JFYI, I am not actively maintaining this document anymore. The pace of developments has outstripped my ability to keep up, and I am busy applying my efforts elswhere in the election reform movement (a little project called USCVprogs that you may want to help out with if you happen to have some background in computers, or even just like to do web research.) The greater proportion of the links here still work, and still are useful, which I think is just because I tried to choose the best ones, with some degree of success.
Every American voter has the right, and duty, to ask the above question until they get an answer. One way you can do so is by signing this and pass it on. (The rationale behind this petition is that the GAO investigation will be too little, too late, to really catch any fraudsters.)
That's what activists that are questioning the 2004 election are really about. They aren't just disappointed Kerry voters. They are concerned citizens. If all they wanted to do was prove that Bush stole the election, all they would have to do is show that the intentional disenfranchisement that went on in Ohio was of a sufficient scale to steal the election. Which is being done, although Blackwell is trying to run out the clock so they don't have time to make it stick.
This is about the activists that are in it for the long haul. The ones who want to repair the election system before another flawed election occurs. Unfortunately, the new movement is still a bit in shambles, and though I personally do think it will pull itself together, what happened when events caused a surge in new activists is something I think there should be a record of. Activists that had the foresight to lay groundwork before the election deserve our thanks and praise as patriots. Along with my thanks and praise I offer some perspective to help them prepare for the "next big thing."
As a short preface, the following may seem a bit despondant, and I'd like people to know that since I first wrote this things have definitely started looking up. The hearings of the minority members of the House Judiciary Committee have really served as the flash point for coordination and shown us we are strong in numbers, and I'm sure that at least those working in Ohio on investigations there are forming a more tight-knit organization than would be immediately evident to those of us watching through the lense of the Internet.
At the risk of getting on some very stressed out peoples' nerves, I have to say I am a bit dismayed at the current state of chaos surrounding online activism questioning various irregularities in election data pointed out but concerned voters. Despite the presence of many hard working, bright (or even the not-so-bright but highly energetic :-) activists I feel that the potential base of new volunteers in this cause are not being provided with the resources and leadership neccessary for them to be effective.
I have been involved on the executive level of activist groups in the local arena before, so though I'm no mover and shaker, I do know a thing or two about effective organizing.
I'm not saying I am here to provide that leadership. In order to do what I can to help, though, I am going to document my experiences in trying to become involved with this effort, and I am going to build a list of the most recent and germain links as I find them. Hopefully, at some point I will stumble across someone doing the same thing who shares my dispositions, at which point I'll see about merging my efforts with theirs.
For those of you who have managed to get "hooked in" to a project and are participating at a level you are satisfied with, this page is not for you, though the links section may be useful to you. Congratulations, by the way. This is for the folks who have tried to sign up, but are left waiting for replies to personal emails or for any sign of life on various mailing lists or forums, having no idea what has been done so far and what needs doing, aside from a few letters to editors and petitions. For you who are thrashing around in the dark, just know you aren't the only one.
First let me say I have deep respect for the folks at BBV. They were were working well before the 2004 elections and were more prepared for action, IMO, than any other organization. However, problems have riddled the volunteer website, and it was later revealed that internal problems among the core team were to be had in abundance.
After a swarm of traffic and a rumored DoS attack, the BlackBoxVoting site went down for a while. For a week after it came back up, hardly any new information or news appeared there, and the process of signing up to volunteer has been broken since. Impatient activists are waiting around on their discussion forums, many unable to contribute meaningfully without accounts or any sort of division of labor. BBV staff email boxes were full and bouncing mail.
New information was finally posted, and it is worth noting BBV's explanation for the dirth of progress reports:
Initially, we hoped to have everything public all the time. This resulted in butt-covering behavior on the part public officials, which hampered our investigations. Therefore, we adjusted our methods to keep critical investigations under wraps. That's just the way it has to be right now....this could also hamper further volunteer involvement above the level of media crusades. It will mean that new volunteers will have to be vetted for both allegence to the (bi-partisan) cause, and for the neccessary judgement and character to filter what is made public.
