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Time for change

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Please Let’s Give Democracy a Chance

Our country is locked in a vicious cycle characterized by almost unlimited money in politics, exacerbated by a psychopathic right wing Republican majority on our Supreme Court. The result is a government that has turned so far to the right that our country is hardly recognizable as a democracy any more. It is better characterized as an oligarchy, meaning that it is ruled by a small elite of wealthy and powerful individuals, where the vast majority of Americans have very little say in how their country is run. Both major parties are at fault, and yet they are currently the only viable parties in our country.

Some of the most powerful institutions in our country today are a military industrial complex that profits from war so is always eager to start another one; a fossil fuel industry that denies the reality of a climate change that threatens to make life uninhabitable for most humans and is gradually becoming irreversible; a financial industry that has cheated the American people out of trillions of dollars in the past few years, causing levels of income inequality not seen since the 1920s, but is considered “too big” to be prosecuted and instead is bailed out of its crises by the American taxpayer; a health care industry that works more to make profits than to help the sick; a prison industry that lobbies Congress to produce more prisoners and has resulted in by far the highest imprisonment rate in the world; a right wing corporate national “news” media that contributes to all these problems by not reporting them in an honest way; the privatization of education to the point where ordinary Americans can no longer afford a decent education, and; perhaps worst of all, a rabidly corrupt election system, which prevents us from electing a government that will serve us rather than those who fund their campaigns and control our elections, which is the main subject of this post.

Despite our irresponsible national news media, this has not gone unnoticed by the American people – as reflected by favorability ratings for Congress in the last few years that rarely go above 20%, and sometimes dip into single digits. Yet because of our corrupt election system we can’t seem to get rid of them. The American people are far far to the left of their government.


Our corrupt rigged election system

Our country’s election system is ranked last among the 47 long established democracies, by the Election Integrity Project founded by the Kennedy School of Government. There are many reasons for this, and they are worth considering:

We have privatized our elections by allowing private corporations to count our votes with little oversight
Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization has this to say about the electronic machines that are so commonly used in our country today to count our votes:

Far too many states use unreliable and insecure electronic voting machines, and many states have made their situation worse by adding some forms of Internet voting for some voters, which cannot be checked for accuracy at all. Even in states where verifiable systems are used, too often the check on the voting system’s function and accuracy is not done.


To be more specific, 30 states in the United States use these machines today in some or all parts of the state. In 17 of those states there is at least some use of those machines which leave no voter-verified paper audit trail. In other words, votes from those machines cannot even be audited. The other 13 states that use these machines uniformly leave a paper trail by which the machines can be audited (by hand counting the paper trail). But that doesn’t mean very much because auditing of elections in this country is rarely done except in extremely close elections. Significant manipulation of the machines to produce a desired outcome too frequently produces election results that are not close enough to consider auditing them.

All election experts agree and frequently comment that these machines are very unreliable because they can be hacked and rigged to produce a desired outcome. That doesn’t concern me as much as the fact that the voting machine companies themselves can easily program their machines to produce their desired outcome. All of the electronic machines that count our votes are produced and run by corporations that are very right wing and have ties to the Republican Party. Worse yet, they do not allow government officials to even inspect their machines to identify fraud, on the excuse that their machines are private and “proprietary”. And our government lets them get away with that excuse and continues to hire them to run our elections! Such systems are often referred to as black box voting, because the American people have no way to ensure that the votes counted by such machines are done honestly. Michael Parenti writes:

Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to allow election officials to evaluate the secret voting machine software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it susceptible to fixed outcomes.


How can we justify the use of such machines?

The result has been predictable. Since these machines came into existence, exit polls, long considered the gold standard for monitoring election results, now very frequently deviate from the official vote count – ALWAYS with the more right wing candidate favored in the official vote count compared to what is predicted by the exit polls.

In the Presidential election of 2004, George W. Bush won the official national vote count by 2.5%, while the exit polls indicated a lead by John Kerry of 3.0%, a vast exit poll discrepancy of 5.5%, higher than had ever been seen in a U.S. Presidential election before. The exit poll discrepancies were especially high in the swing states that were thought before the election to be the states most likely to determine the winner. In Ohio, which actually was the deciding state, Bush won the official count by 2.5%, while Kerry won the exit polls by 4.2%, a vast discrepancy of 6.7%, which led to many investigations by independent groups and persons. Following numerous investigations by untold numbers of individuals and groups, eventually a hearing was to be held at which Michael Connell, Karl Rove’s “IT guru”, was to testify as to how he helped to orchestrate a massive electronic switching of votes in Ohio from John Kerry to George W. Bush on Election Day 2004. He had already signed an affidavit to that effect. Unfortunately, he died in a plane crash shortly before he was due to testify.

The Election Defense Alliance (EDA), which I used to work for, is an organization came into existence largely as a result of the stolen election of 2004 and is very concerned about this issue. Because our own government appears to be so little concerned about the integrity of our elections, and because the TV networks that hire exit poll firms to help them call elections always “adjust” the results of the exit polls after the vote count is in to mimic the official vote count before showing them to the public, EDA conducts, studies, and analyzes its own exit polls. They refer to an exit poll discrepancy that favors the Republican candidate in the official count compared to what the exit poll predicts as a “red shift”. In 2014 they polled (See tables at link) 21 U.S. Senate races. 19 of the 21 were red shifted, most of them by more than 4%. Two of them, in Georgia and North Carolina, were red-shifted enough to change the winner of the election if we assume the exit poll to be correct. They polled 21 gubernatorial races and found 20 of them to be red shifted, with an average red shift of 5.0%. Red shifting in the House averaged 3.7%.


Partisan control of elections
The stolen election of 2000 in Florida, which made George W. Bush President, was greatly aided by the Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, who made numerous decisions that affected the election results and also played a prominent role in the Bush campaign. The stolen Presidential election of 2004, which maintained Bush as President, was in large part orchestrated by the Ohio Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who oversaw the massive voter purges in Ohio and also played a prominent role in the Bush campaign. Pollsters such as Nate Silver accordingly adjust their pre-election predictions in part based on who has control of the state voting system, without acknowledging that such control often involves unethical and/or illegal manipulation of election results.


Money in politics
Campaigns are expensive. Money has always been involved in politics and has always affected elections for the worse, favoring those who have the money to buy politicians. But in the past, at least we had campaign finance laws that ameliorated the effect of money to some extent. But recent decisions by our far right wing Supreme Court have severely weakened our ability to ameliorate the effect of money on our elections. Consequently, both major parties have moved farther and farther to the right, in order to attract more and more money from wealthy and powerful corporations and individuals who fund their campaigns. Once in office, they make decisions that further increase the wealth and power of those corporations, at the expense of everyone else, creating a vicious cycle of bad government.

Gerrymandering of our Congressional Districts
In the past several years, our Congressional Districts have been so badly gerrymandered to help Republicans that today the Democratic Party has to attain 6% more of the national vote than the Republican Party in order to win a majority in the House of Representatives. That is a major reason for Republican control of the House and why it will be terribly difficult to reverse that majority. That is not democracy. The gerrymandering has been engineered by the Republican Party, but much of the Democratic Party has been complicit in that gerrymandering, refusing to fight it, because it helps them as individuals retain their office much more easily, though it prevents their Party from gaining control of Congress.

Voter suppression
There has been a flurry of voter ID laws passed in many states in recent years, with the sole purpose of suppressing the vote of the poor and minorities, to the great advantage of the Republican Party. These laws are similar to the old Jim Crow literacy tests and poll taxes, which were made illegal in this country a long time ago, but are now on the rise again, disguised as voter ID laws.

In addition, massive purging of voter registration has been orchestrated in recent years. Notable examples are the voter purging in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, both which were instrumental in helping George W. Bush to win those states, both which were needed for him to win the Presidential elections of those years.

President Obama has said:

We really are the only advanced democracy on Earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote…We sort of just assume, yeah, that’s I guess how it is. There’s no other country on Earth that does that.



Election fraud in the 2016 Democratic primaries

There is a great amount of evidence accumulating of election fraud in the Democratic primaries this year, all of which appears to hurt Bernie Sanders. I would like to emphasize that I am not saying that this is the work of Hillary or her campaign. I’m not saying it is, and I’m not saying it isn’t. I do not know who is responsible for this.

