Who Really Won?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Kerry/Edwards Dips Toe into Water

Today, attorneys representing the Kerry-Edwards campaign filed papers in Delaware County, Ohio to intervene in legal proceedings in defense of Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, Libertarian Michael Badnarik and their legal counsel, the National Voting Rights Institute, who are seeking a recount of all votes cast for president in the Ohio 2004 general election.


The Washington Post deigns to report this:

"If there's going to be a recount in Ohio, we don't want it to exclude Delaware County or any other county that might decide to follow Delaware County's lead," Kerry lawyer Dan Hoffheimer said. "It should be a full, fair and accurate recount."

Ohio tally fit for Ukraine

Juan Gonzalez, in the NY Daily News, notices those odd vote totals for third party candidates in Cleveland:

And now Daily News reporter Larry Cohler-Esses and I have uncovered some more unusual vote totals, this time in black neighborhoods of Cleveland. Those results are from the precinct-by-precinct tallies released by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, where Cleveland is located.

In the 4th Ward on Cleveland's East Side, for example, two fringe presidential candidates did surprisingly well.

In precinct 4F, located at Benedictine High School on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Kerry received 290 votes, Bush 21 and Michael Peroutka, candidate of the ultra-conservative anti-immigrant Constitutional Party, an amazing 215 votes!

That many black votes for Peroutka is about as likely as all those Jewish votes for Buchanan in Florida's Palm Beach County in 2000.

In precinct 4N, also at Benedictine High School, the tally was Kerry 318, Bush 21, and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik 163.

Back in 2000, the combined third-party votes in those two precincts - including the Nader vote - was 8. Cuyahoga, like most of Ohio's 88 counties, uses punch-card balloting.

"That's terrible, I can't believe it," said City Councilman Kenneth Johnson, who has represented the 4th Ward since 1980. "It's obviously a malfunction with the machines."

But Peroutka and Badnarik polled unusually well in a few other black precincts. In the 8th Ward's G precinct at Cory United Methodist Church, for instance, Badnarik tallied 51 votes - nearly three times better than Bush's 19. And in I precinct at the same church, Peroutka was the choice on 27 ballots, three times more than Bush's 8. In 2000, independent candidates received 9 votes from both precincts.

The same pattern showed up in 10 Cleveland precincts in which Badnarik and Peroutka received nearly 700 votes between them.

In virtually all those precincts, Kerry's vote was lower than Al Gore's in 2000, even though there was a record turnout in the black community this time, and even though blacks voted overwhelmingly for Kerry.

If this same pattern held true in other cities around Ohio, then quite possibly thousands of votes meant for Kerry somehow ended up in the tallies of the two independent candidates. So far, however, precinct-by-precinct results have not been posted by boards of elections in other counties, but by Thursday all official results are due.

He promises more on the missing Democratic votes...

Something's fishy in Ohio

Jesse Jackson pushes the cause in the Chicago Sun Times:

Ohio determines the election, but the state has not yet counted the vote. That outrage is made intolerable by the fact that the secretary of state in charge of this operation, Ken Blackwell, holds -- like Katherine Harris of Florida's fiasco in 2000 -- a dual role: secretary of state with control over voting procedures and co-chair of George Bush's Ohio campaign. Blackwell should recuse himself so that a thorough investigation, count and recount of Ohio's vote can be made.

Blackwell reversed rules on provisional ballots in place in the spring primaries. These allowed voters to cast provisional ballots anywhere in their county, even if they were in the wrong precinct, reflecting the chief rationale for provisional ballots: to ensure that those who went to the wrong place by mistake could have their votes counted. The result of this decision -- why does this not surprise? -- was to disqualify disproportionately ballots cast in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County.

Rest here.

Signed, sealed, certified: Kerry wins (Cuyahoga)

Kerry widened his margin in Cuyahoga County by 9000 votes, despite 34% of the provisional ballots being tossed out (for now).

"Hand over the tin foil hat: I’m a believer!"

Great paper by Ernest Partridge on why he's donning the tin foil hat.



The crime of stealing a presidential election is so portentous – in effect, it is nothing less than treason – that the public appears unable to seriously consider the thought that Bush and his associates could contemplate, much less accomplish, such an offense against the body politic. “They wouldn’t dare!” we are told.

Oh, wouldn’t they?

Reflect for a moment: who would have imagined, four years ago, that the Bush administration would dare to implement the following:

For the first time in our history, an American president launched an aggressive war against a sovereign nation that posed no threat to the United States. Moreover, the justifications for this war have all proven to be without foundation. The war is illegal according to international law.

In retaliation for the Joseph Wilson's offense of truth-telling, Wilson’s wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, was “outed” by a still-unidentified and unindicted official in Bush Administration. Plame was coordinating counter-terrorist activities.

American citizens Yassir Hamdi and Jose Padilla were incarcerated indefinitely, without charge, without access to legal counsel, without trial, all this in violation of four articles of the Bill of Rights.

Torture of prisoners took place at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which have the force of United States law. Attorney-General designate Alberto Gonzales drew up a memo sanctioning torture, and describing the Geneva Conventions against torture as “quaint.”

"Tax reforms” benefited the wealthiest two percent of the population at the expense of the middle class and the poor, while support of public institutions such as research, education, infrastructure and health care was severely curtailed. The federal deficit has put severe financial burdens upon future generations.

There is much more, of course, but this much makes the point: George Bush and his associates have perpetrated offenses against the American people, the Constitution, and the world community that were scarcely imaginable when they took office four years ago.

As he writes,

This essay is in the public domain: The Author encourages unrestricted copying and distribution. Please include the author's name, the title, the source (The Crisis Papers)and the URL (www.crisispapers.org/essays/get-over-it.htm)

Get to it!

Blackwell on Olbermann

Keith had Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell on, finally, last night. As he writes, Blackwell did protest too much about Jesse Jackson showing up in Ohio and questioning the voting. Of course, Jackson's appearances in Ohio seemed to be the impetus for Blackwell to appear on Countdown, as Olbermann points out. Blackwell is a much better spinner overall than Katharine Harris, in case he's reading this and looking for faint praise.

Here's an excerpt:

But after Jackson spoke in Columbus Sunday and Cincinnati Monday, suddenly Mr. Blackwell was available. “I think what happened,” he said, “is that Jesse Jackson ran around the block and tried to get out in front of a parade that was already on the march.”

That’s an odd phrase. Show of hands, please! Who out of the 20% who believe the election is illegitimate would have believed that a Republican state official would ever compare an Ohio recount to “a parade that was already on the march”? Sounds like a campaign phrase - for Democrats.

Suddenly the recount itself seems like an old pal to Ohio’s top election official. Last week, the incoming president of the association of county election officials mused out loud about a suit to stop the Glibs, so I asked Blackwell if he was saying that his office would take no step to try to prevent the recount. “Once they ask for a recount, we will provide them with a recount… we will regard this as yet another audit of the voting process.”

Blackwell also whined about the cost of a recount. Of course it'd be only a fraction of what we spend per day to 'start a democracy in Iraq', something like $177 million a day. You'd think a million or two spent here in Ohio would be worth it to prove we still have a democracy HERE.

Also, Jesse Jackson is scheduled for tonight's Countdown, 8 PM 12 AM ET

Monday, November 29, 2004

Countinghouse Blues: Too Many Votes

From Omaha:

Sarpy County election officials are trying to figure out how they ended up with more votes than voters in the general election. As many as 10,000 extra votes have been tallied and candidates are still waiting for corrected totals.

Johnny Boykin lost his bid to be on the Papillion City Council. The difference between victory and defeat in the race was 127 votes.

Boykin says, "When I went in to work the next day and saw that 3,342 people had shown up to vote in our ward, I thought something's not right."

He's right. There are not even 3,000 people registered to vote in his ward.

For some reason, some votes were counted twice.

Hey, at least somebody's votes were counted!

Two More Recounts

Think anyone will notice?

David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, today filed official requests for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in New Mexico and Nevada.

As he did in Ohio, Cobb filed the requests jointly with Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik.

"The Green Party's dedication to protecting the integrity of the election process has led me to file for a recount in both New Mexico and Nevada. We want to ensure that every vote is counted and verify the accuracy of the electronic voting machines, particularly those which produce no paper trail," said David Cobb.

"It is absolutely critical that we verify the accuracy of electronic voting machines. Voting without independent checks and balances is a meaningless exercise. There is no reason why Americans should settle for second-best when it comes to protecting our democratic rights," said Cobb-LaMarche Media Director Blair Bobier.

Burying the Lede

Via "EsnRedshirt" at The Daily Kos:

In an article in The Nation on the New Hampshire recount, but not until page 2 after the various "not much changed" portion of the story, you can read this:

Nonetheless, when the counters return after Thanksgiving, they'll still have some technical problems to resolve. The hand count of a third precinct showed roughly 100 fewer presidential votes than the optical-scan machines had, and will likely have to be recounted yet again. And in a fourth one, a local Republican candidate being recounted was awarded 105 more votes than he had before. Was the problem Diebold or somebody in the counting room? The answer will soon be clear.