At the same time that the new news alerts were added, public forums that were not state or county specific seem to have been removed from the site. On the plus (?) side, it looks like few access protected forums remain, so the issue of user registration problems has been bypassed. This could have been done to protect sensitive information, or just to simplify the entire system. The downside is that some of the data from these forums was lost to public view, unless they use the new article search engine, which exposes the de-indexed groups. (Actually I think what might have happened here is that the link on the main page was changed to go down a level in the forum heirarchy. Which is fine, but I don't see a link to the top of the heirarchy anywhere.) (UPDATE: another user reports at least one active forum is missing, and he has sent a complaint in about it.)
Oh, and they did have an action alert. But it was just the same old thing about writing newspapers and "be the media." Been there. Done that. Need more ammo.
Later, in a mid-week update, Bev both cheered us all up by assuring us that progress is being made in Florida, and gave us plenty to be enraged about. The absolutely appauling things going on in the elections office in Volusia County deserve every American's attention. See the BBV news on their homepage for the 16th. Volusia must be short for "voluntary amnesia."
After another week of inactivity, teasers have gone up for some breaking news. Teasers are good. Naturally I was reloading the page more often than would be considered healthy by any registered psychologist. The news came quite later than promised, but was good, in that some legal action at least has been started.
Then Bev made a series posts over on DU. I'm not going to give up on the BBV dcforums just because DU is where all the action appears to be, but at this point I was glad I was tracking both. I would advise everyone interested to do so as well, and you'll note a few of the Yahoo groups are worth tracking as well (see below.)
Things were finally starting to shape back up at BBV. Bev and others said they were putting some quality time into the site and preparing to migrate it to a new, more hack-resistant server. Bev actually started posting on the site, rather than at DU, but only in earnest after a falling out with the DU moderators.
BBV was obviously not as prepared as they could have been to scale up, both in their choice of ISP, and on a volunteer personnel level. The later fracturing of the core team puts the viability of the organization to achieve meaningful results in doubt in my mind... hopefully a few good things will still trickle out, but I have lost hope that BBV will continue to be a leader in this movement.
A somewhat more responsive group I have signed up to is called, I think, EFDAT (the "election04@truthisbetter" announcement list). Though they have only utilized volunteers for a media event (rebutting Mebane's criticism) at least they had done something with volunteers within the first week. Kathy Dopp is the originator of some of the material, in association with several other volunteer researchers, on Florida opscan statistical anomolies. Their team is working on stats for other states, and they promise that:
We'll let you know when we need donations or volunteer help.Though there has only been that one request for volunteer help since I signed up to the list, Kathy has at least managed to empty her inbox, and replied, tersely (understandably so) to a couple comments I sent in about the stats with a couple lines and a form letter asking to please be patient and not to mail her directly anymore.
OK, I can deal with that. I went and did my share by filing some comments to various online publications telling them to get the facts straight on "Mebane vs. Dopp." But where I find EFDAT (again I am only assuming this is the name of the group-- there is no main webpage for it that I can find) most lacking is that they are compiling data, but not publishing it, even to their subscribers. Given their recent unfair treament in the media, this is somehwat understandable, but even the material they want to get out isn't reaching us volunteers...
One of my comments was just to alert Kathy that BBV's Bev Harris had made claims that NH was showing similar results to her Florida analysis. Kathy's reply was that Ida Briggs had already run through the numbers for New Hampshire. Hey, this is a step up from BBV -- at least I got a reply.
However, I had to google for Ida Briggs to find her report, which you can read at http://www.invisibleida.com/ It isn't linked by the Florida numbers, and doesn't link to them, or to any other reports which may or may not have already been posted to the web. A press release is on the page, but no request for volunteer help in disseminating the information has yet been issued to the election04 mailing list.
Again I'd like to emphasis, these people are great patriots for doing all their work, and I am not advocating that we hassle them. They are frayed as it is. I am just griping at the disorganized character of the whole mess.
