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Vote 2008? (A lazyquote diary)

by edwin Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 10:40:32 PM EST

Can Democrats count? Looks like there may be some irregularities in the NH primary.

7 Point Swing for Clinton Over Obama in NH's Diebold Precincts

Analaysis Shows Candidates 'Positions Swapped' Where Ballots Counted by Hand Versus 'Counted' by Machine...

Brad Blog

I'm not sure why people think computers are a safe way to conduct an election. At least with paper ballots the larger the fraud the more people who must be in on it.


Chris Matthews: Raw EXIT POLL Data 'Indicated Significant Victory' for Obama in NH

Even the Exit Polls showed that Obama should have won, according to Chris Matthews on Hardball today. It's the first specific indication that we've seen that the raw, unadjusted Exit Poll data, which only corporate mainstream media folks, not mere mortals, are allowed to see, confirmed all of the pre-election polling which predicted an Obama win.

Brad Blog

Kucinich asks for New Hampshire recount in the interest of election integrity

Kucinich, who drew about 1.4% of the New Hampshire Democratic primary vote, wrote, "This is not about my candidacy or any other individual candidacy. It is about the integrity of the election process." No other Democratic candidate, he noted, has stepped forward to question or pursue the claims being made.

Brad Blog

The angryarab has a possible explanation.

(Found originally from a post by b in Moon of Alabama)

Race and Voting behavior. The media were surprised with the results yesterday. They should not have. People who study voting behavior note that voters often lie about their electoral intentions especially when race is involved. White voters inflate their desire to vote for a black candidate and the black candidate almost always capture less of the white vote than was previously projected by opinion polls or even by exit polls. When Doug Wilder was first elected as the first black governor, he received far less of the white vote than was projected in opinion surveys. Similarly, when the Nazi David Duke ran governor he captured more of the white vote than was projected before the election. So voters often register their responses fearing that they may be perceived as racist. People who study voter behavior in UK have also noticed that Thatcher was receiving more support in the 1980s than was projected in opinion surveys: many young British voters were relectant to tell pollster of their intentions to vote for her because it was not cool among the young to voter for a Conservative candidate.

Angry Arab

Let's briefly take a trip down memory lane to 2004.

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election there were systematic flaws and data irregularities characteristic of fraudulent elections, which affected the outcome of both the presidential and local elections. Significant exit poll and data irregularities were present, as well as complaints were made that voting was not conducted equally for all citizens. For example, uneven voting machine distribution lead to long voting lines and disenfranchisement.

Wikipedia

Of course vote fraud is just one of many problems with the US electoral system. There are other ways that are potentially safer than risking voter fraud.

Gerrymandering is a big pastime, and it does not seem to get the same media attention.

The best way to win elections is to prevent people from voting for the wrong party. The method that is currently being tried is to require picture id in order to vote. This will affect the poor significantly more than the rich. It should be great for disenfranchising large numbers of Democrats.

Two major Supreme Court cases have been heard this week, and on each of them, it does not appear that the side of justice and the Constitution will be victorious.

I will avoid talking about the case where the courts may decide that cruel or unusual punishment is ok by them. It's off topic.

In the other big case, the ruling on Indiana's voter ID law, the Court again appeared unswayed by arguments about equal protection and the deliberate efforts to suppress voter turnout.

 

Only two Justices -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens -- even hinted at the real-world fact that the photo ID law in Indiana is at the heart of a bitter, ongoing contest reaching well beyond Indiana. It is a dispute between Republicans worried over election fraud supposedly generated by Democrats to pad their votes, and Democrats worried over voter suppression supposedly promoted by Republicans to cut down their opposition. The abiding question at the end: can a decision be written that does not itself sound like a political, rather than a judicial, tract? Can the Court, in short, avoid at least the appearance of another Bush v. Gore? [...]

As has been said many times, this is a solution without a problem. The Indiana secretary of state, when pressed, could not come up with one documented instance of voter fraud in his state. Never has so much attention been paid to a crime that has not been proven to be committed. The agenda is as transparent as tissue paper.

Digby

You don't have to rig the election if only one side is allowed to vote in the first place.

So where do Americans go to from here?

Display:
Based on the discussion early discussions at Crazy Horse:
On Booman there is further speculation of Diebold error in NH.  Given previous voting fraud in 2004, and the US history of voting fraud, i can't dismiss it.  Would explain the polling discrepancy.

