Incredible As It May Seem, MSNBC Covers Voting Problems
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Just watched Keith Olbermann on MSNBC in which he did a story on election
problems. He said that there were 90,000 more votes cast in Ohio than
registered voters (he went through a list of counties and said how many
voters were registered in each and how many extra thousands of votes were
He reported how in Florida counties, heavily-leaning dem counties went
overwhelmingly for Bush -- the first time these counties have ever voted
Repub. He showed charts with numbers, etc., it was very compelling.
He said that all the irregularities in Florida and Ohio have happened in
counties using non-paper-trail e-voting from the companies run by Bush's
He interviewed a reporter from the Cincinnati paper who discussed how
homeland security barred reporters from witnessing the voting in some of
the major minority areas in town, that this was the first time the press
was ever kept out of and barred from witnessing the voting. The Sec of
State in Ohio says that it was under orders from Bush's Homeland Security
chief, who said that these cities in Ohio were under a highly increased
threat of terrorism during the election. For this reason, only one entrance
was open for the voting in these (largely democratic) areas, and the press
was barred from coming in to see the voting, or to have the usual offices
in the building they have had in every past year.
Olbermann then had Rep. John Conyers on and there are a dozen or so
representatives demanding an investigation from the GAO. So it's
Chicago-style voting taken to a national level -- the GOP dead vote, the
GOP takes away votes from Dems and turned them into Bush votes, and they
just add extra votes (for pres, not on the other issues or candidates) to
In Florida where Bush scored big, on the same ballots Democratic measures
scored big, such as making a Florida minimum wage $1 above the federal
level. In other words, all these people voted for Bush AND voted to pass
these Democratic measures, which the GOP had tried to defeat. So this
indicates that only the presidential election voting was rigged, they
didn't rig the rest of the voting form.
Looks like maybe we're going to get some sort of investigation into the
fraud that's gone down after all, even if Kerry caved in.
Also, some counties in Ohio where the press has always been allowed to
inspect figures from voting -- have been taken away and they're not allowed
to view them. They're filing something in court to force the Sec of State
to release them for public review.
Also, one heavily-Dem county in Florida discovered a huge stack of absentee
ballots that had not been counted and told the Sec of State's office about
the ballots and said they would count them -- and the Sec of State told
them to hold on, and then came and took the ballots away, so the officials
in that county were never able to count them.
Bush's 'Incredible' Vote Tallies
By Sam Parry
November 9, 2004
George W. Bush’s vote tallies, especially in the key state of Florida, are
so statistically stunning that they border on the unbelievable.
While it’s extraordinary for a candidate to get a vote total that exceeds
his party’s registration in any voting jurisdiction – because of non-voters
– Bush racked up more votes than registered Republicans in 47 out of 67
counties in Florida. In 15 of those counties, his vote total more than
doubled the number of registered Republicans and in four counties, Bush
more than tripled the number.
Statewide, Bush earned about 20,000 more votes than registered Republicans.
By comparison, in 2000, Bush’s Florida total represented about 85 percent
of the total number of registered Republicans, about 2.9 million votes
compared with 3.4 million registered Republicans.
Bush achieved these totals although exit polls showed him winning only
about 14 percent of the Democratic vote statewide – statistically the same
as in 2000 when he won 13 percent of the Democratic vote – and losing
Florida’s independent voters to Kerry by a 57 percent to 41 percent margin.
In 2000, Gore won the independent vote by a much narrower margin of 47 to
[For details on the Florida turnout in 2000, see
http://www.msnbc.com/m/d2k/g/polls.asp?office=P&state=FL. For details on
the 2004 Florida turnout, see
Exit Poll Discrepancies
Similar surprising jumps in Bush’s vote tallies across the country –
especially when matched against national exits polls showing Kerry winning
by 51 percent to 48 percent – have fed suspicion among rank-and-file
Democrats that the Bush campaign rigged the vote, possibly through
systematic computer hacking.
Republican pollster Dick Morris said the Election Night pattern of mistaken
exit polls favoring Kerry in six battleground states – Florida, Ohio, New
Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa – was virtually inconceivable.