On a note of irony, a popular criticism of "web based activism" has always been that the activists have flashy websites but no impact in the real world. Here we see the exact opposite -- activist projects that have dropped the ball on their online presence. Moral of the story? Keep some of those "useless Internet geeks" on retainer.
Finally, after two weeks we have a name. It is UsCountVotes. Kathy has posted the original Florida research at this domain name as a placeholder. In some great news, she says a few of the researchers who originally cobbled together some rather weak criticism of her work in the media have seen the light and are now willing to treat this with true rigor.
Eventually I run into a post at the forums at DU. This guy is asking for raw data just for the sake of getting an accounting of where Bush's "mandate" actually came from, geographically. That makes it a good place to dump data until USCountVotes is ready to solicit it. So I compiled some of what I have on Massachusetts and posted it there. (UPDATE: Several days later, and a new site dedicated to data collection is up at http://forum.rasgroup.com/rasforum/.)
The USCountVotes site languished for several weeks with a few copies of the original studies and a bunch of broken hyperlinks posted. But after this period, they surprised me quite pleasantly with a full rework and organizational structure. The new site is quite nice.
Things were slow to get rolling on the volunteer front, but it does look like a few Internet activists have gotten the go-ahead to represent USCountVotes for the purpose of preliminary recruiting. I personally had some data that got my foot in the door as far as corresponding with the core team, who are busy getting their data warehouse working, and have started working on a volunteer OpenSource project to write software for data aquisition.
A new 527 organization to collect funds to force a recount in Ohio and other states through citizen petition. That page is at http://www.helpamericarecount.org/.
However, at the same time, the Green Party and Libertarian Party candidates decided to pursue a recount themselves, using their special privilages as ballot-line holders to do so. They are also taking up a collection. To their credit, they are working together instead of separately, but not as far as I have been able to tell, in conjunction with helpamericarecount. Why pay Ohio twice for the recount? If there is danger of one of the recount petitions failing, I could see that, but that issue hadn't been explained by either effort, so Occam's Razor led me to the conclusion that they pretty much are not coordinated and that is why.
The Green/Libertarian recount fund is still taking contributions through the respective Presidential Candidate websites for Cobb and Badnarik at http://www.votecobb.org and https://badnarik.org They report that all filing fees and expenses ($150K) have been received. So there WILL be a recount in Ohio, barring any shenanigans -- though they are fully within their legal rights to request a recount, so dirty tricks are not likely forthcoming. They have raised an additional $100K they will be needing to train and deploy their observers for the recount contest. More always helps.
Originally I assumed, since it was hyped by Bev Harris at BBV, that helpamericarecount was a BBV side-project. A helpful reader pointed out that the founders were not working as part of BBV. If you donate to helpamericarecount, your money won't be wasted, as helpamericarecount has other states in mind as well.
Finally Moveon has got into the game, responding to a slew of email from supporters by addressing the issue, and collecting contributions while doing so (not for a recount, but in competition with BBV and EFDAT.)
They have also started their own petition. There were already at least two others, one of which was at 42K signatures at the time. Now granted, Moveon may have more experience at running petitions and their forms do include automated email to your local congressional representatives when signing the petition. (Personally written email, or better yet snail mail, works much better, if you have the time -- the more personalized the better -- sending one personalized note to your representative is more effective than a postcard or form letter to a whole lot of them.) However, to not mention the other petitions shows that they are having as much trouble getting situated as us freelancers.
I have contributed (in a very minor fashion, by attending a fundraising event) to MoveOn in the past, but on this issue, unless MoveOn makes promises to use the funds in cooperation, rather than redundant uncoordinated work, with the groups specifically formed to address this issue I think my checks will go to HelpAmericaRecount for the moment. Moveon's election fraud link is http://www.moveon.org/investigatethevote/. If anyone very active in the MoveOn organization reads this, perhaps they will consider becoming the advocate for inter-organizational cooperation on this issue within MoveOn.
