbing conclusion: there was gross vote count manipulation and it had a great impact on the results of E2006, significantly decreasing the magnitude of what would have been, accurately tabulated, a landslide of epic proportions. Because virtually all of this manipulation appears to have been computer-based, and therefore invisible to the legions of at-the-poll observers, the public was informed of “isolated incidents and glitches” but remains unaware of the far greater story: The electoral machinery and vote counting systems of the United States did not honestly and accurately translate the public will and certainly can not be counted on to do so in the future.

The Evidentiary Basis

Our analysis of the distortions introduced into the E2006 vote count relies heavily on the official exit polls once again undertaken by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International (“Edison/Mitofsky”) on behalf of a consortium of major media outlets known as the National Election Pool (NEP). In presenting exit poll-based evidence of vote count corruption, we are all too aware of the campaign that has long been waged to discredit the reliability of exit polls as a measure of voter intent. Our analysis is not, however, based on a broad assumption of exit poll reliability. We maintain only that the national exit poll for E2006 contains within it a specific question that serves as an intrinsic and objective yardstick by which the validity of the poll’s sample can be established, from which our conclusions flow directly.

For the purposes of this analysis our primary attention is directed to the exit poll in which respondents were asked for whom they cast their vote for the House of Representatives. 2 Although only a few House races were polled as individual races, an additional nationwide sample of more than 10,000 voters was drawn,3 the results representing the aggregate vote for the House in E2006. The sample was weighted according to a variety of demographics and had a margin of error of +/- 1%.

When we compare the results of this national exit poll with the total vote count for all House races we find that once again, as in the 2004 Election (“E2004”), there is a very significant exit poll-vote count discrepancy. The exit poll indicates a Democratic victory margin nearly 4%, or 3 million votes, greater than the margin actually recorded by the vote counting machinery. This is far outside the margin of error of the poll and has less than a one in 10,000 likelihood of occurring as a matter of chance.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

1 Jonathan Simon, JD (http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/jonathan_simon) is Co-founder of Election

Defense Alliance. Bruce O’Dell (http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/bruce_odell) is EDA Data

Analysis Coordinator.

2 Edison/Mitofsky exit polls for the Senate races, which also present alarming discrepancies, will be treated

in a separate paper.

3 The sample size was roughly equal to that used to measure the national popular vote in presidential

elections. At-precinct interviews were supplemented by phone interviews where needed to sample early

and absentee voters.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Did The 2006 Exit Poll Oversample Democrats?

An Intrinsic Yardstick Answers This Question

In E2004 the only nontrivial argument against the validity of the exit polls—other than the mere assumption that the vote counts must be correct—turned out to be the hypothesis, never supported by evidence, that Republicans had been more reluctant to respond and that therefore Democrats were “oversampled.”4 And now, in E2006, the claim has once again been made that the Exit Polls were “off” because Democrats were oversampled. Indeed this claim is by now accepted with something of a “so what else is new?” shrug. The 2006 Exit Poll, however, contains an intrinsic yardstick that directly refutes this familiar claim.

Because the NEP envisions the post-election purpose of its exit polls as being limited to facilitating academic dissection of the election’s dynamics and demographics (e.g., “How did the 18-25 age group vote?” or “How did voters especially concerned with the economy vote?”), the NEP methodology calls for “adjusting” its exit polls to congruence with the actual vote percentages after the polls close and actual returns become available. Exit polls are “adjusted” on the ironclad assumption that the vote counts are valid. This becomes the supreme truth, relative to which all else is measured, and therefore it is assumed that polls that match these vote counts will present the most accurate information about the demographics and voting patterns of the electorate.

Logic tells us that if such an adjusted poll yields obviously inaccurate and distorted information about the demographics and voting patterns of the electorate, then the vote count it was forced to match is itself invalid—and quantifiably so.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

4 See for example David Bauder, AP, in a November 8 article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/

content/article/2006/11/08/AR2006110800403.html . Oddly enough, ?oversampling? of Democrats has

become a chronic condition of exit polls since the proliferation of e-voting, no matter how diligently the

nonpartisan collection of experts at the peak of their profession strives to prevent it.

5 Any informed discussion of exit polling must distinguish among three separate categories of data: 1)

“Raw” data, which comprises the actual responses to the questionnaires simply tallied up (this data is never

publicly released and, in any case, makes no claim to accurately represent the electorate and can not be

usefully compared with vote counts); 2) “Weighted” data, which has been weighted or stratified on the

basis of several demographic and voting pattern variables to reflect the electorate as accurately as the

pollsters can manage with the extensive information they possess; and 3) “Forced” or “adjusted” data, in

which the pollster overrides all previous weighting in order to make the “Who did you vote for?” result in a

given race match the vote count for that race, however it distorts the demographics of the sample (that’s

why they call it “forcing”).

6 The 7:07 p.m. exit poll, as posted on CNN.com, reported a 10,207 sample size and, in accordance with

NEP methodology, the raw data had been weighted to closely match the demographics of the electorate.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

The E2006 exit poll itself contains a “background” question which serves as an intrinsic measuring stick to allow us to put this claim to a very objective test. Respondents were asked for whom they voted in the 2004 presidential election.

Because this very telling intrinsic yardstick was included in the 2006 Exit Poll, it provides an objective basis to assess whether Democratic and Republican voters actually were sampled and weighted in correct proportions. In fact it reveals that Democrats won by a 4% greater margin than indicated by the actual vote count.

In the 2004 election, Bush’s margin was 2.8%. The 2006 exit poll results as of 7:07 p.m. on Election Night recorded a comparable 2% margin among respondents asked for whom they had voted in 2004, 45% Kerry to 47% Bush. This is a very strong indicator that the exit poll, on the evening of November 7th, accurately reflected the official 2006 outcome as a whole. The 2006 national vote for the House, as captured by this weighted but unadjusted Election Night exit poll, was 55.0% Democratic and 43.5% Republican, an 11.5% Democratic margin.

