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Widespread National Silence about the Question of Election Fraud in 2004

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-01-12 08:51 PM
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Widespread National Silence about the Question of Election Fraud in 2004
I'm currently working with a publisher, Biting Duck Press, to publish a book (title as yet undetermined) on the corruption in our election system. We hope that it will help to make Americans more vigilant and concerned about the way our elections are run. Ive drafted most of the book. I am currently intending to post large portions of it on DU, in the hope of stimulating discussion and obtaining useful feedback

In my last post, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen Too?, I discussed the initial evidence that pointed to large scale election fraud in the Presidential election of 2004. Much more evidence of election fraud in 2004 will be covered in subsequent chapters of the book. This post discusses the widespread national silence about the question of election fraud in 2004.


WIDESPREAD NATIONAL SILENCE ABOUT THE QUESTION OF ELECTION FRAUD IN 2004

Unfortunately, our corporate owned national news media made every effort to silence talk of election fraud following the 2004 election reminiscent of how they acted following the awarding of the 2000 Presidential election to George Bush by the U.S. Supreme Court. We were told to move on and accept it. Those who talked about election fraud were tagged with the epithet conspiracy theorist as if concern about conspiracies to undermine our democracy is some kind of character defect. Consequently, even some of those who were honestly concerned about the integrity of our election system denied that election fraud had anything to do with the results of the 2004 Presidential election. Perhaps some of them were swayed to adopt this point of view by the reactions of our national news media. Perhaps others simply did not want to be tagged as nut case conspiracy theorists.

Why did our corporate communications media want to make talk of election fraud go away? The truth is that as our national communications media has become consolidated more and more into the hands of a small number of very wealthy individuals and corporations, it has become more and more conservative. They want to protect the status quo. If people question the foundations of our democracy they may want to take action to protect our democracy. Some of those actions may include efforts to reform our national communications media, which would infringe on the wealth and power of those who now control it.

This will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 12. For now, lets consider how silencing of talk of election fraud in 2004 played out.


Corrected exit polls

The exit poll numbers discussed above were never broadcast on TV. It is only because of computer screen shots preserved by Jonathan Simon that the information is even available to those who have an interest in looking at it. Steven Freeman points out in his book, Was the 2000 Presidential Election Stolen?:

Had it not been for leaks from the media and a technical glitch on the CNN site that caused the unadjusted data to be aired, the unadjusted exit poll data would never have been collected and preserved, and we might never have known about the exit-poll discrepancy at all. These data were not intended for public release. As slate editor Jack Shafer put it, the {TV networks that contracted with Edison-Mitofsky to receive its exit poll data} signed a blood oath not to divulge it to unauthorized eyes.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of very interesting pictures regarding the exit poll in Ohio, that appeared on CNN early on Wednesday morning, which are shown on pages 103 and 105 of Freemans book. At 12:21 a.m. on Wednesday morning, November 3, the final Ohio exit poll by gender appeared briefly on TV. It showed Kerry with a 2% lead over Bush among males and a 6% lead among females. But by 1:32 a.m. that picture was replaced by another final Ohio exit poll. That new exit poll showed Bush with 5% lead over Kerry among males and a statistical tie among females. That is perfectly consistent with the official election results in Ohio, which gave Bush a 2.5% lead over Kerry in Ohio. The exit poll shown at 1:32 a.m. was not really an exit poll at all. It was, rather, an exit poll that was corrected to confirm to the official final vote count. Freeman points out that adjusted would be a better word to describe it because the use of the word corrected implies that the exit poll was wrong and the official vote count was correct.

Many have suggested that the appearance of the 1:32 a.m. corrected exit poll on CNN, carrying the designation of exit poll without any explanation to the effect that it was a corrected exit poll (meaning it was not really an exit poll at all, in the generally understood sense of the term) is indicative of CNNs attempt to lie to the American people to make them think that the exit polls actually predicted Bush to be the winner. I dont quite buy that. But to be honest about it, and in the interest of being informative, a network news organization should not do that kind of thing. Even if their adjustment of the true exit poll findings to conform to the official vote count was done innocently to make the exit poll findings more correct as they see it, it certainly does not represent the actual exit poll findings. It is simply a depiction of the official vote count, with the exit poll being used to estimate the relative gender distribution of those who voted. If a TV network chooses to show such a picture, they should not label it as an exit poll, or at least they should explain what it means.

The bottom line is that such behavior is indicative of a knee jerk response, by news organizations who cover elections for us, to discrepancies between exit polls and official vote counts. That knee-jerk response is to assume that the discrepancy shows the exit polls, rather than the official vote count, to be faulty. The possibility that it is the official results rather than the exit polls that are faulty is simply not considered. That is a very shallow kind of news reporting at best.


Denial

Tom Brokaw NBC News anchor
A quote on the subject by Tom Brokaw, NBC News anchor at the time, is symptomatic of the coverage of the subject by network news organizations:

The people who ran the exit polling, and all those of us who were their clients, recognized that it was deeply flawed. They were really screwed up -- the old models just don't work anymore. I would not go on the air with them again.

