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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-09-08 09:35 PM
Response to Original message

Announcing the Election Verification Exit Poll

Around the world, exit polls are used as a standard of election verification. Whenever there's a disparity between exit poll results and election results, we suspect that the disparity may be due to election fraud. In the US, however, media exit polls have insisted that their polls are not designed (and therefore cannot be used) to detect fraud. Rather, their purpose is to project winners of races and provide material for news coverage. <1>
(q.v., National Election Pool)
It's not remotely true that something cannot be used for a purpose other than which it is designed. Media polls, in fact, could be used to detect, and even prosecute, fraud if the media would release it's data. <2> It is true however that the purposes are different, and so the resulting methodologies differ. The purpose of a media exit poll is to strategically poll many precincts to obtain a representative sample for an entire district (e.g., state, city) so election outcomes can be predicted. A lot of demographic data are gathered in media exit polls so pollsters can tell how, for example, blacks, women, union members, church goers, rural people, and other demographic groups voted. Most of the polling is done well before polling places close on Election Day so the exit poll results can be tabulated and presented by the news outlets immediately after the polls close.

Contrast with media exit polls

In sharp contrast, an election verification exit polls objective is not to predict election results, but rather to audit or verify the accuracy of vote counts in selected precincts. Therefore, EVEP pollsters focus on targeted precincts, polling very comprehensively so official election results in these targeted precincts can be verified. For example, in the 2006 congressional elections The Warren Poll, sponsored by Election Integrity, interviewed close to 6000 voters in selected precincts in Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties in Pennsylvania. However, since verifying particular precinct results is not an objective of media exit polls, typically only 1000-2000 voters are interviewed in an entire state, meaning that relatively few voters are interviewed in any given precinct. Consequently, an EVEP should be considerably more reliable for the targeted precincts than media exit polling would be since a much larger sample of voters would be interviewed in these selected precincts. Therefore, if EVEP results differ significantly from the actual reported results in the targeted precincts, it would be reasonable to conclude that something is wrong with the official count, especially considering that exit poll methodologies have normally proved quite reliable. It should be noted that media exit polling has incidentally served to cast doubt on official vote counts, but such polling is not particularly designed to verify election results.

Interest in exit polls and EVEPs

Why have certain election integrity groups in recent years pushed for more EVEPs? The primary reason is that it has become clear that official counts have not always been accurate due to innocent errors or election fraud. Exit polling in the United States, as well as in other countries of the world, have been used to question the official results. For example, in the 2000 election in Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic claimed that he had defeated Vojislav Kostunica. However, exit polling cast great doubt as to the accuracy of the reported count, suggesting that the vote count had been corrupted. Public and media pressure eventually forced him to concede, turning a stolen election into an honest election result.<4>

EVEPs as tools to prove election fraud

Of course, the honesty of vote counts in the United States has been widely questioned ever since the 2000 presidential recount fiasco in Florida. The introduction of new electronic voting machines, especially ones that produce no paper trails, has caused many groups, including a considerable number of state and national political leaders, to call for remedies to vote count problems. Some have specifically advocated the use of EVEPs, especially in precincts that have historically had problems with fair vote counts. EVEP proponents believe that EVEP findings can be used to challenge dubious official vote counts in court.

However, EVEPs have inherent weaknesses, especially as legal weapons in lawsuits. Obviously, EVEP results are not 100% accurate. That is, they are subject to an error margin, making them very difficult to use to challenge any election results that are close. Also, obtaining a truly random representative sample is problematic since some voters will not respond to the poll. Critics, for instance, have noted that exit polls have tended to overestimate the Democratic vote in their polling because, they allege without proof, more Republicans than Democrats have refused to answer the pollsters questions. Methodologically, this sort of sampling error is not easy to correct. Another serious problem is caused by the various ways people can vote (e.g., early voting, absentee voting, provisional voting, and regular voting). Obviously, EVEP pollsters cannot poll those who vote early or vote absentee. Also, Election Boards or election authorities historically have not been very cooperative with exit pollsters, preventing pollsters from comparing apples (regular votes cast) with apples (regular votes cast). If election board officials merge all the different kinds of voting alternatives, pollsters cannot accurately verify vote counts because EVEP pollsters interview only those who have cast regular ballots, or possibly provisional ballots. The problem is made worse by the reality that election officials tend to be the least cooperative in those very polling places targeted by EVEP pollsters as the most likely to produce corrupted vote counts. All this makes the future use of EVEPs uncertain, although they still have potential to be used as a legitimate auditing tool in elections.