By 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8th, the final adjusted exit poll reported the overall vote for the House was 52.6% Democratic and 45.0% Republican. This was a 7.6% margin that matched the overnight preliminary 2006 election results tally, but was 3.9% smaller than that recorded by the 7:07 p.m. Election Night poll.

Yet for the same question—“For whom did you vote in the 2004 presidential election?”—the final, adjusted exit poll showed a margin of 43% Kerry to 49% Bush. This 6% margin in favor of Bush was a dramatic distortion of the 2.8% margin actually recorded in E2004.7

In the process of adjustment (or “forced weighting”) to make the poll results equal or mirror the reported vote results, the sample had to be distorted, by giving less weight to the respondents who said they had voted for a Democratic candidate and more weight to the respondents who said they had voted Republican.

In order to match the results of the official tally, the 2006 exit poll adjustment was so extensive that it finally depicted an electorate that voted for Bush over Kerry by a 6% margin in 2004: very clearly an undersampling of Democrats and an oversampling of Republicans.8

See Appendix 1 for detailed tabular presentation of the above data.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

7 While we present the reported 2.8% Bush margin in 2004 at face value, it will not escape notice that the

distortions in vote tabulation that we establish in the current paper were also alleged in 2004, were

evidenced by the 2004 exit polls, and were demonstrably achievable given the electronic voting systems

deployed at that time. We note that, if upon retrospective evaluation the unadjusted 2004 exit polls were as

accurate as the 2006 exit polls have proven to be, and their 2.5% margin for Kerry in 2004 is taken as the

appropriate baseline, a correctly weighted sample in 2006 would have included even more Kerry voters and

even fewer Bush voters than Edison/Mitofsky?s 7:07 p.m. poll, with a substantial consequent up-tick in the

Democratic margin.

8 The distortion is introduced because every “I voted for the Democrat for the House” questionnaire is

given a decreased weight necessary to bring the total Democratic vote down to the official reported

percentage, and every “I voted for the Republican” questionnaire is given an increased weight needed to

bring the total Republican vote up to the official reported percentage. That weighting also affects equally

the response to every question on the questionnaire, including of course the “Who did you vote for in the

presidential election of 2004?? question. That is how the results for that question went from 47%-45%

Bush in the weighted but unadjusted poll to 49%-43% Bush in the adjusted poll posted the next day.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

What Really Happened On November 7th?

If the final and official exit poll numbers so grossly oversampled Republicans and undersampled Democrats in order to force a match of the overall numbers to the aggregate House vote tally reported on November 8th, then we must conclude that the valid exit poll was the unadjusted exit poll – from 7PM the previous evening – that gave us very nearly the correct proportions of Kerry and Bush voters.

That unadjusted poll indicated that the Democrats’ 2006 total House vote margin was 11.5%, or nearly 4% greater than the 7.6% reported vote count margin.9 This represents nearly a three million vote discrepancy between the validated exit poll results and the reported vote tally for the US House of Representatives. What could account for such a dramatic difference?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

9 The 11.5% Democratic margin indicated in the unadjusted exit poll early on Election Night also was

consistent with the average of the major ?Generic House? public opinion polls conducted immediately prior

to the election. In fact, the 11.5% margin was substantially smaller than predicted by all but two ?outlier?

polls. nal_ballot-22.html…. It is

worth noting that virtually all of the pre-election polls shift, in the month before the election, to a “likelyvoter

cutoff model” (LCVM) that excludes entirely any voters not highly likely (on the basis of a battery of

screening questions) to cast ballots; that is, it excludes entirely voters with a 25% or even 50% likelihood of

voting. Since these are disproportionately transients and first-time voters, the less educated and affluent, it

is also a correspondingly Democratic constituency that is disproportionately excluded. Ideally these voters

should be down-weighted to their estimated probability of voting, but that probability is not 0%. By

excluding them entirely, these pre-election polls build in a pro-Republican bias of about 2-5%. Dr. Steven

Freeman, visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Organizational Dynamics, has

examined this phenomenon in great detail. Of course, one of the reasons for the recent shift to the LVCM–

a methodology that pollsters will generally admit is distorted but which they maintain nonetheless ?gets it

right?–is that pollsters are not paid for methodological purity, they are paid to get it right. The reality is

that distorted vote counts and a distorted but ?successful? pre-election polling methodology are

corroborating and validating each other, with only the exit polls (drawn from actual voters) seeming out of

step.

10 Consequently even the unadjusted exit poll, which fit the contours of the 2004 electorate, very likely

undersampled the Democrats voting in E2006. Indeed, once the on-going analysis fully quantifies the

extent of the Democrats’ turnout victory, it will be time to recalculate upward the extent of the vote

miscount in 2006. Our estimates, impounding the several exacerbating factors we have noted, put the likely

Democratic victory margin in the total House vote at more than 20% (61% – 38%).

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Differential turnout?

While it could be argued that a sample with a 6% Bush > Kerry voter margin might be valid because Republicans turned out in droves and routed the Democrats in the E2006 turnout battle, there are a plethora of measures, including individual precinct tallies, that indicate the obvious: the Democrats clearly won the Get-Out-The-Vote battle; in fact many Republican voters stayed home, dismayed and turned-off by the late-breaking run of scandals, bad news, and missteps.10

The Democrats clearly won the turnout battle and yet the only way that the adjusted exit poll could be valid is to postulate a disproportionately Republican electorate that favored Bush by 6% rather than 2.8% in 2004, clearly a contradiction.

Vote count discrepancy?

If the weighted but unadjusted Election Night exit poll is valid as indicated, then it must be the reported vote tally which is inaccurate.11 Although this is, to put it mildly, an unwelcome finding, it is unfortunately consonant with analyses we are currently performing of the many specific incidents of vote-switching and mistabulation reported in 2006, and with a host of other evidence and analysis that has emerged about electronic voting technology as deployed in the United States.