Again, there appears to be no consideration of the possibility that the discrepancy between the exit polls and the official vote counts could have been due to election fraud. Brokaw is simply making the assumption that exit poll bias, rather than election fraud impinging on the official election results, was the problem.

What is the cause of this national silence on the issue of whether or not the 2004 election was stolen? Do those who determine the content of the news we receive believe that it would be bad for our country to discuss such an unpalatable subject? Do they feel that this would rock the status quo? Or do most people simply not want to contemplate such a terrible thing happening in our country? Whatever it is, the phenomenon seems to be rampant in our country. Even many of those who are very concerned about election integrity in our country seem to be aversive to talking or thinking about the subject of a stolen presidential election.

Douglas Schoen political consultant and professional pollster
Douglas Schoen has been a Democratic campaign consultant for more than 30 years. He wrote a book titled The Power of the Vote Electing Presidents, Overthrowing Dictators and Promoting Democracy Around the World, in which he gives numerous examples of how exit polls (or quick counts), combined with vote recounts when necessary helped to preserve democracy. Specifically, he explains how exit polls: proved decisive in removing Slobodan Milosevic from the Serbian presidency in 2000; helped to ensure a fair election in Mexico in 2000]; played a decisive role in electing Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of New York City in 2001; and led to the reversal of the official results of the Ukraine presidential election of 2004, thus elevating Viktor Yushchenko to the Ukrainian presidency.

In 2004 Schoen worked for Victor Yushchenkos campaign for the presidency of the Ukraine. At the time of poll closing, official election results showed that the opposition candidate, Victor Yanukovich, had won by about 3%. However, an exit poll funded by Western embassies showed Yushchenko ahead by 11% -- a 14% discrepancy from the official results. Fueled by the exit poll results, thirty thousand pro-Yushchenko demonstrators filled downtown Kiev, thereby seizing control of the city. The Bush administration refused to acknowledge the results of the election, and the International Election Observation Mission determined the election to be flawed. Consequently, the government agreed to another round of voting, again overseen by exit polling, and that time Yushchenko won without further problem, with exit polls backing his claim to victory.

So, what does this great believer in the value of exit polls have to say about the substantial red shift in the 2004 Presidential election? Schoen dismisses this whole thing with a single phrase in his book, referring to it as an exit poll debacle. Yet, in all the other examples in his book he considers the exit polls to be a better reflection of voter intent than the official election results. Indeed, thats why he advocates using exit polls as a check on the validity of elections. But in this one case, which I suspect is substantially more important to his readers than most of the other examples in his book, he dismisses the whole issue by referring to the exit poll discrepancy as an exit poll debacle, with no further explanation.

Americans would do well to give this issue very serious consideration. If exit polls and vote recounts have been shown to be of vital importance in protecting democracy in other countries, then shouldnt we give them serious consideration in our own country, as tools to protect our democracy?

Andrew Gumbel one of our first journalists to bring the dangers of computer voting to our attention
Another great example of this denial phenomenon is Andrew Gumbels Steal this Vote. This book is largely a scathing indictment of electronic touch screen voting machines. Gumbel makes the point that voting machines that are privately owned and use secret software to count votes have no legitimate place in a democracy. He also discusses the substantial amount of evidence that these machines were used in Georgia in 2002 to steal elections for the U.S. Senate and the governorship of Georgia.

But when it comes to the 2004 Presidential election he dismisses the possibility out of hand that these machines were used to hand the presidency to George W. Bush, and he denigrates those who seriously consider that possibility as conspiracy theorists. He says:

some of the statistical data inconveniently challenged the conspiracy theorists. First, Bushs margin of well over one hundred thousand votes proved well-nigh unassailable, even after a recount that was requested That kind of number cant easily be created out of thin air by electronic tabulation machines, especially in a state relying almost exclusively on re-countable paper ballots.

Well, that would be a terrific rebuttal to us conspiracy theorists IF one of our main arguments was that over 100,000 votes could easily be created out of thin air by electronic tabulation machines. I dont think that many of us have claimed that it would be easy. To the contrary, we believe that Kenneth Blackwell, Ohios Secretary of State, had to work very hard to steal Ohio for Bush. And as far as Ohio being a state relying almost exclusively on re-countable paper ballots, the paper ballots were never re-counted and the tabulating of county-wide votes was performed by central computers. Furthermore, registration of new voters, and purging of voters was done electronically.

Gumbel also says that Kerry did too well in certain areas to support any argument that his votes were suppressed implying here, I guess, that when votes are stolen in a state the thefts must be evenly distributed throughout the state.

Mark Blumenthal professional pollster
A statement by the well known professional pollster Mark Blumenthal (commonly known as the mystery pollster) perhaps reveals the type of thinking that facilitates or justifies denial of the dangers to our election system even among highly educated people:

The question has always been whether the exit polls provide affirmative evidence that fraud did in fact occur. This involves a very basic concept of statistical inquiry: We assume no effect until one can be proven, or more technically, we assume a "null hypothesis" until we can prove some alternative. The same principle exists in law as the presumption of innocence. We do not assume a crime has been committed and work backwards to try to disprove it. We presume innocence until enough evidence has been established to prove guilt.