It very well could be the work of the Republican Party or of right wing individuals or organizations, especially the corporations that manufacture the machines that count our votes, program those machines, and oversee their performance in our elections. I say this because it would greatly benefit the Republican Party or any right wing organization to have Hillary rather than Bernie receive the Democratic nomination. Bernie nationally has about a 20% edge over Hillary in favorability ratings, and he polls far better than her in head to head competition against all the major Republican candidates. Not only that, but the more people get to know him the more they like him and approve of his policies, whereas Hillary’s popularity is on the decline and could get a lot worse if an indictment is recommended against her. It would take a lot more election fraud to beat Bernie in a general election than it would take to beat Hillary.

Consider the following evidence of election fraud in the 2016 primaries:

Arizona
In the Arizona 2016 Democratic primary, Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, reduced the number of polling places open on Election Day compared to 2012 from over 200 to 60, and consequently people spent entire work days waiting in line to vote, as voting lines stretched for over half a mile. Undoubtedly, many of them had to leave before voting, in order to avoid missing work.

According to The Maricopa County website statistics Clinton won the early voting part of the election in Maricopa County 118,832 to 71,019, over Sanders, a margin of 66.1% to 33.9%. The Election Day voting, which Bernie won by 19,883 to 12,802, shows us two very significant things. First, that Bernie won the voting on Election Day over Clinton by 60.8% to 39.2% in Maricopa County, quite a difference from the early voting margins. And second, it shows us that Election Day voting in Maricopa County accounted for only 14.7% of the total vote.

In addition, there were tons of Democratic voters who were not allowed to vote because election officials claimed that they were not registered as Democrats, even though the voters knew themselves to be registered as Democrats before coming to the polls. An investigation, reported in an article titled: “Anonymous Report: Was Arizona’s Voter Registration Hacked and Changed?”, searched the Internet to find all the claims that they could of voters who were disenfranchised in this way, and they attempted to ascertain their preferred candidate, by phone if they could, and otherwise from the Internet claim. The investigation identified 113 Sanders would-be voters who reported their registration being purged or changed, 2 Clinton would-be voters, and 12 Republican would be-voters.

Keep in mind that this is not the extent of those who were disenfranchised in this way. These are only the claims that Anonymous could find on the Internet. Anonymous gives an example of the extent of the disenfranchisement by pointing to Phoenix (a big part of Maricopa County), which has a Democratic mayor, where 80,000 Republicans voted on Election Day, compared to only 33,000 Democrats.

The purge was clearly targeted at Sanders.

New York
Election Justice USA filed an emergency lawsuit in New York the day before the primary, due to numerous reports by NY voters who had been registered to vote and were either purged completely or had their registration changed from Democrat to Republican or “unaffiliated” without their permission. The lawsuit requests the “immediate restoration” of voting rights for all of those New York voters. Shyla Nelson, spokeswoman for EJUSA, said:

We have heard hundreds of stories, with desperate pleas for help… For these voters to be systematically and erroneously removed from the rolls or prevented from voting in their party of choice is devastating to them personally and has sent a wave of doubt and worry through the voting public.


In New York, more than 120 thousand voters were purged from Brooklyn alone since last fall. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that his office received more than a thousand complaints about the election.

Some have asked why the lawsuit focuses on Democrat voters only, not Republicans. The answer is that all of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Democrats.

Voter purging across the country
But this isn’t limited to New York. According to an article titled “Election Fraud: Why are Voter Registrations Changing?

Huge voter registration problems are plaguing states with closed primaries, leading to allegations of election fraud around the country. People who said they were previously registered Democrat or Republican suddenly found their registrations inactive or their party affiliations dropped, and now they can’t vote in their primary. These problems were a big issue in Arizona, and now they’re being seen in New York, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and more…These baffling voter registration problems seem to be widespread, occurring in states across the nation… The issues seem especially prevalent among Sanders supporters.


Exit poll discrepancies consistently favoring Clinton in the official count compared to exit poll predictions
In 17 of the 19 states where exit polls have been taken for the Democratic primaries this year and are known to the public, they favor Clinton in the official count, compared to what is predicted by the exit polls, usually by substantial amounts. The odds against that happening by chance are astronomical. In New York the discrepancy was 11.6%. For more details on this, see this post in the section “Exit poll discrepancies in the Democratic primaries”.

Sanders has won 12 of 13 caucuses but only 4 of 22 primaries. Clearly it is far more difficult to rig the vote in a caucus than in a primary, because there are so many people there watching the process at a caucus. In primaries, Sanders has done far worse in precincts that are counted electronically than in ones where the vote is hand counted. For example, in Massachusetts, Sanders led by 17% in hand counted precincts, though he lost the election in that state.

Michael Parenti writes:
Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent. Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another. Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes:
Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable.


Dick Morris, who has worked as a political consultant for both major parties, wrote of the massive exit poll discrepancies in the 2004 Presidential election:
Exit polls are almost never wrong… Such surveys are so reliable that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.


Vote tampering revealed by exit poll discrepancies in Georgia in 2003 forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down as President.

And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine — paid for by the Bush administration — exposed election fraud that initially denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency and required another round of voting, which he won. (It’s ironic that that was the same year and month that exit polls revealed Bush’s stealing of the 2004 election – talk about a double standard).

All of this contradicts proclamations by our national corporate news media, which consistently ignores or aggressively criticizes the reliability of exit polls. The reasons for their harsh criticisms are not hard to understand. Our corporate news media are very right wing compared to the American people. Exit poll discrepancies always favor the more conservative candidate in the official count relative to the exit poll predictions. So national TV networks routinely erase all traces of exit poll discrepancies and “adjust” them to fit the official vote count as soon as the votes are tallied. In 2004, nobody would have known of the vast exit poll discrepancies in the Presidential election if not for two vigilant citizens who took screen shots of them before they disappeared forever.

Some of their criticisms have to do with the assertion that exit polls are not performed properly in this country. Are we to believe that the wealthiest country in the world can’t afford to do properly designed exit polls? And if they don’t believe they are accurate, why do our TV networks routinely use them to assist in the calling of elections before the vote is in? For example, the Democratic primary in Maryland was called for Clinton with 0.0% of the vote counted. What do you think they used to call the election so early?

And if exit polls are so inaccurate, why is it that they have been spot on in every Republican primary this year? That begs the question, why aren’t the Republican primaries being rigged? I can only guess at that, but my guess is that whatever right wing group is responsible for this (I strongly suspect that the electronic voting machine companies are involved) doesn’t much care who wins the Republican nomination. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will be just fine with them. But if Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, the current established powers will be extremely unhappy about that because it may take more election fraud than they can manufacture to prevent a Sanders win this November.


My feelings about all this

As I think I have made obvious, I am terribly upset about the state of our government and the election system that put it in power. I am a liberal – meaning that I believe that everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful, deserve the opportunity for a good life. When election systems get corrupted, the chances of electing a government that works for ordinary citizens decline proportionately to the degree of corruption. One could say that for a democracy, its election system is more important than anything else.

I am not at all trying to imply that the massive exit poll discrepancies we’re seeing in the Democratic primaries this year should alone reverse the results of those primaries. I’m just saying that they should serve as screaming red flags which beg for hand counted audits to see how well the hand counts comply with the machine counts that we’re seeing. We’ve already seen substantial discrepancies between hand counts and machine counts in the Chicago audits, which would have been entirely missed if not for the fact that a citizens group observed the initial results of the audit and then observed the auditors change their own hand count to comply with the machine count. Do you think that the auditors did this on their own initiative, or that they did it because of pressure from above?

I am so glad to hear that Bernie will be contesting this election at the Democratic Convention. I believe that he is the only candidate in either party who will fight for the American people above the wealthy corporations that fund the campaigns of so many candidates. We could argue all day about how accurate exit polls are. But would any sane person believe that they are likely to be less accurate than elections results that rely on machines run by right wing private corporations with woefully insufficient government oversight to detect election fraud? I’m not asking anyone to believe without doubt anything I’ve said about the accuracy of exit polls. I’m just asking that we give democracy a chance by doing enough hand counted audits (with citizen oversight) to see how much our black box voting machine counts differ from the intentions of the voters, and that all would-be voters who were wrongfully purged or otherwise prevented from voting be given a chance to vote before the Democratic Party chooses its nominee.
Posted by Time for change | Tue May 3, 2016, 09:53 PM (17 replies)

This is very interesting

I was interested to know what percentage of poll responders were Bernie vs. Hillary supporters. I evaluated that by looking at their avatars, their sigs, and their "favorite group" (Bernie or Hillary).

