6.12.2006

Today's Meme provided by one of my fav bloggers... 'puppytoes'! Here's what
she had to say in Friday's 'backacha' section... "read the rolling stone article by RFK, jr. this month... here's a 'link' to that, as well. it will SO piss you off--could be a good topic for your next round?) : D"... yes, a verrrrrrry good topic, indeed!

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?
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.
BY ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.

Like many Americans, I spent the evening of the 2004 election watching the returns on television and wondering how the exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush -- and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results,Kerry conceded. Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in ''tinfoil hats,'' while the national media,with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,''(1) and The New York Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale.''(2)...

READ ALL THE FACTS FROM THE 'LINK' THEN 'WEIGH IN' AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!!

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19 comments:

Jack K. said...

Arrrrgh. I just checked out the RFK, jr. link. puppytoes is right this should piss off everyone, including the Pope.

We will all have to be more vigilant for the next election.

I just hope the DNC doesn't even think about stooping so low.

PS: This is a copy of the comment after reading puppytoes comment. Double ARRRGH!

PPS: I even corrected the spelling this time.

~cj~ said...

Ok reading that is enough to make me loose my lunch....

I read the entire article and kept thinking that perhaps this needed to happen. This wasn't the first time votes were not counted.... and not the first election stolen. Perhaps we need something like this to wake us up, inspire and outrage us enough so that it does not happen again.

I'm enraged and motivated - the question is, is anyone else?

ckmunson.com/blog

puppytoes said...

I'M SO GLAD you decided to post this, Karen! i knew it would light a fire... and how could it not? my mother has even requested a copy of the article!

frankly, we had the same visceral reaction you did election night. i mean, it just didn't make sense to think the exit polls could be so far off the mark. i kept saying to joel... "something's happened, i don't know what, but this can't be right"! i feel somewhat vindicated to learn that, perhaps, that was true.

it was bad enough to watch the election-grab-fest on the first go 'round. but this makes that look like a veritable cake-walk. i figured we'd be pointing our collective outraged fingers at the "little black boxes", but, since they clearly only accounted for a small percentage of the votes, they are only responsible (in my opinion) for a very small percentage of the fraud that occured in the 2004 election.

i think one aspect of the article that frosted me was the way the sec'y of state of ohio and his cohorts were able to circumvent the law. the LAW!! not even a court order could stop the flow of corruption. talk about your "shades of boss tweed"! and now? to know that thousands of "questionable" ballots can legally be shredded this november, literally "shredding" any chance of getting to the bottom of this mess? it's nothing short of a travesty.

but that's what this presidency/administration has been from the get-go, right? a travesty? oh! heh heh... you know, i could go on... but i'm out of breath! so, for now, let me simply echo Jack's eloquent sentiment and say...

ARRRRRRGGGH!!!

there. i feel better!

Doug said...

Hi, Karen. I'm here at Puppytoes' invitation. Hope you don't mind.

My opinion/instigation is this: A lot of RFK's 'facts' weren't compelling to me for a few reasons. One is that they aren't comparative and the other is the question as to why the election was stealable.

So, first, I think it is not good enough to talk about how many overseas U.S. citizens received their ballots. If the rate was 50% in 2004 and 55% in 2000, that doesn't say much.

Second, for the preceding four years, Democrats have made the case that it means something that Gore won the popular vote. Kennedy didn't make a very strong case that enough votes were repressed to change the outcome that Bush won the popular vote.

The third issue is a little funky and probably wrong but it takes a massive conspiracy to alter votes other than at the margins. I think Florida in 2000 a strong case can be made that actions against the voters which should have been illegal changed the outcome of that election and the only reason Kathleen Harris isn't in prison is that laws which should exist didn't and largely still don't.

Kennedy makes a decent case that the GOP sees differential repression of voting as a legitimate part of an election strategy, something which should appall us, but I'm not sure the case is made that the election was stolen.

Finally, I think the fact that the 2004 election was close enough to be stealable is something the Democrats contributed to mightily. If a race is close enough to steal then it doesn't seem very significant that it's stolen. I don't think it's possible to steal even a 48-51 election result without being found out.

As to what to do, there ought to be federal standards for the process of voting requiring fair notice, the chance to vote provisionally, how provisional ballots are to be considered and no voting system that doesn't produce a countable paper artifact should be legal.

OK, lemme have it. I'll be back.

Doug said...

Wow, I think that was my longest comment ever.

puppytoes said...

Doug! First just let me say "whoa"... I'm beyond impressed! Also? You said your comments would be "evil", and yet, I find them to be incredibly thoughtful and, in fact, correct... up to a point!