It seems that the "Diebold" errors can be explained by the fact that the machines were predominantly located in populous urban areas (which are Hilary's stronghold) and the Handcounting took place in rural areas.

There are a huge number of theories as o why the late polls and exit polls did not pick up the late swing to Hilary (uncluding the racial theory you suggest) plus the feminist theory of outrage at the Media's treatment of Hilary's breakdown.

My point is that there are a lot of plausible explanations for Hilary's win that do not require conspiracy or vote rigging theories.

However the bigger point is that the registration and voting and vote counting systems in the US appear to lack proper oversight and audit safeguards and it is extraordinary that these shortcomings have still not been addressed.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 07:13:44 AM EST
But those plausible explanations should be investigated if possible.

I just dropped the following comment on BooMan's thread, by the way.

Booman Tribune ~ Why We Should Do a Hand Recount in NH

We have all seen the statistics showing that Clinton won in the precincts with machine-scanned ballots and Obama in the precincts with hand-counted ballots.

Before anyone calls for a recount, they need to get exit polls aggregated by precinct vote-counting method.  If the exit polls show the same discrepancy as the vote count, then there's no evidence of foul play.

And why would something like that happen in the exit polls? Surely the vote-counting method doesn't influence voter preference! No, but the point is that correlation doesn't imply causation. I can imagine a bunch of socioeconomic variables correlating independently with both support for Clinton/Obama and machine/hand counting. The primary such correlate is population density. Urban areas have voting machines and went for Hillary. Rural areas don't have voting machines and went for Obama.  

There has been one diary here which highlights that there are huge variations within the exit poll data.Booman Tribune ~ What the exit polls tell us

The exit polls are available:

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/epolls/index.html#val=NHDEM

And they reveal a REALLY AMAZING THING:

Of the 1955 respondents, 57 % were female.

This diary suggests that the Urban/Rural correlation I mentioned above could explain the observed difference between hand and machine counted ballots.

So, until someone produces an exit poll segregated by the vote-counting method at the precint where the voter was interviewed, there is no basis for calling for a recount.

Not that the claim shouldn't be taken seriously, but that looking at the exit polls in this way is the necessary first step in investigating the claim.

Booman should know this stuff, too.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 07:31:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, in 2004 exit pollsters updated their exit polls to confirm with counted votes.

So yes, checking raw exit poll - counted votes precinct for precinct would be the way to go.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 09:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, in 2004 exit pollsters updated their exit polls to confirm with counted votes.

I hadn't thought about that.

Still, we have two conflicting exit polls from MSNBC and CNN.

I don't think it's going to make a difference, because I suspect CNN was right.  It's a bit weird to me that the percentages came in as exact -- down to the one-hundredth of a point -- opposite in Diebold vs Hand-Count precincts.

One way or another, Kucinich deserves a thank you for standing up on principle.  Confidence in the integrity of the vote matters.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:19:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kos also deserves to be smacked for pulling his "Call for a recount and I'll ban you" stuff again.  Prior to the exit poll from CNN, it was perfectly reasonable to be suspicious.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kos is an ass.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, he is.  He's going to have a lot of egg on his face, too, if Kucinich's recount goes through and they find something.  That would be interesting.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 11:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the coincidence on the percentages is even greater:

Optical Scan
Clinton 91,717 52.9507%
Obama 81,495 47.0493%
Total 173,212

Hand Counted
Clinton 20,889 47.0494%
Obama 23,509 52.9506%
Total 44,398

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is almost as if the US takes a recount as an insult.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:55:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My thoughts on democracy is that you need the confidence of the people:

Elections must be fair, and must seem to be fair. There have been a number of problems, and allegations of fraud with voting machines. States are now decertifing their voting machines. Combine this with known fraud - gerrymandering, and with legal disenfranchisement if the supreme court rules that picture id is required to vote, and what do you have left?

It goes deeper than "Can Democrats count?".

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 09:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason why all paper ballots should be counted by hand is a matter of principle.

it should be done like in Spain... all paper ballots, each table counting (three people checkign the hand count) and all the reperesentative of allt eh candidates checking that the ahnd coutn is correct.

Then there is no need of  a recount.. wella ctually in Spain a recount is done but only taking into accoutn the results given at each precint/table with the approval of all members of the table adn the representatives of all aprties and candidates.

having said..and being with you on this stuff, I think that probably the machines counted fairly well here. I do expected a Clinton win, an the discrepancies had to do with mobilization of women group in certain areas.

