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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 02:06 PM
Original message
How The Miami Herald Legitimized the Florida 2000 Selection
Following their re-count of the Florida 2000 Presidential vote in 2001, the Miami Herald made public statements about their findings which, though very misleading, tended to legitimize that election to the American public. Those statements were then parroted by the corporate media, with the result that many or most Americans believe even today that Bushs ascendance to the Presidency in 2000 was legitimate. Therefore, it is important IMO for us to be able to explain WHY the public statements made by the Miami Herald about the re-count of the 2004 Florida election were misleading.

Here is the statement I refer to, made by the Miami Herald in their 2001 book, The Miami Herald Report Democracy Held Hostage The Complete Investigation of the 2000 Presidential Election Including Results of the Independent Recount, found on page 167:

Finally conclusions emerged. Paramount among those conclusions: Bush almost certainly would have won the presidential election even if the U.S. Supreme Court had not halted the statewide recount of under-votes ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.


Counting of the Florida under-vote

The Heralds conclusion was based on their counting of the under-votes in Florida, as had been mandated by the Florida Supreme Court before the vote counting was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court. In other words, the Herald looked at all ballots that did not register a vote for President, in order to see if they could ascertain the intention of the voters. In the case of counties that used optical scan machines, that meant ballots that had marks on them (but had not been read by the machines) indicating a choice for President. In the case of punch card counties that meant ballots (not read by the machines) where there appeared to be an attempt to punch through an area of the ballot that indicated a choice for President. This included ballots with clear punches, hanging chads, small holes known as pinpricks, and indentations in the ballot (sometimes called pregnant chads).

Bush had been certified the winner of the Florida election by Secretary of State Katherine Harris, by 537 votes. That total included a net lead for Gore in Broward County of 567 votes, based on a re-counting of the under-votes in that County. That means that Bush held a 1,104 vote lead when only machine counted votes were included in the total. So, in order to come to the conclusion that Gore won the election, he would have to have enough of an advantage among the under-votes to overcome that 1,104 vote Bush lead among the votes that had been registered by the voting machines. The Herald goes on to add up the numbers, based on their counting and the Florida Supreme Court rulings, and they come up with a total which shows a Bush victory by 1,665 votes. Thats their final and most publicized conclusion.

But wait. Look at the Appendix at the back of the book, and add up the totals. Gore has 995 more under-votes than Bush in the punch card counties and 319 more votes than Bush in the optical scan counties. Thats a total of 1,314 more votes than Bush among the under-votes. Hmm. Doesnt that overcome the 1,104 lead that Bush had from the machine counts? Indeed it does. Counting of all the under-votes results in a win for Gore of 1,314 votes minus 1,104 votes = 210 votes.

How did that happen? How do you get a Bush victory of 1,665 when the Herald does its calculations in the text of the book, and yet the numbers in their own Appendix clearly show a Gore victory of 210 votes? Thats a discrepancy of 1,875 votes. To understand how this happened, go back to page 171, and you see that the Herald did not include in their calculations (though they ARE included in their Appendix) seven counties (Palm Beach, Broward, Volusia, Hamilton, Manatee, Escambia, and Madison) plus part of another county (Miami-Dade)*. Still, there would have been no discrepancy had the Heralds count of the votes in those counties (as depicted in their Appendix) matched the counts that they actually used for these counties in their calculations. But they didnt match at all. Hamilton, Madison, and Manatee were very close, but the Herald counted 16 more net votes in Escambia County for Gore, 907 more net votes in Palm Beach County for Gore, and 908 more net votes in Broward County for Gore than what they used in their calculations that gave Bush the victory. That accounts for a 1,831 vote discrepancy in favor of Bush, of the 1,875 vote discrepancy between the Heralds calculations and their Appendix that I noted above. The remainder of the discrepancy must have come from Volusia and Miami-Dade Counties, for which the precise figures that they used in their calculations are not presented in the book. But the important thing to note is that Gore has a 210 lead when all of the under-votes are counted.

So why was there almost a two thousand vote discrepancy between the Miami Heralds re-count of the under-votes and those under-votes that had already been counted (most of the discrepancy being from Palm Beach and Broward Counties)? For one thing, Palm Beach County, under the leadership of Theresa LePore (the creator of the butterfly ballot), had used a ridiculously stringent standard for their re-count. Broward County is more difficult to explain, but it should be remembered that they were in a great hurry to re-count the votes, and they were under tremendous pressure from the Bush machine in Florida and from the corporate media.