We have argued that there is a remarkable degree of consensus among computer scientists,12 security professionals,13 government agencies,14 and independent analysts15 that U.S. electronic vote tallying technology is vulnerable to unintentional programming errors16 and to deliberate manipulation—certainly by foul-play-minded insiders at voting equipment vendors, but also by other individuals with access to voting equipment hardware or software.17

We have a system of “faith-based” voting where we are simply asked to trust the integrity of the count produced by the machines that tally our votes, with little if any effective checks and balances. In the context of yet another election replete with reported problems with vote tallying,18 the continuing mismatch between the preferences expressed by voters as captured in national exit polls, and the official vote tally as reported to the public is extremely disturbing.

Conclusion

While the reported results of the 2006 election were certainly well-received by the Democratic party and were ballpark-consistent with public expectations, the unadjusted 2006 exit poll data indicates that what has been cast as a typical midterm setback for a president in his second term was something rather more remarkable – a landslide repudiation of historic proportions.

We believe that the degree of statistical distortion now required to force exit polls to match the official tally is the clearest possible warning that the ever-growing catalog of reported vulnerabilities in America’s electronic vote counting systems are not only possible to exploit, they are actually being exploited.

Any system so clearly at risk of interference and gross manipulation can not and should not be trusted to tally the votes in any future elections.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

11 It will no doubt be objected that if such substantial manipulation of the vote counts is possible, why

would it stop short of bringing about a general electoral victory? While we would like to credit the

heightened scrutiny engendered by the untiring efforts of election integrity groups, an awakening media,

and a more informed and vigilant public, an alternative, more chilling, explanation has been suggested?

simply that the mechanics of manipulation (software modules, primarily) had to be deployed before latebreaking

pre-election developments greatly expanded the gap that such manipulation would have been

calibrated to cover.

12 For instance http://www.acm.org/usacm/weblog/index.php?cat=6

13 See the credentials of the interdisciplinary Brennan Center Task Force membership at

http://brennancenter.org/dynamic/subpages/download_file_36343.pdf

14 http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05956.pdf

15 See http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVtsxstudy.pdf, http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVtsxstudysupp.pdf, and http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVreport.pdf

16 Credible reports of voting equipment malfunctions are all too common; one good starting point is

http://www.votersunite.org/info/messupsbyvendor.asp

17 For example http://brennancenter.org/programs/downloads/SecurityFull7-3Reduced.pdf

18 Election 2006 incidents at http://www.votersunite.org/electionproblems.asp

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

 From Election Defense Alliance

 

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Report: Group Says Exit Polls Show ‘Landslide Denied’ Democrats In Last Week’s Election!

Posted in '06 Election, Brad Blog, Exit Polls, General on November 17th, 2006
Election Defense Alliance Says ‘Major Miscount In U.S. Election’ Cost Dems 3 Million Votes Nationwide!
National Exit Poll Once Again Adjusted to Match Vote Totals, Report Says

Guest blogged by Emily Levy of Velvet Revolution for The BRAD BLOG


Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national election integrity organization, issued a press release yesterday announcing their new report, “Landslide Denied: Exit Polls vs. Vote Count 2006.”

According to EDA, the Edison-Mitofsky National Exit Poll, conducted by a consortium of news organizations, showed at 7 p.m. on Election Night an 11.5% vote margin in favor of Dems nationwide. But by 1:00 p.m. on the following day, according to EDA, “[T]he Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted, by a process known as ‘forcing,’ to match the reported vote totals for the election.” The adjusted exit polls showed “a 7.6 percent margin exactly mirroring the reported vote totals.”

It was EDA co-founder Jonathan Simon whose foresight in downloading the Edison-Mitofsky exit polls on Election Night 2004 before those polls were adjusted made the discovery of the now-infamous “red shift” possible. Analysis of the original exit polls from 2004 became one of the most compelling bodies of evidence to suggest that the 2004 election was stolen on behalf of George W. Bush.


Now EDA reveals evidence of similar manipulation of this year’s election. In his story Clear Evidence 2006 Congressional Election Hacked, executive editor of OpEdNews Rob Kall quotes Simon as saying:

We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape…so ‘the fix’ turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances….”When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure–of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7.

The BRAD BLOG wishes to point out the difference between election “hacking” and “rigging.” Hacking can be done by outsiders armed with such difficult-to-obtain weapons as a hotel mini-bar key (in the case of the Diebold TSx) or a finger (in the case of the Sequoia touchscreen machines). Rigging would be done by an insider such as someone working for an electronic voting machine company or a department of elections. The evidence of skewed results in the 2006 Congressional election doesn’t specifically prove whether hacking or rigging or both occurred, but certainly magnifies the call for further investigation into irregularities in the 2006 elections. Will this new report help the newly-elected-but-apparently-robbed-of-its-landslide Democratic Majority Congress understand the importance of revamping our election system before 2008?

The next phase of Election Defense Alliance’s work will be to analyze results of specific Congressional races. This work will include analysis of exit polls commissioned by Velvet Revolution (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) and other independent organizations. Perhaps then we will find out how many Democratic (or even Republican) candidates who have been declared losers actually won their races.


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Ohio’s 2006 Vote Count Now Includes A Higher Percentage Of Uncounted ballots than in 2004, And A Statistically Impossible Swing To The Republicans

Posted in '06 Election, Absentee Ballots, Bob Fitrakis, Exit Polls, General, Harvey Wasserman, Provisional Ballots, Ron Baiman on November 16th, 2006

by Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman and Ron Baiman

November 14, 2006

Original Article @ http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2006/2250

The percentage of uncounted votes in the allegedly “fraud free” 2006 Ohio election is actually higher than the fraud-ridden 2004 election, when the presidency was stolen here. A flawed voting process that allowed voters to be illegally turned away throughout the morning on Election Day may have cost the Dems at least two Congressional seats and a state auditor’s seat.

