by Jonathan Simon
December 16, 2014
The tables that follow compare polling and votecount results, where polling data was available, for US Senate, gubernatorial, and US House elections. The exit polling numbers represent the first publicly posted values, prior to completion of the “adjustment” process, in the course of which the poll results are forced to congruity with the votecounts. The “red shift” represents the disparity between the votecount and exit poll margins. For this purpose, a margin is positive when the Democratic candidate’s total exceeds that of the Republican candidate. To calculate the red shift we subtract the votecount margin from the exit poll margin, so a positive red shift number represents a “red,” or rightward, shift between the exit poll and votecount results.
The standard arguments have of course been put forward that all these exit polls (and pre-election polls) were “off,” that essentially every pollster in the business (and there are many), including the exit pollsters, overestimated the turnout of Democratic voters, which was “known” to be historically low because the official votecounts and a slew of unexpected Democratic defeats tell us it was. In response to this entirely tautological argument, there are two non-jibing realities to be considered. The first is that the sampling methodologies of the polls were already distorted to impound the anticipated low turnout rate of Democratic voters in off-year elections, a model which has been grounded on the official votecounts of this century’s three previous suspect computerized midterm elections, E2002, E2006, and E2010. The second is what would have to be termed the apparent schizoid behavior of the E2014 electorate, in which—from county-level referenda in Wisconsin backing expanded access to healthcare and an end to corporate personhood, to state-level ballot proposals to raise the minimum wage across America (see Table 4)—voters approved, by wide margins, the very same progressive proposals that the Republican candidates they apparently elected had violently opposed.
The wide margins are significant because they tell us that, unlike the key contests for public office, these ballot propositions were well outside of smell-test rigging distance. Thus, even had defeating them been an ancillary component of a strategy that appears riveted on seizing full governmental power rather than scoring points on isolated issue battlefields, these ballot propositions would have failed any reasonable risk-reward test that might have been applied, and thus were left alone.
With so much not making sense about E2014 it seems hardly necessary to add that it makes no sense at all for an historically unpopular Congress to be shown such electoral love by the voters that exactly TWO (out of 222) incumbent members of the Republican House majority lost their seats on November 4, 2014, while the GOP strengthened its grip on the House by adding 12 seats to its overall majority, and of course took control of the US Senate, 31 governorships, and 68 out of 100 state legislative bodies.
It would seem to require magicianship of the highest (or lowest) order to pull these results from a hat known to contain a Congressional Approval rating in the single digits (See Table 5). In handing over vote counting to computers, neither the processes nor the programming of which we are permitted to observe, we have chosen to trust the magician, and we should not be at all surprised if for his next trick he makes our sovereignty disappear.
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What we got tonight, June 5th, in Wisconsin was the same old stench, coming from the same old corner of the room, even more pungent than usual. If it smells a bit acrid to you, that would be the ashes of your democracy still smoldering. To wit, there was a huge turnout (highly favorable to the Democratic candidate Barrett), in fact they're still waiting in line to vote in Milwaukee and elsewhere nearly two hours after poll closing; and the immediate post-closing Exit Polls had it a dead heat, 50%-50%. But the only place those polls were posted was as a Bar Chart in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Not a single network posted any Exit Poll numbers, though they all have been regularly posting them throughout the 2012 primary season within a few minutes of poll closing. But they all called the race "extremely tight," since they were looking at the same 50%-50% Exit Poll that the Journal Sentinel at least had the courage to post in some format.
Votes counted by partisans in complete secret--is this sane?
- to provide at least an indicator, in the absence of virtually all other indicators, as to what might be happening (that is to introduce at least a dim ray of transparency into our utterly opaque and concealed vote counting process);
- to determine whether a more strongly probative follow-up canvassing would be warranted;
- to draw public awareness to the very disquieting realities of concealed, computerized vote counting (for example, many still erroneously assume that because they vote on paper, their votes and all votes are “safe,” even though in 99%+ of cases those ballots will never be examined and the optical scanner could easily be programmed to record a result radically different from what is indicated by the voters of their ballots);
- and to build the citizen participation that one day can translate to actual human counting of the actual ballots.
|WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTION EXIT POLL - VOTECOUNT COMPARISON, 8/9/2011|
|Senate||Polling Locations||Vote Count||Exit Poll||EP-VC Diff.|
|District||Ward #s||VC-R||VC-D||VC-Tot*||VC%R||VC%D||EP-R||EP-D||EP-Tot||EP%R||EP%D||EP%D - VC%D|
|14||Baraboo 7, 8,9,10||453||695||1148||39.5%||60.5%||113||364||477||23.7%||76.3%||15.8%|
|8||Menomonee Falls 14,15,21||1351||605||1956||69.1%||30.9%||421||303||724||58.1%||41.9%||10.9%|
|*includes absentee ballots: Baraboo=97, Pardeeville=40, Shorewood=354, Menomonee=283, Butler not known|
The New York Review of Books
June 10, 2011
To the Editors:
George Soros ("My Philanthropy," New York Review of Books, 5/23/11) paints a discouraging picture of an America in thrall to the Orwellian "Newspeak" now peddled to seeming perfection by the GOP. Citing Karl Rove's reported claim that he "didn't have to study reality; he could create it," Soros attributes the GOP's "competitive advantage in electoral politics" to the "adoption of Orwellian techniques [by] the Republican propaganda machine." He goes on to caution that "[a]lthough democracy has much deeper roots in America than in [Weimar] Germany, it is not immune to deliberate deception," and that the idea that America will cease to be a democracy and an open society is "a very likely prospect." This seems about as far as any alarmed observer is willing to go in adumbrating the causes for the strange, perplexing, and seemingly inexorable veer to the right America has taken over the past decade, Obama's election notwithstanding.
But why should "creating reality" draw the line at Newspeak and propaganda? Why not, with privatized and partisan control of the voting apparatus itself, far more reliably and tidily “create the reality” of electoral victory in the darkness of cyberspace?
The advent and proliferation of computerized voting has created, over the past decade, opportunities for outcome-determinative electoral manipulation on a mass scale. The vulnerabilities have been documented by top-line researchers from Princeton to Johns Hopkins to the Congressional GAO. The far right-wing pedigree of the major voting equipment vendors and servicers is no secret. And the "red shift" (vote counts to the right of exit polls, tracking polls, and hand-counts) has been consistent and pervasive in competitive elections since 2002--including the Democratic victories of 2006 and 2008, where 11th-hour political developments turned close elections into manipulation-masking blowouts.
Americans, and particularly the American media, seem content to ignore all this and blithely place full and unquestioning faith in secret vote counting and the fait accompli of computerized tabulation. The towering never-happen-here wall of denial ("America is the beacon of democracy!") sustains this weird credulity in the face of cheating scandals in virtually every sport and throughout the financial world. But American elections are the highest stakes "game" of all and, if Soros is to be taken seriously, America is already a long way from the beacon of democracy we have all taken for granted. We have observed highly unethical tactics (e.g., sending out thousands of flyers to African-American homes stating that the election is Wednesday) employed in plain view and with increasing frequency to create the “reality” of electoral victory.
Is there really a bright ethical line between sending out "Vote Wednesday" flyers and just flipping votes inside an optical scanner?
Perhaps the American public is less susceptible to right-wing Newspeak than Soros laments. Perhaps millions more than we are led to believe see through the lies and propaganda and cast their votes accordingly. And perhaps those votes, counted in secret (how is what we do any different from handing our votes to a little man who retreats behind a curtain and emerges to tell us who won?), are not counted as cast. Unless we return to observable, public vote counting--which necessarily means by humans--how will we ever know?
Do we truly deserve a democracy if we are not willing as a citizenry to reassume the very modest burden of counting our own votes? And are we, George Soros included, comfortable with even the possibility that our democracy, in thrall to Election Night convenience and the reality creation of ends-justify-the-means true-believers, will fall to such a cheap trick?
E2012: The Good, The Bad, and The Ironic
December 28, 2012
by Jonathan Simon and Sally Castleman
November 6th: Celebrations, Riddles, Questions, Context
E2012—another Democratic victory, a lot of cheering in the streets, living rooms, and even some Election Integrity “war rooms” across America—a lot like E2008. Change you could believe in. Safe to go back in the water. Concerns about election theft greatly overblown. But that was before E2010, when the Tea Party swept in, Democrats and moderates were sent packing, and what seems to be a very long-term blockade of both federal and state governments was installed by those same red-shifted votecounts that had somehow escaped general notice two years earlier when they weren’t red-shifted enough to keep Obama out of the White House. Who, in December 2008, saw E2010 coming? Who, in December 2012, is thinking E2014? (We did. We are. We hope you are too.)