In other words, one can demonstrate a Bush victory in Florida only if one uses a very stringent standard for counting the under-votes in the two most heavily Democratic counties in the state (Broward and Palm Beach) but uses the more reasonable standard mandated by the Florida Supreme Court (which was to ascertain the intention of the voter) to count the under-votes in most of the rest of the state. Thats how the Miami Herald came up with a Bush victory. Their own re-count of the state-wide under-vote clearly showed a Gore victory. But they didnt say that.

* The Herald did not use the results of their count from Broward or Volusia Counties because those counties had already performed a full recount, which had been officially certified. They did not use their results from Palm Beach and part of Miami-Dade Counties because the Florida Supreme Court had instructed that votes from those counties from previous re-counting were to be added to the total without re-counting them again and the Herald used those counts their final calculations. And, the Herald did not use their results from Escambia, Madison, Manatee, and Hamilton Counties because those counties had reported completion of their counting before the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the state wide recount and the Herald accepted those reported counts for their calculations.


The Florida over-vote

Over-votes are those ballots that were discounted by the machines because they registered a vote for two or more presidential candidates. The Miami Herald did not count or did not include the count of over-votes in the calculations that led to their conclusions. Why not? Because the Florida Supreme Court had not required a count of over-votes in their ruling? Why not? Because the Gore team had not requested a re-count of the over-votes. Why not? Obviously because the Gore team had not believed that it would be possible to determine the intent of the voter in many cases by examining over-votes.

But they were deadly wrong on that account. The use of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County had caused tremendous confusion to voters, tens of thousands of whom could not ascertain where to punch their ballot in order to register a vote for Gore. Consequently, many of them accidentally voted for Patrick Buchanan, and many of them voted for more than one choice, just to make sure that they registered a vote for Gore. Those ballots were discounted by the machines as over-votes. But what the Gore team did not know at the time that they requested the re-count was that in tens of thousands of cases the intent of the voter was obvious from an observation of the ballot, by virtue of the fact that the voter had written in their preference on the ballot just to make sure that their vote counted.

To make a long story short, a later recount of the over-votes clearly indicated about 46,000 additional votes for Gore and about 17,000 additional votes for Bush for a net Gore margin of about 29,000 votes when all the over-votes are counted. This margin of course would have totally obliterated the slim Bush lead of 537 votes that Katherine Harris had certified. But the Gore team, having devoted all their time and energy to fighting off attempts by the Bush machine to totally shut down all re-counting efforts, did not think of requesting a re-count of the over-votes.


The voter registration purge

In an effort to suppress the Democratic vote, Governor Jeb Bush had worked with a contractor (ChoicePoint) to develop a system that would purge from the voter list, not only ex-felons (who by Florida law were not allowed to vote), but also close computer matches of ex-felons. As most of the close computer matches would be black (because of similar names), and therefore likely to be Democratic voters, this cunning plan was meant to target black voters. And in fact, the plan worked, as it disenfranchised about 11,883 legal voters. So this cynical plan alone cost Gore the election.

As a side note, this matter was investigated and confirmed, and Jeb Bush had his hand slapped for this massive election fraud which had installed his brother as president, escaping more severe penalties on the condition that he promise never to do it again. He tried it again in 2004, and this time the plan was discovered ahead of time, so he had to withdraw it. Maybe he even had his hand slapped again.


Other fraud

There was also fraud involving absentee ballots. The Bush machine pressured the Gore team to allow the counting of 680 overseas military ballots which did not meet legal requirements, such as having been sent in an envelop that was postmarked on or before Election Day. In retrospect it turned out that many or most of these were sent after Election Day, and may have been entirely fraudulent but they were allowed to stand. And there were other frauds involving absentee ballots as well.

Also, there were numerous reports of voter suppression of minority voters, documented in this report of the Civil Rights Commission, which was virtually ignored by the corporate media.


Summary

Any way you look at it, Al Gore won the 2000 national popular vote (by about half a million), the Florida vote (by 30 thousand at the very least), and the electoral vote (by 45), despite the officially certified Bush victory of 537 votes in Florida. When the under-vote re-count (the one stopped by the five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court) was completed by the Miami Herald at a later date, that re-count showed a Gore victory of 210 votes. But that slim Gore victory is very misleading. When one considers the fact that illegal voter purging cost him thousands of additional votes, and failure to count over-votes where voters actually wrote in his name cost him almost 30 thousand votes, the only reasonable conclusion is that the Florida election in reality wasnt all that close after all.







