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Democracy Inaction
June 1, 2006 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.
posted by EarBucket (171 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, of course the election was stolen. Is anyone surprised? The only truly surprising thing is that nothing has been done about it!
posted by newfers at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Written by an undeniably non-partisan observer. The Democrats do the same thing you know. You just have to hope it balances out. Not that it really matters which marketing branch of the ruling party has its stooge in office at the moment anyway.
posted by acetonic at 1:01 PM on June 1, 2006


I'll be sure to get out and "vote" in the next election.

Time to make a difference!
posted by rachelpapers at 1:05 PM on June 1, 2006


and vote often!
posted by hal9k at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2006


Yes, acetonic, both parties do this stuff, but in the article he states that there was a large imbalance as to which side the votes went. Even given that the writer of this article doesn't seem to be a Bush fan, my guess is that even if someone was a Bushie, if they dug enough and really opened their eyes they'd come out with roughly the same data: that there was a large imbalance in the voting irregularities toward Bush and against Kerry.
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2006


And over a third of eligible voters across the country stayed away from the polls on their own accord.

Thus you have a government elected by ~24% of the voting population. Hardly a devine mandate isn't it?

And personally I couldnt say I would have prefered a Kerry Administration anyway. He never had his act together on any major issue, and didn't even have the balls to use the obvious "THE REPUBLICANS ARE RAPING YOU IN THE ASS WHY ARE YOU LETTING THEM???" strategy. A second stolen election where Kerry losses is almost irrelevant. No one cares- not even Kerry.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2006


Just to get the standard RNC-issued rebuttals out of the way:

[click - crackling noise]"YOU LOST GET OVER IT, LOOOSER. TEH DEMON-CRATES DO WORSE. CRYBABIES." [click]

Now that we've waded through that, what do we do to stop it from happening again?
posted by Orb2069 at 1:08 PM on June 1, 2006


Written by an undeniably non-partisan observer. The Democrats do the same thing you know. You just have to hope it balances out. Not that it really matters which marketing branch of the ruling party has its stooge in office at the moment anyway.

Democrats certainly aren't innocent of voter fraud in the past, but I'm unaware of any allegations of election tampering on this vast a scale at any time in our nation's history. And if you want an non-partisan observer, RTFA:

Puzzled by the discrepancies, Freeman laboriously examined the raw polling data released by Edison/Mitofsky in January 2005. 'I'm not even political -- I despise the Democrats,' he says. 'I'm a survey expert. I got into this because I was mystified about how the exit polls could have been so wrong.' In his forthcoming book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, Freeman lays out a statistical analysis of the polls that is deeply troubling.
posted by EarBucket at 1:09 PM on June 1, 2006


This is my surprised face.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:09 PM on June 1, 2006


gnu?

hint: americans don't give much of a frig about past misdeeds that have irreversible consequences.
posted by Busithoth at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2006


Surely this will be...
posted by fandango_matt at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2006


I'd vote for any candidate who ran on the slogan "THE REPUBLICANS ARE RAPING YOU IN THE ASS WHY ARE YOU LETTING THEN???" Hell, even Hillary would get my vote.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think that both parties may engage in this type of behavior to some degree, but saying that are the same is like comparing a paper cut to a severed arm. Take for example the Abramoff debacle. Now that a D has been busted for taking a bribe all the talk is that the two parties are morally equivalent, when the scale is pretty out of whack.

In the long run what this does is discourages people from voting. I know for the first time in my life I am considering not voting in a national election as I feel it has little effect.
posted by edgeways at 1:12 PM on June 1, 2006


Acetonic: please share any evidence you have for "The Democrats do the same thing you know."
posted by jellicle at 1:12 PM on June 1, 2006


"I'm not even political -- I despise the Democrats"

!?
posted by matthewr at 1:12 PM on June 1, 2006



Yeah, acetonic, but allowing electoral fraud to be established and secured as a precedent will only ensure that it will be done time and time again, more and more brazenly, and if we respond to it with apathy, and nobody does anything, then we are just throwing our hands in the air and saying, Ok, our democracy is broken, who cares? And anybody can do what they like, which is what is happening. This is fascism. Hitler too arose out of the failure of a democratic state. Next to the Civil War, this is the gravest ordeal our country has ever known. The republic is dying, flawed though it may have been. For those of us who expect to live on for decades into the future, and who want to live in a free society where healthy dissent will keep us from, say, igniting the Apocalypse, by failing to defend freedom and the rule of law now, we are effectively guaranteeing an unending tyranny over us, which the Bush administration is doing everything in its power to establish. The consequences are terribly profound.
posted by bukharin at 1:12 PM on June 1, 2006 [3 favorites]


So that is two in a row.
posted by edgeways at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2006


There's a docu-ganda movie out now (here in NYC anyway) about this called American Blackout. I really would like to see a mainstream-media outlet do a piece on this to distinguish the partisan hysteria from legitimate voting malfeasance.
posted by Brian James at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2006


OUTRAGE FATIGUE OUTRAGE FATIGUE
FEED FACE PIZZA AND BEER AND TV

Go Rolling Stone!
posted by loquacious at 1:17 PM on June 1, 2006


"I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." - former Diebold CEO and Republican fundraiser Wally O'Dell

•  "Diebold voting systems critically flawed" May 12, 2006

"County says electronic voting machines can be hacked" December 15, 2005

• "California official seeks criminal probe of e-voting" April 24, 2004

...and more...

If fraud and corruption bother you and you enjoy living in a free democracy, consider asking your legislator for open, transparent electronic voting methodry in your state.
posted by Mr. Six at 1:19 PM on June 1, 2006


In a truly free country, election-rigging would be equated with treason and the punishment would be the same. The fact that it can be so easily glossed over and trivialized by those in power is telling.
posted by mullingitover at 1:21 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


While no excuse for any intentional misconduct by Republicans, there were gross improprieties of many flavors favoring Democrats in Philadelphia and Milwaukee. The improprieties in Philadelphia haven't received wide attention; those in Milwaukee have. A case could easily be made for those improprieties deciding both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for John Kerry -- i.e., more than enough electoral to cancel out Ohio if it were decided improperly in President Bush's favor.
posted by MattD at 1:25 PM on June 1, 2006


Note how the article is almost obsessively footnoted. It's a pretty goddamned convincing case they've got.

It won't make any difference, but I appreciate their attention to detail.
posted by Zozo at 1:27 PM on June 1, 2006


Is it too late for a recount?
posted by kgasmart at 1:31 PM on June 1, 2006


acetonic: The Democrats do the same thing you know.

The last time I checked, two wrongs didn't make a right.

acetonic: Not that it really matters which marketing branch of the ruling party has its stooge in office at the moment anyway.

Yawn. The same tough-guy libertarian line I've been hearing for years. Could you guys get some new propaganda? I'll grant you, there's far too much in common between the two dominant parties. But there are differences. Not to notice them is dangerous and irresponsible.
posted by wheat at 1:32 PM on June 1, 2006


Is it too late for a recall?
posted by mullingitover at 1:33 PM on June 1, 2006


What, no siren at Drudge?


posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 1:34 PM on June 1, 2006


Now that we've waded through that, what do we do to stop it from happening again?

I was going to say that you could start by smashing any voting machine you see, be it electronic or of the hanging chad-producing type, and demand a pencil and ballot on which to place an X.

But Mr. Six beat me to it, and was rather more eloquent and informed.
posted by jack_mo at 1:35 PM on June 1, 2006



Hah, bucket. Drudge's sirens are reserved for misspellings on Barbara Streisand's blog.
posted by bukharin at 1:36 PM on June 1, 2006


Orb2069 writes "what do we do to stop it from happening again"

Xs on paper, observers at every count.

