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The Higher the Vote Turnout, the Fewer Votes for Kerry!
Go figure!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 4:54pm PT  

There's been much talk about the 97,489 more votes than voters cast in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. A plausible explanation for the huge difference between votes and actual voters, as reported via the Cuyahoga County website), is being attributed by County Officials to the strange method they have for including absentee ballots into the vote counts separately from the Election Day voters. Or something.

So setting that oddity aside for the moment, take a look at this interesting graph. I have not been able to confirm the specific numbers it shows, so I can't testify to it's accuracy, but I'm posting it here because, if accurate, this seems worth getting out to the world for further scrutiny.

Though it's difficult to read this small, the trend-lines are all that really matter here (The full sized graph is here).

If correct, this graph would seem to show that precinct-by-precinct in Cuyahoga County, Ohio --- where Cleveland is, and thus it's a heavily Democratic county --- the larger the turnout in each precinct, the smaller the percentage of the vote for Kerry!

The GREEN trend line is the size of voter turnout in each precinct, and the BLUE trend line is the percentage of votes for Kerry.

While conventional wisdom is often wrong, if the above numbers are accurate, it does seem a bit odd to say the least that the higher the turnout in a strongly Democratic county (Kerry won Cuyahoga 63%-33% if I recall correctly), would result in a smaller percentage of votes for the Democrat!

I don't know what to make of it, or how to explain it, but it seems worth putting out there for the armchair investigators.

UPDATE: I was asked what the balloting/counting methods are in Cuyahoga County. Apparently punch card, as counted by machines made by our old friends at ...Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S). Source




It Gets Curiouser and Curiouser...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2004 10:09pm PT  

I referred to Auglaize County, Ohio in the previous item as having the 4th highest percentage of votes for George W. Bush in all of Ohio.

The Evening Leader is reporting on some very strange goings on in that county just prior to the election when the entire Elections Board was notified by Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's office that they were being placed on "administrative oversight". No explanation was has yet been given by the Ohio Sec. of State's office.

The nugget that caught my eye was this report of an ES&S employee reported using the main vote tallying computer --- against election protocol --- about two weeks prior to the election:

In a letter dated Oct. 21, Ken Nuss, former deputy director of the Auglaize County Board of Elections, claimed that Joe McGinnis, a former employee of Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the company that provides the voting system in Auglaize County, was on the main computer that is used to create the ballot and compile election results, which would go against election protocol. Nuss claimed in the letter that McGinnis was allowed to use the computer the weekend of Oct. 16.

Nuss, who resigned from his job Oct. 21 after being suspended for a day, was responsible for overseeing the computerized programming of election software, according to his job description. His resignation is effective Nov. 11.

I've attempted, to no avail, to get more information on this story since the original report is not particularly well written, and offers quite a few vagaries. I couldn't reach the original reporter and Mr. Nuss did not return my call. Few other reporters seem to be looking into it. So at this point, I think it's important to get the story out there, and let the Internets take over. (Since apparently the Mainstream Media is more interested in Scott Peterson's hung jury, than the will of the people in the world's most important democracy.)




'Something zapped it'
Something? (ES&S Again!)
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2004 8:18pm PT  

Why is it only in heavy Democratic counties that votes just seem to disappear? But in Republican counties, votes just seem to get added? This time, "something zapped it" in a heavily Democratic country in Indiana:

"Maybe there was a power surge," LaPorte County Clerk Lynne Spevak said. "Something zapped it."

At about 7 p.m. Tuesday, it was noticed that the first two or three printouts from individual precinct reports all listed an identical number of voters. Each precinct was listed as having 300 registered voters.

That means the total number of voters for the county would be 22,200, although there are actually more than 79,000 registered voters.
...
Spevak said workers at the clerk's office thought a computer correction could be done once they received a software patch from Election Systems and Software, the Chicago company that provided the tabulation software. However, the patch did not work.

"We thought we could get a copy of it e-mailed file to us and start all over, but once the program was downloaded from Chicago, it still didn't work right," Spevak said.

Dots connecting yet for ya? If not, read on. Otherwise, I'm working on trying to organize some "action items" now. Hope to have news on that in the next day or two...




ES&S Strikes/Fails Again
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2004 8:07pm PT  

How many of these is it gonna take before the "Grownups" in the Media and the DNC realize what seems to be going on here?

Sarpy County election officials are trying to figure out how they ended up with more votes than voters in the general election. As many as 10,000 extra votes have been tallied and candidates are still waiting for corrected totals.
...
For some reason, some votes were counted twice.

Deputy Sarpy County Election Commissioner Ed Gilbert says, "It affected 32 of the 80 precincts. And I suppose as many as 10,000 votes."