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Mike Nelson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. Gore won...
...so did Kerry

The media is an ass.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
30. Yes, and Kerry won also
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Well said. And Kerry won by a landslide in 2004, when all states counted.
"When one considers the fact that illegal voter purging cost him thousands of additional votes, and failure to count over-votes where voters actually wrote in his name cost him almost 30 thousand votes, the only reasonable conclusion is that the Florida election in reality wasnt all that close after all."

And they knew going into both elections they couldn't win, or why hire Choicepoint in 2000 and Sproul Assoc in 2004?
:dem:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. Yes, I think that illegal voter purging was rampant in the 04 election
Especially in Ohio, which I beliive was the main mechanism for stealing Ohio.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R. Our federal elections are a joke, people.
Edited on Mon Feb-20-06 02:33 PM by sfexpat2000
They stole the last two.

Wanna go for three? If not, PLEASE HELP KEEP DIEBOLD OUTTA CA or you can kiss off 2008.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. That would be very bad IMO if Diebold got a good foothold in CA
Thanks for working to keep them out.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. We just can't get our Dems to focus on it. They just won't touch it
and even Kerry didn't want to touch it. Only the Black Caucus...and our party as a whole doesn't even support their own minority Caucus...which has more than minority members in it.

I've never heard an explanation of why they wont touch it that made sense.
Here in my state we've just gone through a battle to get a bill for Verified Paper Ballots, hand recounts and code verification through and it was like pulling teeth trying to get our own Dems to understand what the issues are.

Then we had to educate them about why Diebold shouldn't be allowed to bring their DRE's in after we'd gotten a bill passed. If our voting rights activists hadn't had help from the new Voting Advocacy Groups online...we couldn't have accomplished anything. We sure weren't getting it from our Party which made it so hard for us to get any attention.

WHY IS THIS? :shrug:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. That's a question that has been bothering me for a long time
Here's a copy of a letter that I wrote to a DNC staffer soliciting money from me. I told him about my concerns about election reform and that I'd be more inclined to contribute if the DNC would get more serious about it.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

And here I discuss the author of an otherwise excellent book, who talks very persuasively about how unreliable and fraud prone DREs are, and yet he can't bring himself to acknowledge the likelihood or even the possibility that the 2004 election was stolen. Many people, probably most people, have a very hard time acknowledging how bad things are, when things get really bad.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks for that!
I had notes covering most of that on my HD, but had somehow "lost" them. This is NOT "old history"! The tide is turning against that Crime Family, and people who had blindly supported them in the past, will be receptive to this sort of information. (Just resist the impulse to gloat).

pnorman
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. I hope you're right that people will be receptive to this type of info
and that the tide is turning. It's very depressing sometimes to see how slowly it turns.

I certainly don't have any impulse to gloat about this. I just wish that people would wake up to how illigitimate he is.

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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Fr ankly, I have nothing "HARD" besides the incurable optimism
that has carried me through all my years (I just turned 76, 3 days ago). But the signs are there, no matter how hard the Bush apparchiks try to pave them over. Even a portion of the Useful Idiots, the ones oce taken for granted, are starting to ask questions. Some are even displaying open OUTRAGE.

pnorman

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 02:06 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. It sounds like you've been around a while
Have you ever seen our country in worse shape than this?
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 02:42 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. No, NEVER!!
And as an avid reader of history, I "go back" a lot further than my own natal decade (the 30s).

pnorman
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #17
31. Not even the Civil War, eh?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
6. Al Gore won!
The American People lost because the corpwhorate owned MSM sold them out.

Kicked and recommended!

:kick:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. Yes, I think that the corporate media had a lot to do with
the 2000 election.

By putting all the pressure on Gore to concede they must have emboldened Scalia and his fellow traitors to devise the most egregious Supreme Court decision in our history, with the possible exception of the Dread Scott decision.

The BushCo argument for stopping the counting, or at least one of the many arguments, was that looking at ballots to ascertain the intent of the voter was totally unreliable. In other words, chads, hanging or otherwise, would appear on the ballots spontaneously during handling in the re-count process, and therefore did not necessarily indicate an attempted vote. If the CM had any integrity, it seems to me that they could have and should have explained to their audience that such assertions were absurd. But no, they just went along with it.