Oh and non partisan election officials. I can't believe the US allows members of either party to be returning and electoral officers.
posted by Mitheral at 1:38 PM on June 1, 2006


What, no siren at Drudge?

Totally off-topic, but is it just me or is Drudge becoming more and more like a parody of himself/itself?

This morning as virtually every other American news source was leading with Haditha, Drudge's headline for the Michael Moore lawsuit kept getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger...

You can run, but you can't hide...
posted by kgasmart at 1:39 PM on June 1, 2006


MattD: according to your link, "Cast ballots outnumber voters by 4,609" and that's the worst case scenario. The discrepancy in Ohio is by 350,000 votes. How is that equivalent?

Also, what bukharin said.
posted by maryh at 1:39 PM on June 1, 2006


"Written by an undeniably non-partisan observer."

Wow. Two comments 'til ad-hominem. That has to be some sort of record.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 1:39 PM on June 1, 2006


Pointing out RFK's ideological bent is an attack?
posted by TetrisKid at 1:40 PM on June 1, 2006


Pointing out RFK's ideological bent is an attack?

He didn't suggest it was an attack, just that it was an ad hominem. Which it was. No comment was made about the factual claims in the article -- the poster just noted the author's "ideological bent." That's useful when considering a source, but ultimately facts make or break this kind of story. If the facts hold up, it doesn't matter if the writer is Karl Rove or Michael Moore.
posted by verb at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


There were several good articles about Ohio and the last election in Harpers. The article was called None Dare Call it Stolen.
posted by chunking express at 1:44 PM on June 1, 2006


Excellent reading, chunking express. Thank you.
posted by Mr. Six at 1:47 PM on June 1, 2006


C'mon people! Not many people get to watch an empire's decline (as I whistle Always look on the bright side of life in my head..)
posted by dig_duggler at 1:50 PM on June 1, 2006


And once again, it's the same congressmen calling shenanigans--Kucinich and Conyers.
posted by Nahum Tate at 1:55 PM on June 1, 2006


The Democrats do the same thing you know.

Guess that makes it ALL ok then, if other people are screwing with the ballot.

Thanks for letting us know that if others are doing something its OK.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:57 PM on June 1, 2006


I'm actually glad if this is true. If Kerry had won, we probably wouldn't be seeing the Republicans self-destruct as beautifully as they are right now.
posted by moonbiter at 1:59 PM on June 1, 2006


C'mon people! Not many people get to watch an empire's decline

Poll of Voters: Bush Worst President Since World War II.
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on June 1, 2006


Excellent reading, chunking express. Thank you.

Paging Evelyn Wood.
posted by yerfatma at 2:01 PM on June 1, 2006


I'm actually glad if this is true. If Kerry had won, we probably wouldn't be seeing the Republicans self-destruct as beautifully as they are right now.

...and a lot of people might otherwise be alive. I mean honestly, are you more interested in the world being a nice place or getting the chance to say "I told you so?"
posted by glenwood at 2:04 PM on June 1, 2006


It's not that long. Harper's designed their site with six or seven words per line, after all.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:05 PM on June 1, 2006


Thanks chunking express. I was looking for that article to repost here. I recommend everyone read it.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:11 PM on June 1, 2006


The Democrats do the same thing you know.

Thats like the new republican bumper sticker isn't it?
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on June 1, 2006


I blame the Dems for not having a spine or a coherent message.
posted by StarForce5 at 2:17 PM on June 1, 2006


Yeah, and for dressing like sluts.
posted by fleacircus at 2:18 PM on June 1, 2006


Well, that pretty much settles my mind on the whole "are these guys doing a naked power grab" question.

It's likely to be too late to do anything, especially since our representatives are obviously in collusion with the whole thing.

I wonder what these next two elections will look like? More of the same, I'm thinking. The People of America are no longer in control. Good job, everyone!
posted by zoogleplex at 2:18 PM on June 1, 2006


...and a lot of people might otherwise be alive.

I don't think that a Kerry administration would have made any difference in Iraq. Maybe New Orleans, although the f*cking travesty that was the local and state government response may have even sabatoged a competent federal response.

In any event, I'm not so much worried about "I told you so." I believe that had Kerry taken the office, most of the bad things that happened would have happened anyway -- indeed, were doomed to happen by policies of the first four years of the Bush administration. As the standing president, he would have gotten the blame for it and been royally screwed. This would also have given cover to the corrupt in Congress who are getting nailed now, giving them an opportunity to distract the press with constant attacks on the Oval Office. Come 2008, and we have another Republican-dominated government.

This way, the bad stuff happens and the blame goes to those who are actually responsible for it. Furthermore, it reduces the chances of them holding power past 2008, which I consider a good thing.
posted by moonbiter at 2:20 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


I was going to say that you could start by smashing any voting machine you see, be it electronic or of the hanging chad-producing type, and demand a pencil and ballot on which to place an X.

When Marc Fenster did this here in Cleveland last month, he called it his "civic duty".
posted by Hubajube at 2:22 PM on June 1, 2006


Self Link re election methods.

If we had a decent single-winner election system, we wouldn't even have to be arguing about this crap. There would have been real candidates on the ballot instead of the posers we get now.
posted by Araucaria at 2:23 PM on June 1, 2006


The Democrats do the same thing you know.
Just adding to the refutations: Even if you believe this is true, then it's an argument for double the vigilance, not an argument for apathy. Honestly, if you're apathetic about this stuff, why don't you at least STFU.
posted by Skwirl at 2:24 PM on June 1, 2006


Sure but they only prevented the DNC registered dead people from voting.
posted by HTuttle at 2:25 PM on June 1, 2006


And people wonder why I'm a teensy bit paranoid about things these days.

Thanks for the helpful links and good convo, folks - very productive way to spend my break.

I'm definitely going to contact the appropriate members of the legislative branch to let them know I care about every American being able to vote with confidence that they truly are voting.

...it's really weird to consider that's where we're at with our government right now. yeesh.
posted by batmonkey at 2:28 PM on June 1, 2006


I used to vote because I thought my vote counted. Now I vote to make it harder on the bastards who are stealing the election.

I find this depressing.
posted by QIbHom at 2:32 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


I used to vote because I thought my vote counted. Now I vote to make it harder on the bastards who are stealing the election.

Neither reason is or was rational in a U.S. presidential election.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:39 PM on June 1, 2006


The Democrats do the same thing you know.

Thats like the new republican bumper sticker isn't it?
posted by Artw at 5:15 PM EST on June 1


Yes, it reads "Tu Quoque."
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 2:43 PM on June 1, 2006


The Democrats do the same thing you know.

Saddam had rape and torture rooms too!

Tapping civilian phonelines isn't that bad!

Oh, it's just like hazing.

A surveilance state is fine if you have nothing to hide! Plus China is worse!

Clinton said the exact same thing as Bush!

posted by Freen at 2:44 PM on June 1, 2006


Neither reason is or was rational in a U.S. presidential election.

I agree. It would be irrational to vote if the tally is as artificial as it indeed appears to be. Yet it would be irrational to abstain, since either choice reinforces the legitimacy of the administration counting the votes. A third way seems to be needed to answer the vote/abstain debate.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:48 PM on June 1, 2006


Neither reason is or was rational in a U.S. presidential election.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:39 PM PST on June 1


Please let us know what the rational reason is.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:49 PM on June 1, 2006


Please let us know what the rational reason is.

