Who Really Won?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Free Press: Turnout Oddities and Missing Votes

The Free Press strikes again with a story on the suspicious turnout patterns in Ohio. Basically, allegedly, Bush voters had historic turnout percentages and Kerry voters barely cared....

The range is striking, and turnout is distinctly higher in the Bush precincts than in the Kerry precincts. In some precincts the reported turnout is too high to be credible. Turnout above 90% is almost unheard of.

Altogether there were 50 precincts in Toledo with less than 60% reported turnout. All of them were won overwhelmingly by John Kerry. The vote in the aggregate was 14,830 to 2,707, better than 5 to 1. But look at the distribution, or more precisely, the concentration. All 6 of the precincts with less than 50% reported turnout are located in three wards.

The optical scanners used in Lucas County were not precinct-based. They were of the central count variety. The results could have been altered without anybody at the precinct level knowing about it. If turnout had been equal in Toledo and the suburbs, Kerry’s plurality in Lucas County would have been considerably larger. There is an old adage that says elections are stolen at the precinct level. This election was rigged at the ward and county levels.

They have another story on the voters who stood in long lines to vote and then allegedly decided to skip voting for a president, with stats looking at this issue which was raised in the 14-page letter from four Members of Congress to Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State:

“According to post election canvassing, many ballots were cast without any valid selection for president. For example, two precincts in Montgomery County had an undervote rate of over 25% each ? accounting for nearly 6,000 voters who stood in line to vote, but purportedly declined to vote for president. This is in stark contrast to the 2% of undervoting county-wide. Disturbingly, predominantly Democratic precincts had 75% more undervotes than those that were predominantly Republican. It is inconceivable that such a large number of people supposedly did not have a preference for president in such a controversial and highly contested election.”

The conclusion?

The strikingly partisan distribution of the uncounted ballots is nothing short of shocking. There are 588 precincts in Montgomery County. As the above table shows, the percentage of uncounted ballots is 4.0% or more in 47 precincts, and every single one of these precincts was won by John Kerry, nearly all of them by overwhelming margins. Only two were even close.

Altogether, in these 47 precincts, Kerry won 14,871 votes to 2,032 for Bush, a margin of 7 to 1. In these 47 precincts there are 920 uncounted regular ballots, or 21.0% of the county wide total. In the other 541 precincts in Montgomery County, among which the uncounted regular ballots are distributed at a rate of 6.4 per precinct, Kerry won 128,106 votes to 136,329 for Bush. Thus, 21.0% of the uncounted regular ballots are in 8.7% of the precincts that accounted for 6.0% of the votes in the county.

In these 47 precincts, which went for Kerry by a margin of 7 to 1, the “spoilage” rate of regular ballots was 5.16%, compared to 1.31% for the rest of the county, and 1.70% for the whole of the county.

There is an old political adage which says that only a close election can be stolen. In a close election, uncounted ballots can make all the difference.