Wednesday, November 03, 2004

If this Election was Stolen

If this election was stolen, the mechanisms were primarily two simple activities - (1) suppression of democratic votes through inefficient polling operations with insufficient voting machines causing hours long waits at the polls and (2) the misalignment of touch screens so that votes for John Kerry would actually register as votes for George Bush. More on this second item in a moment. It is striking that the exit polls called for a Kerry win by over 3%, as even Fox News reports:
By midnight, Bush was declared the winner in Florida, though throughout the day the state had been predicted a winner for Kerry. Similar predictions in Ohio were also found to be wrong as the state was put in Bush's column.
Miami-Dade county, for example, reported 45.7% of the vote for George Bush. Does this match exit polls in the county? Or even the distribution of expected voters?

Regarding the allegation of incorrect alignment of voting machine functionality, again Fox News reports:
Twenty-one touch-screen voting machines in Broward County were replaced because of technical problems, said Gisela Salas, the county's deputy supervisor of elections. At least one of the machines had shown votes cast for the wrong candidates.
This article replaces an earlier one (now unavailable) on Fox which explained the problem -- it was impossible to select John Kerry on the touch screen -- every attempt made selected George Bush instead. This was only discovered when some (24 individual and separate reports) voters checked their own results at the end of the session with the voting machine and noticed that George had been selected instead of John. One voter made 14 attempts to change the vote to John Kerry before calling over a poll worker to report the malfunction. Ultimately the poll worker had to use the eraser end of a pencil to carefully select the small area of the touch screen that was active for registering a vote for John Kerry. In Broward county the vote was reported as 34.5% for Bush.

Bush would need 190,000 more votes in Florida to have won the election there - that is, 190,000 votes taken from the Bush column and added to the Kerry column. This is just 3% of the total votes cast. In just Broward and Miami-Dade counties, 561,731 votes were totalled for George Bush -- so the swing would amount to just one-third of votes that George reportedly received in those two counties.

Obviously I am NOT alleging that this election was stolen. Just pointing out how it could have been done. It is unfortunate that we have allowed a voting system to be put in place in this country where such possibilities exist.


dan said...

" It is unfortunate that we have allowed a voting system to be put in place in this country where such possibilities exist."

But Ted: We've nearly always had voting systems "where such possibilities exist." The difference *may* be the ease and opportunity of cheating some of the new voting machines afford; I'm not convinced that that's the case, though. But any counting system you name is vulnerable to vote-rigging if the cheaters are determined and organized enough.

dan said...

As to your other point, that the Democratic vote was suppressed by inefficient voting setups: I'd like to see how that actually played out. Anecdotally, there was very heavy turnout among both Republicans and Democrats, so I would think that Republican voters were affected by such inefficiencies, too.