“Exit polls are almost never wrong,” Morris wrote. “So reliable are the
surveys that actually tap voters as they leave the polling places that they
are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World
countries. … To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them
is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that
incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play
But instead of following his logic that the discrepancy suggested vote
tampering – as it would in Latin America, Africa or Eastern Europe – Morris
postulated a bizarre conspiracy theory that the exit polls were part of a
scheme to have the networks call the election for Kerry and thus discourage
Bush voters on the West Coast. Of course, none of the networks did call any
of the six states for Kerry, making Morris’s conspiracy theory nonsensical.
Nevertheless, some Democrats have agreed with Morris's bottom-line
recommendation that the whole matter deserves “more scrutiny and
investigation.” [The Hill, Nov. 8, 2004]
Democratic doubts about the Nov. 2 election have deepened with anecdotal
evidence of voters reporting that they tried to cast votes for Kerry but
touch-screen voting machines came up registering their votes for Bush.
In Ohio, election officials said an error with an electronic voting system
in Franklin County gave Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, more
than 1,000 percent more than he actually got.
Yet, without a nationwide investigation, it’s impossible to know whether
those cases were isolated glitches or part of a more troubling pattern.
If Bush’s totals weren’t artificially enhanced, they would represent one of
the most remarkable electoral achievements in U.S. history.
In the two presidential elections since Sen. Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton
in 1996, Bush would have increased Republican voter turnout nationwide by a
whopping 52 percent from just under 40 million votes for Dole to just under
60 million votes for the GOP ticket in 2004.
Such an increase in voter turnout over two consecutive election cycles is
not unprecedented, but has historically flowed from landslide victories
that see shifting voting patterns, with millions of crossover voters
straying from one party to the other.
For example, in 1972, Richard Nixon increased Republican turnout by 73.5
percent over Barry Goldwater’s performance two elections earlier. But this
turnout was amplified by the fact that Goldwater lost in 1964 to Lyndon
Johnson by about 23 percentage points and Nixon trounced George McGovern by
23 percentage points.
What’s remarkable about Bush’s increase over the last two elections is that
Democrats have done an impressive job boosting their own voter turnout from
1996 to 2004. Over this period, candidates Al Gore and John Kerry increased
Democratic turnout by about 18 percent, from roughly 47.5 million votes in
1996 to nearly 56 million in 2004.
What this suggests is that Bush is not so much winning his new votes from
Democrats crossing over, but rather by going deeper than many observers
thought possible into new pockets of dormant Republican voters.
But where did these new voters come from, and how did Bush manage to
accelerate his turnout gains at a time when the Democratic ticket was also
substantially increasing its turnout?
While the statistical analysis of these new voters is only just beginning,
Bush’s ability to find nearly 9 million new voters in an election year when
his Democratic opponent also saw gains of about 5 million new voters is the
story of the 2004 election.
Exit polls also suggest that voters identifying themselves as Republicans
voted as a greater proportion of the electorate than in 2000 and that Bush
won a slightly greater percent of the Republican vote.
The party breakdown in 2000 was 39 percent Democrats, 35 percent
Republicans, and 27 percent independents. In 2000, Bush won the Republican
vote by 91 percent to 8 percent; narrowly won the independent vote by 47
percent to 45 percent and picked up 11 percent of the Democratic vote
compared with Gore’s Democratic turnout of 86 percent. [See
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/epolls/US/P000.html for details.]
According to exit polls this year, the turnout broke evenly among Democrats
and Republicans, with about 37 percent each. Independents represented about
26 percent of the electorate. Kerry actually did better among independents,
winning that group of voters by a narrow 49 percent to 48 percent margin.
However, Bush did slightly better among the larger number of Republican
voters, winning 93 percent of their vote, while matching his 2000
performance by taking about 11 percent of the Democratic vote.
While this turnout might strike many observers as unusual in an election
year that witnessed huge voter registration and mobilization efforts by
Democrats and groups aligned with Democrats, the increased GOP turnout does
seem to fit with the campaign strategy deployed by the Bush team to run to
From the start of the 2004 campaign, political strategist Karl Rove and the
Bush team made its goals clear – maximize Bush’s support among social and
economic conservatives – including Evangelicals and Club for
Growth/anti-government conservatives – and turn them out by driving up
Kerry’s negatives with harsh attacks questioning Kerry’s leadership
This strategy emerged from Rove’s estimate after the 2000 election that 4
million Evangelical voters stayed home that year. The Bush/Rove strategy in
2004 rested primarily on turning out that base of support.