You should compare always exit polls with voting discrepancies (not previous or entrance) to see signal of discrepancies.. adn stll they are very diffciutl to detect given the margin of errors.... if those margin of errors do mean anythign at all whcih in most cases don't.

A pelasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 07:32:01 AM EST
Even countries with much more complex and lengthy vote counting procedures (like Ireland's multi-seat, single transferable voting system) still use hand counting of paper ballots which can take days as each unsuccessful candidate is eliminated (from the bottom up) and their votes transfered to the next preference candidate on the ballot paper.  Successful candidates who exceed the quota also have their "surplus" votes transfered to the next preference candidate at the fractional value of the surplus divided by the quota which results in fractions of votes being transfered.

You can imagine how complex the system is and the scope for human error is there - but recounts typically ony find small errors.  However the point is the system has the confidence of the public and attempts to introduce a computerised system (at great cost) were overthrown because of the absence of paper and audit trails which could be used to authenticate results.

My larger point is - why computerise the US system at all if it is so much simpler than other systems to hand count it?  Large sections of the electorate have clearly lost confidence in the computerised system, and the fact that there appears to be one almost monopoly supplier of voting machines doesn't help.

Computerisation works best where there are ongoing large numbers of transactions to be processed, but elections only happen once every 2 years and the machines lie idle the rest of the time.  Hand counting would also prevent some states reporting their results before others have even finished voting.

Voting is one of the great ceremonies of democracy.  Hand counting the votes in the presence of all candidate representatives should be no less a signature Ceremony of what democracy is all about.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 08:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand that one of the reasons the US has electronic voting is that everyone is elected right down to the dog catcher.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 09:36:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the ballots are friggin' unwieldly.

However, in Spain working at the precinct is like jury duty. Enough people are drawn randomly from the voter rolls to man the tables, with alternates. So counts tend to happen very quickly because the manpower is available. Also, elections don't happen on working days and if they did people would have to get time off work, by law. Poll workers also get a small per-diem. What? It's expensive? Whose democracy is it, anyway?

I don't what to sound smug, but our electoral law takes voting seriously, while the US system is a hodge-podge where each county can do things their own way if they so wish.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 09:49:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada currently has a mix of hand voting and paper ballots counted by optical scan. As is usual, after it has been proven to be a disaster in the US, we will experiment with it.

I believe, but am not sure, that paper ballots are still the vast majority.

We have a pole clerk and assistant pole clerk which are paid jobs. They count the vote. There are scrutinizers from the political parties that oversee the counting. I have been in the scrutinizer position. I saw everything -  people voting, names being removed from the voters list, the ballot box being opened - the ballots being counted. The total number of ballots being checked against the voter's list. I phoned in the results to my political party and they were checked against the official tally. If I had any concerns over any part of the electoral process I had easy access to let my party know. I believe though am not sure, that I could in some cases make it known within the official record of the count.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:03:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh - it is not that hard to become a clerk or assistant clerk. My wife did it last election. She applied and was hired. The jobs are advertised in the paper.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:06:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Similar in Sweden. Lots of people are hired and the party votes of the parties deemed to have a shot at getting seats are counted at the election sites the night of the election (always a sunday).

Parties sometimes sends representatives to check the counting, but each and every citizen has the right to be present and follow the counting on site.

Then the following days all votes are re-counted, this time also noting votes for minor parties and candidate preference markings. The recount is made the officials of the election authority. Election night results and re-count results are both published online broken down to individual polling stations. I think there is provisions for additional recounts if it is very close.

And it is all paper ballots, all the way.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 11:51:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the vote counting open to the public - as in, anybody who is not a magician can come and witness the proceedings ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 08:11:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but absurd as a reason.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 12:46:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
astute.  

e-voting machines are about enabling election fraud.  

MUCH cheaper and easier than the old approaches.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 12:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh - it is not that hard to become a clerk or assistant clerk. My wife did it last election. She applied and was hired. The jobs are advertised in the paper.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:05:36 AM EST
Gahhhh. Wrong location.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 10:06:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So where do Americans go to from here?  

Rebellion or slavery.  

Rebellion is not yet on the horizon.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 12:54:09 AM EST
I am thinking of the slogan on New Hampshire license plates. "Live free or die."

No - most people anywhere are not prepared to make that choice. But before that choice can be made one must first realize that one is entering a type of slavery.

It's also kind of like the frog in a pot of very slowly warming water. There is no clear point where one can say, nows the time to jump out.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Jan 12th, 2008 at 04:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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