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COUP WATCH: Florida Recount -- From Red Rock Eater News Service

by Phil Agre, Red Rock Eater News Service Friday, Nov. 10, 2000 at 2:09 PM
pagre@alpha.oac.ucla.edu

This is the first of a series of Red Rock Eater News Service updates on what is essentially a coup in progress in Florida. As always, the RRE emphasis is on presenting the best available information & we're extremely pleased to be sharing this with our IMC readers.

Florida Recount -- From Red Rock Eater News Service Florida Recount -- From Red Rock Eater News Service

By Phil Agre

[People have been sending me a flood of material about the Florida vote, so much that I can hardly keep up with it as I'm typing here. The situation is a mess, and it just gets worse. I've gathered URL's for a great deal of relevant information, and I urge you to pass it along to everyone who can use it. I'm getting so much material, the situation is evolving so fast, and the relevant Web sites are so overloaded, that I cannot guarantee that I have summarized everything 100% accurately, or that the URL's all still work. I've done my best.

Earlier I passed on a report that a locked ballot box had been discovered in a Democratic area. Now the cnn.com Web site reports that, according to "Miami-Dade County election officials", this box contained no ballots:

      http://www.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/11/08/ballotbox.found/

There is a lot of vague talk about other missing ballot boxes, but this is the only one that has been formally reported to my knowledge.

But the missing ballot box was hardly the only problem, or the worst. For example, there are the misleading "butterfly ballots". Here is an article from the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Palm Beach County:

      http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/daily/detail/0,1136,36000000000123102,00.html

This article is being continually updated. The Sun-Sentinel Web site is overwhelmed, so keep trying.

You can see an image of the misleading ballot on these pages:

      http://www.sun-sentinel.com/elections/palmbeachballot.htm
      http://cnews.tribune.com/news/image/0,1119,sunsentinel-nation-82373,00.html

The Democrats are asserting that this ballot design was illegal under Florida law:

      http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/politics/AP-ELN-Florida-Ballot-Confusion.html

Bob Kerrey is calling for a new vote in Florida:

      http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/11/07/results/

The problem has two aspects. First, statistical arguments and massive anecdotal evidence suggest that the misleading ballot produced easily enough bad votes to throw the election. Second, one of the authors of the Sun-Sentinel article just said on public radio that something like 20,000 more ballots than one would statistically expect were discarded in the strongly Democratic areas where the misleading ballots were used.

There is a brief statistical discussion of the issue here:

      http://cuwu.editthispage.com/2000/11/08

This page should include a dramatic plot of the voting data, but it only seems to appear under certain browsers. Here's another URL for the plot:

      http://madison.hss.cmu.edu/palm-beach.pdf

Here are some more articles on the subject:

      http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20001108/el/eln_ballot_confusion_1.html
      http://www.time.com/time/campaign2000/story/0,7243,60132,00.html

I have enclosed another statistical discussion by Jeff Harris, a former official at the Office of Management and Budget now working a public policy consultant in Los Angeles. I have also enclosed a message by a friend, also in Los Angeles, who was involved in an investigation of a rigged election out here. He knew about the 1988 case in Florida, and I found his message interesting. People have made further claims about the 1988 election that they aren't willing to put their names on, so I won't repeat them.

Nobody to my knowledge is arguing that the ballots were consciously designed to bias the election. They are only arguing that the ballots were badly designed, illegal, and very likely had the effect of changing the outcome on the national level.

Enough about the butterfly ballots. Here are some other subjects...

For a while last night, the cnn.com Web site said that CNN was trying to investigate an apparent discrepancy between the Florida voting figures that were reported to the press and the actual count. If I understood the sequence of events correctly, these discrepancies may have had an impact on the bizarre sequence of events last night, possibly motivating Al Gore's premature concession call to George W. Bush. I was watching the numbers minute-by-minute until about 5am EST, and there certainly did seem to be a discrepancy. But I have not heard anything further about the matter on cnn.com or elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal mentions complaints of voter intimidation (or fraud or something) based on claims that at least one conservative radio host in Florida broadcast an assertion that, due to high turnout, Democrats should vote on Wednesday. In the few days before the election I saw just that claim, framed as a joke, in messages circulating on the Internet. But then other messages said that it was Republicans who should vote on Wednesday. In any case as I say these messages were clearly jokes. If a radio host made such assertions in anything but a clearly joking way then that would be a serious matter as well.