Of the 54 responders who interpreted the incident in the OP as indicative of election fraud, 45 were Bernie supporters, 8 were indeterminate, and 1 appeared to be a Hillary supporter (based on favorite group listed as Hillary group). Of the two that interpreted the OP to mean that the citizens group lied about the incident (what a conspiracy theory!), both were Hillary supporters.

Based upon the huge amount of flack I get from certain people every time I post something about election fraud in the Democratic primaries, calling me a "conspiracy theorist", "sore loser", "sour grapes", etc, one might have expected a large amount of such people to participate in this poll.

So why didn't they?

I think the answer is that it doesn't take any thought or intelligence to use phrases such as "conspiracy theorist", "sore loser", or "sour grapes" whenever someone says something you don't want to hear. But when faced with the task of coming up with a plausible alternative explanation, that's quite another story.

My opinion is what 96% of poll respondents said: that when a citizen observer group observes substantial discrepancies between electronic machine counts and hand counted audits (and observes the auditors changing the hand count to mimic the machine count), that is clear evidence of election fraud (and coverup), and especially when the official vote count for the state differs substantially from the exit poll, it is highly unlikely that the observation represents an isolated incident, but rather that it represents the tip of a very large iceberg, in which a systematic attempt was made to electronically manipulate the election results.

That's why I say that any state with a substantial exit poll discrepancy from the official vote count should, in the interest of fair elections, require a statewide hand counted audit that is closely observed -- regardless of which candidate won the election or is favored in the official vote count relative to the exit poll. That is absolutely necessary to save our democracy, and if we don't get it then we can't say that we have a democracy.

And by the way, the exit polls in the Republican primary were spot on in every state that was polled.






Posted by Time for change | Mon May 2, 2016, 06:12 PM (0 replies)

What is your interpretation of the Chicago audit of Democratic primary election results?

In the Illinois Democratic Primary this year, there was an exit poll discrepancy of 4.1%, with Clinton winning in the official count and Sanders winning the exit poll. Clinton won the official vote count by 2.3%, but the exit polls predicted a Sanders win of 1.7%. That is just background information, but not directly related to the question for this poll:

A group of citizens who watched the auditing of Democratic primary election results in Chicago testified that the results of hand-counted votes from voting machines were changed to match the machines’ electronic counts. For example, in one instance, 21 Sanders votes were erased and 49 Clinton votes were added to the hand count so that it matched the machine count.

If you want to watch the video at the above link of the Chicago Election Board meeting where the citizen testimony took place, it gets interesting at about the 24 minute mark, and the bombshell is dropped at the 30 minute mark.

What is your interpretation of the difference between the machine and the hand counts observed by the above noted citizens’ group:

Posted by Time for change | Sun May 1, 2016, 03:11 PM (15 replies)

Why Dem Primary Anomalies Must Be Thoroughly Investigated Before Choosing a Nominee

Outside of the United States, exit polls are considered the gold standard in monitoring elections around the world. As Michael Parenti writes:

Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent. Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another. Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world.


Yet in our country, whose election system ranks last (47th) among the 47 long established democracies in the world (for a large variety of reasons) exit polls are not used in any way to monitor elections, except by some independent organizations whose findings are routinely ignored by our government.

Our national news media, as well as nationally known polling companies in the United States, either ignore them entirely, even when they provide glaring red flags of possible or likely election fraud, or seek to discredit them in various ways. There seems to be an unwritten rule that to do otherwise will result in serious adverse consequences. For example, when exit polls from the Presidential election of 2004 showed massive discrepancies with the official vote counts (John Kerry winning according to the exit polls, but George W. Bush winning the official count), nationally and in numerous individual states, only one national news figure dared to talk about it – and he did so repeatedly as if the American people deserved to know about it. That national news figure, Keith Olberann, was consequently fired from MSNBC.

Lately, a lot of people have been talking about even worse exit poll discrepancies in the 2016 Democratic primaries (with exit polls favoring Bernie Sanders relative to the official vote counts that favor Hillary Clinton). So what happened in Tuesday night’s primaries? No exit polls are apparently available (except for those that have been “adjusted” to mimic the official results) to argue about in any of the 5 states.

Yet despite all the criticism of exit polls and disavowing of their importance in monitoring elections by our corporate national news media, hypocritically enough, national news organizations routinely use them to call elections early. For example, on Tuesday, Maryland was called for Clinton with 0.0% of the vote in. What do you think they used to call that vote other than an exit poll?


Why are exit poll discrepancies ignored in the United States as a tool for monitoring the integrity of elections?

I can think of two reasons why they are ignored here, both by our national news media and by our government. One reason is somewhat benign (though stupid), and the other is not benign.

The non-benign reason
Our national news media constitutes a monopoly of very wealthy corporations. The consolidation of our national news media into fewer and fewer wealthy owners accelerated in 1996 when Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It is a very right wing monopoly, even when FOX News is not considered. Since severe exit poll discrepancies always favor the more right wing candidate in the official vote count, compared to the exit polls, it is in the financial interest of our corporate national news media not to talk about it, because they almost always favor the right wing candidate.

The same can be said about our government. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties have drifted further and further to the right in recent years because of the influence of money in politics, which has reached obscene levels. Even if our relatively liberal members of Congress wanted to talk about election fraud, they rightly fear being castigated by our national news media for doing so. And in the case of Sanders vs. Clinton, we all know who the Democratic Party favors.

The benign reason
Some argue that exit polls are not accurate because they often differ substantially from the official vote count in our country. But that is circular reasoning. When exit polls differ substantially from the official vote count, that clearly means that either the official vote count is wrong or the exit poll is wrong. But it doesn’t say which. That is why they need to be investigated thoroughly for the sake of our democracy. In our country, there is a complete absence of any tendency for our news media or government to acknowledge that election fraud exists. In other words, the official vote count is assumed to be correct, so that means that the exit polls must be wrong. End of story, no need to investigate any further.


Why believe that official vote counts might be wrong when they deviate substantially from exit polls?

A major reason for believing that official vote counts might be wrong when they deviate substantially from exit polls (aside from the known accuracy of exit polls in other countries) is summarized by Parenti as follows:

Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to allow election officials to evaluate the secret voting machine software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it susceptible to fixed outcomes.


To give you an example to how those ties can affect an election, the owner of Diebold, Inc., Wally O’Dell, whose company owned electronic voting machines used in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election, said in 2003: “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its votes to the President (George W. Bush) next year”. And indeed he did.

And, according to the nonpartisan and non-profit organization, Verified Voting:

Far too many states use unreliable and insecure electronic voting machines, and many states have made their situation worse by adding some forms of Internet voting for some voters, which cannot be checked for accuracy at all. Even in states where verifiable systems are used, too often the check on the voting system’s function and accuracy is not done.


That pretty much says it all. But let’s consider some examples to make the effects of all this clearer. There are tons of examples to choose from, but I’ll mention just four here:

Presidential election of 2004 – Ohio
In the Presidential election of 2004, George W. Bush won the official national vote count by 2.5%, while the exit polls indicated a lead by John Kerry of 3.0%, a vast exit poll discrepancy of 5.5%, higher than had ever been seen in a U.S. Presidential election before. The exit poll discrepancies were especially high in the swing states that were thought before the election to be the states most likely to determine the winner. In Ohio, which actually was the deciding state, Bush won the official count by 2.5%, while Kerry won the exit polls by 4.2%, a vast discrepancy of 6.7%, which led to many investigations by independent groups and persons.

Massive voter purging was discovered in Ohio, though there were no consequences to those discoveries. But that finding would not explain the exit poll discrepancies because purged voters are not included in exit polls.

