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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:36 AM
Original message
Steve Freeman on Keeping our democracy alive
Keeping our democracy alive: Did voters really count in U.S. election?
by Steve Freeman

In three national elections over the past 13 months, the official count was sharply at odds with an independent national exit poll. As in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine, U.S. exit polls projected a clear victory for the challenger. John Kerry was projected to win the national popular vote by a 2 percent to 3 percent margin and was ahead in nearly every closely contested state. Of course, the official counts, as in the other nations, showed an almost mirror image victory for the incumbent party candidate.

The citizens of Georgia and Ukraine refused to accept the official tallies, protested vigorously and , with international support, overturned the election, but U.S. voters have passively accepted the results of their election and gone back to business, oblivious to the discrepancy and blind to the implications.

A 5 percent shift in a poll like this is extraordinary. Exit pollsters do not have to guess about who is actually going to vote, or whether they might change their mind. Exit polls can achieve larger samples cost-effectively: the national election-day sample had more than 13,000 respondents, meaning that it should have accurately forecast the result within plus or minus 1 percent.

Polling error beyond statistical margins of error is possible, of course. That's why we actually count the votes, and why the count determines the winner. But when there are serious questions over how elections are conducted, we look to these exit polls.

So what if an incumbent party controls the election machinery and there are other reasons to doubt the count? Irregularities similar to those found in the Ukrainian election have been documented here.

An investigation by members of the House Judiciary Committee limited to Ohio alone has substantiated:

-- Deliberate vote suppressions (unmailed and lost absentee ballots; obstacles to registration, such as rejection of forms over a technicality; lack of voting machines in Democratic strongholds resulting in waits of more than eight hours, while Republican areas had surplus machines; widespread misinformation about polling places; overuse of provisional ballots, many not subsequently counted);

-- Apparent fraud (undercounts in Democratic precincts where 25 percent of voters reportedly did not vote for president; unreasonably high numbers of votes recorded for third-party candidates in 10 heavily Democratic precincts in Cleveland; extraordinarily high voter registration and turnout inconsistent with records in precincts of Appalachian Ohio) and

-- Secret counts and recounts (Warren County locked out count observers because of a terrorist threat attributed to the FBI, which the FBI has denied; recounts conducted in the absence of observers and in pre-selected precincts, violating state law; testimony that representatives of a voting system supplier improperly participated in the recount).

Beyond these conventional manipulations, the United States has introduced electronic voting, a new system of potential mass and undetectable manipulation. Thirty percent of Americans in this election used electronic voting machines, which produce no confirmation that votes are recorded as cast -- the "paper trail." Stanford University computer scientist David Dill draws the analogy of telling a man behind a curtain whom you want to vote for and trusting that he has recorded it faithfully. Voters using electronic voting machines likewise blindly trust that the programmer has written code that can and will record their votes as cast.

The system is made worse yet by a concentrated electronic voting-machine industry characterized by overt partisanship, conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency in nearly every aspect of operations.

So why is the response rebellion in the former Soviet Union nations but passive acceptance here? It's not that exit polls are reliable everywhere but here. In fact, both of the exit polls in the Ukraine were flawed. One did not adequately cover the strongholds of the government candidate; the other used face-to-face interviews, thus asking respondents to risk retribution. Both polls are alleged to have been sponsored by the West, principally the United States, hoping to install a friendly, pro-NATO government. The U.S. exit poll, in contrast, was independent, well-funded and run by the most experienced exit pollsters in the world.

We may believe that "it can't happen here": After all, we are not only a democracy, but the democracy. Voting is embedded in all our cultural values and institutions. Paradoxically, however, U.S. democratic traditions may have led to unwarranted laxity. Other countries do not take democracy for granted. They know, as the founders of our country did, how vulnerable it is, and that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

The purpose of conducting research and questioning the election outcome is not partisan -- it is equally democratic, republican and libertarian. Americans should take up this cause as neither "for Kerry" nor "against Bush." Indeed, one reason resistance to the count has not coalesced is that for the past year, the country has looked to Kerry and George W. Bush as its leaders. But it's clear that neither is taking the lead on protection of voting rights. When I documented the discrepancy between the official count and exit-poll predictions, thousands of people e-mailed me to thank me for stating the obvious. Why weren't others asking these questions?

The absence of questions does not make a democracy function; democratic processes do. It has been a long time since this country has paid a price for liberty. It seems clear now that a large payment of vigilance is long overdue.

Story Link

Steve Freeman is on the faculty of the Center for Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania. To view his 2004 election research, go to

Steve tells me that he has a 60 page paper based on what he has learned and will be releasing soon. Trying to decided whether to do it in parts or as a whole.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 04:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. One little problem---the media.
Most of the time they just ignore the whole possibility of fraud. On those rare occasions when they do say something about it, democrats are referred to as the equivalent of "tin hats" or as sore losers. The issue of fraud gets no attention at all from our "liberal" media.

