Was the 2004 election stolen? No.
In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that
Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn't new and his
argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions.
By Farhad Manjoo
Jun. 03, 2006 | "After carefully examining the evidence, I've become
convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign
to subvert the will of the people in 2004," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declares
in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. And so, 19 months after the election,
let us head once again into this breach.
To date, dozens of experts, both independently and as part of several
research panels, have spent countless hours examining 2004's presidential
election, especially the race in Ohio. Many of them have concluded that the
election there strains conventional notions of what a democracy ought to
look like; very little about that race was fair, clean or competent. Way
back in January 2005, a panel headed by Democratic Rep. John Conyers of
Michigan reported that it had found enough irregularities in Ohio to call
into question the state election results and the entire presidential vote. A
report by the Democratic Party released last year found "evidence of voter
confusion, voter suppression, and negligence and incompetence of election
officials." Then there are the legions of activists, academics, bloggers and
others who've devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives to unearthing every morsel of
data that might suggest the vote was rigged; their theories, factoids, and
mountains of purportedly conclusive data likely take up several buildings'
worth of hard-drive space in Google's server farms.
One has to wonder what, after all of this, Kennedy might have brought to the
debate. There could have been an earnest exploration of the issues in order
to finally shed some light on the problems we face in elections, and a call
to urgently begin repairing our electoral machinery. Voting reforms are
forever on the backburner in Congress; even the 2000 election did little to
prompt improvements. If only someone with Kennedy's stature would outline
If only. Whatever his aim, RFK Jr. does not appear intent on fixing the
problem. He's more content to take us through a hit parade of the most
popular, and the most dismissible, theories purporting to show that John
Kerry won Ohio, theories that have been swirling about the blogosphere ever
since the race was called. I scoured his Rolling Stone article for some
novel story or statistic or theory that would prove, finally, that George W.
Bush was not the true victor. But nothing here is new. If you've spent time
on Democratic Underground or have read Mark Crispin Miller's "Fooled Again,"
you're already familiar with everything Kennedy has to say.
If you do read Kennedy's article, be prepared to machete your way through
numerous errors of interpretation and his deliberate omission of key bits of
data. The first salient omission comes in paragraph 5, when Kennedy writes,
"In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in
every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the
polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP
efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots."
To back up that assertion, Kennedy cites "Democracy at Risk," the report the
Democrats released last June.
That report does indeed point out that many people -- 26 percent -- who
first registered in 2004 did not find their names on the voter rolls at
polling places. What Kennedy doesn't say, though, is that the same study
found no significant difference in the share of Kerry voters and Bush voters
who came to the polls and didn't find their names listed. The Democrats'
report says that 4.2 percent of Kerry voters were forced to cast a
"provisional" ballot and that 4.1 percent of Bush voters were made to do the
same -- a stat that lowers the heat on Kennedy's claim of "astounding"
Such techniques are evident throughout Kennedy's article. He presents a
barrage of seemingly important, apparently damning data to show that Kerry
won the race. It's only when you dig into his claims that you see what thin
ice he's on.
Kennedy's headlining claim is that 357,000 voters, "most of them
Democratic," were either prevented from voting or had their votes go
uncounted, making Kerry (who lost by 118,000) the likely true winner.
Kennedy finds these "missing votes" in the damnedest places. He counts
30,000 voter registrations that were deleted from voter rolls, in keeping
with state law, as mostly Kerry voters, though it's impossible to know if
those were even real people. He says that 174,000 mostly Kerry voters didn't
vote because they were put off by long lines. But the source states it was
actually 129,543 voters, and that those votes would have split evenly
between Kerry and Bush. And that same source -- the Democratic Party's
report once again -- notes conclusively: "Despite the problems on Election
Day, there is no evidence from our survey that John Kerry won the state of
Ohio." But Kennedy doesn't tell you that.
