These are two of the best articles I have seen on the subject.

Final Tallies Minus Exit Polls = A Statistical Mystery!
by John Allen Paulos

Professor of mathematics at Temple University and winner of the 2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science award for the promotion of public understanding of science, John Allen Paulos is the author of several best-selling books, including Innumeracy and A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market.

OpEd in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 24, 2004

Note: The belated "official" response" of January 19, 2005 to the controversy certainly points to a possible explanation, but I can’t say that I’m at all convinced by it. Unfortunately, if people – and the media in particular – couldn’t rouse themselves to demand (the investigation needed for) a truly convincing explanation before the inauguration, they certainly aren’t going to demand one now. Alas …

Why did the exit polls taken on election day in the battleground states differ so starkly from the final tallies in those states? As my crosstown colleague, Steven Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania has demonstrated in his paper, "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," the pattern is unmistakable. In Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the differences between Bush’s final tallies and his earlier exit poll percentages were, respectively, 6.7%, 6.5%, and 4.9%.

Similarly huge differences between the final tallies and the exit poll percentages occurred in 10 of the 11 battleground states, all of them in Bush’s favor. If the people sampled in the exit polls were a random sample of voters, Freeman’s standard statistical techniques show that these large discrepancies are way, way beyond the margins of error. Suffice it to say that the odds against them occuring by chance in just the three states mentioned above are almost a million to one.

Since exit polls historically have been quite accurate (there is no question about likely voters, for example) and the differences as likely to have been in one candidate’s favor as the other’s, we’re confronted with the question of what caused them. Given the indefensible withholding of the full exit poll data by Edison Media Research, Mitofsky International, the Associated Press and various networks, we can only hazard guesses based on what was available election night. The obvious speculation, alluded to above, is that the exit samples were decidedly non-random.


The Strange Death of American Democracy:
Endgame in Ohio
by Michael Keefer
24 January 2005


Like the unsavoury Katherine Harris, who was Florida Secretary of State in 2000 and simultaneously state Chair of the Florida Bush-Cheney campaign, Kenneth Blackwell occupied a strategic double position as Co-Chair of the Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign and Secretary of State in what analysts correctly anticipated would be the key swing state of the 2004 election. From this position, a growing body of evidence shows, he was able to oversee a partisan and racist pre-election purging of the electoral rolls,<10> a clearly partisan reduction of the number of voting precincts in counties won by Gore in 2000 (a move that helped suppress the 2004 Democratic turnout),<11> a partisan and racist misallocation of voting machines (which effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of African-American voters),<12> a partisan and racist system of polling-place challenges (which together with electoral roll purges obliged many scores of thousands of African-Americans to vote with ‘second-class-citizen’ provisional ballots),<13> and a fraudulent pre-programming of touch-screen voting machines that produced a systematic ‘flipping’ of Democratic votes into Bush’s tally or the trash can.<14> In a nation that enforced its own laws, the misallocation of voting machines–a clear violation of the equal protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution–would alone have sufficed to invalidate the Ohio election.

Having overseen one of the more flagrantly corrupt elections in recent American history, Blackwell and his Republican machine proceeded to "take care of the counting"–which involved a partisan and racist dismissal of scores of thousands of African-American ballots as "spoiled,"<15> a flagrantly illegal "lock-down" of the vote-tallying process in Warren County on the transparently false grounds of a supposed terrorist threat,<16> massive electronic vote-tabulation fraud in this and other south-western Ohio counties,<17> and marginally less flagrant but evidently systematic forms of ‘ghost-voting’ and vote theft elsewhere in the state.<18>Blackwell then saw to it (with the active assistance of partisan Republican judges, and the passive assistance of a strangely supine Democratic Party) that no even partial recount–let alone anything resembling a voting-machine or vote-tabulator audit–could get under way prior to the selection of Ohio’s Republican electors to the Electoral College.<19>

He also did his utmost to block public access to election data, ordering the Boards of Election in all eighty-eight Ohio counties to prevent public inspection of poll books until after certification of the vote, which he delayed until December 6th.<20> On December 10th, his Election Administrator, Pat Wolfe, intervened to prevent analysis of poll-book data by ordering, on Blackwell’s authority, a renewed "lock-down" of voting records in Greene County and the entire state. (According to Ohio Revised Code Title XXXV Elections, Sec. 3503.26, such records are to be open to the public; Ohio Revised Code Sec. 3599.42 explicitly declares that any violation of Title XXXV "constitutes a prima facie case of election fraud….")<21>

Bizarrely enough, on the night following the statement to election observers in Greene County that all voter records in the State of Ohio were "locked down" and "not considered public records," the Greene County offices were left unlocked: when the same election observers returned at 10:15 on the morning of Saturday, December 11th, they found the building open, a light on in the office (which had not been on when it was closed on the evening of the 10th), and all of the poll books and voting machines unsecured.<22>

When at last the Green and Libertarian parties’ lawyers were able to obtain a recount, Blackwell presided over one that was fully as corrupt as the election had been. Sample hand recounts were to be carried out in each county, involving randomly-selected precincts constituting at least three percent of the vote; any disagreements between the sample recount and the official tally were supposed to prompt a full county-wide hand recount. According to Green Party observers, however, a substantial proportion of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties broke the law by not selecting their hand-recount precincts randomly.<23> There is evidence, most crucially, that Triad Governmental Systems, the private corporation responsible for servicing the vote-tabulation machines in about half of the state, tampered with selected machines in counties across Ohio immediately before the recount in order to ensure that the sample recount tallies would conform with the official vote tallies.<24> (Triad’s technicians knew which machines to tamper with because, it would appear, Board of Election officials, in open violation of the law, told them which precincts had been pre-selected.)

Despite this widespread tampering, there were discrepancies in at least six counties between the sample hand recounts and the official tallies–and yet the Board of Elections refused to conduct full county-wide hand recounts.<25> As David Swanson writes,"Only one county conducted a full hand recount, which resulted in 6 percent more votes than in the original vote. Those extra votes were evenly split between Kerry and Bush, but–even assuming that one county’s votes have now been properly counted–how do we know where votes in the other 87 counties would fall? Should an extra several percent of them show up, and should they be weighted toward Kerry, the election would not have yet been what the media keeps telling us it is: over.<26>


Posted on Democratic Underground by TruthIsAll

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