coverage of election theft
2 articles on voting fraud; one is from the Oregonian (with my comments) the other is from E.W.
This article was purged from oregonlive.com (The Oregonian) [a slightly different, shorter version is at http://www2.buffnews.com/editorial/20041120/1051252.asp]:
Debate on election results heats up
By RACHEL KONRAD
SAN FRANCISCO - Sen. John F. Kerry conceded defeat more than two weeks ago, and President Bush has already revamped his Cabinet. But as states certify final election returns, an academic debate over their accuracy is heating up.
None of the experts examining the returns has discovered voting anomalies significant enough to have swung the election.
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.
"We conclude that there is no evidence, based on exit polls, that electronic voting machines were used to steal the election for President Bush," researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in an influential report based on early unofficial returns in Florida.
[ By choosing this excerpt: "..based on exit polls.." they exclude other methods of determining numbers of votes cast and tallied. Also, "..based on early unofficial returns.." is a report lacking all relevant data. ]
Still, many Americans who mistrust e-voting have seized on the exit polls, wondering whether something nefarious might explain what happened on Nov. 2. Early in the day, exit polling suggested Kerry was heading for a close win in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania; by day's end, Kerry had won Pennsylvania, but Bush had comfortable margins in both Florida and Ohio.
[ Second paragraph to focus on exit polls and not other data strongly implicating fraud. As for exit poll data from Ohio and "comfortable margins", see: link to www.democraticunderground.com ]
While voting-machine makers said their equipment had few problems given the millions of ballots cast, watchdog groups received about 2,000 complaints about lost and miscounted votes and machine breakdowns. Nearly three-dozen Kerry supporters in Florida said they had to repeatedly override the machines to avoid having their votes recorded for Bush.
Internet buzz that perhaps the exit polls were correct and that the actual returns might be flawed grew louder this week when sociology graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley went public with an analysis arguing that Florida results in counties using electronic ballots differed from historical voting patterns.
These counties delivered 130,000 to 260,000 more votes for Bush than the group expected, based on a statistical model that factored in population trends, income levels and other predictors of voting behavior.
[ "Historical patterns" and population trends" -- they could say current registered voters v. samplings of registered voters voting. ]
The official vote count shows Bush won Florida by nearly a 381,000-vote margin, with strong growth in the traditionally Democratic counties of south Florida.
Critics of the Berkeley research say Bush's success may simply be due to a better get-out-the-vote effort, or fears of terrorism driving many Democrats to choose Bush over party loyalty.
"Nationwide it looks like, regardless of the type of voting machines used, Bush was getting a faster mobilization of voters in traditionally Democratic areas than were the Democrats," said Charles Stewart III, a professor at MIT.
Stewart said any Florida discrepancies between historic patterns and the Nov. 2 vote may be explained by nationwide trends. For example, while Republicans easily won many rural and suburban areas they also made impressive gains in urban areas.
But because touch-screen machines lack paper records and ballots can't be examined individually in a recount, the Berkeley students said looking for anomalies is the only way to gauge whether the machines recorded ballots the way voters intended.
They decided to create a model that would account for any available data that might explain why Bush gained votes since 2000 in most of Florida's 15 counties that switched to electronic voting machines.
For instance, wealthier counties often swing Republican and can afford expensive voting computers. The students' model for analysis thus factored out the impact of wealth.
However, their study only considered possible explanations for the combination of Bush's victory and the presence of e-voting equipment. For example, they didn't factor in the number of campaign visits that the Bush campaign made to a county.
Still, the Berkeley group hopes Florida officials will take a closer look at the vote in light of their study to rule out fears that the vote was somehow manipulated in the crucial swing state.
11/18 EugeneWeekly.com coverage is pretty much solid..
As it turns out, the situation is muddy. Maybe Kerry won Ohio, Florida and/or New Mexico, maybe not, but what's becoming clear is that extensive recounts and audits will be necessary to reassure voters about an election with so many disturbing, sometimes startling, problems and discrepancies.
Until the Electoral College votes Dec. 13, no one is officially the next president. I believe that if the Democratic Party leadership wants people to work as volunteers in the future even just bother to vote it must take a strong role now in defending the efforts so many Americans made both to vote and to help others vote. As Congressman Kucinich writes, "We must pursue every lead that raises questions about the integrity of the electoral process. Our work may not change the outcome, but it will demonstrate that beyond our commitment to our candidates, we have a higher commitment to our democracy."
Last week Diana Abernathey, a Eugene field organizer for MoveOn in the recent election, e-mailed people she thought would be concerned about voting irregularities. On less than a day's notice, 60 people crowded a room in the Atrium. On Friday scores of people gathered to present petitions to Congressman DeFazio and Sens. Wyden and Smith, urging them to "initiate an independent investigation and ballot audit into possible election fraud."
Saturday a small group of us stood on Coburg Road where cars left the highway for the Ducks game, holding a banner that read "Presidential Election Dishonors Democracy." Many motorists swung their eyes away from us. People gave us the finger and yelled, "Get over it!" A blond-haired woman screamed, "Four more years! WOOOO!" shrieking so loudly that a small dog in her lap leapt into the air. Many passersby gave a courteous "No, thanks," to the handout I offered. Others said, "Oh, yes!" reaching out quickly with relief in their faces.