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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:12 AM
Response to Original message
2. DUers need to read. Keep it kicked***
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RollergirlVT Donating Member (452 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. kick
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myschkin Donating Member (488 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
4. Excellent article!

I send it to all media...

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
5. Freeman is brilliant and courageous! KICK! KICK! KICK!
I've read both of Dr. Steven Freeman's papers on the Exit Poll discrepancy and the man is not only brilliant and courageous, he is that rare bird among academics who is willing to state the broad implications of his research and take on "the powers" even when what he has to say is extremely dangerous and profoundly threatens the existing order.

He reminds me of the professors during the Vietnam War who risked their careers to stand with their students who were threatened by the Draft and to protest that dreadful war.

There is nothing more dangerous to the Bush administration right now than an election fraud truthteller with impeccable creds.

I agree with cornermouse. One of our chief problems on this issue is the media, and I don't mean just their general warmongering, disinformation and trumpeting of government propaganda. They did something very specific with regard to this election outcome that will live in infamy as the worst journalistic crime ever committed.

On Election night, they denied Americans the information that Kerry had won in the Exit Polls. They ALTERED the Exit Polls--that figure on everybody's TV screens that was showing a Kerry win all afternoon--by "adjusting" it to fit with the "official results" as they came in from central electronic vote tabulators (owned and controlled with secret, proprietary programming code, by highly partisan pro-Bush companies).

In the Ukraine, people had the two separate, conflicting figures--the Exit Polls vs. the "official results"--and could plainly see that something was very wrong. Not so here.

Some people have charged that the Ukraine Exit Polls were manipulated by the U.S. Freeman references this charge, above, and points out that the Bush/Kerry pollster has the most solid reputation in the world. How ironic it would be if the BushCons used (or created) a manipulable pollster in the Ukraine, and could not manipulate our pollster, but found another way to produce the result they wanted...

...getting our collusive and unreliable TV networks to disguise the Exit Poll result.

I am not sure that our exit pollster (Mitofksy) is entirely innocent in this regard. They designed the poll as a demographics poll (i.e., how many white Catholic woman voted for Kerry? etc.), not as a check on fraud (as is done throughout the world), although even Mitofksy has said there is no reason that their Exit Poll information can't be used to verify the election. The trouble is that this poll design gives BushCons an easy "talking point" to question the Kerry win.

And, more critically, with the U.S. testing out a new and controversial electronic voting system--with no controls, no auditability, no paper trail, and secret source code owned by highly partisan Republicans--why DIDN'T Mitofsky, the TV networks, the major newspapers, the Democratic Party, and even the Republicans DO an exit poll SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED as a check on fraud and a verification of this system?

The situation CRIED OUT FOR such verification.

Further, Mitofksy has refused to release his raw data. Investigators were forced to rely on screen shots of the afternoon Exit Polls to analyze data and expose the virtually impossible discrepancy (Exit Poll vs. "official result"), and later, on leaks (impossible discrepancy confirmed). Is Mitofksy's refusal to release the raw data more than cowardice? Is it collusion?

As Dr. Freeman points out in his second paper on the Exit Poll discrepancy, in Germany--and everywhere else in the world with a decent democracy--THESE THINGS ARE NEVER IN QUESTION. There are EASY ways to virtually GUARANTEE an honest election AND to check for fraud, should it occur. And we didn't, and don't, use them. Our system is ABSURDLY non-transparent, fraud prone, insecure and hackable. It was designed that way!

One final possible colluder: the Democratic Party leadership. Are they suicidal or what? WHAT accounts for their near silence about BushCons owning the voting system?

The only thing I disagree with Dr. Freeman on is that this is a non-partisan issue. It wasn't Republicans who were defrauded and bullied at the polling place. It was only Democratic voters who took the hit. So, the two questions that remain are:

1. Why didn't our party defend us?
2. Has the Republican Party stopped believing in democracy (i.e., transparent elections)?

Freeman's papers:
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TruthIsAll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. You said it all. Need to keep repeating that the circumstantial
evidence is overwhelming.

The National Exit poll
which confirms the State exit polls
which confirm the Pre-election national polls (Zogby, et al)
Which confirm the Preliminary state polls
which confirm the Kerry/Bush debate polls
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I agree with you and cornermouse

We are going to have to devise an underground message delivery system, working with forums like this, progressive bloggers, all of our alternative media outlets and progressive media people (air-america, democracy now, etc.) to develop talking points and then deliver them everywhere ourselves.

