Election Forensics

Even Blinder

October 5, 2012 
by Jonathan Simon
According to the "father of exit polling," the late Warren Mitofsky, exit polls are intended solely for academic analysis of voting patterns and opinions (e.g., what did 25 to 34 year-old white males regard as the most important issue?) and not as any sort of check on the validity of the votecounts. Unless, of course, you are anywhere else on Earth (other than America), where exit polls are routinely employed, often with the sanction of the government of the United States, as just such a check mechanism, and have frequently led to official calls for electoral investigations and indeed electoral re-dos.
In America, where votecounts in competitive and significant races consistently come out to the right of the exit polls (it is called the "red shift"), the media machine has waved off the exit polls, concluding, without so much as a quick peek under the hood of the vote-counting computers, that the exit polls must be "off" because they "oversample Democrats," conclusive evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. We're the Beacon Of Democracy, dammit--we don't need no stinkin’ exit polls! We're "one nation under God" so our elections must be honest!
Nonetheless, exit polls remain critical to whatever election forensics can be undertaken to assess the honesty and validity of our concealed and partisan-controlled computerized vote counting system from election to election. This is because all "hard" evidence—memory cards, computer code, server logs, actual ballots where such exist—is strictly off limits to public investigation, being the protected proprietary dominion of a handful of secretive corporations (one of which is aptly named "Dominion") with ties to the radical right.
So the announcement that this November the media consortium known as the National Election Pool (NEP) has canceled all exit polling in 19 states comes as a blow to "academic analysts" and election forensics experts alike. The non-exit poll states are AK, AR, DE, DC, GA, HI, ID, KY, LA, NE, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY. Of course all these states are noncompetitive, solid reds or blues (with the exception of a Senate race or two) so what's the problem??
The problem is that Karl Rove now has 19 states to mine votes to cover a Romney popular vote loss (undermining and casting suspicion upon his easily arranged Electoral College ‘win’), without the remotest trace of the theft, not even the telltale “red shift.”  This was done in 2004 for Bush, and it showed up in the red shift in states like Alaska and New York, as millions of votes were shifted in non-competitive states where there was little forensic vigilance. And if it turns out that they need even more votes for Romney, with the public now 100% blind to these 19 states, they'll have them by the millions.
The NEP and the networks will merely shrug and say, "Who needs exit polls (especially discredited exit polls) in noncompetitive states?" and "We needed to redeploy our limited resources." I feel their pain: exit polling is difficult/expensive and more so now with early/absentee voting and cellphones. Put it in context though: we spent $2 billion per week for years to bring "democracy" to Iraq; you know $2 billion would buy approximately 200 years of biennial exit polls at their current cost here in the good old USA!  I guess having democracy for seven generations in America is not worth one week in Iraq. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
And, while we're at it, what a stupid way to insure democracy, a few volunteer democracy fans following along after the election circus with a forensic broom and dustpan, then having their evidence ignored or ridiculed by the media, which, just to show how accepting it is, accepts on 100% pure unadulterated blind faith every number that comes out of the partisan operated and controlled blackness that is our oh-so-convenient vote counting system. Again for that same $2 billion week in Iraq, we could fund hand-counted paper ballots (if we were unwilling to assume it as a civic responsibility on a par with jury duty) at a decent payscale for an entire generation.
Are we that cheap, that stingy, that lazy, when it comes to this democracy, this homeland that we profess to "love" and seem to be so concerned about protecting?

