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COUP WATCH: Gore Won Most Votes, Miami Herald Study Finds

by Paul H. Rosenberg Tuesday, Dec. 05, 2000 at 10:21 AM
rad@gte.net

A slim margin of Florida voters--perhaps as many as 23,000--favored Gore at the ballot box according to a study commisioned by the Maimi Herals and conducted by Stephen Doig of Arizona State University.

errorCOUP WATCH: Gore Won Most Votes, Miami Herald Study Finds

By Paul Rosenberg

A slim margin of Florida voters--perhaps as many as 23,000--favored Gore at the ballot box according to a study commisioned by the Maimi Herals and conducted by Stephen Doig of Arizona State University. The study analysed voting patterns in each of Floridas 5,885 precincts--more than 10 precincts for each vote Bush lead by in the totals certrified his campaign co-chair Katherine Harris.

Doigs analysis was described as analyzing extremes--one extreme assumed that every discareded ballot represents an intended, but uncounted vote, the other extreme assumes that none of them represents an uncounted vote. The second extreme, is the reality that we have, that Gov. Bush won by a razor-thin 500 votes,'' according to Doig, who went on to say, "I'm no psychic. I don't know what they really intended to do, but I do know that almost anywhere in that margin, Gore wins. You can argue about where in the point it should be.'' But even if you assume that 90% of the ballots discarded were genuine no votes, Gore would still win by around 1,400 vites.

The analysis was based on the assumption that the missing votes would follow the voting pattern of the precints they were cast in. There were significantly higher rates of missing votes in Gore-leaning precincts, about 1 in 27 compared to 1 in 40 in Bush-leaning precincts. Following this pattern, the uncounted ballots would break 56% to Gore, 42% to Bush and the remainder to Nader and other minor party candidates. If all 185,000 votes are assigned this way, Gore gains about 103,000 to Bushs additional 78,000 votes, leaving Gore with margin of over 23,000.

The analysis confirmed earlier county-level reports that the method of voting played an enormous role in the level of uncounted votes. There were 336 precincts with 10% uncounted, of which 277 (78%) used punch cards. There were 51 precincts with 20% uncounted, of which 45 (88%) used punch cards. This compares with a national average of just 2%, and a 1.4% average in Florida counties with optical systems. Fully 11% of Florida precincts had *no* missing votes.

Nearly half of Gore's victory margin--over 11,000 votes--would come from Palm Beach County, with over 1,000 more from Broward, Miami-Dade, Duval and Pinellas. Duval County deserves special attention on a number of counts:

* Duval Countys disqualification rate of 9.3% was triple the rate of the 1996 presidential election.

* Duval was the only one of these counties carried by Bush, but an earlier analysis reported by COUP WATCH showed that within Duval county the number of missing votes per precinct was tightly correlated with the number of Gore votes. Michael Robinson of Netrinsics.com found that only Gore votes were strongly correlated with missing votes. There was about 1 void ballot for every 4 Gore votes--a relationship that holds across all precincts, large or small, Republican or Democrat, according to our earlier report.

* 16,000 of 27,000 ballots uncounded in Duval County came from black precincts, according to local Congresswoman Corrine Brown (reported in the Palm Beach Post last Wednesday). A Republican election supervisor misinformed local black leaders about the extraordinary number of disqualified votes until after the 7-hour deadline to file protests, according to a Washington Post story by Thomas Edsall on the same day.

Together, Palm Beach and Duval accounted for 31% of the mising ballots, with just 12% of total votes cast.

The study is limited to votes cast, and makes no attempt to assess the impact of various reported forms of interference that prevented minorities from even casting a vote. These include reports of intimidation, mistaken removal from voting roles, misdirection of voters to other precincts, and refusal to allow voters to cast provisional votes in light of such confusion. Nor does it address the votes for Buchanan in Palm Beach County which even Buchanan has said dont belong to him. All these factors would indicate that studys conclusion represents a conservative estimate.

=============
For the original Miami Herald story, click the link below.
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