We are going to have to build on what we learned in our campaigning these past two years to make sure we devise good messages and then as the GOP does, get that message out everywhere. In small regional forums connected to local newspapers, in letters to the editors of newspapers constantly and across the country, in flyers we leave on the buses and subways we ride to work and notes we leave randomly at public places, like pay phones.

We need to organize and then we need to grow outside of the obvous places like DU and Kos, until we have our "operatives" EVERYWHERE. Our message needs to be delivered constantly - so you can't be waiting for a bus without hearing/reading it.

We may not have church pulpits, or MSM news stations. But research proves that people are most likely to believe and are prepared to believe messages from others, when they hear it from other everyday people like themselves.

I recall, many years ago, reading about a study done about medical research. It was a study that was trying to determine how 3 different studies at teaching hospitals in 3 different areas of the country for an arthritis treatment came up with 3 differnt treatments as best. The conclusion was what sparked the interest in the control the mind had in healing because the comparisons indicated that in most instances, the therapies that worked best for patients were the ones that their neighbors had told them their (trusted) doctors had prescribe and worked for them.

This lends me to believe that if we, as trusted individuals in our communities, can assume the responsibility for the messaging, we do have the power to alter opinion. The question is if we can get enough individuals in every part of the country to be part of the message delivery system.

It will need to work much like the old FIDO Net BBS systems. Hubs across the country that pick up the talking points from a central control system and then deliver it out to the networks connected to them. Those networks then deliver out to their regional circles of networks. And it has to be done in way where there is some verification of messenger recruits so we can keep it off the Freeper radar or at least keep them out of the main hubs.

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Patsy Stone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. There's nothing left to be said. That was perfect.
saracat is right. There have to be ways of disseminating info that don't involve the Corporate Media. Actually, let's hope they are last to find out a lot of things. Won't that be sweet? Ahh..

There is very little investigative journalism left. The smaller newspapers in well-selected cities might be willing to pick up local stories. But it must be done somehow. We are the Media. It is us.

Speaking of which, have you sent this to anyone? You should, it's good. :)
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I've sent it to everyone I know and my regional papers and
talk radio folks. Also sent to Malloy and Buzzflash and some others.

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Patsy Stone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. That's fantastic!
I will do the same. :)

Also, don't know if you saw this:
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. FYI
I was talking about my distribution of Freeman's OpEd piece - not my other organizational idea. I am working on putting that together and posted it only here in the middle of another discussion to try and keep it low on some people's radar, if you know what I mean.

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Patsy Stone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I know. Good for you! n/t
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. thanks
for that link
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
20. Man Peace are good. You ought to refine that and send it
to papers as an opinion column. It's clear, to the point and filled with facts the pukes cannot deny.
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GetTheRightVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
10. We need God on our side to get the miracles we need to defeat the
political machine which runs this country which includes the Dems and the Repubs. We need to step beyond, way beyond these two parties and take back our country and give back the power to the people who are citizens of this country.

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Darknyte7 Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
11. Kicking...
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joevoter Donating Member (167 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
16. kick
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. kick
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Terre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
18. Correct link
You might want to edit and take out the period after htm on the link to Steve's site:
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Terre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 12:23 AM
Response to Original message
19. sarahlee
I would love to have a copy of that 60 page Hypothesis.

The other night I downloaded "parts" of *something* he was revising. What was I downloading? The current research report that's currently available on the site - Would you happen to know?
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Oops
My editing time expired so can't delete the period. Hopefully folks will see your note and correction.

You may have gotten some part of the 60 page doc. I told him today that I thought we could get 60 pages distributed and circulated at once easier than breaking it up into multiparts but he says he is still doing some work on it.

Did you note his request for Virginia Exit poll data?

If anyone here knows others here who might be able to help, please point them to his website where it says:

Excel Spreadsheets of CNN "Uncalibrated" Exit Poll Data from Election Night '04. 49 states + DC. Write to me if you would like this -- or if you previously downloaded the data that was posted here; there were a few states for which I had posted data which was already corrected. Now I have the uncalibrated data for these states.

If you, by any chance, viewed the Virginia exit poll on election night, please let me know. You may still have it in your computer memory! that's all I need to complete the data set! Thanks.


again, the correct URL - without the period - is:
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Terre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Been searching for Virginia
and I'm afraid I'm not having much luck, but will continue to keep an eye out for it.

Anyway, regarding Steve's Hypothesis, once it's done (and he decides how he wants to distribute it) could you post and let us know? I don't always remember to go to the sites I've bookmarked.

Thanks :)

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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. You can count on it
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Farah Donating Member (185 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-05 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
24. kick- you got a link to the 60 page paper?
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Farah Donating Member (185 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. kick
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