The police have locked the elections office of Volusia County, Florida (which Gore won) after they caught an employee removing bags from it.

      http://orlandosentinel.com/news/1108guard.htm
      http://cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,247897-412,00.shtml

You can get county-by-county numbers at cnn.com. The numbers do look strange for the down-ballot candidates compared to other counties.

It is worth remembering that Dade and Broward counties in south Florida have big-time histories of voter fraud. For a story on one recent episode, see today's issue of Feed:

      http://www.feedmag.com/templates/daily_master.php3?a_id=1389

One Florida journalist mentioned on public radio that the whole Miami area is full of ex-CIA people including right-wing anti-Castro activists and many of the major figures of the Watergate scandal, and that people in Florida are not surprised to hear of strange goings-on in that area.

I also recommend the concise analysis at http://www.orvetti.com/.

My conservative friends are telling me what a pissy loser Al Gore is for contesting this problematic vote in Florida. So it's worth noting that the Bush campaign was quite prepared to contest an election if (as widely predicted) he won the popular vote but not the electoral:

      http://www.nydailynews.com/2000-11-01/News_and_Views/Beyond_the_City/a-86769.asp

On a different and flakier subject, Consortium News reports that a voter has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that the New York Times made improper in-kind contributions to the Bush campaign by repeating large numbers of false statements about Al Gore from Bush press releases:

      http://www.consortiumnews.com/110700a.html"

The complaint probably won't (and shouldn't) succeed, but it does point to a real and serious problem:

      http://commons.somewhere.com/rre/2000/RRE.The.New.Science.of.C.html

I've been told of all sorts of scenarios involving compromises between the Gore and Bush campaigns, but I see no evidence that these things are really happening.

I have also received all sorts of unsubstantiated reports of problems with the vote in Florida, including rumors about suspicious turnout levels and the handling of write-ins (and not just in the southern part of the state). But I don't want to report any of these reports until someone can document them. The only reason I'm mentioning them is because people (who I don't know) claim to have heard about them in the Florida media, which is something but not very much. At the same time, I would encourage students of Florida politics to study the numbers all across the state very carefully. You can start at cnn.com.

I am also hearing unsubstantiated reports of street protests. Have you noticed the widespread pattern of inadequate provision for voters in African-American communities? These include Miami and New York. In St. Louis, large numbers of voters who had been waiting in line were sent home by an appeals court after a day of chaos; according to cnn.com, George W. Bush won Missouri by fewer than 80,000 votes.

Finally, for a critical discussion of proposed online voting schemes that takes its point of departure from today's problems, see this statement by Lauren Weinstein:

      http://www.vortex.com/reality/2000-11-08

If anybody else has any real documentation of issues relating to the Florida recount and the larger controversy about the legitimacy of the election, please send it to me. If you just have rumors, please please take a few minutes and try to document them.]

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
This message was forwarded through the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE). You are welcome to send the message along to others but please do not use the "redirect" option. For information about RRE, including instructions for (un)subscribing, see http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/pagre/rre.html
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000 16:17:14 EST
From: HRMG@aol.com

The result of the US Presidential election comes down to who wins Florida. One of the issues of the recount concerns the ballot in Palm Beach County. Because of the number of candidates running, the names of the candidates were placed on two side-by side pages of the voting booklet in the ballot booth. Voters were instructed to find the name of the candidate they wanted to vote for and punch a hole opposite the name in the underlying card.