Yeah, what's a hundred votes per precinct?

A Silent Act of Rebellion Raises a Din in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 28 - The most striking, and the most potentially significant, public rebellion against President Leonid D. Kuchma and his chosen successor in last Sunday's contested election began silently.

Last Thursday morning, Natalia Dimitruk, an interpreter for the deaf on the Ukraine's official state UT-1 television, disregarded the anchor's report on Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich's "victory" and, in her small inset on the screen, began to sign something else altogether.

"The results announced by the Central Electoral Commission are rigged," she said in the sign language used in the former Soviet states. "Do not believe them."

She went on to declare that Viktor A. Yushchenko, the opposition leader, was the country's new president. "I am very disappointed by the fact that I had to interpret lies," she went on. "I will not do it any more. I do not know if you will see me again."

Is it time for these folks to shut up already? (Newsweek)

Newsweek writes about voting problems, wishing the critics would shut up, because even if BushCo is guilty of fraud they couldn't be removed from the White House. (Huh?)

Then says we've got a point, and rues that the zeal some of us feel for fairly run, accurately tabulated elections were more contagious.

Just perhaps if they didn't treat the issue as something to get over and dismiss any and all reports of irregularities as lunatic rantings.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Jesse Jackson Questions the Election Tally

Here he says:

"Kerry was inclined to believe what he was told, and he was told the election was over, but now we're unearthing information that did not surface at first. I suppose the more information Kerry gets, the more you will hear from him."

Here he says:

"I talked with John Kerry last night, and he supports the investigation. His lawyers are observing it closely."

Here he says:

"We can live with winning and losing. We cannot live with fraud and stealing."

And here he says:

“We need to investigate, coordinate, litigate, recount and recuse, Mr. Blackwell cannot be both the owner of the team and the umpire.”

Also in that article you can read this:

In analyzing the still-unofficial results, the totals reveal that C. Ellen Connally, an African-American Democratic candidate from Cleveland for Ohio Chief Justice, received more than 257,000 votes than Kerry.

In Butler County, for example, Connally had 45,457 more votes than Kerry. The reason these vote counts are suspect is because Connelly, a retired African-American judge, was vastly outspent in her race, and did not have the visibility of the presidential race. Thus for a more obscure Democratic candidate, farther down on the ticket, to get a quarter of a million more votes statewide than Kerry, suggests something happened to suggest there may have been a transfer of Kerry votes to Bush.

“This looks like a computer glitch or a computer fix,” said Bob Fitrakis, a lawyer, political scientist and Editor of the Columbus Free Press (http://freepres.org) who has written about election irregularities since Bush was declared the winner. Fitrakis is among the team of lawyers who announced they would soon file an election challenge in the state’s Supreme Court.

“Statistically, Kerry, as the Democratic presidential candidate, should have more votes than Connally. In a presidential election, most voters have the priority of casting a vote for president and the votes for president are almost always much higher than those of candidates farther down the ticket. When voters vote for Democratic candidates farther down the ticket, it is usually being driven by a sample ballot from the Party, starting at the top with president. Many voters simply don’t vote for Supreme Court justices. It is highly improbable that Connally’s vote totals would be so much higher than Kerry’s,” Fitrakis said.

The fact that Warren County has such odd vote counts is no surprise to Fitrakis. “The Republican-dominated county threw out all the media and independent vote watchers when votes were being counted at the end of Election Day, claiming ‘homeland security’ issues. This would have easily allowed for the wholesale shifting of a large amount of votes from Kerry to Bush. If you’re behind closed doors, it is easy enough to do. The November issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines show how easy it is to hack the vote and steal an election. The articles are called ‘E-vote emergency: And you thought dimpled chads were bad’ and ‘Could hackers tilt the election?’ I think they did,” explained Fitrakis.

Fitrakis said that when one looks at the Connally-Kerry results across the state, it becomes clear that Connally – who was on the Ohio Democratic Party sample ballots – was getting tens of thousands of votes in counties that were known to be Republican strongholds, until this year’s unprecedented voter registration and mobilization efforts.

There were 15 Ohio counties where Connally’s margin was 5,000 votes or more better than Kerry’s unofficial results. In five counties, Connally had a 10,000-vote margin or better. These counties used punch card, optical scan, and touch screen voting machines – with most using punch card systems.

Skepticism spawns broad effort to push voting reform

SF Chronicle looks at voting issues:

One of Ohio's top legal experts said the challenge to the overall results is unlikely to succeed -- or possibly even proceed -- because the suit doesn't provide hard numbers and the Ohio State Supreme Court has in previous rulings on elections set a high bar for those who contest results.

"All of that tells me the courts are going to demand the person bringing the action have the evidence to overturn and are not going to allow the judicial process to be used essentially for a fishing expedition," said Edward Foley, a law professor specializing in elections at Ohio State University in Columbus.

People for the American Way wants a court ruling to ensure that the 8,000 provisional ballots thrown out in Cuyahoga County were not done so on technicalities that violate state law, said Vicky Beasley, deputy national field director of the organization and manager of its Election Protection program.

"We couldn't have very well ended our job on election day," she said.

"A working person having to wait in line for five hours to vote is arguably a denial of voting rights," said Wang of the Century Foundation.

In a video from Columbus, Ohio, posted on the Web site theneighborhoodnetwork.org, a diabetic woman who waited 2 1/2 hours in line stepped outside the crowded polling place for air. In the short time she was outside, the polls closed, the doors were locked and she was not allowed back inside to vote.

It poured rain on election day in Ohio and the videos show long lines of people waiting outside under umbrellas or pulling garbage bags over their heads like ponchos.

"We're not making accusations (of fault) against individuals, but we're talking about institutional, systemic problems that disproportionately affect poor people and people of color," said Amy Kaplan, a Columbus resident and organizer for the League of Pissed-Off Voters, a New York-based group focusing on younger voters. One of their stated goals is "to build a progressive governing majority in our lifetime."

Electronic Voting 1.0 and No Time to Upgrade

James Fallows writes about e-voting in the NY Times:

The phenomenal reliability of the systems we trust for banking, communication, and everything else rests on two bedrock principles. One is the universal understanding in the technology world that nothing works right the first time, and maybe not the first 50 times.

When I worked briefly on a product design team at Microsoft, I was sobered to learn that fully one-fourth of the company's typical two-year "product cycle time" was devoted to testing. Programmers spend 18 months designing and debugging a system. Then testers spend the next six months finding the problems they missed. It is no secret that even then, the "final" software from Microsoft, or any other company, is far from perfect.

Today's mature systems work as well as they do only because they are exposed to nonstop, high-stakes torture testing. EBay lists nearly four million new items each day. If a problem affects even a tiny fraction of its users, eBay will be swamped with reports immediately.

Millions of data packets are being routed across the Internet every second. If servers, domain-name directories or other components cannot handle the volume, the problem will become apparent quickly. Years ago, bank or airline computers would often be "down" because of unforeseen problems. Now they're mostly "up," because they've had so long for flaws to become exposed.

The second crucial element in making reliable systems is accountability. Users can trust today's systems precisely because they don't have to take them on trust. Some important computer systems run on open-source software, like Linux, in which the code itself can be examined by outsiders.

Virtually all systems provide some sort of confirmation of transactions. You have the slip from the A.T.M., the receipt for your credit card charge, the printout of your e-ticket reservation. If your e-mail message doesn't go through, there is still the copy in your "Sent" folder. This is the technology world's counterpart to the check-and-balance principle in the United States government. The first concept, robust testing, protects against unintended flaws. The second, accountability, guards against purposeful distortions.

Read the complete story here.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Take With Grains Of Salt

Wayne Madsen of the Online Journal has two stories alleging proof of Bush buying vote riggers:

Here and here.

They sound a little like those infamous "Dan Rather" memos, but just in case they turn out to be the beginning of some huge story....


Keith Olbermann blogs in with his take.

Good Enough For The Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine Nov 27, 2004 — Ukraine's parliament on Saturday declared invalid the disputed presidential election that triggered a week of growing street protests and legal maneuvers, raising the possibility that a new vote could be held in this former Soviet republic.

Baltimore Sun: Validate The Vote

The Associate Dean of the Yale Law School writes (registration required):

MOST MAINSTREAM newspapers have already dismissed stories of voting fraud and voting rights violations in the November election as baseless or irrelevant. Sen. John Kerry's concession is supposed to demonstrate that there is no story here. Give up, go home, it's all over.

But it's not over.

The legitimacy of our democratic process is an issue more important than Mr. Kerry's future or the results of 2004. That legitimacy has been called into question repeatedly over the past few weeks, and doubts will linger as long as credible indications of error, negligence, disenfranchisement and fraud are not addressed.