The evidence comes directly from the official website of GOP Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell Blackwell website. But researchers wishing to verify the number of uncounted ballots from that web site should do so immediately, as Blackwell is known for quickly deleting embarrassing evidence. In 2004, Blackwell deleted the evidence of excessive uncounted votes after the final results were tallied.

Despite Democratic victories in five of six statewide partisan offices, an analysis by the Free Press shows a statistically implausible shift of votes away from the Democratic Party statewide candidates on Election Day, contrasted with the results of the Columbus Dispatch’s final poll. The Dispatch poll predicted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland winning with 67% of the vote. His actual percentage was 60%. The odds of this occurring are one in 604 million. 

(Freepress has numbers matrix/chart in this area)

The final Columbus Dispatch poll wrapped up on Friday before the Tuesday election. This poll was based on 1541 registered Ohio voters, with a margin of error at plus/minus 2.2 percentage points and a 95% confidence interval. The Dispatch noted “The survey’s 7-point variance from Democrat Ted Strickland’s actual percentage total broke a string of five straight gubernatorial elections in which the poll exactly matched the victor’s share of the vote.”

The hotly disputed central Ohio Congressional race between incumbent Deborah Pryce, a close friend of George W. Bush, and challenger Mary Jo Kilroy, a Democratic Franklin County Commissioner has not been officially resolved as of today, November 14. The Franklin County Board of Elections has postponed the official recount of this race until after the November 18 Ohio State-Michigan football game. Another bitterly disputed Congressional race, on the outskirts of Cincinnati, also awaits a recount.

The major news leaking from the Blackwell web site is the stunning percentage of uncounted votes still outstanding throughout the state. When John Kerry conceded the day after the 2004 election, there were some 248,000 Ohio votes still uncounted, out of 5,722,443 officially cast. This was an astonishing 4.3% of the votes.

George W. Bush’s alleged margin of victory at the time was about 136,000 votes, which dropped to about 118,000 after a fraudulent recount. More than two years later, more than 100,000 votes from Ohio’s 2004 election remain uncounted including 93,000 machine rejected ballots.

Today, in 2006, the percentage of the official total vote that remains uncounted is actually higher than in 2004. According to Blackwell’s web site, there are 211,656 absentee and provisional ballots still uncounted in 2006, out of 4,177,498 votes officially cast. This is 5.1% of the total official vote.

The high percentage of provisional ballots is due mainly to new strategies used by Blackwell and the GOP legislature to eliminate votes in targeted areas. In Franklin County (Columbus), which is now heavily Democratic, there were 14,462 provisional ballots—2.7% of total votes—cast in 2004. In 2006 the number soared to 20,679, a substantial jump constituting more than 6% of all voters, in an election in which fewer total votes were cast.

Provisional ballots are issued when poll workers challenge citizens’ rights to a regular ballot. The provisional ballot will allegedly be counted later if proof of registration and proper residency are established. But to this day, some 16,000 such provisional ballots from 2004 have never been tallied.

According to Blackwell’s site, in 2006, there are 46,458 uncounted ballots in Franklin County alone. According to Matt Damschroder, Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, some 19,524 are in Franklin County, where Kilroy is a Commissioner. Another 900 or so Kilroy-Pryce votes remain uncounted in the Madison and Union Counties.

The preliminary vote count finished election night gave Pryce a margin of some 3,536 votes. But Kilroy has refused to concede.

In 2004, Blackwell listed 788 precincts in Franklin Country, with 845,720 registered voters and some 533,575 votes cast, a 63.09% official turnout.

After the 2004 vote, the GOP-controlled board of elections purged some 170,000 Franklin County citizens from the registration rolls. The GOP claimed the right to eliminate those who had not voted in the previous two presidential election cycles. This is allowed by federal law not mandated. The impact has carried over to 2006.

For 2006, Blackwell has listed 834 precincts with 766,490 registered voters and 342,958 votes cast, an official 44.74% turnout. He lists 46,458 absentee and provisional votes cast in Franklin County. But much of the lower turnout and high provisional vote count may have to do with partisan restrictions imposed by Blackwell and the GOP, aimed at stealing elections precisely like the one between Pryce and Kilroy.

New voting requirements imposed by Ohio’s HB 3, passed by the GOP legislature just after the 2004 election, led to the “flagging” of hundreds of thousands of voters in Ohio. Free Press reporters have observed a “Stop Sign” icon next to the name of between 20-40% of the voters in inner city and campus precincts in Columbus.

The stop sign is outlined on page 50 of the Franklin County Board of Elections “Precinct Elections Training Manual.” It is tied to a “60-day election notice” sent to voters, but being returned as “undeliverable.” Ballots cast by voters with stop signs next to their names have been electronically recorded as provisional, according to the Training Manual, and many are likely to go uncounted because the voters were in the wrong precinct.

Traditionally, Ohioans have been able to cast a provisional ballot in any precinct in their home county. But Blackwell issued a directive in the lead-up to the 2004 presidential election ordering that citizens voting in the wrong precinct would not have their votes counted at all.

Free Press observers, and statements called into the Free Press, indicate that poll workers imposed large numbers of provisional ballots on voters in Kilroy’s strongholds at the Ohio State University campus and elsewhere in Columbus. A single election observer with the Five Candidates Election Observer Project 2006 reported that 1000 complaints an hour were coming into the Franklin County Board of Elections. So many were logged early in the day that the phone lines set up for the precinct workers failed. The phones for the public had to be diverted to answer the deluge of questions from pollworkers.

The Kilroy race thus may hinge on how many provisional ballots were trashed at the polling stations or will be discarded during the recount. Because the vast bulk of the uncounted ballots are in Kilroy’s strongholds, the she would normally be expected to pick up enough votes to eradicate Pryce’s current margin. On election night, Fox News initially announced that Kilroy would win.

