Harold Lecar

Harold LecarHarold Lecar is professor of biophysics and neurobiology at the University of California Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Columbia in 1963, working on masers with C. H. Townes.

From 1963 to 1985, he was a research physicist at the Biophysics Lab of the National Institute of Neurological
Disease and Stroke, doing both theoretical and experimental research on the mechanisms of nerve excitation. Much of his research involved the application of statistical physics to understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying nerve excitation.

In 1985, he received the US Public Health Service Special Recognition Award for "contributions to the understanding of the role of membrane ionic channels in producing electrical excitability and for pioneering work in advancing

Since 1985, he has been professor of biophysics and
neurobiology at UC Berkeley.

Harold started working on election problems in 2000, when he watched the Florida election results going monotonically up for Bush (and then monotonically down) in the final two hours of the vote count -- hardly what is expected for a random process with approximately 50-50 a-priori probability.

As did many election integrity workers, he watched aghast as the 2004 election was being stolen in real time, with contested state after contested state mysteriously reversing late in the day.  Two weeks after the election, he was one of the initial members of Berkeley's Voting Rights Task Force and took on analysis as his prime responsibility.

Harold has delved into the numbers behind some of the strangest election results in recent American history, including the presidential elections in New Hampshire and Florida 2004, the California gubernatorial recall, and a series of studies of third-party voting behavior in the 2004 California presidential election that defy political and numerical common sense.

In a number of studies, he has tried to ferret out the consequences of different computer vote-transfer schemes. He used these methods to study California Proposition 66 (2004) concerning the "three strikes" law. This proposition was favored by both Democrats and Republicans in the polls, yet lost in the election, rather reminiscent of Prop. 8 in the 2008

The California anomalies were the basis for an effort pursued with Judy Alter and Dan Ashby, to find a government prosecutor with the subpoena power and will to follow staggeringly improbable vote counts to their source and find out if they were real. Various consulting election lawyers said none would, and ultimately, their pessimism proved correct. This effort was ultimately frustrated, but we learned a lot about the barriers to discovery built into election laws that prevent public examination of critical election evidence.

As a coordinator, Harold is eager to facilitate communication and exchange of technical ideas among members of the EDA Data Analysis Group, all of whose work he has studied and admired.