For pdf copy please click here

July 4th - Fighting Back Tears

July 4th, symbolic day of our nation’s birth. Also EDA’s birthday, the day we went live six years ago. It is a day of great celebration for many, remembering America’s greatness. It is a day when they play patriotic films one after the other on movie channels, so you can watch John Paul Jones say “I have not yet begun to fight,” and hear Jimmy Cagney sing “It’s a Grand Old Flag,” and listen as Lincoln repeats from the grave, “ . . . that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
I spent a good part of this special day fighting back tears, unsuccessfully when listening to Mr. Lincoln. For it is apparent that the form of government he invoked at Gettysburg is perishing, if not from the earth then from his own dear country, our country, on our watch. Rigged elections remove “by the people” and “for the people” from that majestic sentence, and sentence The People to the most pernicious form of tyranny:  that which does not even have the courage to declare itself, but instead cloaks itself in the trappings of democracy and illusions of self-rule.
When we founded EDA six years ago we knew what we were up against. We knew that damning evidence of computerized election rigging had already been dismissed with a shrug and would likely continue to be dismissed with a shrug. We knew that, as with any inside job, the perpetrators were sitting in the catbird seat with a big head start. We knew that, as with any Big Lie, the architects and engineers of election rigging could count on “never happen here” denial to protect them from serious investigation and exposure.
What we didn’t know was how many informed people with cellphones would find some excuse not to call 911, how many would turn out to be bystanders, going about their business-as-usual with a shrug. Whether it’s Kitty Genovese dying in front of dozens of lighted windows or a democracy dying in front of dozens of opinion leaders with “too much on their plate,” Bystander’s Syndrome is a tragic phenomenon. When each of us says “intervention would be inconvenient, or risky, or distasteful and, besides, someone else is sure to take care of it,” we fail the ultimate test of citizenship, of patriotism, of human kinship. The twist is that, unlike the bystander safe in his apartment turning off the light and going back to bed, none of us is safe—the bell we talk over and take pains not to hear is tolling for us.
In 2012 EDA will attempt once again to parlay very modest resources into the best forensic detection apparatus we can assemble. I have asked myself why we are bothering, why any new evidence will matter when all the old evidence has been digested and excreted without so much as a polite belch. I can think of two reasons:  we have a responsibility to history and to truth itself to establish at least some reviewable record of the lies being told; beyond this, and more encouragingly, we are finally seeing some cracks in the never-happen-here wall of denial. A bit of media coverage here (e.g., http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/editorspick_mobile/x1222856667/Holmes-Hacking-the-vote?zc_p=1 and http://capitolcorrespondent.com/cc/2012/06/19/electronic-voting-machines-and-voter-fraud/), a promising piece of legislation there (e.g., Masschusetts Election Laws Reform Act of 2012, H. 4139 http://malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H04120 ), but most of all a growing skepticism that the kind of national politics we are suffering in the computerized voting age makes any sense at all absent a pervasive thumb on the scale in the darkness of cyberspace.
I sense a metastasizing awareness that we have a problem, a dreadful problem. It is close to coming into sharp focus, like a boil breaking the skin.  There will be a powerful article in a major MSM publication this fall. There will be a powerful book following in its wake. It won’t take that much more and EDA will do everything possible to push awareness, shock, and outrage to critical mass. There’s plenty of energy in the politics of this time, much of it misdirected. That energy, as the never-happen-here veils are torn down, can yet save us and save our country. Please be part of it. Please support us. Please carry awareness to others. Please don’t be a bystander. Please don’t turn off your light.
With appreciation and best holiday wishes—
Jonathan Simon
Executive Director


On Tuesday August 9th a group of volunteers from around Wisconsin conducted Citizen Exit Polls in two of the six senate districts where recall elections took place. A coalition of independent, non-partisan organizations including Election Defense Alliance (EDA), Protect California Ballots, and the Wisconsin Wave helped organize volunteers and advised the group on polling techniques. The exit polls were undertaken in an attempt to monitor the integrity of an election that relied entirely on concealed vote tabulation by computers to count votes and determine outcomes.
The results of our exit polling are presented in the Table below.  In every case there are sizeable disparities between the computer-tabulated votecount percentages and the percentages indicated by our exit polls respondents. And in every case the disparity is a “red shift,” the votecount percentages more favorable to the Republican candidate than are the exit poll percentages.  
It is important to understand, however, that these polls could not be designed to control for response bias—a possible differential willingness to respond of Republican vs. Democratic voters.  Therefore, the disparities presented in our polls could be the result of 1) Computerized mistabulation (i.e., rigging); 2) Response bias; or 3) Both.  We simply have no way of knowing for sure.
When a voter refuses to respond to our poll, we cannot know and adjust for the partisanship of that voter, so we cannot claim that our poll is a representative sample of the voters. To construct such a poll—the kind many are familiar with that is commissioned by the major media and appears on network websites along with the returns in November—requires vastly more data, resources, and funding than we have at our disposal.  Our polls were designed for a comparison of raw numbers, not percentages, and in certain circumstances, not achieved here, would be strongly probative stand-alone red flags.
Nonetheless, the disparities indicated below may be considered "orange flags," suggestive of at least the possibility of widespread computerized mistabulation, and indicative that follow-up voter canvassing is warranted.  In addition, analysis of prior voting patterns, turnout anomalies, and other data is being undertaken.
Our polls were undertaken for several related purposes:  
  • 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.
It appears that the exit poll project for August 9, 2011 has succeeded in furthering each of these goals. We hope to continue to build the awareness and involvement on the part of citizens of Wisconsin and America that will be needed to preserve our democracy through the restoration of observable vote counting and honest elections.

 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%
14 Pardeeville 1,2,3 286 426 712 40.2% 59.8% 139 299 438 31.7% 68.3% 8.4%
8 Shorewood 9,10,11,12 484 1349 1833 26.4% 73.6% 155 845 1000 15.5% 84.5% 10.9%
8 Menomonee Falls  14,15,21 1351 605 1956 69.1% 30.9% 421 303 724 58.1% 41.9% 10.9%
8 Butler  1,2,3 397 200 597 66.5% 33.5% 63 63 126 50.0% 50.0% 16.5%
  *includes absentee ballots: Baraboo=97, Pardeeville=40, Shorewood=354, Menomonee=283, Butler not known                      

E2012: Quo vadimus?

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.

 Please click here for full article

Preliminary Election Assessment

Election Defense Alliance Preliminary Election Assessment
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.

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