What actually happened on Election Night 2012 remains unclear. In terms of outcome, while the Democrats took what were regarded as the major in-play prizes of the White House and Senate (adding to their narrow majority in the latter), the Republicans maintained a solid grip on the US House (despite Congressional approval ratings hovering in the single digits and despite an overall Democratic victory in the national popular vote for the House, only the fourth occurrence of this win-the-vote-lose-the-House phenomenon in over 100 years) as well as on a sizeable majority of statehouses. In effect little changed in the actual political infrastructure as a result of E2012, though the election was momentarily seen as a repudiation of extreme right-wing politics and of the impact of vast corporate and Super-PAC expenditures on voter choice. It is also worth noting that, much as in E2008, it required a dismal campaign run by a feckless, tone-deaf, and unpopular candidate trying desperately and all-too-transparently to Etch-A-Sketch away an indelible impression of extremism left over from the “severely conservative” primary season, not to mention a series of gaffes by GOP Senate candidates ranging from the borderline moronic to the instantly fatal, to bring about even this tepid electoral result that did little more than maintain the status quo.
But the real riddle of E2012 is what was Karl Rove doing on FOX News at the witching hour making a complete and very uncharacteristic fool of himself? The question remains unanswered. Shrouded still in mystery is whether a planned massive electronic rig was disarmed and, if so, how and why, at what stage, and totally or partially.
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November 11, 2010
by Jonathan Simon
The American people have voted and spoken. And, if you believe that the 75 million-plus votes that were sent into the privatized darkness of cyberspace emerged from that darkness as cast, then you have before you The American Self-Portrait, taken every two years and carried around in all our mental wallets till the next election.
Perhaps to you it is a grim portrait. Perhaps it doesn’t seem to make sense, given the underlying national realities. Or perhaps it does seem to make sense, in light of the stacked electoral money game and all those polls that predicted and prepared us for this outcome.
It is our sad duty to inform you that, once again, the Portrait appears to be a fake.
At EDA we are still crunching numbers, reviewing disparities and anomalies, and will have much more detailed findings and analyses to report in the coming weeks. But the preliminary indications are clear: a dramatic nationwide pattern of “red shifts” (votecounts more Republican than exit polls) in the Senate and Governors’ races; an aggregate red shift in the contests for the House; a huge catalogue of “glitches” and anomalies, and quite a few “impossible” results across the nation, beginning with the barely scrutinized primaries.
The truth is that America, while increasingly polarized, remains very closely divided. It doesn’t take many added, deleted, or shifted votes to reverse outcomes across the land and to dramatically alter the Self-Portrait that emerges. Examining, for example, the Battle for the House, a total of fewer than 50,000 Democratic votes instead of Republican in the closest contests would have left the House under Democratic control. The red shift we uncovered for the House races nationwide was 1.7% or 1.25 million votes, twenty-five times those 50,000 votes that constituted the national Republican “victory” margin.
There are signs that real-time calibrating of votes needed to “win” targeted races is becoming easier, and the vote processing infrastructure to enable such exploits proliferating. EDA is attempting to investigate these developments, which make it possible to steal more elections while stealing fewer votes, leaving barely a numerical footprint.
EDA is also probing the polling methodologies that have yielded red-shifted polls to match red-shifted elections, making everything seem right enough. We know, for instance, that the now universally adopted sampling protocol known as the Likely Voter Cutoff Model is a red-shifting, methodologically unjustifiable ploy that nonetheless accurately predicted last Tuesday’s results. EDA is asking “Why?” We expect to issue a detailed study of polling distortions and fudge factors in the coming weeks.
We at EDA are accustomed and fairly hardened to nights like last Tuesday by now. The most maddening part for us may well be listening to the Wednesday post-mortem analyses in which very astute pundits on, say, CNN or NPR read the tea leaves with straight faces and 100% faith in the gospel of the official results as their unquestioned premise. Official results that we, sleepless and still crunching numbers in an attempt to keep honest score at home, had already recognized as likely lies.
Excepting Dan Rather on HDNet TV on October 26, there have been virtually no journalists courageous enough to tell this story. Much of our work going forward will be to persuade those same pundits and opinion leaders to scale the towering wall of never-happen-here denial that is putting our nation at such grave risk.
How many more elections can our democracy survive with the use of concealed vote-counting, where there is no meaningful oversight by citizens, election officials, or the media? How many more elections where the will of the public is ignored? Time is running out on our democracy.
We must get the facts about our electoral system into public dialogue to create a foundation for a rational and unblinking examination of evidence and for serious investigation.
If anyone reading this has access to any public figures who might help us get the word out, please write to us at info@ElectionDefenseAlliance.org as soon as possible.
- If you cannot help with contacts, please consider a tax-deductible gift. We need to hire a PR firm as another means to broadcast this news. http://ElectionDefenseAlliance.org/donate.
For a more detailed look at the big picture, see Joan Brunwasser’s OpEdNews interview with Jonathan Simon: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Jonathan-Simon-of-Election-by-Joan-Brunwasser-101027-150.html.