Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A call to action

1. John Kerry should make a public statement. Not David Wade. Not Stephanie Cutter. Not Tad Devine. John Kerry. It should be simple. It should just be, "We are committed to every vote being counted in this election." That is very different than the "It's time to move on from the election results" line that Donna Brazille etc. are taking.

It's fine to leave everything else to surrogates. I understand why that has to be. Let other people say that concession speeches are political speeches, not legal statements. Let others point out and itinerize the list of troubling developments in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere.

But John Kerry should make a statement that he is committed to making sure that every vote was counted. Everywhere. And that he is troubled -- no, concerned, concerned is better -- concerned by reports that not every vote has been counted. Period. Done. Thank you.

It would be a tacit statement of support for the Ohio and New Hampshire recount efforts, for the exploration of what the Hout Report means; and for all the people who voted for John Kerry -- or, for that matter, George W. Bush -- to have the confidence in the security and sanctity of the election of November 2.

2. The Hout Report changes a great deal of the landscape. It is a credible, extensive survey by people who do such surveys and statistical analysis for a living.

It should be covered by the mainstream media. And not just Keith Olbermann. This is not a part of this story that should be merely existing on the far left.

But -- as we've seen with RatherGate, as we've seen with the Trent Lott story -- the blogosphere can perform an important function here. Important function? Essential function.

Especially the big boys.

So Mickey.





Get to it.

Call attention to the Berkeley SRC report. Even the fact that it's out there and online and available to be read is big information to pass on.

If you print it, no doubt, the others will follow.

If you build it, they will come.

God willing.

Update: Salon has posted on the Hout Report in their War Room column. No registration required, but you have to sit through a brief advertisment.

It’s not proof of voter fraud -- at least not yet -- but it seems that somebody has some explaining to do about the election results from Florida. In a report released this morning, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, say that George W. Bush received 130,000 more votes in Florida in 2004 than he should have received, and that the only real explanation has something to do with electronic voting machines.  

Through multiple-regression analysis, the Berkeley researchers examined the increase in Bush’s support, on a county-by-county basis, between 2000 and 2004. Their conclusion: A county’s use of electronic voting machines resulted in a "disproportionate increase" in votes for Bush which "cannot be explained away by other factors."

The disparity between the votes Bush received and the votes statistical models said he should have received was largest in those e-voting counties where Al Gore was strongest in 2000: Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Michael Hout, the Berkeley sociology professor who presented the researchers' findings today, said that he could not explain why the disparity was so high in counties that favored Gore in 2000, nor could he explain how the electronic voting machines might have over-counted Bush votes. But he said that there’s virtually no possibility -- a one in 1,000 chance that he called "trivial" -- that the voting disparities arose by chance. 

"Our approach is like a smoke alarm, and it’s beeping," Hout said on a call with reporters this morning. "We're calling on officials in Florida to investigate to see if there's a fire."

Hout said the researchers applied their same tests to electronic voting in Ohio and discovered no such disparities. And even if the Berkeley researchers are right about Florida, their numbers don't change the overall result of the election there. As things stand now, Bush won Florida by about 311,000 votes. If the 130,000 "extra" votes the Berkeley researchers have found were "ghost votes" – that is, votes that were never cast but simply added to Bush’s total – then Bush's margin would drop to about 181,000 votes. But if the 130,000 votes were Kerry votes that somehow got switched to Bush votes, then Bush’s margin in Florida would drop to 51,000.