But Franklin County’s Republican BOE Director Matt Damschroder has postponed the recount until after Saturday’s home game between number one-ranked Ohio State and number two-ranked Michigan. Rioting has traditionally broken out after this game, but the ballots are being stored at the BOE downtown, far from Buckeye Stadium.

The stunning number of uncounted, absentee and provisional ballots listed by Blackwell indicates that there may have been deeper problems with the 2006 Ohio election than widely believed.

Another Congressional race is being bitterly contested in three counties outside Cincinnati that of themselves gave George W. Bush his official margin of victory in 2004. In one of them, Warren County, an unexplained Homeland Security alert was declared just as the polls closed, with independent observers then banned from the vote count. This alert has yet to be explained by the HSA or FBI. In a special 2005 election this district, dubious computer glitches and scantron ballot problems resulted in a late night surge that gave a narrow and much-doubted margin to the Republican, Jean Schmidt, whose re-election by another narrow margin is now being angrily questioned. How many other tight races in Ohio may have been swung by dubious manipulations remains to be seen.

Though it’s just a week since the votes were cast here, reports of parallel irregularities pouring in from around the country indicate that the Rove/Blackwell election theft machine was in high gear on November 7. Thousands of grass-roots volunteers who monitored procedures around the US clearly made a difference.

But the full story of what really happened in Ohio 2006 and elsewhere almost certainly won’t be known until well after this year’s college football season.

–

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?, just published by the New Press. They are of counsel and plaintiff in the King Lincoln lawsuit which helped unearth many of the irregularities in the 2004 and 2005 election. Fitrakis was an independent candidate for governor in Ohio 2006, endorsed by the Green Party. Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, is available at www.solartopia.org. Ron Baiman is a statistician and researcher at Loyola University. Read more of their work at http://freepress.org.

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TRUTHISALL: The 2006 FINAL National Exit Poll does NOT compute – again!

Posted in '06 Election, Exit Polls, General, Main Stream Media, TruthIsAll on November 11th, 2006
Once again, the FINAL National Exit Poll does NOT compute.
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/US/H/00/epolls.0.html

THE DEMOCRATS DID MUCH BETTER THAN THE FINAL EXIT POLL
INDICATES!

They always do.

Remember Kerry in 2004?

He won the 13047 respondent National Exit Poll timeline
at 12:22am by 51-47%.

But the Final Exit Poll (13660 respondents at 2pm) said Bush
won by 51-48%.

Fast forward to 2006.

The 7pm Montana exit poll said Tester won by 53-46.
The Final Exit Poll: 50-47.5
The recorded vote: 49-48

The 7pm Virginia exit poll said Webb won by 53-46.
The Final Exit Poll: 50.1-49.9	
The recorded vote: 50-49.

What do 2004 and 2006 also have in common?
The Final Exit Poll was matched to the recorded vote.
It always is. That's SOP.
The Democratic vote was 3% too low.

Bottom line:

If the recorded vote was bogus and the election was rigged
through uncounted ballots and switched votes, you would
never know it from the Final Exit Poll.

But if you view the earlier exit poll timeline, you would
be alerted to fraud. And if you analyze the demographics,
you would confirm the theft.

Let's start our analysis with the 116 GENERIC PRE-ELECTION
POLL TREND LINE.  The Democratic vote share has been a
steadily increasing trend line.

On Nov. 7, the Dems held a 14.6% lead over the GOP.

Here's graphic proof:
http://www.geocities.com/electionmodel/Election2006_16921_image001.png

The Generic trend line on Nov.7:
Dem 51.8% - GOP 38.6%
Convert to 2-party shares:
Dem 57.3% - GOP 42.7%
That's a 14.6% spread.
We will refer to the 14% spread in the following analysis.
_________________________________________

Lets look at the 2006 NATIONAL EXIT POLL, posted on CNN:

PARTY-ID			
.....	Mix	Dem	Rep
Dem	38%	90%	9%  C 38% too low, 90% too low, 9% too high
Rep	38%	7%	93% C 38% too high, 93% too high, 7% too low
Ind	25%	49%	46% C 49% WTF! Independents voted 60/40 for Dems

Total	101%	49.1%	50.3% C WTF! Are they serious?

IT'S PROOF THAT THE 2006 FINAL EXIT POLL IS BOGUS:
According to poll, the GOP won by 50.3-49.1%.
Really?

1) 2006 Voters identified as 38% Democratic, 38% Republican,
25%
Independent.

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE !

Here's why:

a) The weights don't sum to 100.
OK, no big deal here.

b) Dems outnumbered Repubs.
Who was more motivated to vote this time?

c) The weights were 38D-35R-27I at the 12:22am 2004 NEP
timeline.
Look it up.

d) THE CLINCHER:
The 2006 vote based on PARTY-ID weights/vote shares
are IMPOSSIBLE! If the weights/shares are to be
believed, then the GOP won the Generic vote! Why,
then, would you believe them?

The NEP UNDERSTATES the Democratic Generic vote share by 7%.

It OVERSTATES the GOP Generic vote share by 7%.

How do we know this?

Simple. The Dems won the final Generic Polls by more than
14%!

Since 2004, the Final NEP has become laughable, a sick joke.
Don't they realize they can't fool us anymore?
Don't they realize that we can crunch the numbers?
Would someone please get this to Olbermann?

2006 NATIONAL EXIT POLL
Sample 13208 MOE 0.87%
Weights/shares adjusted to derive a 12% Democratic Generic
spread

PARTY-ID (adjusted)			
Dem	40%	93%	7%
Rep	35%	11%	89%
Ind	25%	60%	40%

Total	100%	56.1%	44.0%

That's more like it!
________________________________________________

HOW VOTED IN 2004
Using this demographic, the spread is 55.8 Dem-44.2 GOP.
That's an 11.6% spread. But it's too low. Why?
Because the Bush/Kerry/Other weights are bogus.
Kerry won by 52-47%. The third party vote was 1%.