Worse, Kennedy relies on a band of researchers whose research on election
fraud has long been called into question by experts. Especially in his
section on Ohio's exit poll, Kennedy reports his sources' theories
uncritically, even though many have been debunked, or have at least been the
subject of tremendous debate among experts. Reading Kennedy's article, you'd
never guess that some of his star sources' claims have fared quite badly
when put to people in the field.
Certainly you can find some good in Kennedy's report. His section on Kenneth
Blackwell, Ohio's right-wing secretary of state, nicely sums up the reasons
why people have been suspicious of the voting process in the state.
Blackwell, Kennedy notes, "had broad powers to interpret and implement state
and federal election laws -- setting standards for everything from the
processing of voter registration to the conduct of official recounts."
There's no argument that he used those powers for partisan gain. As Kennedy
documents, in the months prior to the election, Blackwell issued a series of
arbitrary and capricious voting and registration rules that could well have
disenfranchised many people in the state.
But to prove Blackwell stole the state for Bush, Kennedy's got to do more
than show instances of Blackwell's mischief. He's got to outline where
Blackwell's actions could possibly have added up to enough votes to put the
wrong man in office. In that, he fails. In the following pages, I match
Kennedy's claims with the reality of the 2004 election.
Claim: In rural counties in Ohio, more than 150,000 votes meant for Kerry
were somehow switched to Bush.
"An examination of election data suggests widespread fraud -- and even good
old-fashioned stuffing of ballot boxes -- in twelve sparsely populated
counties scattered across southern and western Ohio," Kennedy writes. The
counties he suspects are Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Darke, Highland,
Mercer, Miami, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Warren. "One key indicator of
fraud is to look at counties where the presidential vote departs radically
from other races on the ballot," he writes. "By this measure, John Kerry's
numbers were suspiciously low in each of the twelve counties -- and George
Bush's were unusually high."
Kennedy points to vote results for Ellen Connally, a liberal Democrat who
ran for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Kennedy contends that
Kerry's vote totals in the presidential race should have exceeded Connally's
in the Supreme Court race in these rural counties; you wouldn't expect a
relatively unknown liberal to win more votes than a well-known moderate in a
"Yet in these twelve off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to
outperform the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand
total of 19,621 votes -- a margin of ten percent," Kennedy writes. To
Kennedy, this indicates that a lot of the people who voted for Connally also
intended to vote for Kerry, but their votes somehow didn't show up. Rep.
Dennis Kucinich tells Kennedy, ''Down-ticket candidates shouldn't outperform
presidential candidates like that. That just doesn't happen. The question
is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?''
Kennedy says Kerry's votes "were fraudulently shifted to Bush." He points
out that "statewide, the president outpolled Thomas Moyer, the Republican
judge who defeated Connally, by 21 percent. Yet in the twelve questionable
counties, Bush's margin over Moyer was 50 percent -- a strong indication
that the president's certified vote total was inflated. If Kerry had
maintained his statewide margin over Connally in the twelve suspect
counties, as he almost assuredly would have done in a clean election, he
would have bested her by 81,260 ballots. That's a swing of 162,520 votes
from Kerry to Bush -- more than enough to alter the outcome."
Reality: Kennedy's pattern sounds intriguing. But as Mark Lindeman, a
political scientist at Bard College, pointed out to me, the whole story
dissolves when you look at results from previous elections.
Contrary to Kucinich's assertion, down-ticket candidates do indeed sometimes
win more votes than presidential candidates of their own party in some
places -- sometimes a lot more. In 2000, Democratic state Supreme Court
candidate Alice Resnick won more votes than Al Gore in dozens of counties --
in 81 counties, which makes the 12 counties where Supreme Court candidate
Connally outperformed Kerry in 2004 look not very suspicious at all. (I
arrived at these numbers using Excel and Ohio's 2000 county-by-county
results, available here.) If Kennedy considered Connally's 19,000 vote
margin over Kerry in 12 counties a "thumping," I wonder what he'd think of
Resnick's margin over Gore -- she won 126,000 more votes throughout the
state than did the incumbent vice president (she won her race against her
opponent, too). Tim Black, another Democratic Supreme Court candidate, lost
his race, but he too managed to outperform Gore in 40 counties.
