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UC Berkeley Research Team Sounds 'Smoke Alarm' on Florida E-voting

Statistical Analysis - the Sole Method for
Tracking E-Voting - Shows Irregularities May Have
Awarded 130,000 - 260,000 or More Excess Votes to
Bush in Florida. Research Team Calls for Investigation.
BERKELEY, CA -- November 18 -- Today the
University of California's Berkeley Quantitative
Methods Research Team released a statistical
study - the sole method available to monitor the
accuracy of e- voting - reporting 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 - what the team says
can be deemed a "smoke alarm." Discrepancies this
large or larger rarely arise by chance - the
probability is less than 0.1 percent. The
research team formally disclosed results of the
study at a press conference today at the UC
Berkeley Survey Research Center, where they
called on Florida voting officials to
investigate.

The three counties where the voting anomalies
were most prevalent were also the most heavily
Democratic: Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade,
respectively. Statistical patterns in counties
that did not have e-touch voting machines predict
a 28,000 vote decrease in President Bush's
support in Broward County; machines tallied an
increase of 51,000 votes - a net gain of 81,000
for the incumbent. President Bush should have
lost 8,900 votes in Palm Beach County, but
instead gained 41,000 - a difference of 49,900.
He should have gained only 18,400 votes in
Miami-Dade County but saw a gain of 37,000 - a
difference of 19,300 votes.

"For the sake of all future elections involving
electronic voting - someone must investigate and
explain the statistical anomalies in Florida,"
says Professor Michael Hout. "We're calling on
voting officials in Florida to take action."

The research team is comprised of doctoral
students and faculty in the UC Berkeley sociology
department, and led by Sociology Professor
Michael Hout, a nationally-known expert on
statistical methods and a member of the National
Academy of Sciences and the UC Berkeley Survey
Research Center.

For its research, the team used
multiple-regression analysis, a statistical
method widely used in the social and physical
sciences to distinguish the individual effects of
many variables on quantitative outcomes like vote
totals. This multiple-regression analysis takes
into account of the following variables by
county:

- Number of voters
- Median income
- Hispanic/Latino population
- Change in voter turnout between 2000 and 2004
- Support for Senator Dole in the 1996 election
- Support for President Bush in the 2000
election.
- Use of electronic voting or paper ballots

"No matter how many factors and variables we took
into consideration, the significant correlation
in the votes for President Bush and electronic
voting cannot be explained," said Hout. "The
study shows, that a county's use of electronic
voting resulted in a disproportionate increase in
votes for President Bush. There is just a trivial
probability of evidence like this appearing in a
population where the true difference is zero -
less than once in a thousand chances."

The data used in this study came from public
sources including CNN.com, the 2000 US Census,
and the Verified Voting Foundation.

For a copy of the working paper, raw data and
other information used in the study can be found
at:  http://ucdata.berkeley.edu .

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homepage: homepage: http://www.votecobb.org

Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida (Hartmann 2004) 19.Nov.2004 09:44

This is what Democracy looks like???

Published on Thursday, November 18, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
'Stinking Evidence' of Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida
by Thom Hartmann


There was something odd about the poll tapes.

A "poll tape" is the phrase used to describe a printout from an optical scan voting machine made the evening of an election, after the machine has read all the ballots and crunched the numbers on its internal computer. It shows the total results of the election in that location. The printout is signed by the polling officials present in that precinct/location, and then submitted to the county elections office as the official record of how the people in that particular precinct had voted. (Usually each location has only one single optical scanner/reader, and thus produces only one poll tape.)

Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.org, the erstwhile investigator of electronic voting machines, along with people from Florida Fair Elections, showed up at Florida's Volusia County Elections Office on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 16, 2004, and asked to see, under a public records request, each of the poll tapes for the 100+ optical scanners in the precincts in that county. The elections workers - having been notified in advance of her request - handed her a set of printouts, oddly dated November 15 and lacking signatures.

Bev pointed out that the printouts given her were not the original poll tapes and had no signatures, and thus were not what she'd requested. Obligingly, they told her that the originals were held in another location, the Elections Office's Warehouse, and that since it was the end of the day they should meet Bev the following morning to show them to her.

Bev showed up bright and early the morning of Wednesday the 17th - well before the scheduled meeting - and discovered three of the elections officials in the Elections Warehouse standing over a table covered with what looked like poll tapes. When they saw Bev and her friends, Bev told me in a telephone interview less than an hour later, "They immediately shoved us out and slammed the door."

In a way, that was a blessing, because it led to the stinking evidence.

"On the porch was a garbage bag," Bev said, "and so I looked in it and, and lo and behold, there were public record tapes."

Thrown away. Discarded. Waiting to be hauled off.