Due to the mathematical improbability of your vote ever making a difference in a U.S. presidential election, a rationally self-interested person should not vote. Unless you're getting something else out of it (patriotic feelings, etc), there's no rational reason to vote in a U.S. presidential election.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:52 PM on June 1, 2006


Neither reason is or was rational in a U.S. presidential election.

So, voting because you think your vote matters is irrational, and voting in protest is irrational. So what's the solution? Stay home like 45+% of the electorate did in 2000? How do you think you got into this mess in the first place?
posted by slatternus at 2:53 PM on June 1, 2006


Unless you're getting something else out of it (patriotic feelings, etc), there's no rational reason to vote in a U.S. presidential election.

In your rational opinion, how instead should presidents be chosen? Or do you advocate dissolution of the state? I'm genuinely curious at the thought behind this reasoning.
posted by Mr. Six at 2:58 PM on June 1, 2006


Whew! Now that those crooked Diebold Voting Machines have all been decertified, I'm sure the Mid-Term Elections are gonna go as smooth as butter! Right?
Right?

Right?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:59 PM on June 1, 2006


Mr. Six, I advocate several reforms, including, but not limited to, elimination of the electoral college.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:59 PM on June 1, 2006


Given the problems that the electoral college was meant to solve, what would you choose to replace it with?
posted by Mr. Six at 3:01 PM on June 1, 2006


Will Your Vote Count in 2006?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:01 PM on June 1, 2006


You wonder why most people don't vote? This is it. Why should they when they know there votes don't count?


It's not one person, one vote, because of things like this and the electoral college your vote only counts if it's for the right guy and you live in the right place.

Otherwise you're just wasting your time.

Oh and before any of you say, "people like nyxxxx are what's wrong with this country" let me just say I vote for every election that comes by, even for the silly ones like dog catcher and probate judge. So nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.
posted by nyxxxx at 3:01 PM on June 1, 2006


there's no rational reason to vote in a U.S. presidential election.

Therefore, only irrational people vote? That explains a lot, actually.

But, seriously, your argument's kind of silly. While it's true that one vote won't win or lose an election, any election is made up of lots and lots of single votes--and in an American presidential election, there are times when a few hundred voters can swing a state one way or the other.

One pebble more or less in the avalanche won't make much difference, but you won't have an avalanche at all if you don't have any pebbles.
posted by EarBucket at 3:03 PM on June 1, 2006


there's no rational reason to vote in a U.S. presidential election.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:52 PM PST on June 1

posted by rough ashlar at 3:04 PM on June 1, 2006


Oh, and on catching your most recent comment--I agree 100% on abolishing the electoral college. We should be electing the President by pure popular vote.
posted by EarBucket at 3:05 PM on June 1, 2006


RFK JR. doesn’t strike me as the most neutral observer either. And I’d argue he opens himself to attack on those grounds e.g. “After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004.”

Thanks Bob - hey, I guess I don’t have to read the article or consider the sources you used now?

That argument over appearances aside - substatively I agree with his assertion. But then I was a bit more on board with this than most.

“Yawn. The same tough-guy libertarian line I've been hearing for years. Could you guys get some new propaganda?” posted by wheat

Yeah, uh, OUR guy Badnarik & (Green party) Cobb were battling in Ohio for recounts. Where was “Lurch” again? Skiing in Idaho.
I didn’t much care for Kerry to begin with, but he beached the country right there.
So yeah, libertarians - whatever else their failings (and there are plenty) actually were tough. At least there was SOME resistance. There certainly wasn’t any from the “loyal opposition.”
The Dems (and Kerry) just rolled over.

David Dixon’s haiku is appropriate here:

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred

From the piece:
'The people who ran the exit polling, and all those of us who were their clients, recognized that it was deeply flawed,' says Tom Brokaw, who served as anchor for NBC News during the 2004 election.

Thanks for, y’know, mentioning it to us at the time Tom. Thanks for taking one for the country - oh, wait. Yeah, the job, right. Must be tough only making a few million a year. Can’t afford to lose that gig over ethics.

Out here David Orr’s office isn’t doing a bad job of keeping a paper trail - etc. Weird for Cook County to not have a truly crooked voting mechanism in place.
As a prospective member of the Cook County League of Undead Voters I’m nervous my in-grave vote won’t count.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:07 PM on June 1, 2006


Due to the mathematical improbability of your vote ever making a difference in a U.S. presidential election, a rationally self-interested person should not vote.

Either that, or a rationally self-interested person would get together with enough other like-minded rationally self-interested persons to form a body of people numerous enough to actually make a mathematical difference - in other words, a political party. They have those now, don't they?
posted by Feral at 3:08 PM on June 1, 2006


> Oh, and on catching your most recent comment--I agree 100% on abolishing
> the electoral college. We should be electing the President by pure popular vote.

Oh, that will help! Stop and ask yourself who was voting when our elected leaders were Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, guys like that. Answer: white male property owners. With every expansion of the electorate, every step further toward universal, direct democracy, the people who get themselves elected have become dumber and sleazier--exactly reflecting the dumber, sleazier, more broadly based electorate. I spy cause and effect.
posted by jfuller at 3:12 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Either that, or a rationally self-interested person would get together with enough other like-minded rationally self-interested persons to form a body of people numerous enough to actually make a mathematical difference - in other words, a political party.

Correct. That would be rational. Voting would not be, especially if you've already gathered a significant group of other people to vote the way you want. Thanks for making my point.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:12 PM on June 1, 2006


Is this something that you would have to be a human being concerned about his own liberty to know about?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:28 PM on June 1, 2006


This Republicans - it vibrates?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:31 PM on June 1, 2006


Stop and ask yourself who was voting when our elected leaders were Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, guys like that. Answer: white male property owners. With every expansion of the electorate, every step further toward universal, direct democracy, the people who get themselves elected have become dumber and sleazier--exactly reflecting the dumber, sleazier, more broadly based electorate. I spy cause and effect.

Really? So the answer is to re-disenfranchise blacks, women, and the poor?

I won't argue that we don't have the kinds of candidates today we did back then, but I think it's much deeper and more systemic than letting minorities vote. We have a culture that stigmatizes intelligence, a campaign cycle that elevates money above morality, policy, or truth, and a primary system that ensures that a few party hardliners in Iowa and New Hampshire get to pick the two pitiful candidates the rest of us have to choose between.

Not to mention, most of us don't even bother making the effort to choose the lesser of those two evils, and those of us who do may not get our vote counted in the end anyway, and it probably doesn't matter, because our state is probably going to fall into the same red/blue camp it did the last time around. System's broken.
posted by EarBucket at 3:32 PM on June 1, 2006


americans don't give much of a frig about past misdeeds that have irreversible consequences.

Busithoth, tell this to the, what, tens of thousands of Americans on death row right now.
posted by Flashman at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2006


One way to get better candidates would be to bring back the congressional nominating caucus to decide the parties' nominees for president, instead of the current primary election system.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:35 PM on June 1, 2006




Something I've thought about... why not implement a system where we get two votes, a first and a second choice, for any office. The second choice can be for a third-paty or independent candidate. If the third party or independent candidate meets a certain threshold, there would be a run-off between the first choice and the second choice. This would make it possible to break up the two party system and provide a real choice in elections. (This is in an ideal universe, I guess.) But that way, you still strategically vote for someone from one of the major parties to make sure that somebody you really don't agree with doesn't get into office, while still registering your support for an alternative candidate, without throwing away your vote and, in consequence, supporting the person you *really* don't like, such as in a Nader/Florida situation.

