Voter Protection Project: A Pilot Exit Poll for November 2006

Voter Protection Project
A 2006 Election Verification Exit Poll
A joint project of The Warren Poll, Ken Warren, Poll Director and
Election Integrity, Steve Freeman, Principle Investigator
In conjunction with Campaign Scientific, Stephanie Singer, Director
and Jonathan Simon and Bruce O'Dell, Election Defense Alliance

October 6, 2006

Proposal Overview

We will be conducting an exit poll to verify reported election results in selected precincts for the November 2006 elections. In parallel, we will be collecting registration data and election results from the precincts where we poll and tracking it up to the state level. Anomalies in this data will be an independent indication of whether irregularities have taken place. This is a pilot project so as to prepare for more comprehensive election verification efforts in future elections.

Verifying the accuracy of vote counts is essential to the democratic process. In nations where the vote count is suspect, international agencies often fund independent verification efforts. Exit polls, systematic surveys of voters who have just cast their ballots, are crucial to these efforts because they are, in the words of John Tefft, US Ambassador to Georgia, “one of the few means to expose large-scale fraud.” In nations with reliable voting systems, such as the UK and Germany, exit poll results are invariably within one or two percentage points of the official numbers.

Unfortunately, exit polls are all but dead in the US. For some time, only a single national exit poll commissioned by a media consortium of the five national news networks and Associated Press has been conducted. In 2002, the results were never released because the consortium “lost all confidence in the polls,” perhaps due to discrepancies with official counts in a slew of surprising Republican victories.

The 2004 Presidential election was marred by a 7 percentage point – nine million votes -- discrepancy nationwide. Statistical analyses by responsible teams of academics indicate count corruption rather than polling error. A few of the many indicators is that the discrepancy was significantly higher in battleground states, in Bush strongholds, and where more Election Day problems were recorded. Yet the consortium refused to release precinct level data that could have been used to investigate fraud. In 2004 we knew of the discrepancy only because of a technical glitch that prevented the pollsters from promptly uploading “corrected” results, i.e., results that have been adjusted so as to conform to the reported vote counts. In 2006 and future elections only such “corrected” data will be released even to media clients. Of course, once data are “corrected” as such, they are no longer exit poll results; rather, they misleadingly accord unwarranted legitimacy upon the official numbers.

An honest and transparent exit poll can provide confirmation or rejection of reported vote counts. Rigorous statistical design can separate bias in the polls from errors in the count. Such a survey can also resolve specific allegations of fraud in political jurisdictions and with voting technologies known to have a history of election irregularities. The entire process, survey design, raw data, and all analysis, would be open to public scrutiny.

America needs election verification. No less than (former) USSR Georgians, US Georgians have the right to know when voting machines have not yielded accurate counts and if an election has been tampered with. No less than Germans, British and emerging democracies, Americans need elections that are run fairly and that inspire confidence. Until our government provides a voting system that we can trust, a rigorous, transparent, public exit poll provides our best assurance of obtaining honest election results.


1. About Exit Polls
2. Need in the US for an Exit Poll Designed to Verify Election Integrity
3. Methodology
4. Components of the Polling Process
5. Budget: Exit Poll Items Requiring Funding

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