As it turned out, the first name on the left-hand page of the Presidential ballot was Republican Party candidate George W. Bush; the second name was Al Gore. The first name on the right hand side page was Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate. As a result, those who wanted to vote for Gore needed to find the THIRD HOLE on the page to have their vote properly recorded; many later complained that they mistakenly punched the SECOND HOLE because the Gore name appeared as the SECOND name on the page. If they punched the second hole inadvertently, their vote would have been recorded for Pat Buchanan.

Here are the facts about the vote in Florida and Palm Beach County. There were 5,972,319 total votes cast in Florida with Bush having 2,909,199 and Gore 2,907,544...a difference of 1,655 votes. (Since these numbers were posted on the MyFlorida.com site earlier this morning, additional results have been tabulated and have been reported in the press.) For the record, Ralph Nader won 96,896 total votes in Florida and Pat Buchanan received 20,294...1.62% and .34% of the total, respectively. (Nationally, Nader got 2.6% and Buchanan .44%.)

The results in Palm Beach County were quite different. Here Gore won 62.21% of the vote (268,945) to Bush's 35.36% (152,846). Nader received 5,564 votes (1.29%) and Pat Buchanan, 3,407 votes (.79%). With only 1,655 votes now separating the two principal candidates in Florida and the difference between one party winning the U.S. Presidency and the other losing it, Buchanan's vote count seems highly significant. By my calculation, he received 132% more votes in Palm Beach County than he won in the State overall. Looked at this another way: Palm Beach County represented 7.24% of the State's total vote; but it contributed 17% of the total votes received by Pat Buchanan.

In short, I think some of the voters were in fact confused and that some of the Buchanan vote in Palm Beach County was in fact intended for Al Gore. There were a total of 432,286 votes cast in Palm Beach County; had Buchanan received the same proportion of votes that he received Statewide, he would have gotten only 1,469 votes. Put another way, it suggests that some of the "extra" 1,938 votes that went to Buchanan might actually have been meant for Gore. A change of only 828 votes in the Bush/Gore contest would have reversed the result and given Gore the 25 electoral votes. Conclusion: It is quite plausible to me to suppose that the ballot did in fact confuse enough voters to have had a role in the outcome. The bottom line question is should that be sufficient grounds to try to change the final Florida result if the recount itself leaves the results stand as we know them today?

Godfrey (Jeff) Harris
Harris/Ragan Management Group
Pulbic Policy Consultants Since 1968
9200 Sunset Blvd., Suite 404
Los Angeles, CA 90069 USA
Tel: (1) 310 278 8037
Fax: (1) 310 271 3649
hrmg@aol.com


Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 11:54:09 -0800
From: "Paul H. Rosenberg"
To: Phil Agre
Subject: Re: [RRE]Florida recount

Phil,

I was involved in an investigation into irregularities in the 1992 LA Supervisors race. Since it's a non-partisan post & both candidate were Democrats, there was NO instutional support for the challenge. In the course of that investigation, I learned of the Buddy Mackay case, which seems like such a blatant case of electoral fraud that I literally couldn't believe I'd never even heard of it at the time. It was open-and-shut compared to our investigation, but we found substantial evidence as well.

We found significant statistical evidence of irregularities that pointed to misalignment of cards either in the voting or counting process -- things like massive voting levels in down-ballot races for water district combined with low levels of voting in hotly-contested down-ballot races. We cross-checked by doing pairwise comparisons of demographically similar precincts.

There was overwhelming prima facia statistical evidence of voting irregularities -- and the statistics involved were pretty elementary. I even used an off-the-shelf statistical package to generate graphs & illustrations for our report to the DA. But the DA's office (Garcetti had just been elected, but his oppenent had withdrawn months before after being forced into a run-off) had NO ONE who was qualified to review the material we presented. They didn't even have someone to retain as a consultant, AND they had no interest in going out and finding someone (say, by picking up the phone and calling UCLA or USC). So nothing came of the case, except that I made some lasting friendships. I called on of them this morning as I learned of the irregularities in Florida this morning.

