Sunday, November 21, 2004

Did The Democrats Cheat In 2000?

Kim Zetter at published an article Friday afternoon titled, Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy. This was a follow up to an article she wrote earlier in the week titled, Florida E-Vote Fraud? Unlikely. You'll find our original post on this subject at: Election Conspiracy Theorists Still Grasping For Win on this blog where you may link to a color coded chart analysis of the Florida voting results for both types of machines.

Well, what can we say? The story goes like this:

"[...]graduate students from Berkeley's Quantitative Methods Research Team launched the research project after following debates in the blogosphere about possible fraud in the election. After examining and discounting many other theories, such as ones involving optical-scan machines in Florida, they decided to look at counties that used touch-screen voting machines."

They discovered that in the 15 counties using touch-screen voting systems, the number of votes granted to Bush exceeded the number of votes Bush should have received -- given all of the other variables -- while the number of votes that Bush received in counties using other types of voting equipment lined up perfectly with what the variables would have predicted for those counties.

The total number of excessive votes ranged between 130,000 and 260,000, depending on what kind of problem caused the excess votes. The counties most affected by the anomaly were heavily Democratic.
But wait there's more. The blog PowerLine reports that Dafydd ab Hugh, who actually knows something about statistics, dissected the Dems' latest theory in an email to Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub's blog California_Insider:
"I have just read through the UC Berkeley paper you linked about e-voting. There is a pretty significant pair of errors in it.

[...]it's equally valid to suppose that there was a Republican suppression factor in the 2000 and 1996 elections -- that is, that the Democrats cheated in counting punchcards in heavily Democratic districts in past elections -- which they were unable to do in 2004 with the electronic voting machines.

In fact, it is easier to cheat with punch cards: for one easy example, if you take a stack of ballots and push a long stylus through the "Gore" hole, this will have the effect of turning Bush votes into uncountable Bush and Gore double votes, while leaving Gore votes undisturbed. This requires no computer sophistication at all (or even a high-school diploma) and can be done by the lowest level of poll worker, long before the cards even leave the individual precinct.

All that the study actually found was. ..." more
Hindrocket, who authored the PowerLine post titled, 'News Flash: Florida "Stolen!" Again!' wrote:
"Without having analyzed the study, my guess is that it doesn't prove anything at all. But Dafydd's observation that if the study really is meaningful, it probably shows that the Democrats were cheating in 1996 and 2000, is interesting." more
Patrick Ruffini quickly debunks the Berkley study in his post titled, Fisking Berkeley's Bogus E-Voting "Study". For some reason these disheartened souls can't bring themselves to believe more Democrats voted for President Bush this time than in 2000. Check out the chart analysis of the Florida voting results for both types of machines. to decide for yourself, and then, if you feel the urge, opine. Or view the comment thread titled, "Study Raises Questions About Florida Vote Count" on the blog Talk Left: The Politics of Crime - 11/21/2004 where you'll find a lively discussion taking place. Reference Link