This is an analysis of how impossible Final Exit Poll weights

were used to match a corrupt 2004 vote count:
http://www.geocities.com/electionmodel/BogusWeights.htm

2006 NATIONAL EXIT POLL
Sample 13208 MOE 0.87%

HOW VOTED in 2004
........Mix Dem GOP
Kerry   45% 94% 5%
Bush    46% 13% 85%
Other    5% 62% 21%
No       4% 79% 18%

Total 97.6% 54.5% 43.1%
2-pty  100% 55.8% 44.2%

Now let's adjust the weights and vote shares to
derive a 14% spread.

We use 51 Kerry/46 Bush/1 Other/2 No weights.

The adjusted weights are based on the TRUE Kerry/Bush
vote BEFORE it was stolen with uncounted spoiled/lost
ballots and vote switching.

2006 NATIONAL EXIT POLL

VOTED IN 2004
(adjusted weights and vote shares)			
........Mix   Dem    GOP
Kerry	  51%	 94%	5%  C Kerry's true 2004 vote
Bush	  46%	 13%	85% C Bush's true vote
Other	   1%	 62%	21% C Third parties had 1% of the vote
DNV	   2%	 79%	18% C did not vote in 2004

Total	98.3%	 56.1% 42.2%
2-pty	 100%  57.1% 42.9%

The adjusted Democratic 2-party national vote
share is now 57.1%.  That's within 0.2% of the
Nov.7 trend line (see above).

_______________________________________________________________

GENDER
Based on the 2006 National Exit Poll 2-party vote shares,
the national split was 54.4% Dem-45.6% GOP.
That's an 8.8% spread. Much too low.

2006 NATIONAL EXIT POLL
GENDER
(adjusted weights and vote shares)			
.......Mix Dem GOP
Male   48% 51% 47%
Female 52% 56% 43%

Total 98.5% 53.6% 44.9%
2-pty  100% 54.4% 45.6%

Ask these questions, regarding national vote shares:

WHY THE 2.8% DISCREPANCY BETWEEN "GENDER" AND
"HOW
VOTED"?

WHY THE 5% DISCREPANCY BETWEEN "GENDER" AND
"PARTY-ID"?

Once again, let's adjust the weights and vote shares to get a
result which
approximates the Generic vote.

GENDER (Adjusted) 			
.......Mix Dem  GOP
Male 	46% 53%  47%
Female 54% 57%  43%
Total 100% 55.2% 44.8%

This is just further confirmation that the Final
2006 NEP was matched to a corrupt vote count,
just as it was in in 2004 and 2000.

Edison-Mitofsky never consider the possibility
of a corrupt vote
count in discussing their exit poll methodology.

WHY DO THEY DO THIS?
WHY DO THEY ALWAYS ASSUME ZERO FRAUD?
WHY DO THEY ALWAYS ASSUME A PRISTINE VOTE COUNT?

THAT'S WHY THE FINAL NATIONAL EXIT POLLS ARE ALWAYS WRONG.

THAT'S WHY THE FINAL EXIT POLLS ALWAYS LOW-BALL THE
DEMOCRATIC VOTE.

THAT'S WHY THE FINAL EXIT POLLS NEVER MATCH FINAL
PRE-ELECTION POLLS.

THAT'S WHY THE EARLY, UNCONTAMINATED EXIT POLLS ARE CLOSE TO
THE TRUTH.

AND THAT'S WHY THEY'LL NEVER SHOW US RAW EXIT POLL DATA.

by TruthIsAll, posted on Democratic Underground by Autorank
________________________________________________

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Never Mind the ‘Results,’ Election 2006 Was a Disaster for E-Voting Systems Across the Nation

Posted in '06 Election, Black Box (Electronic) Voting, Brad Blog, Disenfranchisement, General, TAKE ACTION! on November 11th, 2006
(Will Someone Please Tell the Headline Writers at the New York Times and the Associated Press?)

by Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG for ComputerWorld.com 

Opinion: E-voting transition a disaster

A smooth transition to electronic balloting? Not so fast, America

November 10, 2006 (Computerworld)

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE SLAYS NINE

Terrorizes Florida in Thrill-Kill Rampage

That headline was from a satirical column written by Andy Borowitz published last Monday, the day before Tuesday’s midterm elections. Unfortunately, given the post-election coverage by some of the nation’s leading media — or at least their headline writers — it seems that only an event such as a Diebold voting machine becoming “unmoored from the floor and…trampling everyone and everything in its path,” as Borowitz wrote, would qualify as anything more than a “glitch,” “hiccup,” “snag” or “snafu.”

“Voting System Worked, With Some Hiccups,” declared the AP headline on Wednesday. “Polling Places Report Snags, but Not Chaos,” echoed The New York Times. “Hiccups”? “Snags”? Try telling that to the thousands of voters around the country who were unable to simply cast a vote last Tuesday because new, untested electronic voting machines failed to work. Monumentally. Across the entire country.

“Not Chaos”? Apparently the Times headline writers failed to check with the folks in Denver who were lined up around the block for hours to vote. They didn’t even bother to read the Denver Post article headlining the problem as a “Voting Nightmare” during the day on Tuesday and quoting voter Lauren Brockman saying, “We will not get to vote today,” after he had shown up before work to vote at 6:45 a.m. at the Botanic Gardens only to wait on line for an hour before giving up.

They didn’t check with Bill Ritter, the Colorado gubernatorial candidate, who had to wait almost two hours to vote, or with Sean Kelley, a Denver resident, who said to the Post, “I can’t believe I’m in the United States of America,” before he gave up and went home without voting after waiting three hours in line when electronic machines broke down. Despite an emergency request, the courts in Colorado refused to allow the city’s new consolidated “Election Centers” to remain open for extra hours that night.

Similar problems led to slightly more responsible officials ordering polls to be kept open longer than scheduled in at least eight other states due to voting machine problems.