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  -Why don't we just get our shit together and start an independent national exit polling organization? garybeck  Sep-19-08 11:33 PM   #0 
  - The Reicht wing would slam them as biased and the MSM would help.  yourout   Sep-19-08 11:35 PM   #1 
  - Neither the GOP or the GOP-controlled media have any room to talk. n/t  ColbertWatcher   Sep-19-08 11:39 PM   #3 
  - slam as they want, if the UN and other international orgs endorse it, they'll look pretty foolish.nt  garybeck   Sep-20-08 12:30 AM   #4 
     - Why don't you ask the UN, Carter Center, et al if they recommend exit polls  Bill Bored   Sep-20-08 02:01 AM   #7 
  - The group who did them for decades was reliable and non partisan, give them real tools again  Hestia   Sep-19-08 11:38 PM   #2 
  - is it possible someone is currently doing unbiased polling already, but we're  diva77   Sep-20-08 01:52 AM   #5 
  - I'm sure we'd know about it. n/t  garybeck   Sep-20-08 01:56 AM   #6 
  - If we had our shit together, we wouldn't still be hanging hopes on exit polls. n/t  Wilms   Sep-20-08 09:22 AM   #8 
  - The media will not touch exit polls because they were fudged with during the 2004  applegrove   Sep-20-08 12:26 PM   #9 
  - oh, they will touch them again  democraticinsurgent   Sep-20-08 04:45 PM   #10 
     - During the 2006 election they just asked people where they stood on issues  applegrove   Sep-20-08 06:49 PM   #11 
        - sorry, this simply isn't true  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-20-08 06:55 PM   #12 
           - Well they were not reporting said exit polls on the news. I haven't done  applegrove   Sep-20-08 07:11 PM   #13 
              - sure, there is renewed caution in interpretation  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-20-08 08:11 PM   #16 
                 - they wouldn't even release the raw exit poll data  garybeck   Sep-20-08 08:31 PM   #17 
                 - why?  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-20-08 08:46 PM   #19 
                    - Who cares what he was going to do with the raw exit poll data?  Wilms   Sep-20-08 09:01 PM   #20 
                    - did he try to impound the ballots?  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-20-08 09:21 PM   #21 
                       - NVRI went to court for that. n/t  Wilms   Sep-20-08 09:43 PM   #23 
                    - why should you care what he's going to do with it?  garybeck   Sep-20-08 09:35 PM   #22 
                       - Again, I think it's his perogative (and a good idea) to try to grab up what he can.  Wilms   Sep-20-08 09:56 PM   #24 
                       - yeah, that too. my suggestion  garybeck   Sep-20-08 10:02 PM   #26 
                          - I certainly realize you aren't recommending abandoning other reform efforts.  Wilms   Sep-20-08 10:17 PM   #29 
                             - 'most in the ER community would be OK with '  garybeck   Sep-20-08 10:50 PM   #38 
                                - Audits are tough to push. But NJ wound up with a risk-based audit. That's good news.  Wilms   Sep-21-08 09:14 AM   #41 
                                   - but what? n/t  garybeck   Sep-21-08 01:13 PM   #48 
                                      - Inefficient. n/t  Wilms   Sep-21-08 05:11 PM   #61 
                                         - less efficient than hand counting all the ballots? n/t  garybeck   Sep-21-08 11:26 PM   #74 
                                         - I'm saying inefficient because 10% is too much sometimes, and way to little at others.  Wilms   Sep-21-08 11:36 PM   #76 
                                            - why I like Simon's method  garybeck   Sep-22-08 11:10 PM   #98 
                                            - I forgot VT has a flat two percent audit.  Wilms   Sep-23-08 01:08 AM   #101 
                                            - Actually we don't have a flat 2% audit  garybeck   Sep-23-08 12:21 PM   #104 
                                            - IGNORE -  garybeck   Sep-23-08 12:24 PM   #105 
                                            - ignore  garybeck   Sep-23-08 12:25 PM   #106 
                                         - Not so inefficient except for not-so-close races but...  Bill Bored   Sep-21-08 11:34 PM   #75 
                       - ethics  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 12:41 PM   #44 
                       - bullshit  garybeck   Sep-21-08 01:12 PM   #47 
                          - go ahead and shoot the messenger  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 03:02 PM   #53 
                             - Data  BeFree   Sep-21-08 04:24 PM   #58 