Lindeman points out that the numbers work out this way for a very specific
reason -- ballots in Ohio don't list party affiliations for Supreme Court
races. Kennedy finds it unlikely that someone in a rural Ohio county would
have cast a ballot both for Bush and for a liberal justice like Connally.
But if you consider that those voters might never have heard of Connally and
had no idea she was a Democrat, there's no surprise why they might have
chosen her. Therefore, Kennedy's assertion that 162,000 Kerry votes were
switched to Bush falls apart.
It's worth noting, too, that a team of political scientists hired by the
Democratic Party to investigate what happened in Ohio also used statistical
analysis to search for any pattern of obvious shifts from Bush to Gore in
the vote count. That group saw no evidence of fraud (PDF). "The tendency to
vote for Kerry in 2004 was the same as the tendency to vote for the
Democratic candidate for governor in 2002," their report noted. "That the
pattern of voting for Kerry is so similar to the pattern of voting for the
Democratic candidate for governor in 2002 is, in the opinion of the team's
political science experts, strong evidence against the claim that widespread
fraud systematically misallocated votes from Kerry to Bush."
They added: "Kerry's support across precincts also increased with the
support for Eric Fingerhut, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, and
decreased with the support for Issue 1 (ballot initiative opposing same-sex
marriage) and increased with the proportion of African American votes. Again
this is the pattern that would be expected and is not consistent with claims
of widespread fraud that misallocated votes from Kerry to Bush."
Kennedy cites parts of their report several times, but he does not mention
Claim: Blackwell engineered a "purge" of 300,000 voters in Ohio's major
Kennedy writes that "Blackwell permitted election officials in Cleveland,
Cincinnati and Toledo to conduct a massive purge of their voter rolls,
summarily expunging the names of more than 300,000 voters who had failed to
cast ballots in the previous two national elections. In Cleveland, which
went five-to-one for Kerry, nearly one in four voters were wiped from the
rolls between 2000 and 2004."
He concedes that there were "legitimate reasons to clean up voting lists:
Many of the names undoubtedly belonged to people who had moved or died. But
thousands more were duly registered voters who were deprived of their
constitutional right to vote -- often without any notification -- simply
because they had decided not to go to the polls in prior elections." Kennedy
estimates that 10 percent of these 300,000 voters represented actual voters
who were disenfranchised. He concludes that Blackwell's actions put 30,000
votes in the missing column.
Reality: Scrubbing the voting rolls of people who hadn't voted in prior
elections isn't an arbitrary move. It's the law. Here's the relevant section
of the Ohio code, 3503.19, which states that a person who "fails to vote in
any election during the period of two federal elections" shall have his
registration "canceled." To be sure, people who intended to vote and weren't
aware of this rule could have been cut from the rolls, and you might say
that's unfair. But that's an argument for a better election law, and not
proof that the purges were part of a Republican election-theft plot.
Claim: Republican officials deliberately rigged voting procedures to create
the long voting lines seen in Kerry strongholds.
Kennedy says that "more than 174,000 voters" in Ohio did not cast a ballot
due to long lines at the polls. He considers the GOP directly responsible
for this failure. "The long lines were not only foreseeable -- they were
actually created by GOP efforts," he says. He says that Republicans in the
state legislature pushed county election boards to reduce the number of
their voting precincts, and that Republicans also failed to "distribute
enough voting machines to inner-city precincts."
As one example, Kennedy cites the case of Matt Damschroder, who was chair of
both the Franklin County Board of Elections and the former head of the
Republican Party in Columbus. Instead of buying equipment to deal with an
influx of new voters, "Damschroder decided to 'make do' with 2,741
machines," Kennedy writes. "And to make matters worse, he favored his own
party in distributing the equipment. According to The Columbus Dispatch,
precincts that had gone seventy percent or more for Al Gore in 2000 were
allocated seventeen fewer machines in 2004, while strong GOP precincts
received eight additional machines."