We would like to believe that voting irregularities were identified and corrected, that participants fulfilled their duties appropriately, that the machines performed reliably and that the total discrepancy between voter intention and recorded results was less than the margin of victory in relevant contests.

But that conclusion must be reached on the basis of evidence, not blind faith. My own observations as a volunteer poll watcher in Florida do not give perfect confidence.

We experienced a troubling number of memory card failures where I was based in Volusia County, for example, and we tried to minimize the disruption to voters even though data security was compromised. In Franklin County, Ohio, a machine error resulted in an extra 4,000 votes for President Bush. In Guilford County, N.C., a machine error cost Mr. Kerry 22,000 votes. Similar problems were experienced in Nebraska, Indiana and other states. These glitches that we know about have reportedly been fixed, though a re-vote is necessary in a different North Carolina county.

Disturbingly, several Web sites have demonstrated the ease of hacking into the AccuVote TS machines made by Diebold Election Systems, the company that for $2.6 million recently settled a lawsuit by California over voting machine problems. Another major manufacturer of electronic voting machines, Election Systems & Software, has also been subject to criticism for machine breakdowns and vulnerability. There is no evidence of fraud, but neither manufacturer has assuaged widespread concerns about inappropriate partisanship and unreliability.

There is also reason to question the competence of election officials in resolving registration and voting problems. Many voters were denied the opportunity to cast a regular ballot or to vote within a reasonable period of arriving at the polls.

At one heavily black precinct in Volusia County, for example, more than 10 percent of those turning out to vote were unable to cast a regular ballot. Many of these voters simply departed after waiting in line for several hours and then being told by poll workers that their provisional ballots "would not be counted." Knox County in Ohio reported voters waiting in line for over nine hours. In Warren County, Ohio, observers were barred from monitoring the vote-counting process.

How can we expect voters - especially young, disadvantaged or newly registered voters - to have faith in our voting system? How can we expect our allies to take seriously U.S. efforts to hold elections in Iraq and elsewhere? How can we be confident that the most fundamental principles of American democracy - one person, one vote; rule by the people; transparency in government - are not in jeopardy?

American legitimacy demands that the news media, the parties and all political leaders take seriously the challenges presented by the 2004 election: We need an audit of the election process, validation of the election results and corrective measures to ensure the legitimacy of future elections.

To begin with, that means supporting the audit efforts already under way. Recounts are expected in Ohio and New Hampshire, and election results may be contested in Florida, New Mexico and other states. Grass-roots organizations have requested voting data from precincts across the country, and scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley and other universities have begun to analyze surprising voting patterns.

This should be a priority for Congress, with vigilant participation by independent news organizations. The complete process - from registration through vote tallying, including all equipment and procedures - must be thoroughly and publicly assessed.

No reasonable argument can be offered against disclosure and accountability. We can afford whatever expense, inconvenience, distraction and possible embarrassment may be caused by an election audit and congressional investigation. What we cannot afford are unresolved doubts about the legitimacy of our democratic government.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Hold On! Don't Throw Those Votes Away Just Yet

A watchdog group sued Friday to try to stop Cuyahoga County's elections board from rejecting thousands of provisional ballots until they are hand checked against voter registration cards.

People for the American Way Foundation said the board wrongly relied only on computerized registration records, which are compiled from the cards and could contain errors such as misspellings.

Free Press: Even More Horror Stories

Of trying to vote in Ohio:

Now, you can call this a glitch, you can call this a design flaw, you can call it a bologna sandwich if you want, but whatever you call it, that machine nearly threw out and neutralized my vote for John Kerry.

Even though I completed my voting and after I went over my ballot and I pushed the vote button, I'm still not sure that I voted for John Kerry because, I mean, did my first vote that went to George Bush count or did John Kerry count.

One of the three machines went down and they were not able to get the tape out of it and the cartridge at the end of the day. Later on, when I got the poll -- data from Franklin County poll workers, that machine which had the lowest numbers of votes had the highest percentage of Bush votes. The other two machines were coming back 30 percent for Bush. This one came back 40 percent for Bush. I don't know. Also, they sealed up their provisional ballots before I had a chance to count them and let them know how much provisional ballots were there. Also, she signed off as an official witness at the end of the day, even though she was a Republican worker. I was met with open hostility from the workers in precinct 4 A in Bexley. They let me know in no uncertain terms that they were Bush people.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Changing Story On Provisional Ballots

From the Columbus Dispatch:

An Akron man filed a complaint with the Summit County Board of Elections saying he "witnessed election judges telling potential voters that they could cast a provisional ballot
at any table or precinct and if they did so, it would be counted."

As you can read below, that turned out not to be true when it came time to actually count them.


Meanwhile, attorneys for various citizen action groups that plan to contest the results said they are puzzled that vote totals in the presidential race in Warren County far exceed totals in most other statewide and countywide races.

For example, the total of 94,415 votes cast there for President Bush or Sen. John Kerry is 3,000 more than all those cast in the U.S. Senate race and a constitutional amendment about same-sex marriage.

Further, 20,000 to 24,000 fewer votes were cast in three Ohio Supreme Court races and 13,000 to 24,000 fewer were cast in various countywide races.

In Sandusky County, double counting of 2,600 ballots from nine precincts resulted from duplicate storage in a computer disk, the elections board said. No outcomes were affected by the error, the elections board in northwestern Ohio said.

Throwing Votes Away: 8,099 Cuyahoga ballots ruled invalid

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections voted Monday to reject one out of three of the 24,472 provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 2 election.

The bulk of the 8,099 invalidated ballots were determined to have been cast by nonregistered voters or registered voters who cast their ballots in the wrong precinct. Voters received provisional ballots at the polls on Election Day if their names did not appear on the voter rolls.

Among Ohio's 88 counties, Cuyahoga County had the largest number of the controversial ballots, which pre-election predictions had said could rival the hanging chad as a blemish on official election results.

In the 2000 election, about 17 percent of provisional ballots were invalidated, compared with 33 percent in this election.

As county elections workers stood watch over a hand truck bearing 10 boxes stuffed with invalidated ballots, an ensemble of lawyers, professors and others who were active in voter registration drives made it clear that the board's decision won't quell the lingering disquiet about the possibility that some legitimate votes won't be counted.

During the 2½ hours the board meeting was delayed, lawyers and elections volunteers swapped tallies, analyses and stories about Election Day mishaps, many of which they offered in testimony after the board vote.

Confusion among poll workers about provisional-ballot procedures resulted in inconsistent, and sometimes erroneous, directions to voters, and some legitimate voter registrations never made the official rolls because of administrative errors, according to testimony.

Seventy percent of the rejected ballots, or 5,595, won't count because there was no record of their registration.

"I find it inconceivable that over 5,000 voters in the county would wait an hour in the pouring rain to vote if they haven't registered," said Dr. Norm Robbins, a neurosciences professor at Case Western Reserve University who volunteered for the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition.

Just remember, both sides have told us repeatedly that there is no mathematical chance for Kerry to overtake Bush in Ohio. So why do they need to throw votes away? Why not count the votes?

Good Question

If Bush can start a war based on unproven gossip, innuendo, 10 year old reports and a few out of context pictures, why can't we start a fraud investigation based on a lot more evidence ?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Could one hacker alter an entire election?

The more cunning agent who wants to throw the election surreptitiously will modify the votes more subtly in order to avoid tipping his game. It is important not to raise undo suspicion and not to trigger a recount. In order not to trigger a recount or attract a challenge, the changed vote totals must result in an overwhelming victory. The agent can not chance a close election. And while the agent is at it, why not go for a big popular vote margin countrywide. This is best done by narrowing the margins in overwhelmingly blue states and increasing the margins in overwhelmingly red states. For example the difference in NY between actual results and exit poll data is close to 600,000 votes. A few modifications like that and you quickly win a big margin of the popular vote as well as secure the Electoral College.

With the sole exception of Nevada, the nation’s e-vote machines have no voter verifiable paper so recounts are thought to be meaningless. If the agent has modified results in the tally database, an e-vote recount may not be meaningless. But the cunning agent can modify votes in tally machines counting optical scan ballots safely so long as a recount is never done. Thus those five counties in Florida where all the registered Democrats like to vote Republican using optical scan ballots needn’t worry about discovery during a recount because there will never be a recount for those counties.

The Latest from the For What It's Worth Dept.

Reports flowing in from around the country Thursday of massive widespread vote fraud in the 2004 General Elections has people in Washington very nervous, according to confidential sources. “People are trying to pretend nothing is at hand,” said one source, “but everyone knows something is afoot and that the lid is blowing off this thing.”

“I’m not going down with them,” said one Republican high-official who asked not to be named. “This thing is very, very serious and I cannot see them getting away with it. There’s no way in hell I am going to be charged with violating the constitution. Even the President has to know he is not above the law of the land.