"It was technically stinking, in fact," Bev added, "because what they had done was to have thrown some of their polling tapes, which are the official records of the election, into the garbage. These were the ones signed by the poll workers. These are something we had done an official public records request for."

When the elections officials inside realized that the people outside were going through the trash, they called the police and one came out to challenge Bev.

Kathleen Wynne, a www.blackboxvoting.org investigator, was there.

"We caught the whole thing on videotape," she said. "I don't think you'll ever see anything like this - Bev Harris having a tug of war with an election worker over a bag of garbage, and he held onto it and she pulled on it, and it split right open, spilling out those poll tapes. They were throwing away our democracy, and Bev wasn't going to let them do it."

As I was interviewing Bev just moments after the tussle, she had to get off the phone, because, "Two police cars just showed up."

She told me later in the day, in an on-air interview, that when the police arrived, "We all had a vigorous debate on the merits of my public records request."

The outcome of that debate was that they all went from the Elections Warehouse back to the Elections Office, to compare the original, November 2 dated and signed poll tapes with the November 15 printouts the Elections Office had submitted to the Secretary of State. A camera crew from www.votergate.tv met them there, as well.

And then things got even odder.

"We were sitting there comparing the real [signed, original] tapes with the [later printout] ones that were given us," Bev said, "and finding things missing and finding things not matching, when one of the elections employees took a bin full of things that looked like garbage - that looked like polling tapes, actually - and passed by and disappeared out the back of the building."

This provoked investigator Ellen Brodsky to walk outside and check the garbage of the Elections Office itself. Sure enough - more original, signed poll tapes, freshly trashed.

"And I must tell you," Bev said, "that whatever they had taken out [the back door] just came right back in the front door and we said, 'What are these polling place tapes doing in your dumpster?'"

A November 18 call to the Volusia County Elections Office found that Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe was unavailable and nobody was willing to speak on the record with an out-of-state reporter. However, The Daytona Beach News (in Volusia County), in a November 17th article by staff writer Christine Girardin, noted, "Harris went to the Department of Elections' warehouse on State Road 44 in DeLand on Tuesday to inspect original Nov. 2 polling place tapes, after being given a set of reprints dated Nov. 15. While there, Harris saw Nov. 2 polling place tapes in a garbage bag, heightening her concern about the integrity of voting records."

The Daytona Beach News further noted that, "[Elections Supervisor] Lowe confirmed Wednesday some backup copies of tapes from the Nov. 2 election were destined for the shredder," but pointed out that, according to Lowe, that was simply because there were two sets of tapes produced on election night, each signed. "One tape is delivered in one car along with the ballots and a memory card," the News reported. "The backup tape is delivered to the elections office in a second car."

Suggesting that duplicates don't need to be kept, Lowe claims that Harris didn't want to hear an explanation of why some signed poll tapes would be in the garbage. "She's not wanting to listen to an explanation," Lowe told the News of Harris. "She has her own ideas."

But the Ollie North action in two locations on two days was only half of the surprise that awaited Bev and her associates. When they compared the discarded, signed, original tapes with the recent printouts submitted to the state and used to tabulate the Florida election winners, Harris says a disturbing pattern emerged.

"The difference was hundreds of votes in each of the different places we examined," said Bev, "and most of those were in minority areas."

When I asked Bev if the errors they were finding in precinct after precinct were random, as one would expect from technical, clerical, or computer errors, she became uncomfortable.

"You have to understand that we are non-partisan," she said. "We're not trying to change the outcome of an election, just to find out if there was any voting fraud."

That said, Bev added: "The pattern was very clear. The anomalies favored George W. Bush. Every single time."

Of course finding possible voting "anomalies" in one Florida county doesn't mean they'll show up in all counties. It's even conceivable there are innocent explanations for both the mismatched counts and trashed original records; this story undoubtedly will continue to play out. And, unless further investigation demonstrates a pervasive and statewide trend toward "anomalous" election results in many of Florida's counties, odds are none of this will change the outcome of the election (which exit polls showed John Kerry winning in Florida).

Nonetheless, Bev and her merry band are off to hit another county.

As she told me on her cell phone while driving toward their next destination, "We just put Volusia County and their lawyers on notice that they need to continue to keep a number of documents under seal, including all of the memory cards to the ballot boxes, and all of the signed poll tapes."

Why?

"Simple," she said. "Because we found anomalies indicative of fraud."

Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," and "What Would Jefferson Do?: A Return To Democracy."

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Tortured vote... Abu Grab?
Tortured vote... Abu Grab?

Election Fraud in FLA--Again 19.Nov.2004 14:30

Gary Lane

Wright to Chairman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) of the House Judiciary Committee asking that he subpoena the optical scanners used in the Florida counties where statistical anomolies have been discovered.
You can reach him by email at  sensenbrenner@mail.house.gov Be polite but firm.

Our democracy is at stake!