Kennedy says that these allocations harmed Kerry voters more than Bush
voters. "The result was utterly predictable," he writes. "According to an
investigation by the Columbus Free Press, white Republican suburbanites,
blessed with a surplus of machines, averaged waits of only twenty-two
minutes; black urban Democrats averaged three hours and fifteen minutes.
'The allocation of voting machines in Franklin County was clearly biased
against voters in precincts with high proportions of African-Americans,'
concluded Walter Mebane Jr., a government professor at Cornell University
who conducted a statistical analysis of the vote in and around Columbus."
Reality: Kennedy is right to highlight the problem of long lines; every
single study of the Ohio race done so far has fingered this problem as by
far the single biggest cause of disenfranchisement. And he's right, too,
that the problem affected minorities disproportionately. Many, though not
all, political scientists who've looked at the question agree that the
voters who were turned away would have broken toward Kerry. But the relevant
question is how many voters didn't get to vote due to long lines, and who is
For his numbers, Kennedy cites the Democratic Party's comprehensive report
on the question, so it's difficult to see where he comes up with the idea
that "more than 174,000 voters" were turned away from the polls due to long
lines. In fact, the DNC report -- here is the enormous PDF -- says "two
percent of voters who went to the polls on Election Day decided to leave
their polling locations due to the long lines. This resulted in
approximately 129,543 lost votes." The report adds that "these potential
voters would have divided evenly between George Bush and John Kerry." But
even if Kerry got two-thirds of those ballots -- a huge margin, matching
what he got in Ohio's bluest counties -- he'd have won about 86,000 more
votes, while Bush would have won 43,000 more. This would have reduced the
final 118,000-margin in Ohio to about 75,000 -- that is, Bush would still
have been comfortably in the lead.
As to Kennedy's argument that Republicans deliberately engineered the long
lines, he's on pretty shaky ground. To be sure, there is ample evidence that
election officials throughout the state failed to respond to the surge in
voter registration seen in the 2004 race. But it is far more accurate to see
their actions as part of a larger picture of incompetence in the midst of
massive changes in election procedures -- especially changes in voting
technology -- than as part of a GOP plot. Kennedy elides the fact that in
Ohio, decisions about voting-machine allocation and precinct location are
determined by local boards of elections, which are bipartisan; any
Republican effort to allocate machines in a way meant to harm Democrats
would have necessarily involved Democratic officials.
The case of Matt Damschroder, the Republican chair of elections in Franklin
County whom Kennedy cites, is instructive. As Cornell's Walter Mebane
determined, Franklin County's allocation of voting machines was clearly
biased against African-Americans. But Mebane's report (PDF) contains some
important caveats. Franklin County's allocation of voting machines can be
seen as biased if you look at the number of black voters who were registered
by Election Day, but decisions about how to allocate voting machines are
made months before then. That's why Mebane also notes that "if the
allocation of voting machines is compared to information about the size of
the active electorate that was available to Franklin County election
officials at the end of April, 2004, then the allocation of machines is not
biased against voters who were active at that time in precincts having high
proportions of African Americans."
The difference reflects the reality that in the last few months of election
season, registration surged in Ohio. That Franklin County's voting-machine
allocation was considered unbiased in the spring and biased in the fall
arises from the fact that the county failed to respond to these electoral
Mebane doesn't let Damschroder off the hook. He says county officials
"ignored information during the late summer and fall that should have showed
them that the November electorate would be substantially larger. Between
April and November, the active voter population in the county increased by
more than 15 percent. If nothing else, the surge of new registrants should
have indicated that their plans made in mid-summer would prove woefully
But the fact that the county once had an unbiased distribution of voting
machines would seem to clear them of the kind of deliberate vote-rigging
that Kennedy sees. You can call them incompetent for not responding to new
registration in the county. But can you really call them election thieves?
Listen to the chairman of the board of Franklin's election office, an
African-American man named William Anthony, who also headed the county's
Democratic Party. As I first pointed out in my review of "Fooled Again," any
effort to deliberately skew the vote toward Bush in Franklin would have had
to involve Anthony -- and he has rejected the charge that he'd do such a
thing. "I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in
my own community?" Anthony told the Columbus Dispatch. "I've fought my whole
life for people's right to vote."