Here are recent developments:
11/15: There will be a recount and close examination of ballots in Ohio. Common Cause Ohio and Alliance for Democracy are raising money. Losing candidates can request a recount for
$10 a precinct, so Green and Libertarian Party candidates made the request. (www.thealliancefordemocracy.org)
11/12: Bush's lead over Kerry narrowed to 6,800 votes in New Mexico after initial counts of provisional ballots were included. (Ralph Nader asked for hand-recounting of ballots in New Hamsphire, where a state recount costs only $2,000 and Bush led by 5 to 15 unanticipated percentage points in counties where Diebold optical-scan machines counted votes.)
11/11: Kerry campaign lawyers compiled 30 questions for Ohio election officials. (A recount began in Franklin County, Ohio, where optical-scan machines had counted straight-party Democratic votes as Libertarian.)
11/10: Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell ordered that any of Ohio's 155,000 provisional ballots with a likely majority for Kerry must be rejected if they omit voters' dates of birth, which were not required at election time. New Ohio votes can still come from absentee ballots, provisional ballots, and computer errors.
Researchers are arguing over how 11/2 evening exit polls could predict a 3 percent Kerry win that became a 3 percent Bush win, and why Florida counties with optical-scan equipment but not counties with other devices had so many Democrats voting for Bush. One third of U.S. voters used the new electronic voting machines. Reports of votes added and deleted, more votes cast than registered voters, screens that don't register Kerry votes, and provisional ballots wrongly disqualified, continue to appear. These events consistently favor Bush, with disproportionate numbers of problems for poor and minority voters.
What can we do? Stay informed and talk with friends. Write and call Senators Wyden and Smith, Reps. DeFazio of Oregon and Kucinich, Tubbs Jones, and Kaptur of Ohio, all at (800) 839-5276. Ask them to join John Conyers and other members of Congress who have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the voting machines and new technologies used in the election. E-mail the Democratic Party at www.democrats.org to demand they head a rigorous investigation. Sign the online petition at www.moveon.org. Join a meeting of concerned citizens at the Atrium at 6:30 pm Monday Nov. 22 (www.botworks.com/~tiv or info truthinvoting.org).
GET TO THE BOTTOM
As noted on EW's post-election cover, our planet indeed continues to spin, and the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. However, the election results are not yet set in stone. Our votes are funneled through the Electoral College, which assembles on Dec. 13 to formally elect a president. EC members are pledged but not required to vote for the candidates whom they represent. If vote results are proven to be invalid, EC representatives might be persuaded to reconsider their vote. Furthermore, the Constitution states that Congress may debate the legitimacy of a state's electors prior to ratifying the outcome.
Mounting evidence, particularly in crucial battleground states such as Ohio and Florida, indicates that electronic voting concerns were well-founded. OnlineJournal.com has published instructive articles by Larry Chin, Thom Hartmann, Wayne Madsen, and Jackson Thoreau. Another fine source is investigative reporter Greg Palast (gregpalast.com), who broke the story of Katherine Harris' and Jeb Bush's "cleansing" of the Florida voter rolls in the 2000 election.
Reporting from Ohio, Bob Fitrakis (freepress.org) has been covering both e-voting problems and voter suppression. Fitrakis brought to light the fact that out of 638 total votes, an electronic voting machine in Gahanna, Ohio, reported 4,258 votes for Bush!
Bev Harris deserves enormous credit for blowing the whistle on the dangers of e-voting. Her organization, blackboxvoting.org, has filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests to get to the bottom of this debacle. Please help her by donating whatever you can afford.
Greg Lief, Salem
Why are the major news sources in the U.S. so quiet about potential election fraud issues in our 2004 swing states? A lot of pre-election speculation was brought to the public's attention by the major news agencies about the paperless voter machines that were used widely in Ohio for this election. Most of the unease with these machines revolved around the facts that they are non-auditable, and the programming code is kept secret and is owned by for-profit corporations with close ties to George Bush and the GOP.
Why has this issue all of a sudden vanished from the national news radar screen given the events that unfolded in Ohio this election? I hope there are investigative journalists objectively picking apart the discrepancies between the "official" vote tallies favoring Bush and the exit poll numbers that favored Kerry on election day.
I have heard some discomforting statistical analyses by non-network news sources arguing that vote fraud may have occurred, and the objective statistical evidence is compelling, at least compelling enough to warrant a real, hard pressing investigation.
Red flags in objective exit polls say Kerry wins, GOP friendly company brings in new, non-auditable voting equipment that proclaims Bush the winner by a squeaker, and the press goes quiet.
I am not advocating that the election was fraudulent; I am, however, concerned that national attention to the issue has so quickly diminished and that serious inconsistency between the vote count and rigorous polling outcomes are being ignored. I hope more attention is paid to this issue by the media in the coming weeks.
Hans Smith, Eugene
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