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2016 Postmortem

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Time for change

(13,714 posts)
Sat Apr 30, 2016, 01:11 PM Apr 2016

Why Dem Primary Anomalies Must Be Thoroughly Investigated Before Choosing a Nominee [View all]

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:

[blcokquote]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.

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What????? tonyt53 Apr 2016 #1
What particular FACT do you disagree with from my OP? Time for change Apr 2016 #2
I'm afraid all are extremely suspect because of the source. Hortensis Apr 2016 #9
I'll ask you again, since you didn't answer my question Time for change Apr 2016 #10
And let me point out that Time for change Apr 2016 #11
This is not an election Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #13
So you're saying that because these are primaries rather than elections, Time for change Apr 2016 #17
Actually they don't Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #25
You are making statements without a shred of evidence to back them up. Time for change Apr 2016 #32
I see no such evidence Demsrule86 May 2016 #63
You read the OP but you saw no evidence? Time for change May 2016 #70
Therer was someone on DU yesterday bragging about truedelphi May 2016 #90
I know because THE REPUBLICANS ARE SCARY!!!!!! highprincipleswork May 2016 #56
This message was self-deleted by its author highprincipleswork May 2016 #57
I like Hillary Clinton Demsrule86 May 2016 #62
You're lying. You're fine and happy with election fraud and voter suppression in favor of Clinton.nt w4rma May 2016 #76
I think there was no primary fraud or voter suppression Demsrule86 May 2016 #85
How does fighting for election integrity not serve your purpose? bkscribe May 2016 #74
I like valid investigations... JSup Apr 2016 #15
As for our corporate "news" media saying that exit polls are "just not designed Time for change Apr 2016 #18
And I refer you to all the national media and Hortensis Apr 2016 #12
Tool. Ed Suspicious May 2016 #54
time to investigate sanders wins for fraud by his campaign. agreed nt msongs Apr 2016 #3
If there is any reason to believe that any of his wins were fraudulent Time for change Apr 2016 #4
we have no time to litigate a primary Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #14
We have time to investigate it with audits Time for change Apr 2016 #21
Nonsense Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #22
Clearly you do not care much about fair elections Time for change Apr 2016 #37
Thank you so much for your work! J_J_ Apr 2016 #5
Thank you Time for change Apr 2016 #6
Exit polls have missed drastically overseas before as well. The UK comes to mind. Zynx Apr 2016 #7
It's ridiculous to say that they aren't more accurate than pre-election polls Time for change Apr 2016 #8
You know people lie all the time in exit polls Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #16
You are aware that several Time for change Apr 2016 #19
Oh yes the GOP cheated and won twice Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #24
I'm not suggesting "going after a Democrat" Time for change Apr 2016 #30
It also doesn't bother some people here that truedelphi May 2016 #91
I know of one, my husband. grossproffit Apr 2016 #20
Mine too Demsrule86 Apr 2016 #23
It's very easy for a poorly weighted poll to be off. Zynx May 2016 #50
Saving for later. nt silvershadow Apr 2016 #26
Another conspiracy theory, if Sanders was winning i doubt I would see a lot of this Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #27
You don't think that election fraud is an important issue? Time for change Apr 2016 #28
Fraud is a lot by those purposely trying to commit fraud. I have been familiar Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #31
That's absurd Time for change Apr 2016 #34
Since you must not be aware of the instance I was referring what is absurd is your Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #35
I have numerous facts, and they are in the OP, documented with hyperlinks. Time for change Apr 2016 #36
I am not the one to do the investigations, I pointed out where someone tried and tried, he failed, Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #40
Since the conspiracy theories only apply to the Clinton win states, I bet you are correct. Nt seabeyond Apr 2016 #38
Good point. Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #41
So someone failed to hack a voting machine Time for change Apr 2016 #42
Give your proof to the proper officials, nothing will happen from posting Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #43
You might be interested to know that I started a poll on this issue Time for change May 2016 #69
!!! Peace Patriot Apr 2016 #29
I believe the official DNC stance on this is - djean111 Apr 2016 #33
Meanwhile, I'm over here like.... silvershadow May 2016 #58
"If the Democratic Party cares anything about democracy in our country, they should make sure that vintx Apr 2016 #39
You trust hand counted ballots? I don't, too many human errors. Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #44
You'd rather have machines provided by right wing corporations with no safeguards Time for change Apr 2016 #45
Yes I prefer the machines. How many hanging chads did you hear about from Thinkingabout Apr 2016 #46
Yes I've worked in a precinct a few times, including as an election observer Time for change Apr 2016 #47
I voted with electronic machines, had lots of faith in them, I voted with hanging chad paper system, Thinkingabout May 2016 #49
This s why I do not consider US elections legitimate nadinbrzezinski Apr 2016 #48
Bernie Sanders' supporters are still trying to find a path to the nomination underthematrix May 2016 #51
I don't understand your point Time for change May 2016 #66
After watching how corrupted our primaries for the Democratic Party nominations have been. Snotcicles May 2016 #52
The best thing about this is... northernsouthern May 2016 #53
Thank you for this. 840high May 2016 #55
Somebody really did their homework. Thank you for this. highprincipleswork May 2016 #59
K & R AzDar May 2016 #60
In 2009, Democrats in DC had an opportunity to protect our elections and voting rights. Scuba May 2016 #61
K&R because I agree Ferd Berfel May 2016 #64
Thank you. I don't really have high hopes that the Dem Party will do much if anything about this Time for change May 2016 #67
PAX Ferd Berfel May 2016 #68
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe May 2016 #65
Outstanding research & writing. RiverLover May 2016 #71
Thank you. Time for change May 2016 #72
Another article with lots of links to facts about stolen primaries beedle May 2016 #73
Thank you for this d_legendary1 May 2016 #75
Exit polls are not the gold standard. nt Fresh_Start May 2016 #77
Then why are they cited as the most accurate method of validating elections Maedhros May 2016 #78
please get those citiations Fresh_Start May 2016 #80
You, first. Maedhros May 2016 #81
5 or 6 sources of errors with exit polls... Fresh_Start May 2016 #82
The first sentence of the OP has a source for exit polls Time for change May 2016 #83
It has been clear since at least 2004 that the Democratic Party has no interest in protecting Maedhros May 2016 #79
That's the way it appears to me. And look at the exit polls in the Republican primaries Time for change May 2016 #84
exit polls aren't accountable enough to measure anything against bigtree May 2016 #86
you have no idea what you're talking about Time for change May 2016 #87
nice discourse bigtree May 2016 #88
If exit polls are as bad as you say, then Time for change May 2016 #89
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