It'll never happen, but...
posted by bukharin at 3:36 PM on June 1, 2006


I don't understand why we don't just hold primaries in every state on the same day. It'd be nice to feel like my primary vote actually meant something.
posted by EarBucket at 3:38 PM on June 1, 2006


Wait, for the Revolution. . . . of the guards

It's not quite bad enough yet, but we are getting close.
posted by MetalDog at 3:45 PM on June 1, 2006


Something I've thought about... why not implement a system where we get two votes, a first and a second choice, for any office.

Something like that (at least with regards to ranking multiple candidates in order of your preference) is how elections are run in Ireland. I'm fascinated by that system.
posted by chuq at 3:50 PM on June 1, 2006


jfuller - post hoc, ergo propter hoc. correlation is not causation. i'm half inclined to believe that if there is a causal relationship there, it's the other way around.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:53 PM on June 1, 2006


I just want to know when we get government by Metafilter. Seriously, I could get behind that. Can we do that please?
posted by saysthis at 4:04 PM on June 1, 2006


The United States exporting democracy makes as much sense as the Chinese exporting food during the great leap forward.
posted by I Foody at 4:05 PM on June 1, 2006


You know what amazes me...the penchant for political discussions to completely miss the point. For example (and bear with me, because I'm going somewhere with this) in Congress, when a lobbyist has completely corrupted the system by paying bribes, illegal golf outings, running hookers, what have you...they talk about "lobbyist reform." Ooooh....lobbyist reform.

Please. We have laws to deal with this stuff. It ain't the lack of laws, it's the lack of enforcement, and they get away with this shit due to the fact that the populace collectively has the attention span of a housecat. They say some ameliorative shit like "lobbyist reform" -- repeated in a calm, hypnotic voice, a chorus of them in fact, on TV, radio, and online-- and gradually change the subject on the sleepy little rubes we call "the people". The outrage will pass, what ever existed of it, anyway.

"Intelligence reform". "Tax reform". "Voting reform". You're getting very sleepy.

Every time I hear the word "reform" anymore, I picture a boa constrictor wrapping itself ever more tightly around it's victim's throat. Every shift, every breath, every step by the victim only cinches the noose tighter. And that's what's going on here....what remains of our democracy is slated to be a lump in a snake's stomach. We're prey.

Here, on Metafilter (and in a microcosm of our flailing representative democracy), when it's pointed out that the beating heart of democracy itself has become a fraud and a farce...people talk about "electoral reform" and it's attendants.

As if the problem is the merits of the electoral college, or revising primary elections, or the lack of good candidates, or faithful chestnuts like "the futility of voting". You are feeling very sleepy.

Inevitably, someone says "hey... let's pass some new laws to deal with stuff." Huh. It's as if some people want the conversation to go off the rails.

Here's what's up. Lemme wake anyone who's in Dreamland.

1. THE VOTING IN THIS COUNTRY IS FUBAR.
2. THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE MADE IT THAT WAY, AND WANT IT TO STAY THAT WAY.

I'm sorry...was I "shrill" just there? Because, as we're told, that negates everything I've said, truth of it notwithstanding. I was shrill, you all saw it.

Smedleyman's spot on. Libertarians and Greens fought this with integrity, while Kerry went skiing. That says it all.

I must be some kind of masochist, because I still participate in our democracy. I guess I subscribe to the adage that says you can't just curse the darkness, you have to light a candle.
posted by edverb at 4:07 PM on June 1, 2006 [3 favorites]


Hope us, ceiling poll cat!
posted by rob511 at 4:12 PM on June 1, 2006


edverb, I don't think you followed the discussion (or maybe I didn't): The suggested electoral and primary election reforms were not suggested here as a remedy to the apparent voter fraud in Ohio, but as a remedy to a) the logical disincentive to vote in a u.s. presidential election and b) the complete lack of meritorious candidates in a presidential election.

The solution to fraud in the electoral process is enforcement of current laws. I do think, though, that the extremely limited time frame in which a candidate can question election results acts as a hinderance.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:13 PM on June 1, 2006


Smedleyman's spot on. Libertarians and Greens fought this with integrity

Payback is a bitch.
posted by Otis at 4:23 PM on June 1, 2006


Jek...let me start this by stating that voting integrity is not a partisan issue and I don't see it that way.

The country, however, seems to be stuck in this rut where EVERYTHING is partisan. So those are the parameters, and that's what we have to work with.

Are you aware that there are currently no fewer than four bills in Congress which require a voter verified paper paper trail? And that all of them are DOA in a Republican committee, never to be debated on the open floor?

When I say "light a candle instead of cursing the darkness", and I think my tremendous frustration and anger towards the Democrats is apparent, I say these things as a Democrat. I have done my damndest to contribute meaningfully to the process of changing things from within. There's progress -- in danger of losing a footrace to glaciers -- but it is progress. I advised the team that put together Conyers report. I supported Dean in getting control of the party apparatus. You'll find no better friends for voting reform in the entire party, except Russ Holt maybe.

What are the Republican faithful doing, to hold their own accountable? Who on their side is a champion of voting integrity? What is being done to advance the ause of voting integrity on the right?

There are many, many excellent ideas out there regarding elections -- and when was the last time you've seen a single one implemented? From revisions to the electoral college, to condorcet/IRV, to open source voting systems which produce a paper trail...hell, we could just do something as simple as paper ballots hand counted in public on the night of the election and be done with this whole discussion.

Hell, I'd even get behind purple fingers to prevent people from voting twice.

All of this is great fodder fror discussion, but the point is...the gremlins run the system. Can't change a damn thing without the gremlins signing off on it. And as for getting the gremlins out...don't hold your breath. They also "count" the votes.

I'm convinced the only place to find a solution is if the Republican rank and file makes it an issue in their own party. I don't see any evidence of that. I have been called a tinfoil hat loony by some of them, for pointing out the obvious. And as long as every stinking issue (even national security, even voting) is viewed through the prism of party politics, it will remain so.
posted by edverb at 4:26 PM on June 1, 2006 [3 favorites]


While I agree that the whole system of electing a president through electoral college is dumb, and it is absurd that you're voting for local dogcatcher, et al, at the same time as you're voting for your politicians, please keep this in mind -

Your system is based on people voting. If you don't vote, plain and simple you are contributing to the demise of your system. To say it doesn't matter or whatever is apathetic at best. Even if you believe that your country is metaphorically lying on the ground choking, pounding its fists (and I'd say that's not too far off) surely voting, even if it is a spoiled ballot, is better than just sitting on your comfy chair and picking your nose?
posted by stinkycheese at 4:37 PM on June 1, 2006


Edverb, I couldn't agree more. Well said.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:38 PM on June 1, 2006


Given the uncanny ability of this US administration to bring into the realm of the not unlikely what was formerly considered outright paranoia, I admit that if anyone offered me 1 in 10 odds (or better) that the next US presidential elections will be "indefinitely postponed", I'd seriously consider placing a modest yet substantial amount on that bet.

If RFK's findings remain uncontested or are unconvincingly contested by the administration in the next few weeks and no one does any damn thing about it, chances are that a. you will see a repeat performance soon and b. those democratic congressmen you elected? They're all doppelgangers working for the Republican party.
posted by talos at 4:51 PM on June 1, 2006


Phew... for a while there I was afraid the Democrats would become aware of the massive internal problems that ensured their loss in 2004 instead of blaming anyone but themselves and ensuring their loss in 2008 as well.
posted by Krrrlson at 4:54 PM on June 1, 2006


To help prevent a repeat of 2004, Kerry has co-sponsored a package of election reforms called the Count Every Vote Act. The measure would increase turnout by allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day, provide provisional ballots to voters who inadvertently show up at the wrong precinct, require electronic voting machines to produce paper receipts verified by voters, and force election officials like Blackwell to step down if they want to join a campaign. (205)

But Kerry says his fellow Democrats have been reluctant to push the reforms, fearing that Republicans would use their majority in Congress to create even more obstacles to voting. 'The real reason there is no appetite up here is that people are afraid the Republicans will amend HAVA and shove something far worse down our throats,' he told me.