Claim: Exit polls are usually accurate.
"Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science," he
writes. "The results are exquisitely accurate." Kennedy points out that
exits are often used to verify the integrity of an election -- he refers to
Ukraine, where in 2004 exit polling "exposed election fraud that denied
Viktor Yushchenko the presidency."
Essentially, Kennedy's argument goes like this: Exit poll numbers -- which
are derived from interviews with voters after they've cast their votes --
showed us what voters actually wanted. The discrepancy between the exits and
the final count indicates that something funny happened in the casting or
counting of ballots in Ohio. If the Ukranian exits proved fraud, why don't
those in the U.S?
Reality: "Nonsense," says Mark Blumenthal, the professional Democratic
pollster who runs Mystery Pollster, the poll-scrutinizing blog that has
comprehensively covered the exit poll story since Election Day. Anyone who
says that exit polls are the most reliable kind of survey "only demonstrates
that the person making that statement knows very little about how surveys
are done," Blumenthal says.
Warren Mitofsky, the veteran pollster who conducted the exit poll for the
networks, told me last year that he doesn't think the exits represent the
gospel truth of what happened during an election. The ACE Project, a group
that advises democracies on how to conduct elections that is spearheaded by,
among other groups, the United Nations, says this of exit polling: "Their
reliability can be questionable. One might think that there is no reason why
voters in stable democracies should conceal or lie about how they have
voted, especially because nobody is under any obligation to answer in an
exit poll. But in practice they often do. The majority of exit polls carried
out in European countries over the past years have been failures."
As the MIT political scientists Charles Stewart has pointed out, it's not
useful to compare the role of exit polls in Ukraine's 2004 election with
exit polls in the U.S race. The two elections, and the two nations, are too
different to come to any meaningful conclusion from such a comparison. In
Ukraine, one exit poll showed opposition candidate and eventual president
Viktor Yushchenko winning 54 percent to 43 percent nationally. Mitofsky's
final national poll put Kerry at 51 percent and Bush with 48 percent.
Compare this to the actual result, which had Bush at 51 percent and Kerry
with 48 percent. The difference is not that significant.
Moreover, Stewart notes, pre-election polls in Ukraine agreed with the
exits, bolstering the case that Yushchenko was the true winner. In the
United States, though, the polls taken before the election tended to show
either a very close race or a Bush win. (You can read Stewart's paper in PDF
When you talk to pollsters about what to make of the 2004 American exit
polls -- as I have done, on and off, for the past year and a half -- you
don't hear the degree of trust in the surveys that Kennedy suggests. Exit
polls are sometimes wrong; indeed, examples abound. In 1992, the exits
showed almost as great a pro-Clinton bias as the 2004 poll's pro-Kerry
bias -- in other words, the poll showed Clinton with a lot bigger win than
he ultimately had. The reason that poll didn't cause a firestorm is because
the race wasn't as close as the one in 2004.
Claim: The exit polls showed an insurmountable Kerry lead, one that made a
Bush win impossible.
"As the last polling stations closed on the West Coast, exit polls showed
Kerry ahead in ten of eleven battleground states -- including commanding
leads in Ohio and Florida -- and winning by a million and a half votes
nationally." Kennedy adds, "Based on exit polls, CNN had predicted Kerry
defeating Bush in Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percentage points. Instead,
election results showed Bush winning the state by 2.5 percent. Bush also
tallied 6.5 percent more than the polls had predicted in Pennsylvania, and
4.9 percent more in Florida."
Kennedy then includes a blockbuster quote from Steven Freeman, a visiting
scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, who puts the odds of the polls
being as wrong as they were in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida at 1 in
660,000. ''As much as we can say in sound science that something is
impossible,'' Freeman says, ''it is impossible that the discrepancies
between predicted and actual vote count in the three critical battleground
states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error.''