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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
26. In addition to what you said, I believe it goes back even further,
Edited on Tue Feb-21-06 11:47 AM by Uncle Joe
they waged a two year war against Gore with incessant slanders undermining his integrity. They gave Bush a free pass on his lies and mistakes during the debates, they even did a 180 overnight and overruled their own reporting and focus groups as to who won the debates. The fix had already been decided by them, they wanted a weak puppet in the White House for their own agenda. On top of that they hated AL because he championed the internet thus empowering you and me.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. You bet! It was terrible.
Gore demolished him in three successive debates. Yet, according to the CM spin, Bush "won" at least one of them because Gore sighed too much. And millions of Americans apparently fell for that idiocy!

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RagingInMiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. And the Butterlfy ballot was deliberately designed to mislead ...
Edited on Mon Feb-20-06 05:20 PM by RagingInMiami
older democratic and mostly Jewish voters in Palm Beach into voting for Pat Buchanan.

When do you ever hear of a third-party candidate for president listed under the republican candidate on the ballot while the democratic candidate is listed third?

And Jeb also had State Troopers stage checkpoints outside polling places at predeminantly black precincts, which lead to major voter intimidation.

Considering all those factors, Bush still barely "won" by 538 votes when the Supreme Court made him president.

In 2004, the republicans were a lot slicker and Bush "won" Florida by 400,000 votes.

There is no way in hell Bush would have earned almost 400,000 extra votes during those four years.
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #8
20. The usual RW response is that:
"The designer of that ballot (Theresa LaPore) is a DEMOCRAT!". Not really; she registered as a Democrat because that was the only way to get elected. Shortly after the "election", she switched over to Reptilican.

A personal note: Before I finally retired, I took quite a few courses at my Union's training school, almost all of them being quite technical (shipboard electronics and automation related). Frequently during the week, there would be multiple-choice tests. They were machine graded, and distributed right after coffee break. Most of them were answered on 25 question forms. There was NEVER a problem with those. But occasionally, there would be 100 question tests. And there, the answer form was pretty much like those notorious "Butterfly Ballots" ... ie: the visual clues frequently led to columnar misalignment. That meant that only if you put down the wrong answer, did you have a chance of "getting it right" ... ie: 25 answers at a clip were automatically WRONG. Oh, the HOWLS of outrage!! Some of those guys were chief engineers of large oceangoing freighters, and quite unaccustomed to nursing their losses in sullen silence.

Were those "Butterfly Votes" legitimate? Yes, in the sense that there is no practical remedy. But save all this stuff in long time memory. For the most part, we're dealing with unprincipled opportunists. Without principles, they won't hold up long against real adversity. Hang in there; we'll prevail DESPITE the fucking DLC!

pnorman

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. The other part of the response was that LePore created the
butterfly ballot because it allowed the printing to be larger, and therefore would be more readable for older citizens.

I believed that at the time, especially since she was said to be a "Democrat". But now I tend to believe that this was done purposely, in conjunction with the Bush machine. LePore was either very incompetent or purposely trying to throw the election to Bush in the way she handled the recount. They used very stringent standards and were extremely slow in completing it. They failed to make the deadline, so Katherine Harris didn't even include the PBC recount results in her official certification. And the PBC recount gave a net advantage to Gore that was about a thousand votes less than what the Miami Herald came up with, largely due to their extremely stringent standards.

It's amazing that LePore didn't get voted out of office.
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. And NEVER let THIS slide down the Memory Hole:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. Absolutely not!
This scene should have served as a metaphor for the way that today's Republican Party leadership values "law and order", as they are so fond of pointing out.

The hypocrisy is mind numbing. Without the spin of the CM to help them out they would have no chance. Still, even with the spin of the CM it is so disappointing to see how many Americans fall for their crap -- even if it is only 30 some percent.
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. Hee's some more slimey business by that sleazebag:
County official knew about ballot confusion
Palm Beach County's elections supervisor distributed a memo to workers about voter confusion -- hours after the polls opened.

By John Lantigua

Nov. 9, 2000 | WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- According to a memo distributed to poll workers in Palm Beach County Tuesday afternoon, the county's supervisor of elections was already aware that voters were struggling with the confusing butterfly ballot her office had prepared.
>
>

http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/11/09/lapore /

pnorman
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. I'm not sure exactly what your point is on this
What I get out of this is that LePore did write a memo about the problem. As far as I can see, this can be interpreted in two or more different ways:

1. That she was concerned about the problem and tried to make ammends for it. The fact that it went out late could have been due to incompetence or simply that she was very busy that day, or didn't find out about it until later in the day.