Did you sign "the petition" yet? Really? Which One?
In any mentioned above, I am listing all the petitions I find here. My personal take is now is the time to sign those that ask for non-partisan investigation, and a revote petition is a bit premature. But use your best judgement. (UPDATE: The new one, for what it asks, is worded pretty well.)
Unfortunately, with very few sites headlining petition drives, and no major media coverage of the petitions themselves to speak of, the pace of new signatures has fell off over Turkey Day weekend, and we did not get 100K on any of them before the end of the month. I wrote a little note on DU about why our petitions don't do so well.
Rick (the "uselect" petition author) was pretty despondant about the prospect of downloading each individual petition page to cut/paste/print it out, since he couldn't raise the cash to have petitiononline print it out for him. I cheered him up with a little of my Perl programming wizardry and he now has a couple of volunteers cleaning bad entries off the full petition contents I have mailed him. He's happily printing the first 10K pages. It felt good to do something instead of just editing this page, for a change.
Since well before the election, the fine folks over here were running the EIRS, a database to keep track of irregularities experienced by voters, town clerks, and poll workers before, during and after the election: https://voteprotect.org/index.php?display=EIRMapNation&tab=ALL
But we couldn't help ourselves, could we? Everyone had to get into the act. Now the accounts are all scattered across websites such as WhatReallyHappened, Eriposte, MoveOn, and the forums at BBV, other forums and even obscure Yahoo groups. Some of the larger collections are in my links section below.
Maybe some folks thought EIRS was too unbiased. Personally, I want to see any Democrat fraudsters put in jail just as much as the Republicans. They both are contributing to an escalation of misdeeds at the expense of our country's very foundation. Or maybe they thought it had too many "minor" entries. Those are worth keeping track of, too, folks. It helps assess the general thoroughness of a given elections commission.
One site I won't levy this criticism at is Michael Moore's election stories, because although it may disperse entries, it has a value-added property to it, slicked up and polished for publication. Though I have to wonder if Mr. Moore has a bunch of less serious, less sensational submissions languishing in his email folder that he should really turn over to EIRS so they can get properly catalogued. (UPDATE: This link has since been removed from MM's site, and I've sent correspondence in asking what happened to the data there, as it is important to ongoing investigations. No response yet.)
I also have to wonder where this mainstream media line of "only 1,100 instances" of problems with electronic voting came from. Sure, EIRS covers more than just electronic voting, but with 24K EIRS incidents on election day alone, and all the other websites and hotlines and whatnot, my take is that the media did us a great disservice by downplaying evote problems. There's no way all of them got counted in that figure.
Well, as an update, I emailed EIRS and they said they had no plans to mine other Internet sites yet, but thought that was a good idea. So, DU being where the action is at right now, I signed up there and created a task thread. No volunteers yet, but I'm sure some will happen along. See the DU report consolidation thread. Unfortunately just when I was about to get things rolling, voteproblem.org had some problems which persisted for about a week. Now that I'm involved in other stuff I guess I should try to find someone to hand this project off to.
On a positive note, an example of how starting a new service can be good: http://forum.rasgroup.com/rasforum/ is the first database I have seen devoted exclusively to collecting results, statistics, and numbers.
Sunk a lot of time into processing results from EIRS. I posted them at DU. Lest you think voting machines made mistakes both ways, so it all washes out, look at the numbers there. The history of this post itself is interesting, pointing out another problem the movement has. After posting this work in the "Voting Issues" forum at DU, several posts on the "2004 Election Results and Discussion" forum made it very evident to me that almost noone had seen it. So I reposted it there. Even after doing that, when attention did turn to looking at the EIRS data, people were still retreading in my tracks, and spending a painstaking amount of time analysing what had already been analysed. So here's a lesson -- you not only have to do research, you have to aggressively publicise it or it will be lost in the fray, unless it is lucky enough to become a "staple." This puts a lot of extra work onto the shoulders of those who just want to crunch the numbers.
