I apologize for sending so much ‘after the fact’. However I asked Matt Kerbel (Villanova PolySci professor) about the issue of recounts, and I strongly suspect that you will find his comments very interesting. I am also attaching a PDF of the study he alludes to that was done by the UPenn professor on the discrepancies between the exit polls and ‘official’ tallies.
As with most of you, I have no interest in getting my hopes up again just to be dashed. However, I think that this is too important to disregard.
I try to avoid the temptation to adopt Oliver Stone's paranoia, however .
How serious is the recount hubbub in the blogosphere? I hear that Nader is challenging NH, and the Green/Libertarians are about to challenge the
Have you reviewed the pro & con academic views of the exit poll discrepancy and have a (as much as possible) non-partisan, academic/scientific take?
If you have time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Hi, Paul. She has not sung -- yet. And it's because -- of all people -- Ralph Nader is going to get a recount in
Without getting all Oliver Stone about this, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to as yet unexplained tabulation irregularities -- a neutral, empirical concept. I am not talking about fraud, although it may be fraud. I am taking about data that do not fit with other data.
As you know, Paul, around 6 p.m. on Election Day we were looking at a comfortable Kerry victory in line with what the Incumbent Rule would predict. Bush's margin in the national exit poll was 48% -- exactly where you would expect it to be based on his final average in the last set of polls (where he was at 48.5%). Then without warning the big states (
There are data in
It is possible that the computers that compiled and tabulated votes from these machines -- the central computers -- overcounted Bush votes, perhaps by a large margin and perhaps on a national scale. Perhaps. My understanding is that the tabulations are compiled on
PC's running Microsoft Access spreadsheets. I further understand that the spreadsheets were not password protected, that the computers were connected to the web, and that the data were not encripted. In other words, they were there for the taking should someone want to hack them. Be aware that I am drawing a conclusion that fits the data. I could be wrong. But it is within reason that I am right.
This is where Ralph Nader comes in. He has requested and will get a recount of the optical scan votes in
Should this not come to pass, either because Nader's recount is ultimately blocked or because it fails to demonstrate a measurable problem, there is still the possibility that the election can turn on an Ohio recount being called by the Green and Libertarian candidates (which will go ahead if they raise enough money to pay for it), or by Kerry closing the gap in Ohio on the strength of provisional and absentee ballots. There are other challenges in the works as well -- see: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/. I suspect all these challenges are a much longer shot, though.
Also, keep in mind that while many of us cling to the remote hope that Kerry could still become president, equally important issues of transparent elections and the winner's mandate are also in play. One reason why so much blog energy is being expended on this issue is that it is easy for Kerry partisans to believe that Bush stole the election. All the dirty tricks and partisan dealings leading up to election day in states like
So, I'd say don't expect Kerry to become president, but know that it is still a longshot possibility. Feel free to share this with the others who came to the talk at the church. I'm sure they're concerned as well.