Seems like he learned nothing from Nixon. The things that have been done to keep Kerry out of the White House, and Democrats out of office is bigger than Watergate. That’s why I’m talking now. I am not going to prison on this - but I bet you many people we all know are.”

“I was tipped off by a person very high up in television that this news has been locked down tight,” she said, “and that there will be no TV coverage of the real problems with voting on November 2nd. Even journalists are pretty horrified.” Reports concerning the lack of reporting on the massive fraud is coming from journalists from the Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, CBS, ABC, FOX. To date, only MSNBC has been providing limited coverage of the growing scandals. The Boston Globe is reported to be now conducting an investigation of voter fraud.

“My source said they’ve also been forbidden to talk about it even on their own time,” Harris said. “He was calling from somewhere else and trying to figure out how to get the real news out on vote fraud.” Reporters however, have been keeping track of the suppression of the news - called “blackouts."

“Yes, I am keeping detailed notes,” said one Washington Post reporter, “and there are more of us. Most of us are Generation X types sick and tired of Baby Boomer-types who seem to have learned nothing from their radical 1960s days. It makes me sick to watch these fat and glorified hippies close their eyes and ears to what is happening now. We’re supposed to sit around and gawk at how they battled Nixon and Vietnam, and yet they can’t get off their fat asses and take on Bush? What losers! You should see them, sitting in their secret conference meetings cowering like little girls. What a joke. They’ve lost so much respect I don’t think they even are aware of what is really happening. Time is not on their side though, and I can’t see many of us being there for them when they retire. That day is the day I celebrate the end of that whole generation of losers.”

Shocking Florida News!

A new audit shows that Florida's attempt to rid the voting rolls of felons this past election season was marred by lax oversight by the Department of State, which failed to follow legal settlements and relied on seriously flawed data when it put together the controversial felons list.

If This Election Is Stolen, will it be by enough to stop a recount?

From Halloween, before the election obviously, this scary story:

Most people don't get it. Democrats don't get it. Even former President Jimmy Carter doesn't get it. During a recent National Public Radio interview with Terry Gross, Carter said that voting machines should produce paper ballots, just in case the election is "close" and a recount is needed.

Recounts are triggered by close elections. But, stealing elections and avoiding recounts is duck soup for the dishonest among us.

Keep in mind that both mechanical and computerized voting machines have a long history of vote fraud and irregularities. However, never before have so few entities dominated the tabulation of the vote. Today, two voting machine companies with strong and well-documented ties to the Republican Party will count 80% of all votes in the upcoming election. These two companies, ES&S and Diebold, manufacture, sell and service both touchscreens and computerized ballot scanners. A foreign-owned company, Sequoia, is the third largest voting machine company.

This is not to say that the election will go against Democrat John Kerry. What it does mean is that election officials in America have privatized and outsourced the voting process.

So, how can an election be stolen and recounts avoided?

First, eliminate paper ballots. Thirty percent of all voters will use paperless computerized voting machines that are easy to rig and impossible to detect. Republicans in Congress successfully fought off legislation sponsored by Democrats in the House and Senate that would require voting machines to produce a paper trail. Even with this legislation, paper ballots were only to be used in case of a "close" election.

Second, make sure the paper ballots that do exist are counted on computerized ballot scanners and not by-hand. This includes absentee ballots. Ballot scanners are also easy to rig and are owned by the same handful of corporations. Even in Nevada, where touchscreens must produce paper ballots, the ballots will only be counted in case of a close election. In California, which is allowing voters to choose paper ballots in the upcoming election, ballots still won't be hand-counted; instead they'll be scanned by computers.

Third, and most importantly, steal the election by enough electronically-tabulated votes so that a recount will not be triggered.

To many observers, that is exactly what happened in the 2002 election. In several upset elections across the country, the vast majority of victories went against Democrats by a margin of 9-16% points off of pre-election polling. Meanwhile, Republican upsets were well within the margin of error. After the election I interviewed John Zogby of Zogby International, a fairly well respected polling company. I asked him, if he had noticed over the years an increased variation between pre-election predictions and election results. Zogby said that he didn't notice any big problems until 2002. Things were very different this time.

"I blew Illinois. I blew Colorado (and Georgia). And never in my life did I get New Hampshire wrong...but I blew that too," Zogby told this reporter. Or was he wrong? The 2002 election was, perhaps, a repeat of the 2000 presidential election, when the polls accurately predicted the winner (Gore), but the voting system in Florida collapsed under the weight of voting machine failure, election day chicanery, and outright disenfranchisement of thousands of black voters by Republican state officials.

Cuyahoga County: More Suspicious Vote Totals

From mydd another good look inside the vote totals in Ohio:

This region is very democratic. Gore beat Bush in these precincts 61,444 to 2,256 in 2000, about a 27-to-1 ratio (check the links above to verify... I'm not including absentee ballots). Kerry beat Bush in these precincts by 74,934 to 3,816 in 2004, about a 22-to-1 ratio. It is no surprise that in 2004, Kerry took the median precinct with 96% of the vote here, nor is it surprising that he won 3/4 of the precincts by at least 94%.

The precincts that stand out are the following 7:

precinct BAD BC K/E PER Bal Sp %Kerry

CLEVELAND 4F 0 21 290 215 554 28 55.1

CLEVELAND 4N 163 11 318 7 507 8 63.7

CLEVELAND 5B 0 12 74 16 102 0 72.5

CLEVELAND 8G 51 19 225 1 305 9 76.0

CLEVELAND 3I 1 13 464 70 567 19 84.7

CLEVELAND 8I 0 8 245 27 318 38 87.5

CLEVELAND 3B 41 17 456 1 533 18 88.5

Bad is Badnarik, BC is Bush/Cheney, K/E Kerry Edwards, Per is Peroutka. Bal is the total number of ballots cast, and Sp are the number of spoiled ballots for the presidential race.

In each of these precincts, either Badnarik or Peroutka received a disproportionately high number of votes (as if one or more voting booths at these locations were labelled incorrectly, or some levers punched the wrong column). It's not like people in this urban area will be drawn to the Texan Badnarik or the Constitution Party's Peroutka. If you take these 580+ votes in these 7 precints away, these two guys received 260 votes in all other 200 precincts in these 10 wards in the east side of Cleveland (an average of 1.3 third-party votes per precinct). Again, this is in a region where it is surprising if Kerry receives less than 90% of the vote (in each of these precincts, Bush is still receiving 2-6% of the vote, except for 5B where he gets 11%). It's not possible to argue that these third-party votes were meant for Bush.. he rarely received more than 5% in any of the 200 east-side Cleveland precincts.

Media Update

Media Matters notices how the media mostly ignored the Berkeley study:

A Nexis search revealed that the Berkeley study has not been covered on any of the cable or broadcast news networks and has received little attention in the print media.

Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, discussed the Berkeley study and the November 19 Oakland Tribune article in a November 21 entry on his MSNBC.com weblog. Olbermann has received criticism from conservatives in the media for his coverage of reports of election irregularities and the lack of media attention being paid to them, as MMFA has noted.

Speaking of Olbermann, on Tuesday's show he did more on the election (of course). He talked to pollster John Zogby, who said the twenty percent of us who question the 2004 election are not crazy, and that there are a lot of issues to be addressed.

And, on CNN, Aaron Brown covered the irregularities in about as briefly as one could and still have a TV news segment.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Judge Denies Demand for Ohio Recount-For Now

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request by third-party presidential candidates who wanted to force a recount of Ohio ballots even before the official count was finished.

Judge James G. Carr in Toledo ruled that the candidates have a right under Ohio law to a recount, but said it can wait. The judge wrote that he saw no reason to interfere with the final stages of Ohio's electoral process. Officials have said the results will be certified by Dec. 6.

Here's an evaluation of the Honorable Judge Carr:

"He's a little goofy. He gets things wrong sometimes, though. Sometimes he'll make correct statements but really lose sight of the big picture. Lawyers need to help him get to the right place. He doesn't always have the best judgment." "He's not very good at recalling proceedings and remembering what's happened from appearance to appearance." " . . . I have to say that I think he is very biased in favor of law enforcement. He just won't allow for the fact that sometimes these guys inaccurately convey what happened, which is bothersome. Also, he's sensitive to due process--so long as no one is going to get acquitted." "He has a very distinct pro-law enforcement bent." "I think he tries to be fair, but he favors the government." -- "Lawyers' Evaluation" in I Almanac of the Federal Judiciary 48.6th Circuit (1998).

'Lowdown tricks' sap poll-watcher's faith in fair U.S. voting

As a patriotic American, Tina had trouble believing widespread voter fraud could occur in this country. But after acting as a nonpartisan observer Nov. 2 this time around at a precinct in Florida, she says she's lost faith in the system. In nine hours Tina says she saw "lowdown tricks" that have made her feel "disgusted, angry -- and yes, energized." That's why she wants her story told.

Read her story.

Warren County Lockdown Planned in Advance

Remember the Warren County lockdown? They had to count the votes in secret due to an (imagined) terror threat. Well, it turns out it was all mapped out in advance.