In addition to the normal challenges of getting our act together, the movement has had to endure atacks and misdirection promulgated by those who would put their partisan interests, and even more despicably, their own financial gain, before what is, perhaps, the singular core value that defines our nation -- the requirement of consent of the governed.
One of the first manifestations of this problem was the appearance of not just bogus, but juvenile and insulting signators to our online petitions. Those were cleaned off before submission of the "uselect" petition to our elected officials, but there was a second rash of them mid-December. The high-school bully mentality of these people is best attested to by their own poorly wrought words.
Then came the attempts at misdirection. On the more trivial side, a fake claim circulated that Conyers was trying to get 1 million emails to support his cause, a widely promulgated and untrue rumor which unfortunately wasted a lot of his staff's time winnowing letters of support from evidence, analysis, and tips mailed using the same address. On the more serious side a group of individuals posting under various names attempted to derail research into hard evidence of evote fraud operations, and even managed to convince some website owners of connections which were impertinant, or even nonexistant. These same individuals then tried to solicit funds from the movement in an attempt to con activists.
Today on DU, a large portion of threads will contain one or two posts that are designed to promote discord, exploit factionalization, sensationalize bogus stories, and even defraud activists. The DU moderation team has risen to the challenge, and DU users themselves now put most unfounded claims through intense scrutiny -- to the point where even honest activists are sidelined occassionally. This process would be a lot smoother and healthier if some sort of vetting system were available run by a trusted authority. Of course, it would also help if we had more trusted authorities stepping up to the plate.
Overall, the bloggers on the Internet did a great job of creating enough buzz to elevate this story to the level where it has skimmed the surface, at least, of major media outlets. The best penetration into the major media has been on Olbermann's MSNBC/Countdown. Transcripts of the coverage, and Olbermann's Internet blog which has been a great source of inside media perspective, are at the following two links, which are live and updated daily. I highly recommend adding these links to your daily perusals:
However, from the original Internet articles on through to Olbermann and other major media coverage, many of the concerns expressed by statisticians were oversimplified. For example, much ado was made about small counties in Florida, saying things like:
In Dixie County, for example, 9,676 people registered to vote. Nearly 78 percent of them were registered Democrats while 15 percent were registered Republicans. Yet Bush received 4,433 votes, while Kerry received only 1,959.Hopefully by now you know that the above results may be a bit extreme, but that in fact "Dixiecrats" in Florida are well known for voting Republican. This fact was quickly seized on by media experts to disclaim that there was any suspicious quality to the Florida numbers. Most notably, Mebane, who was a leading source claiming that Gore actually won Florida in 2000, used this fact to say that he saw no problems with the Florida numbers.
Left-wing blogs and even Olbermann fell for the bait of the sensationalist Dixie county numbers. But the problems with the Florida numbers ran much deeper than this, and in fact, though Mebane was used to "debunk" research by Dopp et al., the research he supposedly was rebutting didn't take issue with the small Dixiecrat counties in the panhandle, restricting its research to medium-sized counties where similar demographic and geographic regions could be compared, and showed a bias towards Bush in counties where opscan machines were used. In fact, Mebane never addressed the real research, instead commenting on the initial data on which it was based, not the statistical analysis of medium sized counties.
Dopp et al. issued various rebuttals, the most thorough of which you can find here: A Response to criticism of Florida opscan analysis at http://ustogether.org/election04/dopp/dopp_response.html
This highlights a problem with left-leaning bloggers. Not only do they tend towards sensationalism, but they also fail to engage in the level of study necessary to present their case. Nor do they apparently read the other side's blogs so that they are prepared to counter attacks to their point. You can be right in your general ideology without having a high level of issue awareness, but you cannot be effective that way. To win at a debate, you have to engage the opponent, not just shout at the audience.