Riiiight. They're afraid of those big, bad Republicans with their scary amendments. We're in big trouble here, and this is without a doubt the most important issue in world politics today. Anybody want to join the Republican party with me and volunteer to work at polling places in November?
posted by diocletian at 4:56 PM on June 1, 2006


talos, I'll take your bet. Send me an email.

But Kerry says his fellow Democrats have been reluctant to push the reforms, fearing that Republicans would use their majority in Congress to create even more obstacles to voting.

That Kerry's quite a leader and coalition builder, able to get his political allies to rally behind him for a just cause, ain't he? If he runs for president again, we're doomed.

The Count Every Vote Act (S 450) only has six cosponsors, for crying out loud -- and it was introduced by Hillary. And not one cosponsor has signed on since March 1, 2005. How much do you think either Hillary or Kerry really care about that bill if they haven't gone to the trouble of drumming up more than 6 cosponsors? Of course it'll never get to the floor: Not even the sponsors are really pushing for it.
posted by JekPorkins at 5:05 PM on June 1, 2006


I'm afraid I'd probably go in with you on that bet, talos. If the Democrats don't make some real ground in the midterms this November, my fiancee and I are seriously considering getting out of the country. I'm getting to the point where I really wouldn't put it past them.
posted by EarBucket at 5:07 PM on June 1, 2006


Democrats: If we don't win - they're cheating!
posted by b_thinky at 5:25 PM on June 1, 2006


bthinky, come back when you've read the article.
posted by diocletian at 5:26 PM on June 1, 2006


talos, I'll take your bet. Send me an email.

JekPerkins: The scary thing is that I'm seriously considering it. My biggest worry is that even if I win, what the heck am I going to do with (say) 300$ holed up in a fallout shelter - or what will a dollar be worth in such an eventuality. Plus, what if they don't postpone it but just steal it again?
posted by talos at 5:33 PM on June 1, 2006


I agree with edverb, and pretty much said so in my last post above. The foxes are running the henhouse. We've lost the ability to remove them using the systems that currently exist.

It's likely that nothing whatsoever will come of this 350,000 vote discrepancy, which will absolutely cement my feeling that the system has been deliberately rigged and the voting any of us do is just to make us feel like we still have some power. We don't, because of all the apathetic couch potatoes who don't bother to vote, and the crafty evil bastards who take advantage of the apathy.

If you're not ready to live under an aristocracy, you might want to think about leaving the US.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:43 PM on June 1, 2006


What should RFK, Jr. do to get the media to cover how the Republicans stole election 2004?--...
Tell CNN the election was stolen by a blonde white girl
...
Give "Dean" Broder a whiff of his panties ...


Our system is rigged, and there's no way for us to make it widely known, nor is there any way to actually fix it, with the current leadership and media not willing to touch it. I predict many "miraculous comebacks" and "amazing and surprising wins" on the GOP side in 06.
posted by amberglow at 5:52 PM on June 1, 2006


the massive internal problems that ensured their loss in 2004 instead of blaming anyone but themselves and ensuring their loss in 2008 as well.

okay, i'll bite -- what are these "massive internal problems"? i mean that in the comparative sense. in other words, if the democrats keep fucking up so badly that they can't win elections, then, by comparison, the republicans must be doing something right.

if you believe polling data, it's clearly not their policies that constitute the continued basis for republican power. the american people seem to be saying, resoundingly, that republicans have had their chance and have mucked things up so thoroughly that it's time they not be in control anymore. at all.

so how did they finagle this undue influence? well, it's pretty plainly obvious that, from the texas redistricting to the k street project to the various and sundry (and multitudinous!) elections shenanigans, the republicans are the party of any means necessary. results-based voting! cheaters neveralways prosper!

so yeah, maybe the party of cheaters will once again come away "triumphant" in 2006 and in 2008. but these types of "victories" frequently prove to be pyhrric and won't it be fitting if electoral fraud eventually proves to be the undoing of the modern republican party? here's hoping it's sooner rather than later that the other shoe drops.
posted by Hat Maui at 5:55 PM on June 1, 2006


The only "massive internal problem" with the Democratic Party is that they are also part of the aristocracy.

Don't you get it? They're not resisting because there's not really two parties anymore.

We're being run by the Money Party, which represents roughly the top 0.5% income bracket. Everything else looks like it's just for show at this point.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:01 PM on June 1, 2006


well, throw up your hands and give up, then.

or is that what they want you to do?

posted by Hat Maui at 6:06 PM on June 1, 2006


These top 0.5%: they have bodyguards??
posted by HyperBlue at 6:15 PM on June 1, 2006


Americans are so funny.
posted by nightchrome at 6:40 PM on June 1, 2006


In a democratic country, the exit-poll discrepancy would have led to recounts, investigations, etc.
posted by signal at 7:00 PM on June 1, 2006


SmedleyMan: So yeah, libertarians - whatever else their failings (and there are plenty) actually were tough. At least there was SOME resistance. There certainly wasn’t any from the “loyal opposition.”

I didn't jibe at libertarianism in general. My gripe is with that particular (lame) line that because the GOP and the Dems are too close for comfort that there's no discernible difference between them. The "logic" of which is "A is closer to B than it was in the past. Therefore A = B." That's just nonsense, and it deserves to be pointed out as such.

I wasn't big on Kerry either. I didn't think he'd win, given that the opposition managed to spin him as an upper-crusty, anti-war, liberal (that, and he's Catholic, which to the protestant wingnut crowd, is almost the same as being an atheist). But that's pretty far from saying his is a carbon copy of Bush.
posted by wheat at 7:01 PM on June 1, 2006


Dave Barry:

"The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and time again that they have the management skills of celery. They're the kind of people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn't bother to stop because they'd want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club."

I used to agree with this, but now I think the Republicans would stop to fix your tire, then whack you in the back of the head with the tire iron when you weren't looking. They'd steal your wallet and car and drive off, but thanks to the crappy job they'd done tightning the lug nuts, the wheel would come off and they'd skid out of control, flying off a cliff and exploding in a giant ball of flame.
posted by EarBucket at 7:10 PM on June 1, 2006 [2 favorites]


"These top 0.5%: they have bodyguards??"

Yeah, the Secret Service, the Marine Corps, various law-enforcement agencies, and private "security" firms like Blackwater. And whoever else they can find who'll crack skulls for money, really.

Hat, I don't want to throw up my hands and give up, but I'm only one guy. Until the 75% of people who don't bother to vote decide that maybe they ought to get together and do something, I'm personally powerless. It's pretty frustrating, but I'm kinda stuck with that.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:13 PM on June 1, 2006


there were gross improprieties of many flavors favoring Democrats in Philadelphia and Milwaukee. The improprieties in Philadelphia haven't received wide attention

I'll say they haven't. What's your source, if any?
posted by soyjoy at 7:18 PM on June 1, 2006


EarBucket writes "While it's true that one vote won't win or lose an election"

Not true, sometimes it comes down to a single vote: On 18 January 1961, in Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania), the Afro-Shirazi Party won the general elections by a single seat, after the seat of Chake-Chake on Pemba Island was won by a single vote.

edverb writes "I'm convinced the only place to find a solution is if the Republican rank and file makes it an issue in their own party."