Reality: Kennedy is right that the polls in battleground states showed Kerry
ahead. What he fails to say is that in many states, the exits didn't show
Kerry ahead by the margin of error, meaning, statistically, that his lead
wasn't secure. Way back in December of 2004, pollster Mark Blumenthal
pointed out the key fact in this debate. Of the ten battleground states that
the exit poll showed Kerry winning, he ultimately lost four -- states that,
you could say, cost him the election. These were Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and New
Mexico. But in none of those states was Kerry's lead outside the poll's
margin of error. In other words, the poll results showed a race that was too
close to call, and it is impossible to use such a poll to prove that fraud
occurred. As Mitofsky told me, television news networks, looking at the exit
poll data, seemed to understand that Kerry did not top the margin of error,
and so did not call these states for him.
As for Freeman's 660,000 to 1 statistic, it is irrelevant. (His comment to
Kennedy -- "As much as we can say in sound science that something is
impossible..." -- appears almost verbatim in the paper he put out in
December 2004; I included it in a story on exit polling a year and a half
ago.) The statistic measures the probability that the errors in
Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida occurred due to chance or random error, and
according to Freeman, that probability is very low. But nobody argues the
errors happened by chance. Everyone in the exit poll debate agrees that
there was a systematic cause for the errors in the poll. Freeman, Kennedy,
et al., claim that the systematic cause was fraud, while Mitofsky and many
in the polling community claim the cause was a problem with the poll. So
Freeman's argument that it would take preposterous odds to produce a random
sampling error is a straw-man assertion.
Claim: The exit pollsters can't explain how their poll failed.
Kennedy says that Edison/Mitofsky, Warren Mitofsky's polling group, "was
unable to identify any flaw in its methodology -- so the pollsters, in
essence, invented one for the electorate."
Reality: This claim is misleading. In January 2005, Mitofsky released a
77-page report detailing how his poll performed on Election Day. You can
read the PDF here. It is not stingy about possible methodological flaws in
the survey: "Our detailed analysis by polling location and by interviewer
has identified several factors that may have contributed to the size of the
Within Precinct Error that led to the inaccuracies in the exit poll
estimates. Some of these factors are within our control while others are
As I reported last year, Mitofsky has outlined a clear and convincing
explanation for what went wrong with his survey. According to Mitofsky,
interviewers assigned to talk to voters as they left the polls appeared to
be slightly more inclined to seek out Kerry voters than Bush voters. Kerry
voters were thus overrepresented in the poll by a small margin. According to
Mitofsky's report, the polling error tended to be larger in precincts where
interviewers had been recently hired or reported being insufficiently
trained; where precinct officials, lawyers or other vote observers
interfered with pollsters' opportunity to approach the voters as they left
the precinct; where pollsters were made to stand far away from the precinct;
and where the weather wasn't great (remember the rain in Ohio?). The report
went on to outline various fixes in polling practices that might mitigate
such flaws in the future.
Claim: Researchers have conclusively disproved the official explanation for
the exit poll's error.
Kennedy says that Mitofsky's theory that Kerry voters were oversampled in
the poll -- thus leading to a pro-Kerry poll bias -- doesn't hold water.
"Now, thanks to careful examination of Mitofsky's own data by Freeman and a
team of eight researchers, we can say conclusively that the theory is dead
wrong. In fact it was Democrats, not Republicans, who were more disinclined
to answer pollsters' questions on Election Day. In Bush strongholds, Freeman
and the other researchers found that fifty-six percent of voters completed
the exit survey -- compared to only fifty-three percent in Kerry
strongholds. 'The data presented to support the claim not only fails to
substantiate it,' observes Freeman, 'but actually contradicts it.'"
Reality: To begin with, Freeman and his team did not "find" the
survey-completion rates that Kennedy cites. Mitofsky released that data in a
public report. This data was not discovered "now" -- Freeman and others have
been touting it ever since Mitofsky put it out in January 2005. You can see
the data on page 37 of Mitofsky's report. There, Mitofsky indeed shows that
in precincts where Bush got 80 percent or more of the vote, an average of 56
percent of people who were approached volunteered to take part in the poll,
while in precincts where Kerry got 80 percent or more of the vote, a lower
average of 53 percent of people were willing to be surveyed. But these
numbers don't reveal how Bush voters or Kerry voters behaved, they only show
how all voters, taken together in average, responded in certain precincts.
