- I don't want rain on the parade but I am getting quite
a few emails from various sources citing possible irregularities with the
voting process. So, I did a little research myself on the net to see what
I could find. As a political scientist I could not resist.
- Regardless of the veracity of any claim to possible irregularities
I suggest that this question of legitimacy of the process needs to be addressed
if everyone casting their vote is to feel that their vote is being properly
counted. No one can feel disenfranchised in a real democracy. Otherwise,
you end up with a dictatorship and not a democracy at all.
- Unless BOTH sides feel the system is verifiable then
you may end up with a banana republic 'democracy'. This is not question
of who won the election. It is a matter of much greater importance; the
legitimacy of the democratic process itself.
- Here are a couple of sites which address the issue:
- 1. http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/
- 2. http://www.electoral-vote.com/
- On this last web site I found this interesting bit of
- "Various people sent me mail saying that it is awfully
fishy that the exit polls and final results were substantially different
in some places. I hope someone will follow this up and actually do a careful
analysis. Does anyone know of a Website containing all the exit poll data?
If we go to computerized voting without a paper trail and the machines
can be set up to cheat, that is the end of our democracy. Switching 5 votes
per machine is probably all it would take to throw an election and nobody
would ever see it unless someone compares the computer totals and exit
polls. I am still very concerned about the remark of Walden O'Dell a Republican
fund raiser and CEO of Diebold, which makes voting machines saying he would
deliver Ohio for President Bush. Someone (not me) should look into this
carefully. The major newspapers actually recounted all the votes in Florida
last time. Maybe this year's project should be looking at the exit polls.
If there are descrepancies between the exit polls and the final results
in touch-screen counties but not in paper-ballot counties, that would be
a signal. At the very least it could be a good masters thesis for a political
science student. The Open voting consortium is a group addressing the subject
of verifiable voting."
- Could there be a possible problem here? Let's see...
- * In states where there were paper ballots the results
exactly matched the exit polls.
- * In states where there were only electronic 'touch-screen'
paperless voting machines Bush showed an inexplicable 5-8 point or more
difference from the polls, contradicting otherwise accurate exit polls.
- * The software used in these voting machines is so sophisticated
that you can't even check out the programming because it disappears leaving
nothing to verify, no source code, no nothing.
- Below are 3 articles explaining how these E-voting programs
work. The man who published these articles is apparently an expert on this
E-voting subject and a computer scientist.
- Article 1
- Article 2
- Article 3
- Another site takes the subject seriously...
- * SoCalDem has done a statistical analysis... ...on
several swing states, and EVERY STATE that has EVoting but no paper trails
has an unexplained advantage for Bush of around +5% when comparing exit
polls to actual results.
- * In EVERY STATE that has paper audit trails on their
EVoting, the exit poll results match the actual results reported within
the margin of error.
- * Analysis of the polling data vs actual data and voting
systems supports the hypothesis that evoting may be to blame in the discrepancies.
- * The media was a bit taken aback that the results didn't
match the exit polls AT ALL. Most of the commentators were scratching their
head in disbelief at the results. The media has gracefully claimed they
"just got it wrong."
- Some examples?
- Kerry leads Female voters by 7%, Bush leads male voters
by 7%. Male vs. Female voter turnout is 47% M, 53% F. That means Kerry
statistically has a 7% edge in exit polling in Wisconsin.
- Actual results however show Bush ahead by 1%, an unexplained
difference of 8%.
- Kerry leads in the exit polls by a clear margin, but
is still behind in the reported results. This state is even closer.
- Actual is just 1% favor of Bush. Exit polls show Kerry
with a wider margin. Women favored Kerry by 8% here out of 52% of total
voters. Men favored Bush by just 6% out of 48% of total voters. Actual
reported results don't match exit polling AT ALL in Nevada.
- Easy Programming?
- According to the programmer cited above here is how easy
it is to "make magic" ...
- We need COUNTERS - (B) = Bush; (K) = Kerry; (V) = Vote;
- 1. If V = B, add 1 to B
- 2. If T = 8, add 1 to B; Clear T; Skip 3
- 3. If V = K, add 1 to K; Add 1 to T
- This extremely simple bit of programming would shift
12% of the vote from Kerry to Bush, it would defy exit polls, and it would
make it look like Bush had a huge popular win.
- Feel free to pass this on to your Republican and Democratic
friends. If you are American, this should concern you regardless of who
won this election or wins future elections. If your process is flawed your
democracy is flawed and everything you believe in is on the line. I am
sure that people on the ground are acting in good faith and voting according
to their values and beliefs. It is the people at the top that concern me.