                                - this is mostly unreadable  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 06:21 PM   #62 
                                   - On the subj. of confidentiality...  Bill Bored   Sep-21-08 10:57 PM   #70 
                                   - sure, I'm happy to explain it again  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 05:28 AM   #80 
                                   - Well, the problem is  Febble   Oct-10-08 03:58 AM   #121 
                                   - I'm sorry  BeFree   Oct-09-08 12:50 PM   #108 
                                      - flame bait  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-09-08 03:24 PM   #113 
                                         - Of course  BeFree   Oct-09-08 07:37 PM   #115 
                       - Sigh  Febble   Oct-09-08 01:43 PM   #109 
                          - Says who?  BeFree   Oct-09-08 02:29 PM   #111 
                             - And  BeFree   Oct-09-08 02:33 PM   #112 
                             - huh?  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-09-08 03:43 PM   #114 
                             - You don't need to look it up  Febble   Oct-10-08 03:54 AM   #120 
                 - Oh they could have been rigged if the GOP sent out a meme to the  applegrove   Sep-21-08 11:06 AM   #42 
  - I agree completely. I think that's the scientific answer.  Usrename   Sep-20-08 07:35 PM   #14 
  - malarkey  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-20-08 08:07 PM   #15 
  - Malarkey? How can that be? Within the exit poll margin of error?  Usrename   Sep-20-08 09:57 PM   #25 
     - What, you don't think there can be a 20% MoE in one precinct?  Bill Bored   Sep-20-08 10:27 PM   #34 
     - Precint results from Duval county (spreadsheet).  Usrename   Sep-20-08 10:50 PM   #37 
        - Well, if you exit poll 165 voters, there's a margin of error of +/- 10%  Bill Bored   Sep-21-08 10:37 PM   #67 
           - How many of the respondents said they voted for two presidents?  Usrename   Sep-21-08 10:46 PM   #68 
              - My reasoning is that there are NOT enough voters polled in a precinct  Bill Bored   Sep-21-08 11:13 PM   #72 
                 - That's right.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 12:02 AM   #78 
                 - what's right?!  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 06:45 AM   #82 
                    - I think you are being intentionally obtuse.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 09:19 AM   #84 
                       - you think *I* am being intentionally obtuse?  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 09:42 AM   #86 
                          - What is it you don't understand?  Usrename   Sep-22-08 05:42 PM   #88 
                             - "They did this because of the high overvote rate in heavily Gore precints."  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 05:58 PM   #91 
                                - Malarkey ring any bells.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 06:34 PM   #92 
                                   - flame war is your best play?  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 06:39 PM   #93 
                                      - Flame war? What is wrong with you?  Usrename   Sep-22-08 06:55 PM   #95 
                                         - I'm damn sick of your stonewalling  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 07:29 PM   #96 
                                            - You keep accusing me of behavior that I haven't done.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 11:17 PM   #99 
                                            - the thing you "haven't done" is to support your claims  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-23-08 05:00 AM   #102 
                 - Here's a simplified illustration of what happened in Duval County.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 12:41 AM   #79 
     - the MoE within individual counties?  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 08:01 AM   #40 
        - Glad you cleared that up.  Usrename   Sep-21-08 11:08 AM   #43 
           - it isn't a matter of "understanding"  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 12:44 PM   #45 
              - I didn't know any of what I claimed was in dispute.  Usrename   Sep-21-08 02:24 PM   #51 
                 - "where votes were missing in the returns"  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 03:09 PM   #56 
                    - Yes, you do seem to be flummoxed.  Usrename   Sep-21-08 09:37 PM   #65 