County Commissioner Pat South has said the decision to lock the doors election night was made during an Oct. 28 closed-door meeting (the Thursday before Election Day). But in e-mailed memos dated Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 - released Monday after an Enquirer public records request - other county officials were already detailing the security measures, down to the wording of signs that would be posted on the locked doors.

"I don't think there's a discrepancy," Emergency Services Director Frank Young said Monday of the e-mail conversation with Building Services Director Jake Jones. "Part of that is the planning process."

John Allen Paulos On Exit Polls

He wrote Innumeracy (recommended) and A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market. He has an excellent rundown of the exit poll debate:

Absent any proof or compelling reasons for the differences between the final tallies and the exit polls in the swing states, I don't understand why these gross discrepancies are being so widely shrugged off. After all, the procuring of random samples is far more of a problem for ordinary telephone polls where the minority of people who cooperate with pollsters presumably differs in some way from the majority who don't. Still, these polls are not dismissed with the same impatient nonchalance as this year's exit polls.

Of course, what makes these discrepancies more than a technical problem in statistical methodology is that there is a much less likely, much more ominous explanation for them: massive fraud. Fraud is hard to believe for many reasons, one being the widespread nature, extending over different states and regions, of the shift to Bush. The difficulty of concealing a conspiracy grows very rapidly with the number of conspirators.

But another disturbing possibility is that there was no co-ordinated conspiracy, but rather many people working independently to subvert the election. The election has prompted extensive allegations of fraud, some of which have been debunked, but many of which have not. In several cases non-trivial errors have been established and official tallies changed. And there is one more scenario that doesn't require many conspirators: the tabulating machines and the software they run conceivably could have been dragooned into malevolent service by relatively few operatives. Without paper trails, this would be difficult, but probably not impossible, to establish.

Hard evidence? Definitely not. Nevertheless, the present system is such a creaky patchwork and angry suspicions are so prevalent that there is, despite the popular vote differential, a fear that the election was tainted and possibly stolen. (If 68,000 Ohio Bush supporters - only about a half dozen voters per precinct in the state - switched their votes, Kerry would be president-elect. Considerably fewer switches would be required if, as is likely, most provisional and spoiled ballots were good and went for Kerry.) A high-level commission should thoroughly examine the exit poll discrepancies and our electoral apparatus in general.

This is not a partisan issue. People differ about whom they want in the White House, but almost everybody wants whoever is there to be seen by all as having been rightfully elected.

Read it all here in Wednesday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

"We are literally receiving additional reports every minute"

The U.S. Government Accountability Office plans to investigate complaints of several systemic problems with this month's elections, a group of Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday.

The investigation comes in response to two letters written by lawmakers to the GAO which address numerous media reports of irregularities in the 2004 vote and call for those to be reviewed.

The GAO said it will not investigate every charge listed by the Democrats, but will examine "the security and accuracy of voting technologies, distribution and allocation of voting machines and counting of provisional ballots."

As part of the inquiry, the group said it will provide copies of specific incident reports received in their offices regarding the election, including more than 57,000 complaints provided to the House Judiciary Committee.

Those reports include allegations of computer and voting machine problems that added votes to totals, as well as malfunctions that resulted in votes being thrown out.

"We are literally receiving additional reports every minute," said a November 5 letter from lawmakers to the GAO. "The essence of democracy is the confidence of the electorate in the accuracy of voting methods and the fairness of voting procedures.

"In 2000, that confidence suffered terribly, and we fear that such a blow to our democracy may have occurred in 2004."

Irony Alert

US officials are questioning the vailidity of the election....

In the Ukraine:

The victory for the prime minister, by a margin of nearly 3 percentage points, that was given in official results diverged sharply from a range of surveys of voters at polling places (exit polls) that gave the opposition as much as an 11-point lead. Opposition organizers pushed for protest and mass action.

The findings of the international election mission included abuse of state resources in favor of the prime minister; the addition of about 5 percent of new voters to the rolls on election day; pressure on students to vote for the state's choice; pressure on state workers to turn over absentee ballot forms for presumptive use by someone else; widespread abuse of absentee voters, including some who were bused from region to region; the blocking of poll workers; suspiciously, even fantastically, high turnouts in regions that supported the prime minister; inaccurate voter lists and overt bias of state-financed news media.

The difference between us and them? Fox news is not directly state financed, although I'm sure they get many tax breaks. And they didn't get the news that if exit polls and 'actual counts' diverge, you must blame the exit polls.

You Hurt My Feelings!

A Republican voices why a recount in Ohio would be bad-it would hurt the feelings of the counties. In response, he plans to file a lawsuit (apparently will have to use him some of them evil trial lawyers. Hopefully it will not be frivolous, this lawsuit of his).

"Counties are very upset," said Keith Cunningham, director of the Allen County Board of Elections and incoming president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials.

"The inference is that Ohio election officials will not count every vote," Cunningham said. "That's just insulting; it's frivolous and simply harassment."

Cunningham said he was consulting with officials in several counties before deciding whether to pursue legal action to prevent a recount.

"I need to see if this is merely my opinion or reflects the opinion of the association," he said.

Monday, November 22, 2004

'Bout Time?: Dems and Kerry/Edwards To Join Recount Effort In Ohio

Assuring Ohioans receive an accurate count of all votes cast for president has prompted the Democratic Party to participate in the initiative to recount the results of the Nov. 2 presidential election.

“As Senator Kerry stated in his concession speech in Boston, we do not necessarily expect the results of the election to change, however, we believe it necessary to make sure everyone's vote is counted fairly and accurately,” said Dennis White, Ohio Democratic Party chair.

Columbus Attorney Donald McTigue will lead the recount effort on behalf of Ohio Democrats. The party will be recruiting volunteer witnesses to assist in the recount process in all 88 counties.

Don't know how serious they are, but the Kerry/Edwards campaign will allow you to donate.

Republicans Call For Privatizing Elections

"When the average citizen hears the phrase 'presidential election,' he thinks of long lines at polling places and agonizing waits as election results are tallied," U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told reporters Monday. "Putting the election of our public officials into the hands of private industry would motivate election officials to be more efficient."

"There's too much talk about the accuracy and fairness of our national elections, and not enough about their proficiency and profitability," Santorum added. "Who bears the brunt of bureaucratic waste? Taxpayers."

Above: A prototype for the new voting machines.

(PS: This is a joke)

Recount At Option of Local Official?

Apparently Lake County Elections Director Jan F. Clair feels she has the right to decide when to follow the recount provisions of the law:

Clair also informed the four-member board that she will return a check to Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and his counterpart with the Libertarian Party, Michael Badnarik.

They sent money to Lake County to pay for an automatic recount of presidential election ballots in the county.

Their $10 a precinct falls far short of the full cost, Clair said. Additionally, the two third parties can't seek an automatic recount until the state certifies the election.

She also said some prosecutors should challenge this because it could be considered frivolous.

An additional obstacle would be getting the recount completed before the state's electoral college meets Dec. 13, Clair said. The Lake County recount would take two days, Clair said.

Washington State: Let The Counting Continue

- A federal judge Sunday denied the state Republican Party's bid to force Washington's most populous county to stop counting some ballots in the recount of the governor's race.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman denied the GOP's request for a temporary restraining order barring the hand-counting of ballots in King County that were rejected because they could not be read electronically.

"It was a good decision," state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt said. "It's good for voters because it's consistent with the standard we would like to see — that every vote be counted."

After all counties reported their tallies last Wednesday, Republican Dino Rossi led Democrat Christine Gregoire by only 261 votes out of some 2.8 million ballots cast. State law requires a machine recount when the margin is less than 2,000 votes.

Republicans sued Secretary of State Sam Reed and the King County Division of Elections on Saturday, arguing that ballots that could not be counted electronically should be excluded from the recount because they would have to be checked by hand.

Republicans started their lawsuit arguing that counting ballots cast in a different ways shouldn't be counted in a different ways. In other words, how you cast your ballot (not usually your choice) determines how valid it should be when it comes to an automatic recount. And apparently they can argue and sue over this with a straight face.

Free Press: How the Ohio Election Was Rigged For Bush

Another good article from the Free Press detailing how the election machines were distributed.

To better understand what the BOE did on Election Day, consider the following analogy. The near east side of Columbus needs four buses to move the population to the downtown business district. Each bus will move 100 people. At the start of the business day at 6:30am, there are only two buses running and another one with a dead battery. After a few hours, the third bus is put into use. Finally, towards the close of the work day at 6pm, a fourth bus is deployed. The Central Ohio Transit Authority then reports it had four buses operating by the end of the business day. What matters is not how many buses, or voting machines, were operating at the end of the day, but rather how many were there to service the people during the morning and noon rush hours.

Read it all here.

C.A.S.E. Needs a Case

Hi all:

We need one optical scan plaintiff as soon as possible.

