Monday, December 13, 2004

Meet the new chads, same as the old chads

Last week I mentioned that the Libertarian and Green parties had officially requested recounts in Ohio, and had received support from the Kerry campaign. It's already been established that the number of questionable provisional ballots that went uncounted would not have provided enough votes to put Kerry over. The only reason they would do this is to try to create doubt and thereby cast the President's second term as illegitimate.

Today Captain Ed points to this AP report indicating the Kerry campaign wants its witnesses to inspect 92,000 ballots in Ohio where no vote for President was cast. Remember how Democrats wanted to "divine voter intent" from "dimpled chads" in Florida? Well here we go again. Since the provisional ballots alone won't put Kerry over, they'll try to include ballots with no Presidential vote as well. Only by this will enough votes for Kerry be discovered.
[Kerry campaign lawyer Donald] McTigue said the visual inspection is allowed under state law. The goal is to look for potential votes that were not registered by the tabulating equipment.

McTigue also asked that counties accept the help of a group called Votewatch to determine which precincts will be chosen for the part of the recount that will be conducted by hand. McTigue said using the group will ensure that the ballots are selected using a valid random sampling method.

The procedures require 3 percent of ballots to be counted by hand in each county. All the county's ballots would be counted by hand if the initial check turns up problems.

Captain Ed notes:
[T]hese new requests attempt in a cowardly, passive-aggressive way to create a demand for a full recount and a withdrawal of Kerry's concession. What they want is Ohio to rise up and do what Kerry himself is apparently too much of a chicken to do himself.

And what is Votewatch?

On the Votewatch website they describe themselves like this:
Founded in 2002: the nation's first nonpartisan, citizen-driven election monitoring organization. We bring together citizens, survey researchers and leading technologies to promote fair, transparent and accurate elections.

They go to great lengths to assure people that they're non-partisan. But in scouring the names of their advisors, I see the name Greg Palast. A sampling from Mr. Palast.
I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.

Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. At 1:05 a.m. Wednesday morning, CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. The exit polls were later combined with—and therefore contaminated by—the tabulated results, ultimately becoming a mirror of the apparent actual vote. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.

So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.

Here's why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted. [See, "An Election Spoiled Rotten," November 1.]

Once again, at the heart of the Ohio uncounted vote game are, I'm sorry to report, hanging chads and pregnant chads, plus some other ballot tricks old and new.

Check this out, too. More of the same, I'm afraid. Palast drones on and on about "Apartheid vote counting" and "Jim Crow provisional ballots." And this guy is an advisor to this so-called "non-partisan" voting watchdog group that the Kerry campaign wants to oversee the recount.

Who else is on the Votewatch advisory board? Craig Newmark of Craig's List. Not exactly non-partisan, would you say?

Anyone care to Google some more of these names?

UPDATE: Captain Ed says that the divining of voter intent has begun.


At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, my particpation in votewatch is very nonpartisan.

Mostly, it was an expression of my role in scam-fighting. I spend a lot of time doing that, just put in a coupla hours doing so.


At 1:23 PM, Blogger Drew said...

Thanks Craig. Seeing Palast's name attached to a group that goes to great lengths to prove how non-partisan it is really left me wondering what it meant to be an "advisor." I gave Craigslist a read last night (being unfamiliar with it) and put you on the "left-of-center" side of the blogosphere. Would you characterize yourself as such? I'm not against partisanship; rather I support full disclosure, and I didn't think Votewatch was fully disclosing its leanings. But now I'm curious enough to check out some other names on the "advisor" list. Perhaps they have "partisans" from both sides (which still doesn't make them "non-partisan" . . . just gridlocked gridlocked to the point of ineffectiveness . . . which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing).


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