This line of reasoning is wrong on several accounts. First, the question posed by most people who are seriously concerned about the large red shift in the 2004 presidential election is not whether exit polls provide affirmative evidence that fraud occurred. It is whether or not the large red shift is a danger sign that tells us that we need to seriously question and investigate the possibility of election fraud. Second is Blumenthals statement of the concept of statistical inquiry. It is true that a general principle of science is that we should not assume a finding to be valid until it is proven. Though that is a general principle of statistics as used in science, statistics is not simply an abstract discipline. It needs to be applied to the realities of life. Proof of election fraud should not be required before action is taken. In fact, perhaps the opposite philosophy should apply to national elections to our highest offices: that they should not be accepted as valid until serious doubts about their validity have been thoroughly addressed. Similarly, Blumenthals analogy to the presumption of innocence in criminal law is way off base. It is true that we should not send people to jail or execute them until their guilt is proven. But neither should we award them the presidency of the United States until we have reasonably good evidence that the election results are correct.


Withholding of crucial data

On the issue of national silence regarding the possibility of election fraud, the repeated refusals to release the raw exit poll data to the public for analysis, despite myriad requests from a large variety of concerned citizens and organizations, deserves special mention and emphasis. In claiming that his data showed exit poll bias rather than election fraud, one of the points that Warren Mitofsky repeatedly brought up was that nobody else was in a position to make any definitive conclusions on the question because they did not (and could not) analyze the raw exit poll data. That was precisely the reason for the many requests for the data although certainly tentative conclusions could be reached on the basis of the publicly available data.

Lets not blame Mitofsky for his repeated refusals to release the raw data on which he based his (unsupported) conclusions. He was under contract with a consortium of news organizations, and those news organizations refused to allow him to release the data.

Just think about that! What is the purpose of a news organization supposed to be? Its supposed to be to provide knowledge to the public that helps them to become more informed citizens. In this case, not only did all of our largest national news organizations do nothing to help us unravel the events behind the huge exit poll discrepancies in the 2004 Presidential election, but they actively sought to prevent us from acquiring the information we would need to most accurately analyze those events ourselves. What does that say about our national news organizations?


The effort to challenge the 2004 election in the U.S. Senate

As I was concerned about the large red shift in the 2004 election, as well as a good deal of supporting evidence for election fraud not discussed in this chapter, in early January, 2005, I participated in a four-person delegation to lobby U.S. Senators to officially challenge the official presidential vote count. We believed that the results of the election should not be accepted as is until more investigation was done into allegations of election fraud. At the very least it was important to us that at least one U.S. Senator officially challenge the results. If that was done, it would require by law that the U.S. Senate and House publicly debate the issue for a couple of hours. That was very important to us because we felt that it was crucially important that the American people be aware of the dangers to our election system and our democracy.

Our delegation was able to make appointments with the staff of four Democratic Senators. They all listened to us respectfully, but at the same time it didnt seem likely to us that their bosses would agree to officially challenge the election results. Only one U.S. Senator made the courageous decision to do so: Barbara Boxer of California. In a public appearance, Senator Boxer publicly acknowledged, Four years ago I didn't intervene. I was asked by Al Gore not to do so and I didn't do so. Frankly, looking back on it, I wish I had.

The decision of Al Gore in 2000 to ask Democratic Senators not to challenge the results of the 2000 election was a typical reaction of a politician to fears of being labeled a sore loser, just as John Kerrys similar request in 2004 was based upon similar motivations. An article by Alan Fram just prior to the U.S. House and Senate challenge of the Ohio election results demonstrates the ambivalence of Democratic congresspersons on this issue:

I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer wrote in a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a leader of the Democratic effort. A group of Democrats hopes to train a national spotlight on claims of widespread Election Day problems in Ohio when Congress formally tallies the electoral votes that gave President Bush his re-election triumph.

"We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election," said a report issued Wednesday by Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Even so, the effort seems certain to leave Bush's victory intact because both Republican-run chambers would have to uphold the challenge for Ohio's votes to be invalidated.
Underscoring that the outcome was not in doubt, Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, who conceded to Bush the day after the Nov. 2 election, said he would not join the challenge. Instead he said there are "very troubling questions" about the Ohio voting and said he will present a plan later to improve voting procedures. Many Democrats oppose challenging the Ohio vote, worrying it would do little but antagonize voters who consider the election over.

In large part because of this ambivalence by our Democratic leaders, although the challenge did receive some national attention, it was short-lived and rarely discussed in the public media since.
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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-02-12 02:29 PM
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1. 'The old models just don't work anymore.' Like counting the votes fairly.
After all, can't go around letting polls reveal the "corrections" applied to the voting.
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