If you know anyone that voted optical scan (filling in the bubbles on a piece of paper - like taking the SAT) please ask them if they would be willing to make history.

No financial obligation. The attorney, John Bonifaz, General Counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute, is doing this pro bono.

Please contact me ASAP if you or someone you know wants to be a plaintiff.



Susan Truitt
CASE - Ohio

Bloggermann's Latest-Relax About Ohio

Keith writes about the deadlines in Ohio, etc:

Cobb, Badnarik, Arnebeck, and everybody else actually has more time than they think. I addressed this topic with the wonderfully knowledgeable George Washington University Constitutional Law professor, Jonathan Turley, back on Countdown on November 9th. He noted the election process is a little slower - and has one more major loophole - than is generally known. It begins on December 7th, the date “when you essentially certify your electors… it gives a presumption to the legitimacy to your votes. And then, on the 13th, the electors actually vote.”

But, Turley noted, “those votes are not opened by Congress until January 6. Now, if there are controversies, such as some disclosure that a state actually went for Kerry (instead of Bush), there is the ability of members of Congress to challenge.” In other words, even after the December 13th Electoral College Vote, in the extremely unlikely scenario that a court overturns the Ohio count, or that the recount discovers 4,000 Gahanna-style machines that each recorded 4,000 votes too many for one candidate, there is still a mechanism to correct the error, honest or otherwise.

“It requires a written objection from one House member and one senator,” Turley continues. Once that objection is raised, the joint meeting of the two houses is discontinued. “Then both Houses separate again and they vote by majority vote as to whether to accept the slate of electoral votes from that state.”

In these super-heated partisan times, it may seem like just another prospective process decided by majority rule instead of fact. But envision the far-fetched scenario of some dramatic, conclusive new result from Ohio turning up around, say, January 4th. What congressman or senator in his right mind would vote to seat the candidate who lost the popular vote in Ohio? We wouldn’t be talking about party loyalty any more - we’d be talking about pure political self-interest here, and whenever in our history that critical mass has been achieved, it’s been every politician for himself (ask Barry Goldwater when Richard Nixon trolled for his support in July and August, 1974, or Republican Senator Edmund Ross of Kansas when his was to be the decisive vote that would have impeached President Andrew Johnson in 1868).

The point of this dip into the world of political science fiction is that the Ohio timeframe is a little less condensed than it seems. The drop-dead date is not December 13, but January 6.

He again thinks this story is going to break huge soon (we're still waiting Keith!) citing this story in the Oakland Tribune.

More Ugly Ohio Stories

From dailykos, another list of creepy Ohio tactics from various volunteers:


There were numerous reports of voters trying to select Kerry and Bush was selected on the screen instead. The voters would try repeatedly to get Kerry to come up. Voters were only allowed three "pushes." They were told they could request a different machine, but of course by the time they were on the phone with the Election Protection project workers, it must have been too late.

There were also reports of voters getting to the review screen and seeing "No Selection." For president. This was often at the same polling places where machines were breaking down. Voters could not get their vote for Kerry for president to register.

Numerous reports of "Presidential choice not selected." Ballot would not register "Kerry".

Another GOP challenger asked a voter for a Green Card in order to get a provisional ballot. The voter called in to find out what a Green Card is. Of course, this was a trick. Voters must be citizens.

Machines at some polls had to be re-set after every voter. This took so long that people started to leave. This Election Protection project lawyer and her colleagues sent food out to the voters. They sent food out to voters at different precincts at least three times during the day to encourage them to stay in line.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Someone Named Kerry Pops Up In This Recount Story

From the North County News:

A top-ranking official with Democratic Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign told North County News last week that although unlikely, there is a recount effort being waged that could unseat Republican President George W. Bush.

"We have 17,000 lawyers working on this, and the grassroots accountability couldn't be any higher -no (irregularity) will go unchecked. Period," Kerry spokesman David Wade said.

A verbal firestorm erupted last week between an area supporter of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Wade after the Kerry spokesman derided Nader for creating a "phony wedge issue between progressives."

Nader has been calling on Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, to, in his words, "follow through on their post-election promise to the American people to make sure every vote counts, starting in Ohio."

A Kerry victory in Ohio means he would have the necessary electoral votes to take the White House.

Aptly Named Free Press Again

This time they report:

The Board of Elections’ own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from 2-7 hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day.

The Board of Elections document details that there are 2886 “Total Machines” in Franklin County. Twenty of them are “In Vans for Breakdowns.” The County record acknowledges 2886 were available on Election Day, November 2 and that 2798 of their machines were “placed by close of polls.” The difference between the machines “available” and those “placed” is 68. The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition provided legal advisors and observed 58 polling places in primarily African American and poor neighborhoods in Franklin County.

An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections’ allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city. The result was an obvious disparity in machine allocations compared to the primarily Republican white affluent suburbs.

Franklin County had traditionally used a formula of one machine per 100 voters, with machine usage allowable up to 125 votes per machine. The County’s rationale is as follows: if it takes each voter five minutes to vote, 12 people an hour, 120 people in ten hours and the remaining three hours taken up moving people in and out of the voting machines.

All Your NASED Are Belong To Us

Sunday Times has a story about people venting about the election to NASED, the National Association of State Election Directors. Don't know what good it would do, but here's their contact info:

Melinda Glazer
NASED Secretariat
c/o The Council of State Governments
Hall of the States
444 North Capitol Street, NW Suite 401
tel. (202) 624-5460
fax (202) 624-5452

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Exit Poll Insider's Anecdote

From a poster at dailykos, this story of a chat with someone who worked for a network taking exit polls:

"Don't blame us," he said. "we were right."

this piqued our interest. we talked further with our friend, who assured us that all the polling data pointed to a kerry victory. "we had kerry winning or tying in all battleground states except west virginia," he said.

our friend went on to point out that he worked for edison/mitofsky, whose polling data had never been wrong before. and, he said, the only counties in which the data they collected under-represented awol's votes were the counties in which diebold voting machines were used.

"quite a coincidence, eh?" he said.

he said there was evidence that the exit polling data was correct, and that everyone at edison/mitofsky was convinced their results were right. he also went on to bemoan the lack of media attention to this story, and to also wonder why kerry gave up so easily.

we decided that, much like the family that won't admit their dad is a serial murderer, nobody in america wants to face the fact that there is wide-spread corruption at the highest levels.

we promised our friend to blog about our conversation (keeping him anonymous, of course). we also vowed with our friend to keep fighting the good fight.

so, though it is anecdotal evidence, it's proof enough for us that 2004 was the same as 2000, only not as messy; ie, rigged and stolen.

Why They Won't Certify The Results In Ohio

Because of this:

Lawyers who have been documenting voting may problems in Ohio say they'll challenge the results of the presidential election as soon as the vote is official.

The lawyers say documented cases of long lines, a shortage of machines and a pattern of problems in predominantly black neighborhoods are enough evidence to bring such a challenge.

And this:

Ralph Nader is pushing for a vote re-count in Ohio, alleging wide-spread voter irregularities.

Nader blasted Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, saying he should resign in disgrace.

"When people are standing in line for four or five hours and they are told they've go to stand in line for another five hours and they leave because they've got to go to work or they got to pick up their child at day care, that's a constitutional crime," says Nader.

Does the AP Understand Our System?

AP does a story on 'academia' focused on the election, despite the Kerry concession and the overhaul of the Bush cabinet.

Check out this graph:

Despite Internet-circulated speculation that Bush's victory was somehow stolen or rigged, the incumbent's clear margin in the popular vote count is much wider than any of the problems reported to date -- be they voting technology failures, problems with provisional ballots or partisan shenanigans.

Since when does the popular vote mean anything? (Insert your own "Ask President Gore" joke).

Democracy in Question

Commondreams column has much of the usual information, but the conclusion of the article does point out that you don't need a great conspiracy to turn an election when it's as tight as this one was:

Somewhat concerned about the possible manipulation of e-voting machines, Franklin was more concerned over "the ordinary administration of elections," citing the simple logistical problems that had plagued voters.

He pointedly noted that the last two presidential elections highlighted "how the decisions of local people (officials) ... can have a considerable influence over who gets to vote, what rules govern."

When asked if he was aware of any parallels to the present election, Zogby replied, "I'm certainly aware of the election of 1960."

"It's been discussed, overtly, the roll that Richard Daley, and the roll that Lyndon Johnson played, separately," Zogby said, referring to an episode where the John F Kennedy campaign had supposedly asked, "How many votes do you have?", the reply allegedly being, "How many votes do you need?"

Of course, such examples also serve to highlight the influence "local people" can exert on an election's outcome.

In the end, many people speculated that the 1960 incidents were not part of a grand conspiracy per se, but the cumulative effects of the actions of a number of individuals who shared a similar perspective, acted semi-independently, and did whatever it took to win.

Political "dirty tricks" culminated in the Watergate scandal, forcing then President Richard Nixon (1969-1974) to resign, ushering in a long era without similar illicit activity, until questions raised by the election of 2000.

