Early Returns

Newsmedia "False Calls" Can and Do Manipulate Elections

Source: E-mail communication from Blackboxvoting.org distributed Jan. 18, 2010
Republished as a guest contribution to The EDA Blog with attribution and appreciation to Bev Harris, Blackboxvoting.org

By Bev Harris

Shining a Bright Light on an Undemocratic Tactic

For 10 years, I've been watching a trend to manipulate elections through premature "call" of the race by a media outlet. See below for predictions on what may follow a media call for either candidate in Massachusetts.

The media "call" can be manipulated because the public doesn't know that projected winners come from a system that is not even a governmental source! In fact, the media "calls" elections based on data from just one media outlet -- usually a quiet little division of the Associated Press that occupies a little corner somewhere and answers very few questions.

Volunteers call in result reports to the corporation. The reports are often inaccurate (see below for examples). The names of these volunteers are not part of the public record. We will never get the list of names for those who will call in the 351 numbers which will result in "calling the election" for Tuesday's Massachusetts election.

How the Media "Call" May Ultimately Control Policy

If Tuesday's Massachusetts special senate election is "called" for Democrat Martha Coakley, expect to see a rush to install her, copying a Republican tactic in 2006 whereby San Diego's Brian Bilbray was seated by the US House of Representatives before tens of thousands of votes were even counted.
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'The media "call game" is a political game that can be played dirty,
and in Massachusetts, the media "call" could ultimately control national healthcare policy'
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Yes, the Senate can override the actual election results, or pre-empt the real results, and pre-emptively install a candidate based on a media prediction, or a bunch of unofficial tallies, or whatever they want. It can be done. It has been done. And if the media calls the race for Coakley, expect to see it done again.

If the race is "called" for Republican Scott Brown, expect to see a rush from Republican lawyers to claim that Brown has the right to vote immediately, instead of Paul Kirk who is current interim successor to Ted Kennedy. If that fails, look for an attempt to force abstention on the Massachusetts vote while stall tactics play out.

Sixty votes are needed. If Coakley is called and installed, they've got the 60. If Brown is called and stalled, they've got 59. Either way, the media "call" on Massachusetts is going to be under exceptional political pressure.

No matter where you stand on the controversial healthcare bill, be aware that what you see reported on Election Night is not only not "official" or "final", but is not even real, and may not even be the numbers written down by poll workers or printed out by the voting machine.
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