Sarpy County borrowed the election equipment from Omaha-based Election Systems & Software. Its employees operated the machines that are now double-checking the ballots.

No one is sure exactly what went wrong.

Uh...perhaps it's the fact that ES&S employees are operating these machines?? Instead of Election Officials?! Isn't that the law in these matters?




Troubling Evidence is Beginning to Mount!
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2004 5:38pm PT  

Folks are beginning to pay attention, guys!

Wired Magazine is now reporting that three Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee are now calling for an investigation of the troubling incidents that we've been reporting concerning irregularities in Tuesday's vote counting!:

Three congressmen sent a letter to the General Accounting Office on Friday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday's elections.

The congressmen, Democratic members of the House of Representatives from Florida, New York and Michigan, cited a number of incidents that came to light in the days after the election. One was a glitch in Ohio that caused a memory card reader made by Danaher Controls to give George W. Bush 3,893 more votes than he should have received. Another was a problem with memory cards in North Carolina that caused machines made by UniLect to lose 4,500 votes cast on e-voting machines. The votes were lost when the number of votes cast on the machines exceeded the capacity of the memory cards.

There were also problems with machines that counted absentee ballots in Florida. Software made by Election Systems & Software began subtracting votes when totals surpassed 32,000. Officials said the problem affected only certain countywide races on one of the last pages of the ballot. Elections officials knew about the problem two years ago, but the company failed to fix the software before the election this year.

Reports from voters in Florida and Ohio also indicated that some of them had problems voting for the candidate of their choice. When they tried to vote for John Kerry, they said, the machine either wouldn't register the vote at all or would indicate on the review page that the vote was cast for Bush instead.

Click for complete story...

Keep up the noise, guys! They're starting to listen! I've had other unconfirmed reports about both Dems and the Kerry campaign beginning to take notice of all of this as well!

UPDATE: House Judiciary Committee Letter to GAO, as mentioned above, available here in PDF format. (Hat tip "Shari H-D" for the link!)




By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2004 3:13pm PT  

In a different North Carolina incident to the one we've already report where some 4500 votes were lost for good from a single NC E-Voting machine, The Sun-Journal is now reporting additional North Carolina E-vote errors:

A systems software glitch in Craven County's electronic voting equipment is being blamed for a vote miscount that, when corrected, changed the outcome of at least one race in Tuesday's election.

Then, in the rush to make right the miscalculation that swelled the number of votes for president here by 11,283 more votes than the total number cast, a human mistake further delayed accurate totals for the 40,534 who voted.
...
An override, like those occurring when one attempts to save a computer file that already exists, is supposed to prevent double counting, but did not function correctly, [Craven County Elections Director, Tiffiney] Miller said.

This machine in question, by the way, was also an ES&S machine.

The story also notes that "a national Republican political consultant who had watched the returns and had some concern that other precincts were involved in the problem entered the office." --- Hello? Are there "national Democratic political consultants" out there who are watching this stuff as well?!




By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2004 12:56pm PT  

Miami Herald now reporting that 70,000 votes were "discovered" last night in Broward County, FL for a gambling initiative that reversed the previously announced outcome. [emphasis mine, and mostly notable to those who have been following along with previously reported items]:

Broward County corrected a computer glitch Thursday that had miscounted thousands of absentee votes, instantly turning a slot-machine measure from loser to winner and reinforcing concerns about the accuracy of electronic election returns.

The bug, discovered two years ago but never fixed, began subtracting votes after the absentee tally hit 32,500 --- a ceiling put in place by the software makers.
...
The problem was quickly traced to software in what is known as the central tabulation machine, a computer that collects data from optical scanners that read the individual mail-in ballots.
...
County officials blamed Election Systems & Software, the company that sold the machines and counting software to Broward.

County officials say they think ES&S failed to follow through on a problem that was brought to their attention two years ago, during the 2002 general election.

ES&S spokeswoman Becky Vollmer said the glitch --- which limits the number of votes that can be counted in each precinct to safeguard against ballot stuffing --- will be fixed in software updates they are submitting to the Division of Elections next year.
...
Alia Faraj, [FL Secretary of State, Glenda] Hood's spokeswoman, said ES&S had not previously submitted any information about the counting cap in its tabulation software, which is supposed to be certified by the Secretary of State's Office.
...
The tabulation software was set to reverse the vote count at 32,500. It was triggered when Broward counted all 97,535 absentee ballots in one mega-precinct Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Hello? Connect. The. Dots.

(For more on the Optical Scan oddities in Florida, and info on who ES&S is, see this previous item.)




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