With American democracy, until now, providing an effective model for many, as Zogby said, "we're talking about the Free World here."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Ugly Ohio Stories

Selected 'highlights' of testimony at two hearings in Ohio bout that election:

Read 'em and weep.


They have more...

Calls For Action

The recount in Ohio still could use money and especially volunteers:
Click here.

They're trying to get the recount started but Ohio politicians are dragging the initial count process out.

ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY has launched an Ohio honest election campaign.

Olbermann's Latest

Keith tries to make sense of the UC Berkeley report:

Most of the paper is so academically dense that it seems to have been written not just in another language, but in some form of code. There is one table captioned “OLS Regression with Robust Standard Errors.” Another is titled “OLS regressions with frequency weights for county size.” Only the summary produced by Professor Michael Hout and the Berkeley Quantitative Methods Research Time is intelligible.

Of course, I’m reminded suddenly of the old cartoon, with the guy saying “I don’t understand women,” and the second guy saying, “So? Do you understand electricity?”

He also notes the lack of attention paid to these issues by the 'mainstream' media, excepting his own show and Wired.

Kerry Speaks Up

John Kerry sent an email to his supporters which included this:

Regardless of the outcome of this election, once all the votes are counted -- and they will be counted -- we will continue to challenge this administration. This is not a time for Democrats to retreat and accommodate extremists on critical principles -- it is a time to stand firm.

I will fight for a national standard for federal elections that has both transparency and accountability in our voting system. It's unacceptable in the United States that people still don't have full confidence in the integrity of the voting process.

I ask you to join me in this cause.

Amen, as they say.

League Of Women Voters Speak Out

Remember when they used to let the League of Women Voters run the debates? Too non-partisan to be allowed that role anymore. But they have spoken up about the way we run election in our shining example of democracy:

The League of Women Voters is deeply concerned about voting irregularities in the 2004 election. The appropriate officials must fully investigate these concerns through open and public processes. Election officials should look into problems quickly and thoroughly and fix what proves to be wrong. Transparency and a willingness to look into potential problems will strengthen voter confidence and ultimately improve our electoral system.

New Hampshire Recount Goes Slowly

A recount Ralph Nader requested for some New Hampshire towns went slower than expected Thursday and won't resume until next week, state election officials said.

"It's impossible," said Secretary of State Bill Gardner, declining to predict when the recount would end.
Briggs' analysis showed about three quarters of precincts with severe changes from 2000 were using Diebold Inc.'s Accuvote optical scanning machines. Nader campaign representatives said they wanted to ensure the machines were accurate.

"Nader, an independent presidential candidate this year, paid $2,000 to begin a recount of 11 of the state's 126 precincts after an analysis showed wide differences in voting trends between the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

The analysis, performed by Michigan programmer Ida Briggs, said Sen. John Kerry's votes were much worse in some locations than former Vice President Al Gore's in 2000, even though Kerry carried the state and Gore didn't.

That was enough of a coincidence that we thought a recount made sense," said Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese. "It's an audit, if you will."


From the Nashua Telegraph comes this report:

The recount of presidential ballots in Litchfield and two Manchester wards Thursday night differed by only 15 votes from more than 12,000 ballots cast.

Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said those reviewed Thursday were not representative enough to suspend the recount. Zeese conceded this would likely prove voting-machine tampering favoring President George W. Bush did not take place.

“This just shows Democrats have more soul-searching to do for why they lost the election. They can’t use machine troubles as an excuse,” Zeese said.

Of course, following the paper trails in NH does not prove that everything was on the up and up in all the other states...

It's (Semi) Official! Bush Wins (New Mexico)

Results won't be certified until Tuesday. Bush's lead shrank to 6,047 but never disappeared. Every resident of NM now gets to be typecast as a 'red stater' (even you, Santa Fe!) And that goes for you, too, Iowa!

Counting continues in Washington, Colorado and Ohio (gotta go slow to keep the recount from happening).

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ghosts Voted in Rural Ohio?

A poster at Dailykos went to one of the election hearings in Ohio and relates this tale:

An election watcher went over to Pickaway county in Ohio to see what was going on there. She asked to see the polling books which was her right by law. These books show the signatures of all those who are authorized to vote at the polling precinct.

When the poll watcher flipped open the books, she saw that lots of people had been allowed to vote but had not signed the books. This struck her as very odd, of course, since by law people have to sign in to verify that they are authorized to vote.

Soon, the board of elections head in Pickaway came by, took the books away from her, threatened her with arrest. When the woman responded that the Elections supervisor was breaking the law, the supervisor rezponded that Ken Blackwell had just told her to take the books away from the watcher. A couple phone calls had been placed, apparently.

All the panel during the Ohio hearings was shocked by this story. These books are out there, and the signatures cannot be faked. The panel took the testimnoy and promised to follow up.

Wouldn't it be just like Karl Rove and buddies to accuse the Democrats of padding the vote with unauthorized voters, while all the while planning to pad the rural vote in places like Pickaway?

Questions: are the rural conservative voters who came out in droves really just ghosts? Do they exist? And if they exist, did they stay home and did someone else vote for them?

You Only Count Twice

Via Keith Olbermann's blog comes this news from the Boston Herald:

Election officials in one Ohio county found that about 2,600 ballots were double-counted, and two other counties have discovered possible cases of people voting twice in the presidential election.

Prosecutors were trying to determine Wednesday whether charges should be filed against a couple in Madison County accused of voting twice. In addition, Summit County election workers investigated possible double votes found under 18 names.

In the other case, Sandusky County election officials discovered that about 2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice, likely because of worker error, elections director Barb Tuckerman said.

Tuckerman believes the votes were counted twice when they were mistakenly placed alongside a pile of uncounted ballots. The room where the ballots were being fed into optical-scan machines on election night was so crowded that ballots had to be placed on the floor, Tuckerman said.

``It was totally hectic,'' she said.

The problem was discovered when Tuckerman found that one precinct showed 131 percent of registered voters had cast ballots.

Wired News: New Hampshire Recount to Settle Doubts?

Wired News explains the New Hampshire recount which is to start today.

Unlike states and counties using paperless touch-screen voting machines, New Hampshire passed a law in 1994 requiring all voting machines to produce a paper trail, so the paper can easily be used to verify the vote results.

But if the New Hampshire recount uncovers problems with the machines, the Nader campaign will consider seeking a recount in Florida, since the state uses many of the same Diebold and ES&S optical-scan machines as those in New Hampshire. The process in Florida, however, would be more complicated and expensive.

But this isn't why Briggs chose to examine New Hampshire's machines. She chose the state because Kerry won there, with 50 percent of the votes to Bush's 49 percent, and people would be less likely to view her examination as a partisan tactic to overturn Bush's victory.

Dayton Daily News: Missing Votes

The Dayton Daily News (registration required) breaks this news of yet another isolated glitch which, like all isolated glitches, favored George W. Bush:

Two Montgomery County precincts had extraordinarily high numbers of ballots cast Nov. 2 with no presidential vote counted, and the county's overall rates of such undercounts were highest where Democratic hopeful John Kerry did best.

Undercounts are ballots that do not register a vote for a particular race, in this case for president. Two precincts — one in Kettering and another in Washington Twp. — had undercounts of more than 25 percent, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of the county's unofficial results.

Overall in Montgomery County, 5,693 or 2 percent of the ballots cast registered no valid vote for president.

As predicted by political scientists, who say the poor and less-educated are more likely to have problems with punch card voting, the rate of so-called undercounted presidential ballots was higher in Democratic areas of the county than in Republican strongholds.

Quick! Someone call Justice Scalia!

Rates that high show something must have gone wrong, said Larry J. Sabato, a political scientist from the University of Virginia. Undercounts during presidential elections are typically between 1 percent and 2 percent, he said.

"It is very difficult to believe that a quarter of the people would not vote for president, especially in a year like this," Sabato said. "If I were the election officers in those areas I would be doing some very extensive checks of those machines."

Meanwhile, Democrats in Ohio have filed a lawsuit:

Seeming to brush aside John Kerry's concession speech, the Ohio Democratic Party has launched a federal court fight over nearly 155,000 provisional ballots by contending a proper accounting of those votes might decide who really won.

In Ohio, Bush now holds a lead of about 136,000 votes over Kerry.

County officials across the state began tabulating provisional ballots Friday.

"Given the closeness of the presidential and other elections," Ohio's provisional ballots "may prove determinative of the outcome," Democrats argue in a legal filing made public Wednesday by the U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit asked U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson to order Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to impose uniform standards for counting provisional votes on all 88 counties. Democrats want the judge to take action quickly - before the results of the election are certified.

Watson, who was appointed by Bush, has not set a hearing.

Don McTigue, a Columbus lawyer who filed the lawsuit for the Ohio Democratic Party, said the Democrats have concerns that different standards are being applied from county to county.