That or someone has to really steal an election. 25% Democratic, 50% Green, 20% Communist and 3% Republican. Then we'd see some serious attempts at reform and verification.
posted by Mitheral at 7:46 PM on June 1, 2006


The solution to the electoral crisis that threatens American democracy consists of four simple steps:

1: 100% publicly funded elections

2: Abolition of the Electoral College

3: Instant Runoff Voting

4: mandatory nationally standardized voting procedures with verifiable paper trails.



Nothing complicated about it in theory. In practice, clawing the bastards away from the teats of power and special interest honey will be a motherfucker.
posted by stenseng at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


All this talk... and no one has presented EVEN ONE item of evidence that proves "the Democrats do the same thing."

I know, when it comes to that claim, I'd better not hold my breath.
posted by grubi at 8:06 PM on June 1, 2006


Bingo, stenseng.
posted by zoogleplex at 8:16 PM on June 1, 2006


What this country really needs is a bloody civil war. That wont happen untill most people are poor hungry and deperate.

I envy our neighbors to the north. As the shit hits the fan (and it has to eventually) they're gonna have the best seats in the house.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 8:22 PM on June 1, 2006


One last thing: There also was a session called, "Who Really Won the Election 2004?" This was an opportunity for the cyber-active bloggers who think the Ohio vote was somehow fraudulent to present their best case. They didn't. Their presentations were confusing, if not incoherent to this listener, and they all seemed to boil down to one complaint: namely, that the vote totals didn't match the exit polls. The problem with that argument is that if you can give good reasons why the exit polls were wrong in Ohio (and there are many), their entire complaint disappears.
-- Marc Rosenbaum, NPR
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:32 PM on June 1, 2006


Tryptophan-5ht writes "As the shit hits the fan (and it has to eventually) they're gonna have the best seats in the house."

That or we'll get to play Laos to the US's Vietnam. I'm not looking forward to a blow out down south, the US has historically shown little respect for other countries sovereignty.
posted by Mitheral at 8:33 PM on June 1, 2006


interesting thing going on in California about the electoral college: California is one step closer to joining a national movement that would change the way that the Electoral College works without amending the U.S. Constitution.

AB 2948 by Assemblymember Tom Umberg, Chair of the Assembly Elections Committee is a simple bill that would have California join in an interstate compact with other states to award our electoral votes to the Presidential candidate who won the national popular vote. ...


But if our votes are not counted correctly, or we're prevented from voting at all (see all the new ID things in various states), the electoral college is the least of the worries.
posted by amberglow at 8:43 PM on June 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


What are we going to do when it happens again in November? All the watchdogs are still Republicans - Republicans who have a lot more to lose than an election if it doesn't go their way.
posted by any major dude at 8:55 PM on June 1, 2006


I was talking with one of my friends about this over dinner, and he said that the discrepencies in the exit poll data had to do with improper sampling. Apparently, they polled a disproportionate number of women, thinking that a higher proportion of women would be voting in 2004. They were wrong in this assumption, and as a result, women were over-represented in their data. Since women tend to skew Democratic, this apparently explains the disparity between exit poll data and election results.

Does anybody know if this theory has any credibility?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:02 PM on June 1, 2006


Kerry was the one who said "No Surrender" and that he'd fight for "us" if we voted for him.

Then in the wake of the Ohio debacle, he immediately surrendered and refused to fight -- presumably since he was already doing the political calculations of running again.

So...I'm more pissed at Kerry (who I voted for) than the Republicans.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
posted by bim at 9:13 PM on June 1, 2006


interesting thing going on in California about the electoral college: California is one step closer to joining a national movement that would change the way that the Electoral College works without amending the U.S. Constitution.

It would make more sense for then to just dole out their votes perportionally.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 PM on June 1, 2006


bthinky, come back when you've read the article.
posted by diocletian at 5:26 PM PST on June 1


I did read the article before posting anything. It's just a bunch of incessant babbling about how the exit polls MUST have been correct and how the official in charge of counting the votes in Ohio is a REPUBLICAN who chaired Bush's reelection campaign in the state. Also, some ex-cons and ex-pats apparently had a hard time voting (I guess nobody recalls Gore trying to supress overseas military votes in Florida, do they?).

Someone needs to let RFK Jr know elections are are determined by votes and not exit polls and that secretary of state is a democratically elected political position or one appointed by the democratically elected governor. Everyone has a party affiliation - this does not mean there is corruption.

Don't you think if this conspiracy theory had any credence at all it would be presented by someone other than RFK Jr and in a publication other than Rolling Stone? It's not like our national media isn't dying to get a story like this.

Ever since George W Bush stepped on the national scene, Democrats have spent a considerable amount of their energy hating him. Meanwhile, he's been beating the shit out of them ever since. I think these two facts are related. Maybe it's just me, but I think Democrats - and the USA - would be better served if they just focused on being Democrats rather than hating Bush and Republicans.
posted by b_thinky at 9:16 PM on June 1, 2006


Ever since George W Bush stepped on the national scene, Democrats have spent a considerable amount of their energy hating him.

Uh, no -- Poll: Bush Worst President Since WWII.
posted by ericb at 9:21 PM on June 1, 2006


Yes, well this whole Ohio fuss will be settled in the 2006 Ohio governors race, where Ted Strickland, an Appalachian Democrat who should appeal to both rural and urban Democrats (now that he's beginning to receive the endorsement of urban mayors) will soundly defeat Ken Blackwell for governor. Right? Right?
Please?
posted by Kronoss at 9:30 PM on June 1, 2006


I think Democrats - and the USA - would be better served if they just focused on being Democrats rather than hating Bush and Republicans.

What to think of George Bush's base?

The Crumbling GOP Base:
"How disgruntled is the party's base? In recent polls, fewer than 70 percent of registered Republicans said they approve of the way President Bush is handling his job, a sharp drop from the 90 percent support on which he once could count. Among self-identified conservatives, Bush's standing is even lower: Just 51 percent rate his performance favorably, according to the latest New York Times/CBS poll. At a time when the president's support among Democrats has shrunk to single digits, and when only 1 independent in 4 gives him a positive job rating, the last thing he can afford to lose is the goodwill of his core supporters. But he is losing it."
posted by ericb at 9:36 PM on June 1, 2006


static final boolean b_thinky = false;
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 PM on June 1, 2006


I'm all for reforming electoral politics. I'd settle for just being able to vote in a primary. I'm in California so by the time I get to vote in a primary, my favorite candidate has usually dropped out of the race already.

I think Presidential elections would look very different if all the primaries were on the same day, and it'd largely be a change for the better.
posted by koreth at 9:39 PM on June 1, 2006


Afroblanco, there are a number of ways in which exit polling data could be distorted.

The single most important is that the participants are self-selected. Some voters tell the pollsters how they voted, and some tell the pollsters to take a hike. Are they different in other ways, such as in how they voted? It's not unheard of, by any means.

Another point is one pollsters have known for a long time, but don't like to admit: some people lie to pollsters. How many people voted for Bush but told the pollster (in the hearing of their neighbors) that they voted for Kerry?

It's also plausible that the precincts where the pollsters did their work were unrepresentative of the state as a whole. They cannot, and did not, work every single precinct in the state.

Exit polls do pretty well but anyone who thinks that exit polling, or any other kind of polling, is an exact science needs to do some reading.

And anyone who bases a grand conspiracy theory on the assumption that the exit polls were "right" and the actual vote was "wrong" is overdue to replace the aluminum foil in their hat.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:50 PM on June 1, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste - Although I'm by no means an election scholar, I get the impression that the types of distortions that you mention are routinely taken into account when computing the error margin for such polls.

