Oddity, Which Applied Only to Obama, Never Occurred Before, Remains Unexplained, But 'Didn't Make a Difference' in Final Results, According to State Official Who Confirmed the Anomaly...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2008, 4:19pm PT  

Early on election night last Tuesday, with just 18.07% of the unofficial returns from the Pennsylvania Primary in, astute BRAD BLOG reader Matt Sircely (who was aware enough to save off the HTML page locally!) noticed the following oddity on the official Dept. of State website results page...

Note the three different sets of bars and percentages representing Obama's tally. The problem did not occur for any other candidate [Update: looks like it did, see updates at bottom of article for more info], as seen on the full web page, which was noticed early in the evening, and saved locally by the alert reader. Whatever the problem, it was eventually corrected by officials.

Today, Sircely called the PA Dept. of State to try and get an explanation of what caused the problem seen above (audio from call is posted at the end of this article)...

The Dept. of State's Director of the Office of Communications and Press, Leslie Amorós, confirmed the Election Night problem, but was unable to explain why it occurred. She told Sircely, during the short phone call, that she'd be happy to try and get an explanation from their technical staff.

She went on to say, however, that whatever caused the anomaly, it didn't effect the outcome of the reported results.

"I think it was just, when it was uploading...um...it didn't make a difference though," Amorós told Sircely during the call, though it remains unclear as to how she knows whether it actually made "a difference" or not.

When queried as to how data is gathered for use on the DoS' results web page, the Communication Director acknowledged that it "varies" from county to county. "Some results are uploaded from counties, some results are pulled from websites and manually entered, some results are faxed to us and manually entered...some are phone called," she noted, before acknowledging, in reference to the triple Obama listing, "that was the first time that had occurred."

Later in the brief conversation, Amorós noted that --- even with all of the media and public watching results, as they were coming in to the PA DoS website on Tuesday night --- "none at all" had bothered to ask about the problem until Sircely did so today.

As The BRAD BLOG reported on Monday, due to the types of electronic voting systems used in more than 85% of the Keystone State, the bulk of results from last Tuesday's election are 100% unverifiable for accuracy in any way, shape or form. As VerifiedVoting.org described the concern, prior to the election, the results would be "essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

Nonetheless, with mountains of documented "problems with voting machines and inaccurate voter registration rolls" which occurred across the state on Tuesday, resulting in "countless eligible voters...needlessly refused the right to vote," as a local consortium of watchdog groups reported [WORD], Hillary Clinton was named the winner over Barack Obama by 9.2 points in the fully faith-based election.

Though the margin in the result was closer to 9 points than 10, due to some lucky math, the media would largely go on to declare her reported victory as the "10 point, double-digit" win she needed to stay in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

At this hour, with 99.99% of results counted, according to the same official PA website which failed, as seen above, on Election Night, Clinton is reported to have won 54.6% of the votes to Obama's 45.4%.

As Sircely's captured webpage shows, with just 18.07% of the unofficial results reported early in the evening last Tuesday, Clinton had garnered 52.8%, while Obama had either 47.2% or 47.4% or 47.5%, depending on which of his three reported totals you may wish to choose from.

Sircely's conversation with PA DoS spokesperson Leslie Amorós follows below (appx 3 mins)...

UPDATE 4/25/08, 12:44pm PT: Since publishing the above, we've heard from several readers who mentioned that they noticed a similar occurrence happening with both McCain and Clinton's totals on Election Night, though we've got no screenshots showing that yet (anybody have one?). In the meantime, we're trying to find out from the PA DoS as to whether they can confirm the problem also having occurred with the other candidates. So, hopefully, more soon in that regard...

UPDATE 4/25/08, 7:15pm PT: DJ Paul Edge has posted screenshots similar to the one above, but with Hillary Clinton showing multiple entries from the PA DoS site. So while we continue to await official confirmation from the PA DoS (not likely until Monday earliest), presuming those other screenshots are also legit, then it's probably safe to assume that whatever happened did not only happen to Obama during the night, as we originally reported. Though DJ Paul sees a different oddity in his series of screenshots. Hopefully it's all just bad web programmer/cache problems. But in the mean time, we look forward to an official explanation from state officials as to what actually happened there.

Prices now slashed in The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive! Please support our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available starting at just $5!
Share article...