I strongly urge you to do more on this. I talked to the executive director of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party this morning & offered him what little advice I could, given the differences between the two sitautions. There's definitely no way of telling which way this will go (but the record to date is not good). I'm including an article from a local Florida paper I downloaded about an hour ago. It's pretty sketchy, but better than nothing. (I'm forwarding your email to the reporter whose email is listed at the end of the story.)

--
Paul Rosenberg
Reason and Democracy
rad@gte.net

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

Report this post as:

web site to demand re-count

by TK Friday, Nov. 10, 2000 at 4:48 PM

Here is a web-site to submit a petition demanding a re-vote. You can change the petition from just a revote in Palm Beach County to all of Florida.

www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?ItemId=9237

Report this post as:

Misgivings

by Harel Barzilai Friday, Nov. 10, 2000 at 6:20 PM
hb11@harelbarzilai.org

I have mixed feelings about this petition -- it only asks

for Palm Beach to be re-voted...yet there were

significant reports of violations of fair voting in other parts of

FL....I worry that if this petition "succeeds"

they may only fix that problem, and it

would serve to "validate" the whole election

without addressing the serous charges of abuse elsewhere..

Report this post as:

Confusing Ballots: A Standard Tactic?

by john kawakami Friday, Nov. 10, 2000 at 7:17 PM

These confusing ballots brings up the question of whether these ballots are a well known "trade secret" to bias votes. Remember that the Bushes are involved in Florida politics, so they are motivated to use all the possible tricks to get W elected.

In LA County, the candidates are listed down a single column, so there's no confusion. Furthermore, the order of the candidates is randomized, so that any biases that can result from having one candidate next to another are diminished. Not so everywhere.

The Palm Beach ballots didn't just confuse people. They clearly showed Bush on top of Gore, giving him some added "status". Imagine if Gore were on top. It could persuade a Nader voter or two to reconsider and vote for Gore, or a Buchanan supporter to vote for Bush. You'll see these subtle mind-games played out in the supermarket and the drugstore, where labels are made to look similar, products are placed in different positions, and aisles are ordered to influence your purchases.

These low-level tactics, combined with traditional forms of fraud like disposing votes, buying votes, and impeding access to the polls, can throw all kinds of races. It just shows what's at stake here, because the political offices hold just enough power to make fraud profitable.

Report this post as:

Get over it!!!!!

by josh Saturday, Nov. 11, 2000 at 3:32 AM

I appreciate this site for a fair appraisal of what is happening in the world, but in this case Gore is overanticicating his victory. There are 2 million absentee ballots still out throughout the country and therefore he stands a big chance of losing the popular election. Please look at some more conservative sources and maybe balance your appraisal of the situation. The mainstream media favor Gore and is making allegations that are overshadowing what is really going on. What about the Democrats buying votes in Wisconsin from homeless people? The idea that the ballots are too complicated for people to understand is ridiculous! Four years ago a similar amount of votes were thrown out in the same county. The Democrats approved the ballot in question and should accept responsibility for their mistake. You could throw out the whole county in question, but you know Bush would win Florida overwhelmingly. Please search out the truth and try not to be fooled by the liberal media. The truth is upsetting to some but I thought the point of this site was accuracy. I admit I look at Gore with cynicism, but that is a result of my perception of dishonesty from him and my deduction of whats really happening in our country from a variety of media outlets.

Report this post as:

Rules are Rules

by Bart Saturday, Nov. 11, 2000 at 2:46 PM
bcook@bigfoot.com

Mr. Gore apparently thinks it is "the American Way" to be able to call for a change in the rules after the game has ended. Nobody, not even Mr. Gore, gets to change the rules after play has ended.

The rules are pretty clear. You get to (but don't have to) vote. You get one ballot. If you mess up, you can ask for another ballot, but once you turn it in, you're done. If you messed it up (double vote), it is thrown out. If you voted for the wrong person, shame on you, but too bad. The onus is on the citizen to have prepared (but he/she is not required to have prepared), and to bear the responsibility for how the ballot is marked.