They are irrelevant to the question of whether fraud occurred.
As Mark Lindeman, a political scientist at Bard College, explained to me,
the numbers Kennedy cites fit the theory that Kerry voters were more likely
to respond to pollsters than Bush voters. For instance, in the Bush
strongholds -- where the average completion rate was 56 percent -- it's
possible that only 53 percent of those who voted for Bush were willing to be
polled, while people who voted for Kerry participated at a higher 59 percent
rate. Meanwhile, in the Kerry strongholds, where Mitofsky found a 53 percent
average completion rate, it's possible that Bush voters participated 50
percent of the time, while Kerry voters were willing to be interviewed 56
percent of the time. In this scenario, the averages work out to the same
ones Kennedy cited: a 56 percent average response rate in Bush strongholds,
and a 53 percent average response rate in Kerry strongholds. But in both
Bush strongholds and Kerry strongholds, Kerry voters would have been
responding at a higher rate, skewing the poll toward Kerry.
What's more, these numbers are not set in stone. That's because, as Mitofsky
has pointed out, it's not possible to measure the actual completion rate by
Kerry voters and by Bush voters. (When someone refuses to talk to a
pollster, it's not possible to say whether he was a Bush voter or Kerry
voter.) Mitofsky says that a hypothetical completion rate of 50 percent for
Bush voters and 56 percent for Kerry voters would have led to the error we
saw in the poll. In other words, Kerry voters were very slightly more likely
to talk to pollsters than were Bush voters.
Ultimately, nothing in Kennedy's article, and nothing in the research he
cites, refutes Mitofsky's theory that there was a true difference in the
willingness of Kerry voters to participate in the poll compared to that of
Bush voters. Mitofsky noted a broad array of methodological errors that
could have contributed to this difference in participation rate by Kerry and
Bush voters. Such a difference would not have been a surprise; Democrats
have historically been overrepresented in exit polls. There is no reason to
think that the error in 2004 was anything substantively different.
Claim: Tens of thousands of people were disenfranchised due to voter
Kennedy points to an analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Greater Cleveland
Voter Coalition. He says it showed that "16,000 voters in and around the
city were disenfranchised because of data-entry errors by election
officials, and another 15,000 lost the right to vote due to largely
inconsequential omissions on their registration cards." He adds the study
concludes that statewide, "a total of 72,000 voters were disenfranchised
through avoidable registration errors -- one percent of all voters in an
election decided by barely two percent."
Reality: Kennedy has misread the Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition report in
a small but important way. The report examines the numbers of people whose
registrations were bungled due to their own or their county officials'
error. Some of those errors -- for instance, submitting a registration form
without an address -- disqualified people to vote. Other errors, such as
someone's making a mistake while typing in your name, might or might not
have disqualified you. So not all of the 16,000 people in Cleveland whose
registrations included data-entry errors were disenfranchised. In fact, many
of them got to vote. (You can read the coalition's PDF report here.)
Kennedy's error is important when you consider the number of people
disenfranchised through registration errors statewide, which he puts at
72,000. In fact, the coalition reports the number as an estimate of about
42,500 votes that were "lost," and 30,000 votes it says were "at risk" of
being lost; it is not clear how many of those that were "at risk" were
The report simply does not say that 72,000 people were disenfranchised.
-- By Farhad Manjoo
> Was the 2004 election stolen? No.
> In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that
> Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn't new and his
> argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions.
A liberal lying, why am I not so surprised!
>Was the 2004 election stolen? No.
