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The election that won't end

"What we can prove right now is that there is no proof," said Jim March, who sits on the board of Black Box Voting, a nonprofit that has led the way in questioning the security of electronic voting systems.
Marin Independent Journal
Nov. 18, 2004

Marin Dems explore Web-driven theory that Kerry won

The presidential race lives on for a group of Marin Democrats and liberal allies who gathered at a San Anselmo bar Tuesday night.

More than two dozen people turned out to share a beer and discuss the possibility that their candidate, John Kerry, garnered more votes than George W. Bush.

"This is something that is boiling over among Internet Democrats," said Paul Apffel, who serves as secretary to the Marin Democratic Party.

Marin Democratic leaders called the meeting after they received numerous calls and e-mails urging the party to act, Apffel said.

Thanks largely to Internet bloggers and liberal talk-radio stations such as KPFA and KQKE, Kerry supporters throughout the Bay Area are thinking the unthinkable - perhaps the election was stolen. The evidence they cite, however, is weak.

"What we can prove right now is that there is no proof," said Jim March, who sits on the board of Black Box Voting, a nonprofit that has led the way in questioning the security of electronic voting systems.

March said there is insufficient proof to say the election was stolen. There is also insufficient evidence to say that George W. Bush was the legitimate winner - given how easy it is to tamper with existing electronic voting systems, he said.

March will speak tomorrow night at a program organized by the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition. The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the College of Marin's Olney Hall, is being called: "Was our election stolen? And what the bleep can we do?"

March, together with author Bev Harris, sued Diebold Elections Systems alleging that the company made false claims about the security of its voting systems. Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Alameda County followed their lead with a similar suit. Last week, Lockyer announced that Diebold had agreed to settle out of court for $2.6 million.

"Basically, this software is tamper-friendly," March said.

Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, has his own Diebold story.

Nation worked for the Kerry campaign in Ohio on election day. He said dozens of people called from precincts in the Youngs-town area complaining that when they tried to vote for Kerry their votes went to Bush. The voters said they were able to correct the mistake. They were using Diebold touchscreen voting machines, Nation said.

When contacted, Ohio election officials said they were aware of the malfunction, and it was a calibration problem, Nation said. He has spoken with members of the Kerry team, and they do not believe such problems were widespread.

The conspiracy theories were ignited by exit polls that early on election day showed Kerry with a substantial lead.

The director of the Field Poll, Mark DiCamillo of Mill Valley, said the early exit poll information was leaked onto the Internet. It was incomplete and therefore half-baked, DiCamillo said.

He explained that exit polls consist of two stages. The first stage involves interviewing voters throughout the day on how they voted. The second stage begins after polls close. A small number of votes are counted in representative precincts.

"The critics are the people who are saying, 'Why didn't the exit poll get it right at midday after its first tally of people who are leaving the polls at 7 in the morning?' Now come on!" DiCamillo said.

Those who smell a conspiracy commonly cite another anomaly. Many counties in Florida, where an overwhelming majority of registered voters are Democrats, voted overwhelmingly for Bush. It turns out, however, that registered Democrats in small Florida counties have been voting for Republicans at the top of the ticket since Ronald Reagan, or before.

"The fish gets two inches longer every time you hear the fish story," said Marin Democratic Party Chairman John Alden, regarding the effect the Internet has had on the controversy.

Alden said a lot of the outrage is coming from people who are to the left of most Democrats.

"I see a lot of people in the Green Party who are concerned about it," he said.

Ralph Nader has asked for a recount of votes cast in 11 New Hampshire pre-cincts that use Diebold's optical scanning machines. And a pair of third-party candidates in Ohio have collected more than the $113,600 necessary to force a statewide recount there.

Apffel says one thing is sure: Until voters feel confident that electronic voting systems are secure, they are going to continue to have doubts about election results.

Contact Richard Halstead via e-mail at  rhalstead@marinij.com
Good whitewash ... 19.Nov.2004 19:50

Jody Paulson

Too bad it's becoming more and more obvious that this nation is headed straight for a meltdown, and the more one tries to supress the truth the worse that meltdown is going to be, ultimately. Our only hope is to face the unthinkable squarely and unflinchingly.

Oh sure 19.Dec.2004 06:06


this was a fair election.........NOT........your story is a farce

"It's not just the exit polls.. stupid!" 19.Dec.2004 23:13


What about the "Incumbent rule?" An incumbent that does not exceed 50% in the national polls cannot win reelection. George Bush never rose above 48%. A president that loses all of the debates cannot win reelection.Fact: George Bush lost all 3 debates when he competed with John Kerry! Between 115 to 120 million people voted on Nov. 2nd, and this was the largest turnout of voters since 1968. Fact: Large turnout favors the challenger. It reflect's that the people wanted change!Presidents do not get more than the national polls showed the night before election. In fact they generally lose a couple percentage points in the actual election. The only president to ever actually get what the polls had predicted was Ronald Regan in 1984 (And fraud was suspected)The polls on the evening before the election had shown him at 59%, and he did receive exactly 59%. George Bush was shown as only having 47% the evening before election. If history had played out "true to form", as it had the past couple of centuries then George Bush would have only received around 44-46%. Even if he had done as well as Ronald Regan had in 1984 he still would have only received 47%.How did George Bush receive 51% of the vote? Fact:John Kerry was ahead 2-3 points ahead in Fla., and like 4 points ahead in Oh. in the state polls on the evening before the election. Even if they had been "neck and neck" this still would have favored John Kerry. Undecided's generally break for the challenger, especially when the challenger is a democrat. How could George Bush possibly win Oh. or Fla. without resorting to fraud? Do you really want to talk about exit polls? Exit polls have been a very reliable way of determining the outcome of a presedential race for around two decades in this country. Why is it that the exit polls have alway's been accurate until the past two presedential elections in this country? And what a coincidence! George Bush was in both of those elections. And as long as we're talking about exit polls.. What make's Ukraines exit polls right? And yet America"s exit polls wrong? Should'nt America be regarded as an expert in exit polls? Don't we have more experience with them?
Are we really supposed to believe that 120 million American's when running out in masses to support the most hated president in America's history.This is a president who did'nt get Bin Laden, had created a trillion dollar deficit, lost job's, lost weapons in Iraq, and gave all the tax breaks to his wealthy friends. He went into Iraq to find W.M.D's, not to occupy. But he did'nt find W.M.D's, but he did occupy. There are 4 first time voters in my home. We are all currently without health care and we sure as hell did'nt go racing out (any of us) to vote for George Bush! Wake up and smell the coffee would you! There are plenty of reasons to suspect fraud! The exit polls are just one of them!
The way I see it... When you add up all of these reasons that I've listed above, it comes out the same every time...and it's called FRAUD. And we won't even get into all the reasons that have been found to further suspect FRAUD since Nov.2nd.