It also highlights the lack the media has of attention to detail. Some blame this on laziness. Others point out that journalism is essentially a speed contest, and as such nuances are bound to get missed. The net result is that those of us that have some issue awareness gained very little insight from media coverage, and those sufficiently out of the loop on this issue were left with the impression that the "conspiracy theories" had been debunked (a similar thing is happening with theories surrounding exit polls.)
That said, Olbermann deserves praise for lending a certain level of credibility to the issue by being the first to break it in major media.
As I write this paragraph, I'm watching the more mainstream media pick up on the story in their editorial columns. My bet is that the main reason this has happened is the near certainty that recounts will occur in OH and NH, thanks to the 3rd-party candidates. What's most notable is that the writers appear to be figuring out how to report the story without calling it "conspiracy theory." They finally realized the critical point that if so many people are buying into it, right or wrong, it has to be looked into and resolved or it will be gas on the fire of an already divided country.
A few hours later, and the NH recount story has hit the wire. Major publications are starting to pick it up. Not a fantastic writeup, but now everyone in the media, barring the rumored gag orders, has reason to broach the subject. When the Ohio recount is officially declared, that will be much bigger.
The tone of the coverage is much better, and will hopefully help Bush supporters realize that thumbing their noses at us is going to work against them in the long run. And maybe for some of them, that they want a little more reassurance that elections are fair and kept that way, too. One of the best articles I read was this one.
Now we get this poll coming in, which tells us how deep America's head is in the sand: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/041117/nyw135_1.html
OK, the Berkeley study is about to hit. And this could go either way, media-coverage speaking. That's because the Berkeley study would appear at first glance to say the exact opposite of what Dopp's study says. The Berkeley study indicates that e-voting added to Bush's total while Dopp's study blames opscan.
Again, this is a matter of which counties were included, but this time on the other end of the scale. Dopp excluded counties over 500K. The Berkeley study says:
The impact of e-voting was not uniform, however. Its impact was proportional to the Democratic support in the county, i.e., it was especially large in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade. The evidence for this is the statistical significance of terms in our model that gauge the average impact of e-voting across Florida's 67 counties and statistical interaction effects that gauge its larger-than-average effect in counties where Vice President Gore did the best in 2000 and slightly negative effect in the counties where Mr. Bush did the best in 2000....and those three counties plus two other large democratic ones (Pinellus and HillsBorough), plus the republican-voting smaller counties of Nassau and Sumpter, were specifically excluded from Dopp's analysis. The "slightly negative effect" noted would, if anything, support Dopp's work, but I don't want to get into a math lecture.
This could go very badly if the media and bloggers fail to understand the point. The left need to understand that the freepers will attack this based on the simple sounding, but wrong, premise that the studies contradict. But what really happened, if you are running loose with the vote fraud explanation, is that all or a large number of the opscan counties were hacked (there is no way to show so in the smallest ones statistically) large democratic evote counties (large and democratic are pretty synonymous here) were hacked, but that medium sized, republican-leaning evote counties were left alone.
The pessimistic side of me says the headlines will read "New study suggests e-voting helped Bush, contradicts older study." Sigh. I'm going to go try and do some preemptive damage control now. Not that anyone ever listens to me.
Wow. The Berkeley study hit the media much harder than anything so far. It actually made the U.S. news list at Google news with 117 articles. Here's my theory as to why: The story dovetails into prior e-vote coverage. The media didn't want to hear about opscans, they wanted to hear that e-vote was to blame. Of course, it helps that the Berkeley folks issued the paper with a teaser, followed by a press conference, too.
And then... the silence was deafening. With a recount and lawsuits being readied to contest the election on other grounds in Ohio, you would think media would pay attention. The longer they put it off, the sillier they are going to look when they break the story and everyone's like: "Uh, so exactly why didn't you say so before?"
Coverage on the GAO decision to go forward with what is really going to end up, we fear, as a weak cursory look at the election system was obvously tamed down by executive decree. Rarely was it covered without detailed quotes stating that the GAO won't look at everything.