But eventually a perfect explanation was found for the exit poll discrepancy in Ohio. Investigations led to Michael Connell, known as Karl Rove’s “IT guru”. Connell was eventually forced to admit that electronic computers under his control (SmartTech and Triad) were “brought into the Ohio election game”, and he signed a deposition to that effect. Steven Spoonamore, a computer expert and close associate of Connell’s, explained in a sworn affidavit his interpretation of what happened. It is a very long, thorough and technical explanation that ended with:

The SmartTech computer would as the results of the evening proceeded be able to know how many votes Bush needed to steal from Kerry, and flip enough votes on the desired county tabulators to reverse the outcome of the election…

When it became apparent that Connell would testify, the Ohio lawyer who brought the suit warned the U.S. Justice Department that Connell’s life might be in danger and requested witness protection. Connell never did get to testify. Shortly before he was due to testify, he died in a plane crash, presumably caused by his plane running out of gas.

Presidential election of 2004 – Florida
Florida was another swing state that year that also exhibited a large exit poll discrepancy with the official vote count (the official count in favor of Bush, compared to the exit poll) – 5.0%. But Bush won Florida by enough votes that year that it is unclear whether Kerry would have won the state had he received as many votes as predicted by the exit poll, so Florida didn’t receive as much attention as Ohio did following the election.

In October 2000, Clint Curtis was a computer programmer and life-long Republican who worked for Florida based Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI). According to Curtis’ sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee Democrats in December 2004, while working for YEI he wrote a prototype for a computer program that would switch votes from one candidate to another, at the request of Congressman Tom Feeney, in October, 2000. Believing at the time that the purpose of Feeney’s request was to understand how Democrats might commit election fraud, Curtis complied with the request and presented it to his employer, Mrs. Li Woan Yang. According to Curtis’ sworn affidavit , Mrs. Yang responded by saying “You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This code is needed to control the vote in South Florida.” Curtis testified that he believed that the computer program he wrote, or similar one, was used in the 2004 presidential election to switch votes to Bush.

In his affidavit, Curtis also described a meeting he had with Raymond Lemme, an official from the Florida Inspector General’s Office who was charged with investigating Curtis’ earlier allegations. Lemme told Curtis that he (Lemme) had “tracked the corruption all the way to the top”, and that the story would break shortly. But we will probably never know what information Lemme had obtained because he was found dead in the bathtub of a Valdosta, Georgia hotel room two weeks later, July 1, 2003, his arm slashed twice with a razor blade. The Brad Blog thoroughly investigated this case and put forth several reasons to believe that Lemme’s death was not a suicide, as had been ruled by the Valdosta police.

I had the opportunity to meet Curtis in January 2005, when we were both part of a small group organized for the purpose of lobbying the Senate to object to the presidential election results. My role was to present the exit poll data and the relevant statistics and implications, while Curtis’ role was to espouse his belief that the exit poll discrepancy in Florida was due to a computer program similar to the one he wrote, used to manipulate the electronic vote in Florida. I asked him if he was afraid that the same thing might happen to him as happened to Raymond Lemme. He told me that one of his dogs had been killed as a warning to him, but that this issue was too important to him to not proceed to publicize it as best he could.

Presidential election of 2000 – Florida
Those of you who were members of DU when it began will probably remember well the 2000 presidential election in Florida – which determined the winner of the presidential election that year. You will recall that Florida was initially called for Gore after the polls closed there, with much of the vote yet to be counted, and that a little after 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, the call was reversed and went to Bush, which caused our national news media to declare Bush the winner of the presidential election, and then a little later on Wednesday morning, the media again reversed their call to “too close to call”. Our national news media apologized for their two miscalls, and explained it all with the very simplistic phrase of “bad data”. But they didn’t talk in any detail about the reasons for the two miscalls. They are both important to this discussion because they have to do with exit polls AND electronic vote manipulation.

Why was Florida called for Gore so early? The fact is that early election predictions and calls are based on a combination of exit polls and official vote counts. Exit polls measure who the voters think they voted for. Normally voters know who they voted for. But in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2000, a “butterfly ballot” was used for voting for President. The butterfly ballot was very confusing, as Al Gore’s name was listed next to two third party candidates – Patrick Buchanan and Socialist candidate David McReynolds – on the adjacent page, making it difficult to tell which hole punches corresponded to which candidate. This undoubtedly caused many voters who intended to vote for Gore to vote for either Buchanan or McReynolds or one of those candidates plus Gore – in which case the ballot was rejected as an “over-vote”. Later investigations made it clear that this confusion cost Gore thousands of votes (more than enough to win the election) and would also cause an exit poll discrepancy because there were so many voters who thought they had voted for Gore but were ruled by the vote counting machines not to have voted for him.

The basis of the second bad call, which caused the networks to make the call for Bush as having won both Florida and the national election, at 2:16 a.m. on Wednesday, November 8, can be explained by the following report:

Deland, FL, Nov. 11 – Something very strange happened on election night to Deborah Tannenbaum, a Democratic Party official in Volusia County. At 10 p.m., she called the county elections department and learned that Al Gore was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000. But when she checked the county's Web site for an update half an hour later, she found a startling development: Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000 – all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters.


At 2:09 a.m. Volusia County’s erroneous numbers were added to Voter News Service’s tabulations, and less than ten minutes later Florida and the U.S. election were called for Bush. The error in Volusia County had cost Gore (temporarily) 16,021 votes.

Gore’s sudden drop of 16,000 votes (in a precinct with only 600 voters) clearly makes no sense. The error, due to some sort of electronic “malfunction” of one of the machines was quickly discovered and reversed, and that’s why the national news stations reversed their call a second time within a few hours to call the Florida election “too close to call”. Evidence later surfaced that the electronic “malfunction” was probably just one more attempt to steal the election for Bush. But as it turned out it didn’t matter because Bush won the election anyhow, 36 days later, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the vote recount in Florida, handing the election to Bush.

Illinois Democratic Primary, 2016
In the Illinois Democratic Primary this year, there was an exit poll discrepancy of 4.1%, with Clinton winning in the official count and Sanders winning the exit poll. A group of citizens who watched the auditing of election results in Chicago testified that the results of hand-counted votes from voting machines were changed to match the machines’ false electronic counts. For example, in one instance, 21 Sanders votes were erased and 49 Clinton votes were added.

This testimony is a clear indication of not only electronic manipulation of the vote in Illinois (which obviously could explain the exit poll discrepancy, depending on how extensive it was), but of a cover-up to hide the electronic manipulation with fake audits.


Exit Poll discrepancies in the 2016 Democratic Primaries

I’ve posted data on exit poll discrepancies before. This is a slightly different version from another source, but the results are very similar (small differences probably due to the exact time when the polls were obtained) and the bottom line is the same: In 17 of the 19 states where exit polls have been taken and are known to the public, they favor Clinton in the official count, compared to what is predicted by the exit polls, usually by substantial amounts. The odds against that happening by chance are astronomical. The results in the table below were obtained by Richard Charnin from CNN shortly after poll closing in the states, but before CNN “adjusted” the exit polls to fit the official vote count:

Arkansas: 5.2 in favor of Clinton (official count compared to exit polls)
Alabama: 14.0 in favor of Clinton
Tennessee: 8.3 in favor of Clinton
Virginia: 4.3 in favor of Clinton
Georgia: 12.2 in favor of Clinton
Texas: 9.3 in favor of Clinton
Massachusetts: 8.0 in favor of Clinton
Oklahoma: 6.1 in favor of Sanders
Vermont: 1.1 in favor of Clinton
Mississippi: 9.9 in favor of Clinton
Michigan: 4.6 in favor of Clinton
Ohio: 10.0 in favor of Clinton
Florida: 3.4 in favor of Clinton
North Carolina: 1.7 in favor of Clinton
Illinois: 4.1 in favor of Clinton
Missouri: 3.9 in favor of Clinton
Wisconsin: 1.9 in favor of Sanders
New York: 11.6 in favor of Clinton


Implication of exit poll findings in the 2016 Democratic primaries

These exit poll findings have not occurred in a vacuum, but rather in the context of other anomalies, such as massive voter suppression in Arizonaand New York, as well as anomalies in other states that are still being investigated. In Arizona, an investigation of reports of voters who claimed that when they went to the polls to vote they were told that they were no longer registered as Democrats, so they couldn’t vote, identified 113 Sanders would-be voters and only 2 Clinton would-be voters.

