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Real Election Fraud

There is damn strong evidence that votes are being stolen in this country. What’s ironic is that there is a simple solution — require all electronic voting machines to have a verifiable paper trail. If ATMs do it, then voting machines can do it.

But I fear that the only way this will happen is if some group hacks into the voting machines and switches all the votes to some nonsense candidate, like Donald Duck. That will wake people up.

I’m especially frustrated at the hypocrisy of politicians who claim to care about voter fraud by passing voter ID laws, but ignore the much more dangerous (and likely) fraud of unverifiable electronic voting machines.

I actually helped build an electronic election results reporting system, which was used to supply results to TV stations and newspapers (so not official results), so I know how dead easy it would be to hack such a system.



  1. Arthanyel wrote:

    Everyone would check out that article. I haven’t had the time (or the mental bandwidth) to dig through their analysis, but it shows a fairly steady and linear trend that the more votes there are in a precinct the more the voting is skewed Republican and to a specific candidate. Off the top of my head, I can’t see any way OTHER than manipulation to get such a smooth trend. That said, they point out the raw voting data is publicly available and urge people to replicate the analysis and I intend to do just that.

    The thing that makes me MOST concerned, however, is that the Republican Party has a long standing general tactic to vigorously accuse the Democrats of doing whatever they are doing to divert attention from themselves – and they have been putting major efforts into addressing “Democrat voter fraud.”

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  2. Gerald wrote:

    From a cousin in Austin TX.

    So, the good news is I voted! and it was crowded and there are lots of enthusiastic voters! But, guess what happened to me! Because yesterday I had heard of potential problems with casting a straight party ballot I decided to go with selecting individual candidates. First block, President. So, I hit my candidate and POW, GREEN CHECK MARK FOR THE OTHER GUY! So, I did it again, and POW, GREEN CHECK MARK FOR THE OTHER GUY!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!
    So, I called over the election official and said, hey, watch this. I hit my candidate and POW, GREEN CHECK MARK FOR THE OTHER GUY!!!! So, they called over the head election judge and they re-calibrated the machine. I actually ended up voting on a different machine but the whole thing was enough to rattle my confidence in the whole ‘electronic voting’ scenario. All I can say is, vote, check your ballot, review your ballot, and if ANYTHING at all looks weird call over an election official and have them set it straight. DO NOT CONFIRM your vote until you are certain it’s all right. Then, I guess all we can do it pray that the votes are counted the same way we vote in the end. The other thing is, vote early to avoid long waits. Based on what I saw today there will be a big turnout on election day and if there are problems it could be time consuming.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  3. Dr. Dan wrote:

    I am disappointed. I had a look at this article and the analysis is misleading, amateurish and inconclusive at best. What the article shows is a correlation between the voting behavior of a person and the number of people in their precinct. Any professional would express this through a histogram, which makes me suspiciois about the so called “NSA-expert” source. But here is the real issue:
    A correlation between number of voters in a precinct and voting behavior could have any number of reasons. Maybe larger precincts are more or less rural. Maybe precinct size correlates with ethnicity or affluence or any number of other factors.Without an anlysis of this effect, there is no indication here of voter fraud. The paper referenced from within the article is attempting to account for such effects, but does it extremely badly. All attempts within this paper to correct for effects like urban vs rural voter behaviour assumes that all quantitative effects are linear and there is no reason whatsoever for this assumption.

    Election fraud is a very serious allegation and there is no real statistical evidence here. I would have hoped that our standards for evidence would be higher (rather than emulating those conservatives who see evidence for a communist conspiracy in every poll in which Obama leads).

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  4. westomoon wrote:

    Well, the Black Box people proved it, the gaming industry sis electronic voter machines were swiss cheese. I like the idea of throwing an election to Donald Duck to force us finally to discuss this. Anybody know how to contact Anonymous?

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  5. Dan wrote:

    In terms of a mathematical/statistical analysis this is very poor. No methodology, no explanation, just a figure that’s supposed to be self-explanatory. This is what I expect from climate change deniers, not a convincing case for election fraud.

    If you want to read a rational analysis of the possible impact of voter fraud (and much else!), read Peter Norvig’s FAQ about the election:

    You might disagree with his assumption that there are “non-human safeguards” to prevent voter machine fraud, but at least the assumptions and the consequent inferences are laid out clearly.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
  6. Dan wrote:

    By the way, I find it astonishing that there’s electrical voting with no paper trail for the voter.

    Does anyone know what arguments are proffered to explain this policy?

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  7. Michael wrote:

    I think the arguments are offered in the way of brib–ahem–campaign contributions to the secretaries of state involved.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink
  8. Arthanyel wrote:

    Dr Dan – I haven’t had a chance to re-do their analysis, although I plan to do so. Here is the issue that concerned me – one of my primary jobs is consulting on patterns in unstructured data. While your point about adjusting for ethnicity etc. sounds reasonable, in reality there are few voting precincts that are homogeneous.

    And since that is the case, what I would expect to see is that there is some statistical variance, precinct to precinct, and that while an overall trend might fit a curve, there would be substantial outliers. For example, some densely populated precincts will be predominantly college students, some will be minority poor, and some will be affluent white – and they should show VARYING results.

    But the data looks like they don’t – it looks like a fairly linear trend with no significant outliers. And that just shouldn’t be what we see.

    Not to mention the (now deceased) Republican operative Michael Connell in Ohio that had said he had gimmicked the software to do something just like this, and shortly thereafter (and just before his testimony) died in a plane crash.

    I agree the analysis doesn’t look professional – but the evenness and lack of outliers in the pattern disturbs me.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    I agree with Arthanyel. This is like when the IRS analyzes dollar amounts on a tax return. For real numbers, the first digit of each number is much more likely to be “1” than other numbers. But in made up numbers, all digits are equally likely.

    Having smooth distributions is a good sign that there is something wrong with the votes.

    So even if this is not “proof” of election fraud, it is a damn good reason to insist on a paper trail so the votes can be verified. How can anyone disagree with that?

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  10. Dan wrote:

    I always insist on leaving a paper trail.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  11. Peter wrote:

    Nah. Donald Duck would be silly. You need to pick a candidate that’s actually on the ballot. Go with the Green party or something like that. I think they’re probably in all 50 states.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  12. Dan wrote:

    Analyzing the digits of numbers, given certain independence assumptions, is a well-defined statistic. I didn’t see anything that well defined in this document.

    As I said, the main problem is that it’s hard to critique because it’s so poorly laid out. If this kind of scientific argument came to me to review I would reject it on the basis of incoherence.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink
  13. Arthanyel wrote:

    More disturbing news – Republicans in Ohio installing “emergency software patches” on voting machines, refuse to allow independent examination or explain why they are needed:

    Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

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