2. That she purposely sent out the memo late in order to maximize the number of lost votes for Gore.

I don't know exactly how to interpret this.

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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Considering all the noisome circumstances with that so-called "election",
I'll go with your #2 speculation. That "late" letter seems to have been calculated to create the MAXIMUM confusion (ie: MAXIMUM loss of votes for Gore), and still be "covered" legally. I wasn't observing things then, as closely as I'd like to have, but I expect that there was a LOT of such "just barely legal" stuff throughout Florida --- and ALL in behalf of Bush.

Ohio in 2004? youbetcha!!

pnorman
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. Yes, I'm inclined to agree with you on that
Edited on Tue Feb-21-06 01:26 PM by Time for change
Of course it's always possible that innocent mistakes can be made to slant an election. But in Florida 2000 and Ohio (and Florida) 2004 they all benefited Bush. Like the severe shortage of voting machines in Franklin County in heavy Democratic areas and the massive purging of voters in Cuyahoga County.

I didn't talk about it in this OP, but I'm pretty sure that in a fair election Kerry would have won Ohio (and perhaps Florida and NM as well) and the Presidency in 2004.
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lala_rawraw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
9. And the 2004 election...
Read this, which no one noticed at the time and how the AP/Herald reporters shut me down:

Note to mods, this is my article and I am listing it here in full, please do not delete.


By Larisa Alexandrovna | RAW STORY Staff Writer 06 December 2004

Twenty-one touch-screen voting machines in Broward County were replaced because of technical problems, said Gisela Salas, the countys deputy supervisor of elections. At least one of the machines had shown votes cast for the wrong candidates.

This striking sentence in the fourteenth paragraph of a Nov. 4 AP wire story was merely the accidental starting point for RAW STORY research into voting irregularities in Broward County, Florida.

I came across Ms. Salas statement by sheer accident while researching another story. Twenty-one voting machines being removed and replaced on Election Day would seem to merit more than a four sentence description. I wondered as to the process by which these machines were taken and replaced. Who supervised this process?

This brief mention in the AP was all I could immediately find. Documented in an article entitled State lauds performance of touch-screen machines; critics uncertain, other voting irregularities were briefly mentioned with the same terse detail. These references are delivered as a matter of fact, as if most of us should know that large-scale voting glitches occur and are corrected instantaneously.

How then are we to correct these issues for future elections? I wondered.

After some thought, I contacted an Associated Press editor not involved with the Nov. 4 article, who quickly dismissed me as paranoid, though I neither discussed the outcome of the election or commented on anything other than the 21 machines allegedly removed in Broward County.

In fact, I only managed to ask What precincts the machines were removed from? before the editor hung up.

Not having mainstream medias extensive resources, I was unable to conduct a thorough investigation on my own. As such, I contacted a Miami AP reporter who had contributed to the article directly. The reporter asked that their name be kept out of this story.

This particular AP writer was more helpful, although unable to give me additional information since I was not a member of the Associated Press. I was told to contact Lida Rodriguez-Tassef, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition (MDERC).

The writer did, however, suggest several different organizations that might have supervised the removal. Each of them I contacted, including the ACLU and Election Protection, did not respond. Befuddled, the AP reporter could not tell me who had supervised their removal; it appeared the reporter had simply assumed.

I was also told that the AP Miami office was moving on to other assignments. Incidentally, this moving on sentiment became the running clincher for most of my calls.

I spoke to Lida Rodriguez-Tassef briefly on Nov. 19 and explained that I had been given her name as a possible source for my research into Broward County election issues. Ms. Rodriguez-Tassef was gracious enough to listen to my questions, but said she was not aware of the 21 machines removed in Broward County on Election Day.

She was, however, concerned about potentially bigger issues, including the 2002 election which cost Miami-Dade eight million dollars for what Rodriguez-Tassef termed as worthless, flawed, not secure, and generally inferior hardware and software.

Rodriguez-Tassef also pointed out that no one seemed to have monitored the early votes cast, and that the votes sat on the machines for 2 week unsupervised.

I then left several messages for Dr. Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections for Broward County, requesting some information and explaining some of the questions that I had. Dr. Snipes office did not return my calls.