It is also of note that Sanders has won 12 of 13 caucuses but only 4 of 22 primaries. Clearly it is far more difficult to rig the vote in a caucus than in a primary, because there are so many people there watching the process at a caucus. In primaries, Sanders has done far worse in precincts that are counted electronically than in ones where the vote is hand counted. For example, in Massachusetts, Sanders led by 17% in hand counted precincts, though he lost the election in that state.

Fake audits in Illinois, as noted above, were shown by private citizens watching the process, to clearly indicate electronic machine manipulation of the vote in favor of Clinton, as well as a corrupt audit process. Does anyone believe that the election officials conducting the audit changed their hand count to match the machine count on their own initiative, rather than because of pressure from above? Does anyone believe that these kinds of things occurred only in Illinois precincts (and other states) that were audited and observed by private citizens?

We do not know how extensive such machine manipulation of the vote was in Illinois or other states. We do have many exit poll discrepancies from the official vote count that strongly suggest that such occurrences were very extensive – enough so that Bernie Sanders would now have more pledged delegates than Clinton if not for election fraud. Of course, it is possible that the exit poll bias could explain the discrepancies, rather than election fraud. But in a country where right wing private companies provide electronic machines that do most of the vote counting in our elections, with little or no safeguards to ensure that the vote counts are correct, substantial exit poll deviations from the official vote count should be seen as glaring red flags that point at least to the possibility, if not the likelihood of election fraud.

If the Democratic Party cares anything about democracy in our country, they should make sure that these discrepancies are thoroughly investigated, such as with hand counted audits in all states with substantial exit poll discrepancies where that is possible, before they certify a nominee for the general presidential election.

Posted by Time for change | Sat Apr 30, 2016, 01:11 PM (89 replies)

Exit polls have NOT been discredited just because some people have pointed out some problems with

them.

Are you aware that Maryland was called for Clinton with 0.0% of the votes counted? What do you think they were using to call that election so soon. There is so much to say about the invalid criticism of exit polls, which are used to monitor elections in other countries, which have far better election systems than we do. I will be posting on that soon.
Posted by Time for change | Thu Apr 28, 2016, 07:18 PM (0 replies)

My Letter to Nate Silver on the Huge Exit Poll Discrepancies We’re Seeing in the Dem Primaries

Dear Nate:

I have followed your column with great interest from time to time. As an epidemiologist for over 40 years, I have a good amount of experience in statistics, and I have been very impressed with the great care you put into your statistical modeling, the way you explain it, and the accuracy of most of your predictions – Of course this Democratic primary season has been an exception to that accuracy, as it has frustrated and confused all pollsters, most notably in Michigan, but in many other states as well.

I have a big favor to ask of you, not on my behalf alone, but on behalf of our whole country: I have been struck by the huge discrepancies I have seen this year between exit polls and official election results in the Democratic Party primaries – most of them well outside of the margin of error. I believe that the following exit poll discrepancies in the Democratic primaries include all the primaries where exit polls have been taken this year:

Arkansas: 6.7 in favor of Clinton (official count compared to exit polls)
Alabama: 15.7 in favor of Clinton
Tennessee: 8.8 in favor of Clinton
Virginia: 4.5 in favor of Clinton
Georgia: 12.4 in favor of Clinton
Texas: 9.9 in favor of Clinton
Massachusetts: 7.8 in favor of Clinton
Oklahoma: 6.8 in favor of Sanders
Vermont: 0.9 in favor of Clinton
Mississippi: 10.4 in favor of Clinton
Michigan: 4.8 in favor of Clinton
Ohio: 10.2 in favor of Clinton
Florida: 3.2 in favor of Clinton
North Carolina: 1.8 in favor of Clinton
Illinois: 4.2 in favor of Clinton
Missouri: 4.0 in favor of Clinton
Wisconsin: 13.8 in favor of Clinton
New York: 12.0 in favor of Clinton

All of these discrepancies except one (Oklahoma) point in the same direction – They favor Clinton in the official count compared to the exit polls. In all but two of them, Vermont and North Carolina, they exceed the margin of error. I have not done formal statistical tests on this, but I’m sure you would agree that the odds against this happening by chance are astronomical.

I believe you would also agree that exit polls are likely to be far more accurate than pre-election polls: They measure how voters actually voted, rather than how they intend to vote at a later date; they do not rely on models (which can often be misleading) which estimate which voters are more likely to vote, and; it is far easier to get an accurate random sample because they do not rely on telephone samples, which are likely to misrepresent the population of actual voters. It has been pointed out that this last issue can also be a problem with exit polls when early voting /absentee ballots are taken into account. But that problem can be easily addressed by looking at exit poll discrepancies separately for early voting/absentee ballots vs. Election Day voting. And I believe that such an analysis would likely show some very interesting and informative results.

More importantly, exit polls are far more important than pre-election polls, in that they can be and are often used to monitor the integrity of elections (in other countries). Taken in the context of other extra-ordinary events happening during this Democratic primary season (I don’t know if the same thing applies to the Republican primaries because I haven’t been following them closely), the exit polls I quoted above make me extremely concerned that we are seeing here massive election fraud that threatens to destroy our democracy. The following items are the context that I’m talking about:

1) We have also seen massive voter disenfranchising in at least Arizona and New York. In Maricopa County, AZ (which constitutes about half the voters in the state), polling places were reduced from the previous election from about 200 to 60, with the result that voting lines reached as long as half a mile, and voters had to wait in line for several hours to vote. The result was that Election Day voters in that county (who voted heavily for Sanders) constituted less than 15% of total votes in the county (the rest being early voters, who voted heavily for Clinton). In both states, tens or hundreds of thousands of would-be voters who say that they were registered to vote in the Democratic primary found themselves to be purged from the voter rolls on Election Day. In Brooklyn alone, 70,000 would-be voters were purged from the voter rolls, and Mayor de Blasio (who endorsed Clinton) said “I am calling on the Board of Elections to reverse that purge”.

2) Sanders does far better than Clinton in caucus states and in primary precincts where ballots are hand counted rather than counted by machine. In both cases, massive election fraud would be much more difficult to perpetrate.

3) A public citizen observer, who attended a random precinct audit in Chicago, testified at a hearing that she observed that 21 Sanders votes were erased and 49 Clinton votes added to a hand count audit, in order for the audit to mimic the official results tabulated by the machine. As noted above, Illinois exhibited a 4.2% exit poll discrepancy, and if the official results were close to what the exit polls showed, Sanders would have won Illinois. We don’t know how many audited precincts in Illinois were characterized by apparent fraud (in both the initial count and the audit) and did not come to our attention because there was no vigilant public observer there to report her findings. I imagine that this finding by the public observer is just the tip of a very large iceberg.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, by any means. The most notable previous example is the Presidential election of 2004, which was characterized by substantial exit poll discrepancies nationally and in many states, most notably Ohio. Because the Electoral votes from Ohio determined the Presidency in 2004, it was thoroughly investigated. Even as early as January, 2005, the obvious “irregularities” in Ohio were so great that Senator Barbara Boxer officially objected to the results of the election, which required a public debate and vote in the U.S. Senate. Following numerous investigations by untold numbers of individuals and groups, eventually a hearing was to be held at which Michael Connell, Karl Rove’s “IT guru”, was to testify as to how he helped to orchestrate a massive electronic switching of votes in Ohio from John Kerry to George W. Bush on Election Day 2004. He had already signed an affidavit to that effect. Unfortunately, he died in a plane crash shortly before he was due to testify (just a coincidence?).

So let me now get back to my request of you. You are a very well-known and highly respected public figure. You discuss in your columns a great deal about your pre-election poll findings and methodology. But I see almost nothing in them about exit polls. I did read on the 538 Website, while the votes were being counted in Ohio and New York, a brief discussion of how your own final exit poll differed substantially from what you were seeing in the official results, and surprise over that fact, but the discussion was very brief, I have seen nothing on the subject from the 538 Website since that time, and I can no longer find that brief discussion at your website, though I saved the link.

So what I am requesting of you is that you begin some serious discussion on your website of the substantial exit poll discrepancies that we’re seeing in the Democratic primaries. I request that the discussion focus on the implications of those discrepancies and perhaps some further thorough analysis of them, on par with the analyses you devote to pre-election predictions.