A neutral fluff peice on CNN gave Bev like 15 seconds of highly edited air time, alongside the rather mystifying Kiev story. Why is this Kiev story such huge news? Big news, yes... but with its sheer persistance in the news cycle it has served as/been interperated as all the of the following by various people: a slap in the face to the bloggers by mainstream media; an attempt to dwarf election fraud indymedia stories in search-based news outlets; a bone of editorial fodder rife with hypocrasy thrown to us by gagged sympathisers; a peice intended to familiarize the American public with election fraud to avoid issue shock when U.S. fraud stories begin to hit; a veiled attempt by Colin Powell to hint at fraud in the U.S... and doubtless even more speculations abound and will crop up. The story has its own merits, but one does have to wonder about ulterior motives within the mainstream media.
Coverage in smaller local papers has picked up in the last week, I notice. A local newspaper showed up at our little appendage to the national BBV T-party.
OK, there's no way I can avoid editorializing a bit here, just because Bush has reached that pinnical, that glorious nirvanah of hypocrasy with his recent quotes on Kiev. It's like he's reading right off a votergate web page, calling for "verifiablity" and it is a contortion that deserves to be in a record book somewhere. All his complaints about the Ukraine can be just as well applied to his own campaign. Not that I'm unhappy that a democratic movement has been engineered by us there (oh wait, pay no attention to the nation building behind the curtain) as I personally think we should promote fair government. It's just sad that what's good for the rest of the world doesn't come back home to roost in the U.S. every once in a while. (At least, in this instance we did it without military action.)
Well, at long last. The story has finally really broken. Jesse Jackson. Bits and peices on CNN. The shot heard round the world in the Boston Globe. Coverage is still slanted and otherwise crappy, but it is undeniably, legitimately, now a mainstream media story. That also means it will be pretty much impossible for me to keep this commentary up to date from here on out. There will just be way too much volume.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed a schism has developed. Some of it centers around Bev Harris and Keith Olberman, but I think it predates them, and is most accurately described here. The only comment I would add, as one of the "research" camp, in defense of those in the "motive" camp, is that it is the "motive" people who can smell stonewalling and anticipate and prevent obfuscation and data-shredding. We both need to recognize, and adopt, the positive qualities of the other. For is it not said we should act as doves, but be as clever as serpents? Sometimes many of us in the "research" crowd fail to comprehend in full the measures required of the latter.
There are so many of them. And they keep multiplying. (And, a pet peeve of mine, many are on servers that aren't really all that "public" to begin with.) I'm only going to cover either lists dedicated entirely to the subject at hand, or articles on news sites where the tag-on discussion has gotten very popular. My next step in "trying hard to be a volunteer" is going to be to explore each of these lists, so new links will appear here over time.
Finally, I am keeping here the most up-to-date and germane links I run across for various aspects of this issue, mainly for those sub-topics where there is too much crap floating around already and the gems are getting lost in the flurry. What I am striving for here is to cut through the middlemen and try to get to the raw sources, rather than collecting links to media stories. Plus I intend to keep the links fresh (for example, for Dopp's Florida stuff I link to their latest rebuttal. You can still find the original research by browsing that article.)
Past this point, I'm not going to pull any punches by trying to lean centrist.
The exit polls have much more to offer than a bone of contention. While we can debate whether it was the exit polls or the vote count which were corrupted, we do know that they were accurate to some degree. And they tell us a lot about which talking heads on the TV screen are full of crap, and which are trying to help us citizens build a better picture of the American electorate.
Now I could go into a laundry list of editorializing here, like pointing out that the people most concerned about terrorism voted in Kerry's favor, or that the Osama Bin Laden tape, an excuse that is being proposed by Bush supporters for a late surge to Bush, in actual fact had an effect in Kerry's favor. Or that the undecideds did indeed break for Kerry, though not by a 2 to 1 margin (if you trust the adjusted polls.)But you'll learn much more by looking at them yourself here. Please, don't let anyone else tell you what went on there. See for yourself. My favorite is this one:
PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IN 2000 TOTAL BUSH KERRY NADER Did Not Vote (17%) 45% 54% 1% Gore (37%) 10% 90% 0% Bush (43%) 91% 9% 0% Other (3%) 21% 71% 3%
...and I would have thought that people would have caught on by now. See the bottom of the page for *why* this is my favorite "adjusted" exit poll statistic...