It's unfortunate the on-line article doesn't include some of the side-bar information, which nicely puts this article in perspective.

One of the most glaring points the side-bar article hi-lighted was the descrepancy between exit poll projections and actual tallied votes. for instance:

Exit polls had Kerry winning the state of Nevada by 7.5%. Bush won by 2.6%

Kerry was projected to win New Mexico by 7%. Bush won by .8%

In Ohio, it was Kerry by 8.8%. Bush won by 2.1%.

And in Florida, according to exit polls, Kerry won by 2.6%. Bush took that state with a 5% lead.

Overall, according to the exit polls, Kerry was projected to win a total of 309 electoral votes to Bush's 174. (55 votes were too close to call)

That said, the ACTUAL electoral votes were split 286-252, in favor Bush (duh).

These four states were critical... in the end they cost Kerry 57 electoral votes. Do the math. Had they gone the way they were projected to go, Kerry would have won handily.

Given the fact that exit polling has become somewhat of an "exact" science, it's very difficult to believe they could have been so wrong about this election. According to the article, in fact, the statistical chances of the polls being that wrong ranged (depending on the gap) from 1 in 450,000 to 1 in 3 billion.

Did either man have mandate? No. Is it a crying shame the Democrats didn't make a better case for change, maybe even select a better candidate? hell yes. Does that mean John Kerry shouldn't have been allowed to be president? I don't think so...

I'd also like to say that I believe the "manipulations" described here were precisely subtle in order to raise as few eyebrows as possible. I think the fact that some of the individuals profiled in the article are being investigated speaks volumes about their ability to create voter fraud. I think it's naive to believe something like this can't happen.

That said, I ALSO agree with you, 100%, Doug, with regards to the changes necessary to insure honorable and accurate elections in the future. Will we ever see that day? I certainly hope so!

Now I am totally out of breath and/or words, and so I shall stop. But, that doesn't mean I won't be back (for, of course, I will!) : D

Jack K. said...

Between puppytoes and doug, there isn't much more to be said.

Great comments.

Doug said...

Puppytoes, my understanding and I have no citation, but it was reported that the exit polls oversampled women and young adults, both Democratic leaning groups.

Calling exit-polling scientific is a little bit misleading. It depends on some smart guesses and the larger and more diverse (and more polarized) a country is, the more a bad guess affects the results. The most suspicious part of Kennedy's argument was the exit-polling claim. Remember in 2000, that exit-polls were way, way off in Florida.

We count (hopefully) votes and certainly not exit polls. Again, I'm not saying there wasn't fraud and I'm fairly sure there was intentional vote-supression but I find it very unlikely that there was an 8% swing in any State as a result.

puppytoes said...

Doug: and yet, Kennedy cites examples of exit-poll discrepancies in Germany, which forced Sheverdnadze out of office, and the Ukraine, which cost Yushchenko the presidency (and which was paid for by the Bush administration, by the way!) as a means of supporting the theory that these polls are regarded as highly accurate.

of course, it's possible the pollsters oversampled women and young adults in 2004, but, interestingly, the "official" exit-poll report claimed the reason for the discrepancies was that Bush voters were simply "disinclined" to participate. same outcome potential... slightly different spin.

i'm guessing the one you cited came after the "official" explanation was challanged and follow up research suggested just the opposite was true. according to Kennedy's sources, in comparing respondents, Bush supporters were, in fact, slightly more likely to participate than Kerry's were.

maybe all this serves to prove is that, depending on who's doing the counting, anything can be proven to be true. but, ya know? if people were denied the right to vote... if ballots were, indeed, stuffed... if thousands of ballots were tossed out... what the hell does that say about this country? (and don't even get me started on what may be happening on the local level...)

bottom line? there is no bottom line. i mean, who knows where this is going to lead? certainly not me. still, i find it all terribly interesting, to say the least. i feel that, if we're not careful, this country could be swept into a raging river of righteous republicanism. and i fear there won't be enough life preservers to go around.

Karen said...

Wow! been gone all day and come back to find this great debate!! It's mind boggling to read all these comments from my wonderful blogger buds... lots of *food for thought*.

Jeez, all of us here could run this ole country a hellva lot better than the bushies have been.

That said, puppytoes sums up my feelings so far... "this country could be swept into a raging river of righteous republicanism. and i fear there won't be enough life preservers to go around"...

Doug said...

Not to fear, Karen, I can breathe underwater. Oh you meant you?