Nowhere does it say that it is the government's responsibility to verify that what you actually did is what you intended to do. And nowhere does it say that one candidate gets to claim all the mismarked ballots as his own, just because without them HE LOSES.

Also, I think election day/night reporting on "Projected" results (all too often cast as if the network had the authority to actually award the electoral votes and CALL the outcome) should be against the law until the last poll in the last state has closed. No actual results, no partial results, no projected results until Hawaii has finished. Then they can project and pontificate (and set themselves up for embarrassment) all they want. But the news media should NOT be allowed to influence the votes yet to be cast by "deciding" that it is all over before they even leave the house.

Report this post as:

"RULES" were BROKEN

by Harel Barzilai Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2000 at 4:17 PM
hb11@harelbarzilai.org

See

article:

"Those Florida Ballots Were Clearly

Illegal..."

http://www.commondreams.org/views/111000-105.htm

Report this post as:

Those Who Cannot Remember The Past...

by Craig Stehr Thursday, Dec. 14, 2000 at 12:05 AM
theunseenrules@chek.com 510-595-8509 640 40th St., Richmond, CA 94805

Read "Votescam", published by Victoria Press, 1993 which concerns Justice Scalia's dismissal of a lawsuit against the Republicans over voting fraud in Florida, during a previous presidential election. His action, moved him politically ahead of his former law teacher Bork, and he was subsequently nominated by the Republicans for the Supreme Court!

Report this post as:

Perhaps the biggest irregularity of all in FL

by Sparky Thursday, Dec. 28, 2000 at 9:16 PM

Florida is one of a handful of states which deny the right to vote, for life, to ex-felons who have completed their sentences. (The other states are New Mexico, Nevada, Iowa, Kentucky, Delaware, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and Wyoming. In addition, four states: - Arizona, Tennessee, Washington, and Maryland - deny the right to vote for life to *some* but not all ex-felons. Mississippi, furthermore, denies the right to vote for life for a simple *misdemeanor* conviction!)

While the numbers vary from state to state, in the case of Florida, 1/3, that's 33%, of their Black population, and around 10% of their total population, is not allowed to vote.

This is, I would argue, a far bigger voting irregularity than the goings on in Palm Beach. It affects possibly 600,000 citizens of Florida including a whole 1/3 of their Black population. Thus, the vote in Florida and in these other states I mentioned clearly does not reflect the will of the people, vote fraud or no vote fraud.

Somebody mentioned the book _Votescam_. I read that several years ago, and it's worth reading because it concerns vote fraud in Florida. However, I'd take it with a few grains of salt. It is full of specific examples of vote fraud in Florida going back as far as the 1970s and 1980s, but when the authors try to expand that into an overarching conspiracy theory about the vote nationwide being controlled, and then link that to the Mae Brussell conspiracy theories and the JFK assassination, that is where, IMHO, that book falls flat on its face.

Report this post as:

Damn Guess you lost this one

by REAL DEAL Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 4:11 PM

HAHAHA....BUSH WINS!!!!!

BUSH WINS!!!! Must really sting to see that again huh?

Report this post as:

Bush will lose this one, too

by Bush Admirer Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 4:13 PM

Yeah. I can't wait until the impeachment starts.

Report this post as:

Simple

by Simple Simon Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 5:25 PM

Hundreds of servicemen's absentee ballots thrown out.

The real Florida voting scam, brought to you by Albert Gore Junior.

Report this post as:

Not to mention...

by Diogenes Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 6:01 PM

...the estimated 60 Million Dollars in "soft" money used to buy off Democrat Voting Officials. Heaven forfend we should mention that.

Report this post as:

Simple

by Simple Simon Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 6:42 PM

Blow me, pinko.

Report this post as:

Simple

by Simple Simon Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 6:59 PM

Kindly back up the allegations of 60 million dollars buying off election officials. First I've heard of it.

Report this post as:

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