I know that that is asking a lot of you. I realize that our national news media castigates anyone who dares to question the integrity of our election system. But our democracy and the fate of our country and the entire world depend on it. If election fraud is being perpetrated here to the extent that I believe it is, and if it is allowed to stand, our democracy is rapidly being destroyed. You can shine a lot of light on this issue with thorough and intelligent analysis and discussion on par with what you devote to pre-election polls. I know that that would result in serious risks to you and your career, and only a very brave person in your position would do this, but I am making the request because the fate of our country depends on shining a light on this issue and giving it a great deal more public attention than it has received.

Thanking you in advance,

Dale Tavris


Note to DUers:

I sent the letter to Nate earlier this afternoon.

Since then, for the sake of posting on DU, I’ve made some slight changes after I sent the letter, based on new information that came to me (additional exit polls) or something that I decided would be worth adding (Karl Rove’s electronic manipulation of the 2004 Presidential election vote, which gave George W. Bush the win in that election). If you agree with me that this is an issue of utmost and urgent importance and you are a member of other organizations where publicizing this issue would be helpful, please consider doing so.
Posted by Time for change | Sat Apr 23, 2016, 06:38 PM (135 replies)

I am Very Disappointed with the Democratic Party

I don’t know whether or not what I have to say in this post will be considered to be against DU rules, so I guess that there is a possibility that this the post could be hidden or even that I could receive some sort of warning from DU management for this. I am quite familiar with the rules as posted on the previous DU format, but I can’t find any rules on the current format. Anyhow, I’ll just take my chances here because if I can’t say what is most important to me, then I guess I may as well be banned anyhow.

But before I get to the main point of this OP, I’d like to say a few words about the time I’ve spent on DU. As I believe most of you know, DU was founded in early 2001, as a reaction to the tragedy of the 2000 Presidential Election. That election was characterized by a great amount of election fraud in Florida and a 36 day legal battle following the election, which was terminated when perhaps the most blatantly corrupt Supreme Court decision in U.S. history stopped the vote recounting in Florida and thereby made George W. Bush President by fiat.


My experience as a DU member

My son was one of the first members of DU. But I didn’t begin posting on DU until immediately after the 2004 Presidential Election. That election was characterized by substantial national and individual state discrepancies between exit polls and official results, with the exit polls favoring John Kerry and the official results favoring George W. Bush, well beyond the “margin of error”. I and many others strongly suspected massive election fraud because of this, very shortly after the election results came out, and that is why I joined DU. As an epidemiologist, I have a good amount of statistical training, and I had visions of grandeur that I could actually play a role in overturning the election results by showing the great improbability of so many large exit poll discrepancies, all pointing in the same direction (I was unaware at first that others, with better academic connections than me, were working on the same project). Others outside of DU became aware of some of my posts, and I became part of a small group organized to lobby U.S. Democratic Senators to officially object to the election results and thereby block them from going into effect. Other similar groups were formed for the same purpose, and one U.S. Senator (Barbara Boxer) agreed to officially object to the results, thereby mandating a couple of hours of public Senatorial debate, which was seen on national TV – to no avail in the end, except to make some U.S. citizens aware of this terrible situation.

That’s what got me started on DU, and I then became a very active member, posting about 700 relatively long OPs between early 2005 and late 2012. During that period of time, DU became a great source of political information for me, and writing OPs and posting on DU became an immense source of satisfaction for me. I’m sure that the same applies to perhaps tens of thousands of other DU members, and for that I have much admiration and appreciation for Skinner and the others who founded DU.

Then I virtually stopped posting on DU, posting only 3 OPs during the next 3 years. I never made a conscious decision to do that – I just stopped. There may have been several reasons for that. But probably an important one was the nasty comments I was eliciting from my anti-Obama posts. Why was I posting many anti-Obama posts? For reasons similar to why I posted anti-Bush posts while Bush was President. I very much resented the direction he was taking our country, and I thought it required serious discussion. One of my last anti-Obama posts was in June, 2012, a few months prior to the general election. It was titled “Whether or Not to Vote for Obama – Two Sides of the Question”. It was voted to be “hidden”, I think for the reason that I was in part advocating not voting for Obama – though I think I made it clear that I preferred Obama to Romney.


My growing disgust with the Democratic Party

The Party’s turn to the right
As the influence of money in politics has continued to grow, the Democratic Party has drifted further and further to the right, as has the Republican Party. When liberals challenge establishment/corporate candidates in Democratic primaries, the Democratic Party almost always puts its money and influence behind the establishment candidate. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the support they’ve given to Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. At this point I consider the Democratic Party to be the Republican Party of the past and the Republican Party to be nothing but a bunch of crazed psychopaths. The bottom line is that I feel that my party (I don’t consider it my party any longer) has deserted me, as it has deserted the vast majority of American citizens, in favor of the wealthy interests that support their campaigns. I vote liberal before I vote Democratic (before 2008 I had voted Democratic in every Presidential election since I became of voting age in 1972).

I am proud to say that I am a liberal. I am a liberal before I am a Democrat. As the Democratic Party has drifted further and further to the right, I have felt more and more alienated from it. My basic definition of the word liberal (which is a virtual synonym for progressive, but even liberal Democrats abandoned the liberal label in exchange for “progressive” because the Republicans and our national news media made “liberal” into a term of abuse) is simply a belief that all human beings deserve the opportunity to have a good life. Actually, that is too simple a definition because if you asked any politician of either Party whether they believe that all human beings deserve the opportunity to have a good life, they would all say yes. But actions speak louder than words, and the truth is that today there are few high elected officials in either major party who truly act as liberals. So if you want to understand my more specific interpretation of what a liberal is, you can read the post I referred to and linked to above, “Whether or to vote for Obama…”. I consider Obama to be the most conservative Democratic President we’ve had in over a century, with the possible exception of Bill Clinton (and I don’t think that Hillary Clinton is going to be much different than him). My post describes the many reasons why I believe that.

Democrats making jokes about massive election fraud in the Democratic Party primaries
I recently returned to posting on DU due to my great excitement over the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Many of my recent posts have dealt with evidence of massive election fraud in the Democratic primaries this year. Two of those posts warned of massive vote purging in New York, apparently targeted against Bernie Sanders. What was the response from the vast majority of Clinton supporters to that? All they did was make jokes and snarky remarks about it. Almost no intelligent discussion about it. Just jokes and blaming the voters themselves for being purged. This is the kind of behavior we saw from Republicans in response to accusations of the massive fraud in the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. Nobody on DU joked about that or blamed the voters then. Those Democrats whose only response to reports of election fraud this year is to joke about it or blame the voters may as well be Republicans.

But the evidence of “irregularities” in Tuesday’s New York Democratic primary were massive enough to force various people to take notice and acknowledge it, as noted in a New York Dailey News article titled: “Bungled NY Primary Voting Brings Board of Elections Probe”:

A record-setting deluge of Primary Day voter complaints led Tuesday to the angry promise of a full-scale investigation…. The flood of gripes, running the gamut from locked doors to botched voter rolls, led irate city Controller Scott Stringer to announce an immediate probe of an incompetent agency….

Presidential primary voters in the five boroughs ran an obstacle course of ineptitude to cast their ballots: Broken machines, shuttered precincts and purged voter rolls. The most complaints came from Brooklyn, where entire sections of poll books listing the names of eligible voters were reported missing, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman….

Mayor de Blasio {who has endorsed Clinton, by the way} issued a statement charging that entire buildings and city blocks of voters were among the 126,000 voters purged from the Brooklyn books since last fall. “These errors indicate that additional major reforms will be needed to the Board of Election,” said de Blasio. “The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process, and must be fixed.” The purged Brooklynites included 12,000 who moved out, 44,000 shifted to inactive voting status, and a stunning 70,000 removed entirely from the books. “I am calling on the Board of Election to reverse that purge,” said de Blasio. “We support the Comptroller’s audit and urge its completion ... so corrective action can be taken.”


What is missing from this article is even a remote suggestion that the botched voting process may have been purposeful, or that all the evidence points to the fact that it was targeted at Sanders voters. My daughter has seen tons of reports on Facebook of Sanders voters disenfranchised by all this.