I'm specifically interested in the theory that my friend put forward - did the 2004 exit polls over-represent womens' votes?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:55 PM on June 1, 2006


ericb: yay, Bush has low poll numbers. Who cares? What counts is policy and votes. Bush has succeeded in implementing nearly every major policy he's advocated and he/Republicans have won elections in 00, 02 and 04. What of any substance have Democrats accomplished?

Bush's base isn't leaving him. His base is upset at his stance on issues like immigration and the Dubai Ports World thingy. They'll never vote for Democrats. Let's see what happens in November.
posted by b_thinky at 9:57 PM on June 1, 2006


When they cite an error for polls, what they're citing is a number taken from statistics which indicates the probability that a random sample that size is representative of the whole.

But their samples are not random, and their announced error is not based on the kinds of systematic errors I described -- for the simple reason that by their nature they cannot be predicted.

That's why the only poll that matters on election day is the one the government runs.

And just in passing, 2004 in Ohio is far from being the only time in recent history that exit polls were badly wrong.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:28 PM on June 1, 2006


So why the hell aren't we hacking more ATMs, anyway? Screw politics. Let's get to the good stuff.
posted by diastematic at 10:34 PM on June 1, 2006


So what were those other times, Steven C. Den Beste? Are you going to cite something?
posted by maryh at 10:48 PM on June 1, 2006


Den Beste wrote:

Exit polls do pretty well but anyone who thinks that exit polling, or any other kind of polling, is an exact science needs to do some reading.

I thought that was the point of all the footnotes, no?

I noticed that you haven't included any footnotes with your statements. Maybe you should do some reading.
posted by any major dude at 11:31 PM on June 1, 2006


Bush has succeeded in implementing nearly every major policy he's advocated

Socal Security reform? Road map to peace? Mission to Mars?

And just in passing, 2004 in Ohio is far from being the only time in recent history that exit polls were badly wrong.

That's correct. According to the article, there were 29 other states in 2004 where the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote counts "deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error."

Exit polls do pretty well but anyone who thinks that exit polling, or any other kind of polling, is an exact science needs to do some reading.

Maybe you should read the article:
'Exit polls are almost never wrong,' Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are 'so reliable,' he added, 'that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.'
...
In fact, the exit poll created for the 2004 election was designed to be the most reliable voter survey in history.
...
For its nationwide poll, Edison/Mitofsky selected a random subsample of 12,219 voters(25) -- approximately six times larger than those normally used in national polls(26) -- driving the margin of error down to approximately plus or minus one percent.(27).
posted by kirkaracha at 11:34 PM on June 1, 2006


But their samples are not random, and their announced error is not based on the kinds of systematic errors I described -- for the simple reason that by their nature they cannot be predicted.

But they can be recorded and analyzed it was clear if you looked at the article that republicans were about 7% more likely to respond to exit polls, so the first thing you said goes out the window.

As for the ensuing claims from page one of the article"contrast, in precincts where Kerry dominated by eighty percent or more, the exit polls were accurate to within three tenths of one percent "

Do people suddenly gain a tendency to lie when living in republican controlled counties inquiring minds wish to know?
(for the love of god man read the damn article)
posted by Rubbstone at 11:35 PM on June 1, 2006


For those who keep saying that turnout should be higher, one crucial point made in the article is that new voters were not allowed to vote in dem-leaning districts because the number of voting machines was decreased or remained constant, whereas in republican-leaning an unprecedented number of votes were cast.
posted by Azaadistani at 11:49 PM on June 1, 2006


Bush's base isn't leaving him.

You may want to reconsider this claim in light of this poll (which has already been cited in this thread by ericb). If Bush's base is 3% of the population, then you may be right.
posted by advil at 11:58 PM on June 1, 2006


den Beste, stop pretending like you know the first thing about exit polling and statistical error. if you care to refute something specific with another fact (those weird little correct-looking thingies) then by all means cite us up some shit. otherwise, you're just blathering. it's your nature, i know, but still -- stop it.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

uh, i'm afraid you don't quite have that down. we have that saying in texas, maybe it's in tennessee too. it's "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... can't get fooled again."

get it right already!
posted by Hat Maui at 12:02 AM on June 2, 2006


...the official in charge of counting the votes in Ohio is a REPUBLICAN who chaired Bush's reelection campaign in the state

funny thing, this. There isn't another country on earth in which the campaign manager for one of the candidates is allowed to run the election. There is a phrase, perhaps you encountered it: "conflict of interest". This phrase refers to a situation in which a single individual possesses allegiances, motivations and/or responsibilities which are visibly, demonstrably opposed to one another. In such a case, there is no need to prove that impropriety has taken place or even that it is likely that it will take place. It's like, you can't have the coach of one of the teams also be the referee. There's no need to prove that the coach/ref has been or will be biased - it's simply obvious to everyone that it's a terrible idea. Obvious, that is, to everyone except Americans, apparently.

And give up already with the "exit polls can be wrong sometimes." It's not like this is the only evidence of malfeasance - the Conyers' report summary lists 34 different types of unexplained anomolies, none of which relate to exit polls. For example, has anyone tried to explain the "fake terror alert" which closed the largest vote-counting center in Warren County Ohio during the crucial hours on Nov. 2?
posted by dinsdale at 1:11 AM on June 2, 2006


That was a great article and all, but I'm not sure what is to be gained by continuing to focus on the 2004 election. We can't hire Superman to fly around the earth and reverse all the wonderful accomplishments of the Bush administration. (And dinsdale is spot on. If you actually read the article, you'll see there is much, much more there than just an exit poll discrepancy).

Here is the important fact. The man behind the rigging of the 2004 election now wants to be governor of Ohio. He is running for that office in this November's election. He also happens to again be in charge the election process. If his race is at all close, Blackwell will have enough power as Secretary of State to influence the election and ensure his victory. This is no tinfoil hat conspiracy theory. If you read the article, you can see that Blackwell's tactics are efficient and proven, and it has been clearly shown that he can get away with them. I am doing everything in my power as an Ohio resident to make sure the governor's race is not a close one. Any help we can get would be much appreciated.
posted by Otis at 5:47 AM on June 2, 2006


Otis writes "but I'm not sure what is to be gained by continuing to focus on the 2004 election"

The hope is to make the next election more honest.
posted by Mitheral at 6:51 AM on June 2, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste writes 'Exit polls do pretty well but anyone who thinks that exit polling, or any other kind of polling, is an exact science needs to do some reading.'

Does the US have some sort of poll-distortion field around it? Because in the rest of the world exit polls usually come within 1% of final results, in legitimate elections, of course.
Just US exceptionalism at work again, hm?
posted by signal at 7:12 AM on June 2, 2006


Republicans: Exit polling data is an inexact science -- just like global warming, stem cell research, pollution data, neurology (if your name happens to be Terri Schiavo), and basic budget arithmetic.
posted by edverb at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2006


That was a great article and all, but I'm not sure what is to be gained by continuing to focus on the 2004 election.