On Nov. 24 I sent an email to Dr. Snipes and to Ms. Salas requesting answers to the following questions:

If the machines were simply fixed/recalibrated and not replaced, then:

o What precincts were these machines in?
o What was the technical issue(s) which required the machines to be recalibrated? Usually a repair ticket is filed.
o What was the technical solution to this issue (s) and where can I locate the documentation? This is also usually part of the repair ticket.
o Why were the machines removed (if they were removed) in order to be repaired/recalibrated?
o Where were the machines moved to, assuming they were moved?
o Who monitored the process and where can I get documentation on this?
o How many votes were on each of the machines prior to their recalibration?

If the machines were actually replaced, then:

o What was the technical issue (s) which required the machines to be replaced? Usually a repair/replace ticket is filed.
o Did someone document the serial numbers of the machines removed
against the machines that replaced them and where can I get this
documentation?
o Who monitored the process and where can I get documentation on this?
o How many votes were on each of the machines prior to their removal?
o Who (group, etc.) oversaw this entire process?
o Have we had a third party technology specialist assess the machines
issues prior/after the removal/repair?

Salas responded promptly and indicated that she would not be able to meet with me until the following week, which she did not. I called the SOE office several times and I sent these same questions, again, to Dr. Snipes on November 30th. RAW STORY has yet to receive a response from either Snipes or Salas.

Somewhat frustrated, I began to randomly call journalists at The Miami Herald, hoping to catch someone at their desk. Several of the reporters with whom I spoke only stayed on the phone with me long enough to echo the I have moved on from this story posture; as though this were a recent divorce and required something as rhapsodic as the process of moving on.

On one such phoning jaunt, I was able to engage a staff reporter, who expressed vigorously that we could speak only on the condition that we speak off the record, even though I had yet to put forward a single question.

This reporter stated that Herald has already done an exhaustive investigation, and 21 machines were not really that many considering how many machines were employed in the state of Florida.

This was a good point, certainly it made me wonder whether additional machines had been removed and/or recalibrated. Were these details available somewhere in some form? But afraid of having the conversation terminated, I stayed on the topic at hand.

Clearly annoyed by my questions, but still willing to continue our conversation, the reporter stated that it was not uncommon to replace machines and/or recalibrate them for problems.

I expressed my concern that voting machines could be wheeled in and out without supervision. Was there supervision? Apparently no one seemed to either want to answer these questions and/or had the answers to do so. I also mentioned that it alarmed me that every reporter with whom I spoke seemed to be either in the process of moving on or had already moved on.

The reporter was not amused. For several minutes, I was reproached brusquely that there was no such directive (I did not ask if there was) and that this was a personal decision.

The next several days I spent Googling everything and anything that had the number 21 and the words Broward, voting, machines, replaced.

Through nothing more than a gargantuan amount of coffee and very little sleep, I did manage to find one news item mentioning 21 voting machines in Broward County. A CBS 4 transcript read much the same as the initial AP article, but included an additional sentence: The machines were taken to the countys voter equipment center to extract the votes that had been cast. So began, again, a flurry of unanswered emails and phone calls.

I had hoped to have more answers than questions before we ran the story, but

given the amount of time already invested and the dearth of results, I felt that to continue in this vein was futile.

Therefore, I have simply decided to run this story as it is, unfinished and unanswered, but in hopes that I will find others who feel that my questions are relevant. Perhaps others will push for answers as well if for no other reason than to ensure a better election process going forward.

I have recently forwarded my various emails with the Broward SOE staff to Representative Robert Wexlers staff (D-FL) and am eagerly awaiting a response.



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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-20-06 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Very interesting - There was a great deal of "vote switching" problems
in southeastern Florida on Election Day 2004, almost all of the switches going from Kerry to Bush, as indicated in this article:
http://ohioelection2004.com/WordHost/VoteSwitchComb.doc

And this one could explain the background behind all those vote switches:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


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Ani Yun Wiya Donating Member (639 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 05:25 AM
Response to Original message
18. Have you seen this?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I am still curious as to why there are at least 4 different sets of final totals.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-21-06 07:20 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. No, I have never seen that
That's a very impressive amount of work that you've done on this :wow:

I skimmed through all your responses on the thread you linked me to, and I'm not sure that I understand it fully.

As I understand it, you have official data that shows that the state and county totals did not match for most counties. I have little understanding of what that means from a legal point of view. Could it be that one total is official and the other is preliminary? It would also be interesting IMO to know how the votes broke down.

And BTW, there are some people who are currently trying to do something similar in Ohio. They are getting the total ballots cast by several precincts in Cleveland and comparing it with official state totals. And we're finding several mismatches. I don't know how that compares with what you did.

So, what has transpired on this since 2003?

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