Also missing from the article is the fact that there was a huge discrepancy between the exit polls and the official results, more than I’ve seen in any other state so far. I’ve noted exit poll discrepancies in a previous post in several other states, all favoring Clinton in the official results and Sanders in the exit polls. The magnitude of these discrepancies has been on average even greater than what we saw in the Presidential Election of 2004, which gave George W. Bush the Presidency. In New York on Tuesday it was a stunning 12%. Such things would cause almost universal outrage among DUers if a Republican had gained an advantage over a Democrat from such actions. Instead I see a deluge of jokes and blaming the voter from Clinton supporters.

This is not the kind of Party or people who I want to have any association with.

Disrespect for Independent voters
We all know that tons of voters who consider themselves independent have legally registered to vote in Democratic primaries this year in order to vote for Bernie Sanders in closed primaries. This is legal. States have deadlines for doing this, and the vast majority of such voters have registered as Democrats prior to the deadlines, though many tens or hundreds of thousands have then found themselves purged from the voter rolls.

From Clinton supporters I have seen a good deal of disrespect for these independent voters, with comments indicating that even if they have a legal right to vote in Democratic primaries, they have no moral right to do it, and so if they find themselves purged, that is what they deserve.

Why do these Clinton supporters feel that independent voters have no right to participate in the process that determines the only two viable candidates for the general election? We live in a country that has only two viable political parties, largely because we have an oligarchic national news media that gives no attention or credence to any presidential candidate outside of the two major parties. But as I noted earlier, both parties are so influenced by money from powerful corporations and multi-millionaires and billionaires that they now fail to represent the vast majority of their constituents. That is the reason why wealth inequality in our country has now reached the highest levels since the 1920s. This situation is intolerable and will not change until the monopoly of the two major parties is broken.

Independents are not a fringe group. They now outnumber both Republicans and Democrats by quite a bit (Republicans 26%, Democrats 29%, Independents 42%) – and for good reasons. Why shouldn’t they have a role in choosing our presidential nominees?


The only solution

So the only solution is the formation of a viable 3rd party that takes its responsibility to represent ordinary American citizens more than it sucks up to powerful corporations, millionaires and billionaires.

Bernie Sanders is a true phenomenon, who is one of the few non-establishment politicians who has managed to break through all the obstacles to reach supreme national prominence. He is the only presidential candidate of either party who currently has a net positive favorability rating. His national net favorability rating is about 20 points better than that of Hillary Clinton. He has come from low single digits in national polling to draw almost even with Clinton in national polls of Democratic voters. Those Democratic voters are only a small minority of voters who will be voting in the general presidential election in November. The vast majority of non-Democratic voters favor Sanders over Clinton, and he does far better than her in head to head competition in polls against every Republican candidate. But he cannot overcome massive election fraud, when it is tolerated by the Democratic Party. Nobody could.

Therefore, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other Sanders supporters, the only hope for our country now is a third party, and Bernie is the only candidate at this time who could win running as an independent this November. Under the circumstances, given the numerous virtually insurmountable obstacles thrown in his path to the Democratic nomination, I think it is time for him to give serious consideration to doing so – and the sooner the better.

This would start with doing 3-way polling between him, Clinton, and the likely Republican nominees individually. If Bernie comes out ahead in such polling, which I believe he will, and if he now decides to run as an independent, he will very likely be our next president, and the American people will finally have a President to represent them.

Lastly I would like to say that if you consider me to be a former “disloyal” Democrat, please consider the idea that a political party should earn the support of its members and that they have no good reason to take it for granted. In other words, principle is more important than party, and when a party fails to represent the principles that their members feel are of great importance, they should be prepared to lose members – as both major parties have in recent years.

Posted by Time for change | Thu Apr 21, 2016, 04:28 PM (110 replies)

Emergency Lawsuit in NY Filed over Massive Voter Suppression

Evidence of a massive voter purge in New York is amassing, reports coming in “hour by hour”. It involves mostly young voters and is apparently aimed at disenfranchising Sanders voters, and there is a report that over 63,000 Democratic voters in Brooklyn alone have been disenfranchised.

The lawsuit is being brought by Election Justice USA, with the aim of restoring the right to vote of the purged voters.

I hope that the outrage in New York tomorrow is on par with the outrage that this situation warrants, as this issue becomes more evident as the day proceeds. Against all odds, I hope that our national news media takes this very seriously and gives it the attention it deserves. Our democracy is in great trouble. If this is allowed to stand, I see no reason to call our country a democracy anymore.




Posted by Time for change | Mon Apr 18, 2016, 10:47 PM (95 replies)

How Polling Firms Condone the Many Deficiencies of our Election System

For those of you who don’t believe that the United States has serious problems with our election system, a 2015 report by the Electoral Integrity Project, which gathered assessments from over 2,000 experts on the subject, found the United States to rank last among Western democracies. There are many reasons for this, but suffice it to say that all the problems that contribute to this ranking have very serious consequences to our democracy and make it considerably less democratic.

Yet most Americans are blissfully unaware of most of these problems, mainly because our national news media refuses to cover them in any serious depth. As an example, the 2004 Presidential Election was characterized by massive fraud, especially in Ohio, which gave the election to George W. Bush. Only one national news person, Keith Olbermann, deigned to discuss this on national TV, and he eventually lost his job because of that.


How polling firms condone our failed election system

I will use Nate Silver as an example here, not because I believe that he is worse than any of the others, but because I have read more extensively about his methods – in his own words – than that of any other pollster or polling firm. There are basically three ways in which pollster methods and/or silence about various issues condone, and therefore contribute to, some of our many election system failures.

Poll adjusting
One is through the “adjustment” of poll data. The polls we see are generally adjusted to give more weight to “likely voters”. In turn, who is a likely voter is determined based on past experience with exit polls from previous elections. But what actually determines who is a likely voter?

It is of course true that some demographic groups are actually more likely to attempt to vote than others. But what else in our country contributes to who is a likely voter? Many nefarious activities, legal and illegal, have been found to contribute to this. One of the “legal” mechanisms is the many voter ID laws that have been passed in many states in recent years, with the obvious purpose of disenfranchising poor and minority voters.

Other mechanisms are the reduction of polling places and the selective purging of voters, both with the purpose of helping one’s preferred candidate. We saw this recently in the Arizona Democratic primary, where in Maricopa County, which contains about half of Arizona’s population, polling places were reduced from the previous election from over 200 to 60, and untold numbers of prospective Democratic voters were erroneously told that they couldn’t vote because they were not registered as Democrats. As the result of the massive reduction in polling places, where voting lines stretched for as long as a half mile, and prospective voters had to wait for several hours to vote, Election Day voters constituted less than 15% of total Maricopa County voters – the remainder being early voters. Both of these processes contributed greatly to Bernie Sanders’ large loss in Arizona. The polling place reduction because Sanders fared far better among Election Day voters (61% for Sanders) than among early voters (34% for Sanders) because many early voters voted at a time before Sanders became well known. The purging of voters also hurt Sanders greatly, as an investigation was able to identify 113 prospective Sanders voters and only 2 Clinton voters who were purged.

My main point here is that the “adjustment” of polls by pollsters, which give greater weight to “likely voters”, are often if not usually based on the fact that whether or not a voter is a “likely voter” is in large part dependent upon the preventing of certain demographics of voters from voting by nefarious and/or illegal means in previous elections.

But I have never seen any pollster acknowledge this.

Additional “polls plus” adjusting
Nate Silver talks about further adjustment that he uses in his predictions, which he refers to as “polls plus”. This constitutes his final predictions. He discusses some of the considerations that go into this “polls plus” adjustment. The discussion is not very specific, but one of the major considerations is who has control of the state. For example, if the election is between a Republican and a Democrat, a Republican Governor and major election officials would go a long way towards adjusting the “polls plus” number in favor of the Republican.

But what is it about control of the election apparatus that would cause an adjustment in favor of the party in charge? Again, we get to the issue of rigging the election in various ways in favor of the preferred candidate. How much does a governor of one of the candidates’ parties contribute to the end result? I have heard that this makes a difference of 3% in the average election. How much of this is due to illegal means? We don’t know exactly, but we certainly know that it often contributes something to it. In discussing his “polls plus” adjustments, Nate Silver doesn’t even mention this as a possibility.