In a Times story published the day before (which apparently the headline writers of the previously mentioned piece failed to read), it was reported that in Illinois “hundreds of precincts were kept open … because of late openings at polling places related to machine problems” and in Indiana “voting equipment problems led to extensions of at least 30 minutes in three counties.”

Other states where polls remained open late due to the inability of legally registered voters to vote when they showed up earlier in the day include Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio.

But the list of problems and, yes, meltdowns is still pouring in from around the country. My in-box has been beyond readability since polls opened on Tuesday morning, and my ability to keep up had already been near the breaking point in the weeks prior just from similar reported disasters that occurred with these failing, flipping and flimsy machines during the early voting period in Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and California, just to name a few.

On Election Day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation had received about 17,000 complaints on its toll-free hot line by 8 p.m. Common Cause received 14,000 calls by 4 p.m. John Gideon at VotersUnite.org performed the herculean task of logging as many news reports as he could in a searchable online database of reported election problems that day.

The nation dodged a significant bullet when George Allen conceded in his Virginia Senate race Thursday. Had he not chosen to do so, America would have found itself smack-dab in the middle of another Florida 2000 crisis with the balance of Congress depending on voting machines that offer absolutely no way to recount ballots to achieve any form of accuracy or clarity in the race. The battle of the forensic computer scientists trying to figure out what happened would have been another long national nightmare.

But that didn’t happen, so everything’s cool. Right?

We dodged another bullet when Sen. Rick Santorum conceded. Earlier in the day, he and the Pennsylvania Republican Party sent a letter to the secretary of the commonwealth demanding that voting machines in 27 counties be impounded after they received reports of touch-screen votes flipping from the Republican candidate to his Democratic opponent.

Imagine, by the way, if Democrats had taken such a responsible position to impound machines every time votes were reported to have flipped from Democrat to Republican — certainly the more commonly reported occurrence on Tuesday. There wouldn’t be a voting machine left in the country. It’s a pity the Democrats haven’t figured that out. Yet.

They’re so delighted to have won anything they haven’t stopped to realize they might have taken 40 seats in the House instead of just 30 had they bothered to fight for an accountable, secure, transparent electoral system and instructed their candidates to concede nothing until every vote was counted, verified and audited for accuracy.

And still, the Times and AP headline writers — who seem to have failed to read the stories they were headlining, given that each outlined a litany of such meltdowns — believe there’s nothing to be concerned about.

18,000 votes seems to have vanished into thin air via ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machines (no paper “trails,” much less countable paper ballots ) in Sarasota County, site of Florida’s 13th U.S. Congressional District contest between Vern Buchanan and Christine Jennings. There’s currently a 368-vote difference between them, but there’s no paper to to examine to figure out what may have gone wrong and explain how a 13% undervote rate was found in only in that race.

On the very same ballot above that race, the gubernatorial contest had only a 2.6% undervote rate. A hospital board election below it had only a 1% undervote rate. On absentee ballots for the Jennings/Buchanan race, the undervote rate was just 1.8%. Some of the 120 complaints from touch-screen voters that came into the Herald Tribune on Tuesday are published on the newspaper’s site.

18,000 undervotes. In Florida. With no paper ballots to go back and check to see if all of those voters simply chose not to vote in that race for some inexplicable reason. Faith-based voting in a race that Florida election officials in the secretary of state’s office have said they have no plans to investigate.

Good thing the balance of the U.S. House doesn’t hang on that race. Or a presidential election. But why worry about something like that? After all, a mere 18,000 disappeared votes on an electronic voting machine in a single county in Florida could never affect the outcome of a national presidential race. (Again, for the sarcasm-impaired: Right.)

In San Diego, thousands of hackable Diebold voting machines were sent home for three weeks prior to the election with poll workers (most of them apparently high-school teenagers hired by the county’s registrar of voters, Mikel Haas) on “sleepovers.” As Princeton University demonstrated, a hotel mini-bar key and just 60 seconds of unsupervised time with a single machine is just about all a single person would need to steal votes from every machine in the county. Nobody would ever be able to prove it. Thus, there is no basis for confidence in any reported results from any election this year in San Diego County. 50th Congressional District candidate Francine Busby has, so far, appropriately refused to concede despite the wide margin being reported in her race from the tainted, effectively decertified voting machines Haas disgracefully used for the first time this year across the entire county.

In Orange County, Calif., voters were turned away without being able to vote at all when machines failed to work and there were not enough paper ballots for voters to cast their votes. Many reportedly opted to vote on Chinese and Vietnamese ballots when English emergency paper ballots had run out (in places where they even had paper ballots to chose from), just so they could exercise their franchise. Many voters were simply told to “come back later,” when poll workers hoped the machines would be working again.

It is not yet a felony in the United States of America to turn a legally registered voter away from the polls without allowing him to cast a vote. But it damned well should be.

Victoria Wulsin currently trails Jean Schmidt by less than half a percentage point in their Ohio 2nd Congressional District race for the U.S. House. Wulsin has also appropriately refused to concede until every vote is counted, accounted for and verified. But a recount will rely on both the same hackable Diebold AccuVote TSx touch-screen machines used in San Diego and the same ES&S optical scan machines that were found to have mistabulated at least nine Republican primary races in Pottawatomie County, Iowa, last June.

Ten other House races still remain “too close to call.” Many of them will rely on “results” reported by inaccurate, unreliable, untested electronic voting machines.

Fortunately, the balance of the House doesn’t rest on any of those races either, so all is well.

When Warren Stewart of the nonpartisan VoteTrustUSA.org noted a number of Voting Machine Company apologists — from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission’s Paul Degregorio to California’s unelected secretary of state, Bruce McPherson, to the Election Center’s Doug Lewis and ElectionLine.org’s Doug Chapin — joining the “everything’s fine” crowd, he noted:

They agree that the election went “better than expected,” “relatively smoothly,” with “isolated problems,” “just a few glitches,” “minor issues,” “no major problems.”