But, even if one were to estimate that 100 percent of these Evangelical
voters turned out for Bush in 2004 and that 100 percent of Bush’s 2000
supporters turned out again for him, this still leaves about 5 million new
Bush voters unaccounted for.
Altogether, Bush’s new 9 million votes came mainly from the largest states
in the country. But nowhere was Bush’s performance more incredible than in
Florida, where Bush found roughly 1 million new voters, about 11 percent
all new Bush voters nationwide and more than twice the number of new voters
than in any other state other than Texas.
Bush increased his turnout in all 67 Florida counties, marking the second
consecutive election in which Bush increased Republican vote totals in all
Florida counties, and overall achieved a 34 percent increase in Florida
votes over his 2000 total.
Since Bob Dole’s 1996 turnout of 2.24 million Florida votes, Bush has
increased the GOP’s performance in the state by an astonishing 74 percent.
Making Bush’s gains even more impressive, Kerry also saw gains in all but
five Florida counties and in 22 counties earned at least 10,000 more votes
than Gore earned in 2000.
But Bush’s vote gains exceeded Kerry’s in all the large counties in the
state except in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade, where Kerry increased his
turnout by 56,000 new votes compared with Bush’s 40,000 new votes. This
Democratic improvement in Miami-Dade seems to have come in large part from
Democratic success in registering new voters in the county by almost a
2-to-1 margin over Republicans.
In spite of this new-voter registration advantage, Kerry only earned a
7-to-5 increase of new voter turnout over Bush in Miami-Dade, a statistical
oddity given the fact that Kerry did a better job than Gore in turning out
his Democratic base, earning a vote total equaling 85 percent of all
registered Democrats in the county compared with Gore’s total in 2000
equaling 83 percent of all registered Democrats.
In other Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties, Kerry
gained 114,000 new voters, earning nearly 770,000 votes, and bested Bush by
more than 320,000 votes. But, this was actually a modest improvement for
Bush over 2000, thanks to Bush’s increase of 119,000 new voters in these
counties, from 330,000 votes in 2000 to 449,000 votes in 2004.
Bush’s performance in these two counties is worth studying in greater
detail. In both counties, Democrats saw a significant increase in new voter
registration since 2000, more than 77,000 newly registered Democrats in
Broward and 34,000 newly registered Democrats in Palm Beach.
Republicans on the other hand only registered 17,000 new voters in Broward
and a bit more than 2,000 new voters in Palm Beach. While both counties saw
substantial numbers of new unaffiliated or third party registered voters,
the Democratic advantage in both counties combined of more than 111,000
newly registered Dems against fewer than 20,000 newly registered GOP
voters, as well as the voter intensity that these new registration rates
usually represent, suggested that Kerry should have done better than Bush
relative to the 2000 election.
Instead, Bush actually increased his vote total in the two counties by
earning about 5,000 more new voters than Kerry.
Beyond southern Florida, Bush took turnout throughout the state to a new
level, testing the bounds of statistical probability by winning votes
seemingly from every corner of the state, from the panhandle to the Gulf
Coast, from the I-4 corridor to the Atlantic Coast from Jacksonville to
Another county worth examining in some detail is Orange County, a swing
county home to Orlando in the center of the state. As in Miami-Dade, Palm
Beach, and Broward counties, Democrats successfully registered
substantially more new voters than Republicans, about 49,000 new Democrats
against about 25,000 new Republicans.
These gains broke what was once a statistical tie in registered voters
between the parties, giving Democrats a 214,000 to 187,000 advantage across
the county. But Kerry only managed a narrow countywide victory with 192,030
votes against 191,389 votes for Bush. In 2000, Gore carried the county with
140,115 votes against 134,476 votes for Bush.
While it's conceivable Bush might have achieved these and other gains
through his hardball campaign strategies and strong get-out-the-vote
effort, many Americans, looking at these and other statistically incredible
Bush vote counts, are likely to continue to suspect that the Republicans
put a thumb on the electoral scales, somehow exaggerating Bush's tallies
through manipulation of computer tabulations.
Only an open-minded investigation with public scrutiny would have much hope
of quelling these rising suspicions.
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