"Our action is not tied to some hope of changing the outcome of the election. We're being consistent with the Kerry campaign, and the Democratic Party's interest in seeing all eligible ballots are counted," McTigue said.

Even A Broken Clock...

That Great Thinker, Antonin Scalia, says, about the 2000 Gore/Bush decision:

The equal-protection clause had been violated because they were counting votes differently.

Hope he means it next time a decision on elections comes his way.

I'd, of course, argue that that should mean every vote in each state should be conducted in the same manner-if Democrats get easily 'spoiled' punch cards, so should Republicans.

Perhaps there could even be a system where if one college kid in Ohio has to wait 9 hours to vote, all the Republican voters should have to wait 9 hours to vote (watch the system get fixed in a nanosecond).

UC Berkeley Study Questions Florida E-Vote Count

A research team at UC Berkeley will report that irregularities associated with electronic voting machines may have awarded 130,000 - 260,000 or more excess votes to President George W. Bush in Florida in the 2004 presidential election. The study shows an unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in counties where electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting methods. Discrepancies this large or larger rarely arise by chance -- the probability is less than 0.1 percent.

Their report is now online. From the summary:

Compared to counties with paper ballots, counties with electronic voting machines were significantly more likely to show increases in support for President Bush between 2000 and 2004. This effect cannot be explained by differences between counties in income, number of voters, change in voter turnout, or size of
Hispanic/Latino population.

In Broward County alone, President Bush appears to have received approximately 72,000 excess votes.

We can be 99.9% sure that these effects are not attributable to chance.


You can read a Wired News story giving details of this story.


PC World has an article up (apparently only geeks can cover this story):

Hout says that the odds of the Florida irregularities happening by chance were less than 1 in 1000, and he calls for an examination of the results. "It's like a smoke alarm and it's beeping," he says. "We call upon the voting officials in Florida to determine whether there's a fire."

They go on to mention that the study found no irregularities in twelve other FLA counties nor in Ohio, for those who think it's a partisan hack job.

Third World Democracy

Salon does a story on how we vote here in the USA. The usual "It couldn't possibly have been stolen" thoughts, but does admit it's not really a great system.

You have to click through an ad to read the whole thing.

"In my view," she added, "the real question is whether we saw anything on Nov. 2 that gives us pause about the system. The answer to that is a resounding yes ... There is so much that we saw that shows that the system is flawed, unworkable, prohibitively expensive, inaccessible, intended to keep voters away, insecure, lacking in transparency and open to manipulation, that if we don't fix it, we are basically on a collision course with the decay of our democracy."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Abolish Election Day

Vote by mail, of course.

Your Directive is Clear as Mud

So says Wayne Jones to the Secretary of State's office in Ohio in reference to their directives on how to count the votes.

Not Over Yet

Says the News Journal of central Ohio:

Ohio's provisional votes were counted Tuesday, but the 2004 general election is still not over at the national level or the local level.

A statewide recount of the presidential vote appears inevitable after a pair of third-party candidates said they have collected enough money to pay for it after that certification date.

Libertarian Michael Badnarik and the Green Party's David Cobb said Monday they raised more than the $113,600 needed to pay $10 for the recount in each of the state's voting precincts.

Badnarik and Cobb said they aren't trying to overturn President Bush's 136,000-vote victory in Ohio, but just want to ensure that all votes were counted properly in the face of concerns about Election Day irregularities.

"It looks like this election might go until the Electoral College meets in mid-December," Hankins said.

Return of the Dimples

In an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how many provisional votes to throw away, we also learn:

Summit County election board members spent more than an hour discussing the effects of dimples and piercings on the punch-card ballots used in the county. In discussing 31 so-called "damaged" ballots which were either torn or placed incorrectly into the voting machine by voters the two Democratic board members were more inclined to count dimples impressions made in the ballot by the stylus. But the two Republican board members balked, favoring piercings instead, where the stylus had perforated the ballot.


Mandate Vs Date

On this site you can see charts reflecting the changes in the vote spread as the outstanding ballots s l o w l y get counted...

Extra Votes In Cuyahoga

Here's a list of all the extra votes in Cuyahoga. There has been some debate about whether certain ballots get distributed unevenly in even numbered years or some such explinating. Would be nice if the electoral system made sense, however.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Interesting Answer from John Kerry

Chatting about this and that with a Boston TV station:

"You know they haven't finished counting the votes in Ohio yet, and so it is way to early to start talking about another race. But I will tell you this -- I'm far from finished fighting. I'm passionate about these issues. As I say, 50,000 votes and we'd be in a different place with a different conversation."

Republican Area Get Many Voting Machines...

Democratic areas, not so many:

An analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections’ allocation of machines reveals a consistent pattern of providing fewer machines to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its Democratic mayor and uniformly Democratic city council, despite increased voter registration in the city. The result was an obvious disparity in machine allocations compared to the primarily Republican white affluent suburbs.

Franklin County had traditionally used a formula of one machine per 100 voters, with machine usage allowable up to 125 votes per machine. The County’s rationale is as follows: if it takes each voter five minutes to vote, 12 people an hour, 120 people in ten hours and the remaining three hours taken up moving people in and out of the voting machines.

Once a machine is recording 200 voters per machine, 100% over optimum use, the system completely breaks down. This causes long waits in long lines and potential voters leaving before casting their ballots, due to age, disability, work and family responsibilities.

A preliminary analysis by the Free Press shows six suburban polling places with 100 votes a machine or less, and only one in the city of Columbus meeting or falling under the guideline.

Dueling lawyers, election officials gnashing teeth, Votergate.tv film crew catching it all.

Lots of intrigue in Florida...

Black Box Voting audit gets handed copies of polling place tapes, finds the originals and ballots in the trash, the police get called.

Examing the 2 sets of records found some that didn't match. And, you guessed, like most of the isolated incidents so far, the error favored one particular candidate (we'll call him Candidate W.) over the other.

In fact, in one location, precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans.

Another Isolated Incident:Ballot box sat ignored in office

The unmarked brown box sat unnoticed in the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office until Monday, two weeks after the election, when an employee cleaning a desk stumbled upon it.

Inside were 268 uncounted absentee ballots.

"I think this is a very serious situation," Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said Monday, vowing to fire or discipline any employee found to be negligent.

"I assume all responsibility for everything that happened in that department, but I have to rely on other people," Clark said. "It's not a one-woman show."

The unmarked box wasn't the only problem.

Five days ago, Clark sent the state the county's final results for the Nov. 2 election. But her office had failed to perform a standard check to ensure that all ballots had been accounted for.

Clark assumed her staff had performed the check, but they had not.

Now she will ask the state for permission to change Pinellas' official results. The canvassing board will count the missing ballots Thursday.

Although it is numerically possible, officials say the missing ballots probably won't change any results. Only a few races were decided by less than 268 votes - including the presidential contest.

Unusual Ohio Pattern: Perfectly Good Democrats Vote Republican

"Ledge Of Liberty" has this interesting table:

To believe Bush won Ohio, you would have to believe that perfectly good Democrats turned Republican. Almost two-hundred-thousand Democrats gone bad -- it just isn’t feasible. These numbers don’t add up to a legitimate election. Period.

Up until now, numbers on the spreadsheet looked just as you’d expect – tons of confusing numbers on a spreadsheet. But this final step is quite revealing, negative percentages of change, across the board, for Democratic candidate, John Kerry, and wouldn’t you know it -- positive percentages of change for the Republican candidate, George W. Bush.

He took an average of Democratic vs Republican votes by county in the previous four elections and averaged out the votes. Then found that in every single county Kerry apparently got a smaller percentage of D votes than the D candidates in the other elections.

These are not small percentages of change either; they are quite significant –- huge -- more than enough to sway the election in favor of John Kerry. The numbers just don’t lie, statistically; George Bush could not have won this election.

The Perfect Election Day Crime

TomPaine.com reminds us that suspicious vote counts weren't the only problem in Ohio. The lack of voting machines in heavily Democratic areas:

"There were widespread anecdotal reports that inner city voters were leaving the polls because of 2-hour plus wait times, " Clark said. "Granted, there were also waits in suburban areas. But the impact on final voter turnout was clearly very different—a lawyer can be late and keep her job, a grocery store clerk can't."

And then there’s the question of how and where voting machines were distributed. Even though Franklin County election officials have their ready defense to deflect charges of intentional voting rights violations, Democratic field organizers said the placement of too-few voting machines at inner city precincts came amid a broader campaign of voter intimidation aimed at Democrats.

Protecting the right to vote is the heart of the federal Voting Rights Act. If fewer voting machines were put in African-American precincts, on a per capita basis, than were placed in the county’s whiter suburbs—and that prevented African-Americans from voting—that would violate the Voting Rights Act.

"If this was planned and systematic and not accidental, it would be a violation," Gerety said. "If this was a means of disenfranchising African-American voters, it’s a clear violation."