So, with multi-hundreds of news reports of election problems across the country — a fraction of the problems that actually occurred — you have to wonder what a meltdown would have to look like.

What would it look like, indeed?

I guess before the voting machine company flunkies and Times and AP headline writers would notice, it would have to look like Borowitz’ “Diebold Rampage” scenario. Though even that would likely have a predictable ending…

The touch-screen terror then cut a swath of death and destruction across the state, despite attempts by the state police to apprehend it.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appeared on television later in the day to urge calm, telling residents, “Clearly, Florida’s electronic voting machines are still very much a work in progress.”

At the White House, spokesman Tony Snow did not directly address the issue of the voting machine’s deadly rampage, choosing instead to make general remarks about the electoral process.

“This administration remains steadfast in its support of free and fair elections,” he said, adding, “in Iraq.”

by Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG for ComputerWorld.com 

 

 

 

 

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Dems Must Use Successful Midterm as Opportunity to Improve Elections, not Reason to Stop Fighting

Posted in '06 Election, Disenfranchisement, General, TAKE ACTION! on November 11th, 2006

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

The dust has settled and it is time to step back and look at voting irregularities across the nation. Unlike their counterparts, Democrats have long championed electoral reform, especially after the Florida debacle in 2000 that cost America its duly elected president. Now that Democrats have secured a decisive victory and control Congress without dispute, they should fight even more aggressively to improve elections since they can no longer be dismissed as merely sore losers.

We did not see a catastrophic meltdown last Tuesday as some feared, but there were clearly a plethora of serious problems. Many irregularities stemmed from faulty equipment. For example, about 18,000 touch-screen votes in one county were not recorded for the contest over Katherine Harris’ old House seat, which was decided by a razor-thin margin. Some New Jersey machines began pre-selected for a candidate and responded erratically when changed.

We also know that registration issues turned many people away. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) were the two most infamous cases of such troubles, and even Chelsea Clinton was told that her name was not on the rolls. If these three high profile voters had problems, there were surely countless more whose stories are not being reported.

Additionally, there was also blatant voter intimidation. Virginians in Democratic areas were told over the phone they would be “charged criminally” if they showed up to vote, while other voters were subjected to far worse:

“In Arizona, Roy Warden — an anti-immigration activist with the Minutemen — and a handful of supporters staked out a precinct in the city of South Tucson and questioned Latino voters as they entered the polls to determine if they spoke English.

“Armed with a 9mm Glock automatic strapped to his side, Warden said he planned to photograph as many Latino voters entering polls at as many as 20 precincts in an effort to identify illegal immigrants and felons.”

A quick browse around the internet or a recollection of Tuesday afternoon news reports reveal many other significant issues, such as voters waiting several hours in line. It will be easy for the new Democratic Congress to forget about all of this since they won, but there is still substantial urgency. Given the amount of time it takes elections officials to act, it is not too soon to start thinking about 2008, when the White House will be at stake and the hacks at Diebold will have even more reason and opportunity to rig the outcome.

There is simply no institution in a democracy more vital than the election process. As we saw this week, the people can stand up against a corrupt government and instigate solutions to nearly any problem. With such a long way to go before truly free and fair elections, Democrats should not mistake the 2006 midterms as a reason to cease electoral reform but rather an opportunity to finally begin it effectively.

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

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What, exactly, is an election meltdown?

Posted in '06 Election, Disenfranchisement, General on November 10th, 2006

The saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But what if it IS broke, and those who could fix it say that it ain’t?

Paul DeGregorio, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission; Doug Lewis of the Election Center; Doug Chapin of electionline.org; Dan Tokaji, Ohio State law professor; California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and other secretaries of state tell us that the feared “meltdown” just didn’t happen on November 7, 2006.

They agree that the election went “better than expected,” “relatively smoothly,” with “isolated problems”, “just a few glitches,” “minor issues,” “no major problems.”

So, with multi-hundreds of news reports of election problems across the country — a fraction of the problems that actually occurred — you have to wonder what a meltdown would have to look like.

What if malfunctions of untested registration software in a major city — say, Denver — forced tens of thousands of voters to wait in line for hours and thousands to leave without voting? Would the election still be “smooth”?

What if voting machines failed at thousands of polling places in over half the states, and the problems caused such severe delays in eight states that the voting hours were extended? Is that “just a few glitches”?

What if voting machines of every brand switched people’s votes or lost their votes in states from Florida to Pennsylvania to Illinois to Texas to Kentucky to South Carolina to Maryland to Georgia to Virginia to …   “No major problems?”

What if dozens of people reported that their votes for one Congressional race disappeared from the touch screen, and the election director refused to take the machines out of service, and the results showed that 13% of the voters (18,000) hadn’t registered a vote in that race? And what if the margin of victory was 368 votes, and there was no way to audit the results? A “minor” problem?

What if polling places all across the largest state in the nation, as well as other states, ran out of paper ballots and the voting machines didn’t work? Are these “isolated problems”?

What if lots of electronic ballot boxes (memory cards) were missing in a major city, and only 23 had been found after an extensive search, and the election director said she loses them all the time and normally no one pays any attention, but this time four local races hung in the balance? Is this “smooth” to the people whose ballots were lost in Indianapolis?

And then … what if partisan control of the United States Senate depended on one race in one state, where the reported margin of victory was three-tenths of a percent, and a recount was impossible because there was no way to recover voter intent from the electronic tallies? In what world is this “better than expected”?

In the 2006 general election, voters were given the wrong ballots and told the wrong polling place. They stood in line for hours waiting for equipment to be fixed or more ballots to arrive. They watched their votes disappear on the screen, or flip to another candidate, or even go up in smoke — literally, when an e-voting machine short-circuited.

If the Chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, Secretaries of State, and other influential names in election administration continue calling these dysfunctional election occurrences “normal glitches,” when will the system get fixed?

(If you think it “ain’t broke,” see our problem log.)

from VotersUnite.org 

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