For starters, if your country can finally manage to hold an honest election, you'll no longer be the laughingstock of the democractic world. I mean, shiiiiit, even some of the third-world countries have better elections than you do!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 AM on June 2, 2006


Is it really that hard to see that the 2004 election is not going to be overturned? There is nothing new in this article. All the evidence has been there all along. Nothing has happened. Nothing will happen. My point is that we need to focus on the next election and get people like Ken Blackwell out of positions of power.
posted by Otis at 11:04 AM on June 2, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste

I am a professional statistician, I do survey work, and I understand exit polling, down to the details. I have published academic papers on the topic. And what you are saying is pure bullshit that has been promoted by those that want to obscure the vote fraud in the 2004 election. Yes, there are errors, but no, they cannot explain the huge discrepancies. They are a smoke screen. You need to read something that is not tied to your preferred ruling monkey group once in a while (or maybe that's what you prefer, because it is your function here; I don't really know what your deal is). In any event, stop talking like you're knowledgeable about something in which you have no experience.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:27 AM on June 2, 2006


(I guess nobody recalls Gore trying to supress overseas military votes in Florida, do they?)

I guess you don't recall Bush supporters trying to get invalid, unsigned military ballots counted in Florida in 2000, do you?

Seriously, b_thinky, stop shitting on threads.
posted by oaf at 12:10 PM on June 2, 2006


“We have laws to deal with this stuff. It ain't the lack of laws, it's the lack of enforcement, and they get away with this shit due to the fact that the populace collectively has the attention span of a housecat.” - posted by edverb

edverb is spot on, what we need is lobbyist reform.
*plays with ball of yarn*
Seriously tho, exellent point(s) man, something has to happen in the parties, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’d like to see more viable third/fourth parties force the issue. Then we might see some reform. I suspect it’s much more possible than before, with teh internets and all.

Gosh, I hope there’s no plan in the works to control the internet somehow. That’d be a wacky coincidence.

“Payback is a bitch.” -posted by Otis

Too true Otis - that’s why they call it sacrifice.

“I didn't jibe at libertarianism in general...therefore A = B.” - posted by wheat

Fair enough. My mistake then.

“...no one has presented EVEN ONE item of evidence that proves "the Democrats do the same thing."” - grubi


The First Ward in Chicago was pretty damned corrupt - and Democratic, lots of people went to jail. Daley Sr. himself was pretty bad - Democrat (Royko’s bio on Hizzoner “Boss” was pretty good.) Going way back in Chicago you had Regan’s Colts busting heads with baseball bats to get out the vote. That kind of thing really didn’t end until Operation Greylord. Even then...it just got quieter.
Huey Long (the Kingfish) - Democrat, lots of vote fraud there too. The JFK election was stolen by the Dems, no real documented evidence there, but as I understand it organized crime shys away from keeping records.

The current difference, I suspect, is a matter of scale and organization. But all that is off the cuff. This stuff is well documented. Look for yourself. The Dems very much do it as well. I don’t think you’re seriously asserting Democrats never vote tamper.
I know people who actually did it, just another reason I nearly always vote third party (depending on the candidate and the issue of course).

“...just a bunch of incessant babbling...” - posted by b_thinky

Nice job of ignoring the well-documented references. I mean you could insert “evolutionism” into your post and it’s the same form. Nearly all reliable observer data points to the same conclusion. I have issues with RFK Jr. as well, but a well documented and evidence backed article is more reliable than spurious assertions that nothing is going on. So Gore tried to suppress overseas military votes in Fla. but the Republicans would never do anthing like that, eh?

Corruption is corruption.

“It's not like our national media isn't dying to get a story like this.” - posted by b_thinky

You’re going to have to explain how the national media expects to profit from publicizing a story like this.
Rolling Stone can do it because they’re the counter-culture magazine. People who read it think they’re subversives, so they will buy the magazine to read the article.

This story would probably scare the hell out of anyone mainstream (and not in the good “billion to one odds you get bird-flu but we’ll still tell you about it” roller coastery pseudo-danger way).
So what’s the percentage from their angle?
The ‘truth’? Ha ha ha ha!

“Bush has succeeded in implementing nearly every major policy he's advocated...” - b_thinky

Whaaaa?

“What of any substance have Democrats accomplished?” - b_thinky

In tautology world? Or reality...’cause if you look at what you’re asserting....

“Bush's base isn't leaving him.”

Hmmm...I’m a conservative. I’m ‘white.’ I’ve got money. I liked Bush earlier. I no longer like Bush. Many of my friends are conservative....ditto. And ditto.
Yeah, I’m not following you there. Unless you mean the billionaires and multi-multi-millionaires, then it’s Bush who isn’t leaving them.

“even some of the third-world countries have better elections than you do!” -posted by five fresh fish

Dude, you’re way off!
...unless by ‘better’ you mean ‘legitmate’ or ‘accurate’ not ‘entertaining’. Cause then, yeah, yeah they do.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:18 PM on June 2, 2006


Metafilter: You need to read something that is not tied to your preferred ruling monkey group
posted by Smedleyman at 12:20 PM on June 2, 2006


Childishly, I shall now propose he henceforth be known as "b_stinky." What with the crapping in threads and all.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:53 PM on June 2, 2006


In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn't new and his argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions
posted by homunculus at 9:02 PM on June 2, 2006


I have started to wonder if the recent increase in FBI investigations into political corruption isn't at least partially a bit of bureaucratic revolt. And everyone knows the Republican phone jammer guy is going back to work with the GOP, right?
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 9:32 PM on June 2, 2006


Good job!
posted by blacklite at 11:15 PM on June 2, 2006


And over a third of eligible voters across the country stayed away from the polls on their own accord.

Thus you have a government elected by ~24% of the voting population. Hardly a devine mandate isn't it?


Add that 33%.
They're the ones who, when you're ordering pizza, say "I'll have whatever you guys decide to have."
posted by dreamsign at 12:01 AM on June 3, 2006


Another critique here. It seems like there's a pretty good case that Kennedy's research is shoddy. Blackwell still looks shady, though.
posted by EarBucket at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2006


Hat Maui told bim: uh, i'm afraid you don't quite have that down. we have that saying in texas, maybe it's in tennessee too. it's "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... can't get fooled again."

get it right already!


I hate to break it to you, Texas boy, but here on the east coast the saying is as I originally stated. And you do know that New York is the center of the universe, don't you? Well there you go! :>
posted by bim at 1:10 PM on June 4, 2006


uh, bim -- my suggestion you don't know the phrase was merely a reference... a pretty well-known one at that. one of bush's best gaffes ever.

"fool me -- can't get fooled again"

posted by Hat Maui at 5:46 PM on June 4, 2006


Greg Palast: How They Stole Ohio And the GOP 4-step Recipe to 'Blackwell' the USA in 2008
posted by Otis at 5:33 AM on June 5, 2006


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. faces off against Farhad Manjoo
posted by homunculus at 8:44 PM on June 5, 2006


"It appears that Ken Blackwell finally figured out how to deal with long lines on Election Day. He's just trying to outright deny people the right to vote now."

"That's outrageous," Blackwell's campaign spokesman, Carlo LoParo said. "The Blackwell campaign is making a very focused effort to gain the votes of Ohio's urban voters, but particularly Ohio's African-American voters, and that's because Ken Blackwell is the only candidate in this race that can articulate their concerns."

In contrast, Strickland is so out of touch with black voters, LoParo said, that "before this campaign, his idea of diversity was opting for Neapolitan ice cream at the congressional buffet."

High larious!
posted by Otis at 7:20 AM on June 6, 2006


Editorial from today's New York Times:
"But there is one clear way that Ohio's election system is corrupt. Decisions about who can vote are being made by a candidate for governor. Mr. Blackwell should hand over responsibility for elections to a decision maker whose only loyalty is to the voters and the law."
posted by Otis at 10:13 AM on June 7, 2006


Public interest in news topics beyond control of mainstream media
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2006


Steven Colbert interviews Robert Kennedy Jr
posted by homunculus at 7:19 PM on June 13, 2006


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