Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bill Noxid on the "Diebold Effect"

Hey, I'm a cautious guy, not given to conspiracy theories. Even when someone advances a first-person narrative so compelling that it becomes hard to swallow what is regarded as common knowledge, I am still able to go with the "generally accepted" version, if for no other reason than I'm not in any position to do much to change it.

But Bill Noxid's suspicions about voting machines is a nagging piece of work that won't go away. Think Freakanomicks, one chapter long. Comparing the New Hampshire primary results by paper ballot and machine ballot he discovered a discrepancy that is hard to accept.

What this clearly shows however, is where the 14% points some polls indicated Obama was leading by went. As you can see, the ballots that were counted by hand give Obama a 7.5% win while the Accuvote “count” gives Clinton a 5.5% win. The combined “shift” is 13%. Here is where the percentage points disappear that were expected right up to the casting of ballots. Not tears, not lazy young people, right here in this “shift”.

There’s no way to legitimately explain why this discrepancy would exist. These are people in the same state, voting for the same set of candidates, from the same party, and on the same day. Nothing happened to one group that didn’t happen to the other. One group doesn’t have information that the other group doesn’t have. One group couldn’t have been “moved” by the “tears” while the other was not. One group could not have had sudden “black-voting phobia” while the other did not, so these “news” people need to start looking for a plausible explanation. The only difference between these two groups is that one had their votes counted by hand, and the other by Accuvote. One group voted definitively for Obama, and the other definitively for Clinton… And as usual, after combining the two the ultimate margin of victory is too thin to be challenged and finding the truth is like finding a needle in a haystack.

If we were to apply the hand count as the standard, then the 5.5% win given to Clinton by Accuvote would actually be a 7.5% Obama win. Thus Obama would have won by nearly 15% and the pre-primary polls, the genuine voter turnout, and the pundits themselves would have all been right for a change. The real question then is which is harder for the American people to believe? The fact that every poll, every pundit, every voter interviewed, and every sensibility turned out to be so drastically wrong, or that Accuvote “flipped” the vote as it has done so many times before

Curious readers can read the details at the link.

This is one of those I-report-you-decide items.

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