Puppytoes, and I love using that name in a political debate, I really am with you on the conclusion. Unless someone will someday prove that the election was stolen, it doesn't seem like the most productive topic but absolutely, I'm worried about the voting system. I don't especially have a party I like but it matters that the folks elected be the ones the most registered, living, legal voters went to the polls for.

puppytoes said...

yeah Doug, i knew we were on the same page here! (Karen, with you it goes without saying!)... and, for the record, i'm only a democrat by default. in all honesty, i don't like any of 'em. but, by golly, when i vote, i sure as hell want it to count! yours too!

on that note, just let me say i can't wait to see what happens in your state this year... remember, i'm from there, too! (by the way? timothy olyphant is from modesto, which is just up the road from my hometown... thought i'd throw that in for good measure!)

by the way, i'd use my real name here, but i can only log in with my old blogger account, which is puppytoes. guess it does create some interesting political imagery! : D

Hale McKay said...

I'm afraid I am unable to comment on the issue itself. There is no way, that I can ever give any credence to anything a Kennedy ever says. The world would've been a better place had Rose Kennedy been sterile!
...Sorry, but to me an honest Kennedy is as good as the worst Republican!

Karen said...

Mike (hale mckay)... see where your coming from on the Kennedys. It didn't start out that way with Jack, at least I didn't think so at the time but then I was young and foolish.

Never knew about Kennedy senior's antics at that time and wouldn't have believed 'em if I did. Like I said, a young and *starry-eyed* romantic over Camelot

sage said...

i read Kennedy's article online in the Rolling Stones, I think Independent Christian Voice (Scribe on my blogroll) linked it. If Kennedy's facts are able to be verfied, there should be some kind of hearing on this, but we can forget it, unless after the 2006 elections the Republicans are out of both houses. I would like to go back to the good old days (most of the 90s) when one party controlled congress, the other the white house, and both watched each other. Now, there is no one watching the hen house.

bronxbt said...

love you too girl...

mr puddins and B

Karen said...

Thanks everyone for the great debate and a special *thank you* to puppytoes, aka, Neva, for the mind boggling topic suggestion.

Please email me or leave your comment here at Namaste' for future MONDAY MEME! debate ideas!

O Ceallaigh said...

I'm a day late on this (as usual, and you may add "a dollar short", actually several) but I thought it might be friendly to give Doug some backup here.

Exit polling certainly is NOT an exact science. Somebody's doing some selling here. No scientist not forced to work with humans and their persnicketiness about being poked and prodded would dare accept such miniscule and non-randomly selected samples sizes as science, never mind exact science. I can only hope that the Georgian and Ukranian elections had other evidence besides exit polling to justify overturning the results.

Doug mentioned that RFK's "facts weren't comparative". He might mean something different from what I would call "they were not controlled". That is, the article did not indicate whether experiments had been done to evaluate exit polling variations in America under conditions similar to this one, and in elections other than this one. Without such directly comparable data from non-controversial events, I am not in a position to interpret the results presented, as experimental error, conspiracy, or anything else. I suspect that "exit polling is flawed" is, indeed, the right answer.

Was the 2004 election result surprising? Of course. But when's the last time you heard of President Dewey? The polls had him winning by a large margin, too. But the actual 1948 vote went to Truman.

The article uses words like "unprecedented" several times to describe the magnitude of the 2004 voting irregularities. Bullhockey. Even the fairest 19th-century American elections would look like outright gunpoint thuggery in the 21st. You want to hang your head in shame, read about the Kansas territorial elections in the decade leading up to the Civil War (powerfully described in James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom).

Name-calling must be expunged, it merely delivers us into the hands of the enemy. But it must be pointed out that the author is a well-known Democratic political figure whose statements are almost certain to be motivated, and their interpretation colored, by his political position. Any such person's interpretations of scientific evidence need to be, at the least, carefully scrutinized.

All this probably makes me look like a Republican apologist. I am not. The evidence for skullduggery, malfeasance, and incompetence in the Bush Administration is far too great. But I hold the Democrats no less culpable - because there is no doubt in my mind that we are where we are today because of Clinton's willy, and the failure of Democrats to distance themselves from that symbol of personal immorality.

Are we ready as a people to think? To expunge the simple-minded demagogues of both right and left and do what is right for this nation? Which probably will involve all of us in a Churchillian decade of blood, toil, tears and sweat, to right our tottering Republic and set it on the true path again, in our own eyes and the eyes of the world. The political and electoral isolation of the John McCains of this land do not bode well for us.

Karen said...

o ceallaigh~ never too late and welcome! good debate!

... as far as: "we are where we are today because of Clinton's willy, and the failure of Democrats to distance themselves from that symbol of personal immorality"...

...personally, i feel that was true initially but it has gone way past that now; that said, the dems DO need to get their act together, stand up and speak out! That's what i loved about Howard Dean, agree or not with him, he speaks his mind!