A few words about exit polls
Those of you who spent much time on DU during the 2004 Presidential election and the months and years that followed will remember the great exit poll discrepancy of 2004, in which, according to national exit polls John Kerry won the national vote, whereas George W. Bush won the national vote according to the official vote count. The difference between the exit polls and the official vote count was about 4% nationally. The difference was particularly great in the important swing states, where slight differences in the vote count might make a difference between winning and losing. But there was only one state where it did make a difference, and that was Ohio, where the exit poll discrepancy was over 6%. Ohio would have given the election to John Kerry.

Further investigations found numerous anomalies in Ohio, and eventually a mass of evidence was accumulated that made it highly probable, if not certain, to make a long story short, that the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio was electronically manipulated to give the election to Bush (and there was massive evidence of voter suppression as well). I wrote many DU posts on these issues at the time, but I think that perhaps the best summary I wrote of the evidence for electronic manipulation in Ohio occurred many years later, when Bush was no longer president, in this post.

Exit polls tend to be far more accurate than pre-election polls, for several reasons: 1) They assess whom the voter actually voted for, rather than whom he or she intends to vote for at some later date; 2) Pre-election polls use models that estimate which poll respondents are likely to vote in an election, based on data from previous elections. These models may or may not accurately apply to the current election. To the extent that they don’t apply, the results can be substantially biased; 3) The accuracy of pre-election polls depends on obtaining a representative sample of voters for the poll. That is no simple matter. One very large potential source of error is that voters who use cell phones rather than land lines may be grossly under-represented in pre-election polls. These problems are almost totally eradicated by exit polls. Exit polls are taken of voters as they leave their polling places. It doesn’t depend on telephones or other overly complicated sampling methods.

In the recent Ohio Democratic primary, the exit poll discrepancy was more than 10%, with Clinton doing more than 10% better in the official results than in the exit polls. She did better in the official vote count than in the exit polls in every state for which I could find data, but Ohio was the worst. This 10% difference is huge. Compare that to the 6-7% exit poll discrepancy in the Ohio 2004 Presidential election, which determined the Presidency in favor of George W. Bush. DU rightly made a huge big deal out of this, with thousands, or maybe even millions of posts on the subject. Shouldn’t the even bigger exit poll discrepancy in the Ohio (and other) Democratic primary warrant more discussion than we’ve seen? Also, this was one of the very few states for which Nate Silver over-estimated Sanders’ performance in his pre-election polls. Yet, not a word from any of the pollsters about this very surprising anomaly – as we saw in 2004.

How pollsters contribute to our election problems by totally ignoring these issues
As I said, there are many reasons why the U.S. ranks last among Western democracies in its election integrity. Yet many or most Americans continue to believe that we have the most democratic democracy in the world. As I hope I made clear, many of our election failures are reflected in the various poll adjusting models created by most if not all professional pollsters. Yet, they never mention the fact that their models actually incorporate these failures.

If pollsters would me honest about their models by acknowledging even the possibility that those models, based on exit polls from previous elections, often or usually reflect illegal and/or nefarious means of purging voters, and if they would note when the official results of elections show large discrepancies from exit polls, well outside the “margin of error”, that would greatly help to call attention to the American people about our many election failures. That might generate the political pressure to do something about those failures. Conversely, when pollsters choose not to mention these issues, which is almost always the case, the “accuracy” of their pre-election polls tends to add to the authenticity of the official results. This in effect condones our many election problems, which hurt our democracy tremendously.
Posted by Time for change | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 02:26 PM (2 replies)

How Clinton Bought the Loyalty of 33 State Democratic Parties

I just heard Bernie on TV acknowledge that Hillary Clinton would make a much better President than any Republican candidate – before going on to state his many differences with her (which in my opinion make him far more qualified to be our President than her.)

But I have to say that it makes me sick to see the many ways that this campaign is stacked against Bernie. Perhaps he ought to be saying more about this, but of course our national news media would just make him out to be a “Conspiracy theorist” if he did that. But the fact is that among Western country democracies, the United States election system is ranked last. This is related to money in politics, voter purging, and elections run by electronic machines that produce votes that cannot be accounted for or recounted. We all know that Hillary has much more money than Bernie, coming from the big money interests in our country. What went on in Arizona and is now going on in New York, along with good evidence that the purging is directed against Bernie, shows the major role that voter purging is playing in the Democratic primaries this year. And the fact that exit polls are consistently deviating from official election results, in favor of Hillary, also suggest substantial problems with our election system that is working against Bernie.

Now we have another revelation of how big money is working against Bernie in highly undemocratic and immoral ways. I have to admit that I don’t understand all the legal discussion in this article, but I think that this is something that all voters ought to know about. Here is my brief summary of what I do understand, quoted directly from the article:

Collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC allowed Hillary Clinton to buy the loyalty of 33 state Democratic parties last summer…. The Super Delegates now defying democracy with their insistent refusal to change their votes to Sanders in spite of a handful of overwhelming Clinton primary losses in their own states, were arguably part of that deal.

In August 2015, at the Democratic Party convention in Minneapolis, 33 democratic state parties made deals with the Hillary Clinton campaign and a joint fundraising entity called The Hillary Victory Fund. The deal allowed many of her core billionaire and inner circle individual donors to run the maximum amounts of money allowed through those state parties to the Hillary Victory Fund in New York and the DNC in Washington…

The idea was to increase how much one could personally donate to Hillary by taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling 2014, McCutcheon v FEC, that knocked down a cap on aggregate limits as to how much a donor could give to a federal campaign in a year….

Not only did Hillary’s multi-millionaire and billionaire supporters get to bypass individual campaign donation limits to state parties by using several state parties’ apparatus, but the Clinton campaign got the added bonus of buying that state’s Super Delegates with the promise of contributions to that Democratic organization’s re-election fund.

What do billionaires like... all have in common? They all appear to be brilliant business people who have all given millions to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and to her various PACS…. None of these are awful people; they are simply awfully rich…. And if some of their millions will buy her way into the White House then so be it. None of this is illegal. But it makes a mockery of Ms. Clinton’s pledge to further the cause of campaign finance reform….

Being told who to vote for in a primary by your party’s big wigs is not part of that tradition….“It just becomes a way to funnel more to the DNC to support the Clinton Campaign”, said Paul S. Ryan, deputy executive director of the Campaign Legal Centre, which advocates for campaign finance reform.

The Democratic spokespeople for the17 states that refused to go along with the Clinton campaign’s plan… were clear that it seemed less than democratic to be choosing sides in a primary that hadn’t happened yet. That the very purpose of a primary was to let the people choose which candidate they wanted to represent them and to not let the party establishment load the dice in their own favor. They made it obvious that they were choosing democracy over kick-backs.

“A joint fundraising committee linking Hillary Clinton to the national Democratic Party and 33 state parties is routing money through those state parties and back into the coffers of the Clinton campaign and all its PACS and Funds” “It is a highly unusual arraignment if only because presidential candidates do not normally enter into fundraising agreements with their party’s committees until after they actually win the nomination. And second, Clinton’s fundraising committee is the first since the Supreme Court’s 2014 McCutcheon v FEC decision eliminated aggregate contribution limits and congress increased party contribution limits in the 2014 omnibus budget bill”…

What it really does is seriously handicap the Democratic Primary Race. Every one of the states charging electoral interference by the Clinton campaign is a state that made a deal with the Hillary Victory Fund. Insinuations of conspiracies are unprovable in these cases. But the perception of fraud and corruption is glaring and damaging.

What the Clinton campaign appears to be in stunning denial about is that most of us “regular folks” are not burdened with an inability to confuse morality with legality. Corruption is corruption is corruption no matter how many laws there are allowing it. Very few brilliant business people give presidential candidates upwards of six million dollars without expecting something in return. There is a reason they are brilliant business people…. Many local politicians become terrified of voicing support for alternative candidates out of fear of being cut off the Democratic Party gravy train.


The article goes into many examples and specifics of the funding mechanisms that I’ve left out here, in the interest of keeping this relatively short. The writer goes on to say, specifically with regard to Montana:

Our state party leadership signed a deal with a woman who out here, on our turf, possibly wouldn’t last a week. They signed away our unobstructed right to choose which Democratic candidate we supported for President. Given that we have 15 pledged delegates and seven Super Delegates, we have lost our absolute right to have Super Delegate endorsements proportional to the wishes of the primary voters. For what?

Posted by Time for change | Fri Apr 8, 2016, 03:45 PM (20 replies)
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