                       - you say it's the point, but you aren't supporting it:  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 05:52 AM   #81 
                          - Yes, it was odd to me that the VNS guy was on live.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 09:13 AM   #83 
                             - is this intended as satire?  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 09:44 AM   #87 
                                - This is a very simplistic graph for you.  Usrename   Sep-22-08 05:46 PM   #89 
                                   - no, your claim was about EXIT POLLS  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 05:52 PM   #90 
                                      - What is it exactly that you think I am claiming that is smoke?  Usrename   Sep-22-08 06:48 PM   #94 
                                         - "OBVIOUSLY, the MOE was such that they made the call early for FL."  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-22-08 07:32 PM   #97 
                                            - You think they blew the call?  Usrename   Sep-22-08 11:29 PM   #100 
                                               - you are amazingly obtuse  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-23-08 05:21 AM   #103 
                                                  - "THEY BLEW THE CALL!!"  BeFree   Oct-09-08 10:06 AM   #107 
                                                  - yeah, they blew the call  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-09-08 08:09 PM   #116 
                                                  - They called Florida correctly  BeFree   Oct-09-08 10:05 PM   #118 
                                                  - no, they should not have called Florida at all  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-10-08 05:03 AM   #122 
  - "...isn't true at all"? Then help me here.  Wilms   Sep-20-08 08:32 PM   #18 
  - Here ya go!  Bill Bored   Sep-20-08 10:13 PM   #27 
  - I spent three weeks in the third world and had some great meals served that way.  Wilms   Sep-20-08 10:19 PM   #30 
     - You mean New York? nt  Bill Bored   Sep-20-08 10:21 PM   #32 
        - Well, NY too. But I was there much longer.  Wilms   Sep-20-08 10:29 PM   #35 
  - I guess that's a fair question.  Usrename   Sep-20-08 10:17 PM   #28 
     - Oh, and that's a fair comment.  Wilms   Sep-20-08 10:25 PM   #33 
        - Full-nightmare mode, to be sure.  Usrename   Sep-20-08 10:41 PM   #36 
        - I think that's close to what we have  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 12:48 PM   #46 
           - Well then they weren't smart enough to widen the sample.  Wilms   Sep-21-08 04:56 PM   #59 
              - "what we need is a secure voting system"  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 06:30 PM   #63 
              - And, interestingly  Febble   Oct-09-08 01:49 PM   #110 
              - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  Usrename   Sep-21-08 10:48 PM   #69 
  - I agree, Exit Polls should be required reading at the Academy!  Bill Bored   Sep-20-08 10:20 PM   #31 
  - Because a close election will always be...  yowzayowzayowza   Sep-21-08 01:06 AM   #39 
  - 2004 wasn't close. that's the point.  garybeck   Sep-21-08 01:20 PM   #49 
     - Uncle.  yowzayowzayowza   Sep-21-08 01:57 PM   #50 
     - Neither was FL 2000.  Usrename   Sep-21-08 02:27 PM   #52 
        - Imho, both FL/2000 & OH/2004 were within ...  yowzayowzayowza   Sep-21-08 03:06 PM   #54 
           - I don't even know what that means.  Usrename   Sep-21-08 09:45 PM   #66 
     - it was close on both  OnTheOtherHand   Sep-21-08 03:11 PM   #57 
  - Suggested plan B if the independent exit polling organization doesn't happen  diva77   Sep-21-08 03:07 PM   #55 
  - and that will...  Wilms   Sep-21-08 04:57 PM   #60 
     - I would think it would shine a brighter light on polls that are  diva77   Sep-21-08 08:25 PM   #64 
        - I think the rationale for exit polls is a little different.  Usrename   Sep-21-08 11:04 PM   #71 
        - This you may enjoy.  Wilms   Sep-21-08 11:18 PM   #73 
           - thanks, Wilms! hmmm..maybe we have our new "it-girl" pollster  diva77   Sep-21-08 11:51 PM   #77 
              - Aaak!  Wilms   Sep-22-08 09:30 AM   #85 
  - FOLKS, THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING! CHECK THIS OUT!  garybeck   Oct-09-08 09:35 PM   #117 
  - K&R and how to support the Election Verification Polling  emlev   Oct-10-08 12:21 AM   #119 
  - The ACORN solution  jagerbb   Oct-10-08 11:02 AM   #123 
     - I'm thinking you are on the wrong board n/t  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-10-08 12:31 PM   #124 

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