But there are two points I would like to stand up on the soapbox about.
The first is the idea that the exit polls were flawed because Bush leaning voters wouldn't talk to the exit pollsters (and, in a squishy form of logical inference, the pre-election polls were wrong because Bush leaning voters wouldn't answer the pollster's phone calls.) I'm not granting that. But let's for a moment take that argument as a given. There's one conclusion that would undebatably follow:
You Bush supporters really pissed off at the exit polls and their "liberal bias" only have yourselves to blame. If you weren't such a bunch of festering hemorrhoids, you wouldn't have that problem.
Next time, you should tell your supporters to talk to the pollsters. Now, back in the real world where excuses like that don't fly...
If you are a Bush supporter who really believes the official numbers, then you should have no problem signing the petition. After all, the truth will be revealed, right? If you don't sign it, the people doing the suing and putting people in jail will be us liberals, rather than a bipartisan congressional investigation. Wouldn't it be better for Bush not to struggle through another term where a very large proportion of the electorate does not recognize him as the legitimate President?
The only other explanation is that you are a Bush supporter who doesn't believe that Bush won fairly, but that's just fine with you. If that's the case, get out of my country, criminal! If you don't believe in upholding a truly representative Democracy, you don't deserve to call yourself an American.
Now, a to throw an egg at the Democrats. The ones that don't realize how bad they have been had. The ones that are all tearing their hair out and wondering how to appeal to the right to make the party more centrist and "value-added." Personally, I think you are selling yourselves short.
However, there are some pieces of baggage in the Democratic party platform you could really use to shed. If you want the opinion of one person that's pretty much to the left of the median of Democrats, like I said, a registered Green, one issue this "leftist" (something I don't usually call myself out of respect to the real leftists) really wouldn't mind seeing the Democrats reverse on is... drumroll please... gun control. Yeah I know, the Greens have started to get worse and worse on gun control. But I stay Green because I personally I don't find the issue as important as a lot of the others. (Like actually *having* a foreign policy, I should add, before I get lots of emails from Libertarian recruiters.)
My opinons aside, though, there are so many single-issue voters that vote against you on this one issue alone, and the government is such a ridiculously ineffective tool for prohibiting the possesion of any small commodity, that you wouldn't lose much and you have everything to gain. Drop it now, so you have years for everyone that's going to scream bloody murder about it to gradually forget. Just leave it to the states.
Better yet. Do a survey among Democrats. "If the Democrats had to give up just one major party plank in order to win, which one would you lose the least amount of sleep over." I'll make a prediction. It will be gun control. Guess Dean ain't looking that bad now, huh?
OK, finally, I am REALLY disappointed in folks for not figuring this out. Above I noted my favorite "adjusted" exit poll numbers -- now these are the exit polls that the pollsters adjusted to make them fit the "real" election results. They say that 43% of respondants say they voted for Bush in 2000. Well, how many people voted for President this year?
122188645What's 43% of that?
122188645 * 0.43 = 52541117
OK, then how many people voted for Bush in 2000? What's that, you say? 50456002? My, my, now. So, where did those extra 2 million people who voted for GW in 2000 come from? And that doesn't even count the millions that died in the last four years.
What's more likely in your mind -- that between 2 and 7 million (statistically projected Gore2000) voters switched and voted for Bush, and then would lie about it to exit pollsters, or that people told exit pollsters who they thought they voted for, but that their votes were not counted correctly?
Just remember, 122188645 * 0.43 > 50456000!!!!
You can grab the HTML source code for the exit poll equation and use it anywhere without attribution. The rest of this page is Copyright (c) October 2004 Brian S. Julin