Pookie, if the people who claim it was think that John Kerry
(Dubya's cousin, member of same Skull & Bones club at Yale, and who
also supported going to war in Iraq) would have been any different,
they're stupid anyway. Neither of the political parties are fit to
field presidential candidates. The whores on the hill of both sides
are in politics (the practice of public relations for private
advantage) for what they can get out of it. That's all. If people want
a different America, what you do is make sure you don't obey any law
that is unjust, do what's right as much as possible, and when they
start using "law enforcement" and the military to do what they can't
in their attempts to be dictators, you kill them.
>On Sat, 3 Jun 2006 17:23:44 -0400, "Pookie"
>>Was the 2004 election stolen? No.
>>In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that
>>Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn't new and his
>>argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions.
>>By Farhad Manjoo
>The loony left will be fighting this battle for the next century. In
>fact what happened was that the Democrats tried to steal the election
>through vote fraud and voter intimidation but fell short of their
>goal. Across the country they filed millions of false registrations
>and paid people to vote. They bused themselves from precinct to
>precinct trying to "vote the dead" and inflated their totals by
>millions. With the new technology and Voter ID requirements they're
>going to have a very hard time of this in the future.
More proof right wing idiots believe ANYTHING they are told to
>To date, dozens of experts, both independently and as part of several
>research panels, have spent countless hours examining 2004's presidential
>election, especially the race in Ohio. Many of them have concluded that the
>election there strains conventional notions of what a democracy ought to
>look like; very little about that race was fair, clean or competen
That is rather strange. I went looking and found hundreds of articles
say the exact opposite. Anyone with a background in
probability/statistics saw red flags all over.
I don't know Pook, there may be something to this Kennedy article, after
all, if anyone would know about stealing elections it would be the Kennedy
clan. Remember JFK in the 1960 elections? Robert Jr. could have learned a
lot from JFK, he may have some inside knowledge.
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So you didn't get picked up in the sweep?
Good point ;-)
This book review doesn't prove its premise.
> As I reported last year, Mitofsky has outlined a clear and convincing
> explanation for what went wrong with his survey. According to Mitofsky,
> interviewers assigned to talk to voters as they left the polls appeared to
> be slightly more inclined to seek out Kerry voters than Bush voters.
Wrong! There were more people willing to repsond in Bush
heavy precincts. This theory has been debunked.
Manjoo has no credibility.
The Rolling Stone piece was laughable. Which is why it appears in
Rolling Stone rather than a credible news source which would have fact
checkers and reputations to uphold. Much of the piece is silly and
deserves no response such as some hotel worker overhearing some phone
call of some other unnamed person who was calling to intimidate felons.
This all sounds like the 2000 Florida whining that millions (then it was
thousands) of voters were intimidated by police and evil Republicans but
then when hearings were held, none could be found.
> The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd,
> 2004, was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual
> vote counts. Polls in thirty states weren't just off the mark -- they
> deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of
> error. In all but four states, the discrepancy favored President Bush.
> Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science.
Wow, how unbelieveably wrong. An "exact science", LOL! Polls are wrong
ALL THE TIME and exit polling is especially hard to do. Like any poll,
you don't talk to everyone but even worse here, you don't poll at every
precinct. All precints are not equal. Some are heavily democrat, some
are heavily republican, some are closer to even and the mix changes over
time. Its very difficult to know which ones to include, and just as
important, which to exclude and how to weight the ones you are
including. It would be very easy to get almost any result. Also, the
exit polls showed Kerry leading early in the day which is another flaw
of exit polls -- the people who vote early may be a different political
mix than those who vote after work just as certain kinds of people will
wish to not participate in exit polls. Much of this article is an
inability to get past the wrong exit polls even though they have been
adequately explained many times over.
> But during the summer of 2004, the GOP targeted minority voters in
> Ohio by zip code, sending registered letters to more than 200,000
> newly registered voters(64) in sixty-five counties.(65) On October
> 22nd, a mere eleven days before the election, Ohio Republican Party
> Chairman Bob Bennett -- who also chairs the board of elections in
> Cuyahoga County -- sought to invalidate the registrations of 35,427
> voters who had refused to sign for the letters or whose mail came back
> as undeliverable.(66) Almost half of the challenged voters were from
> Democratic strongholds in and around Cleveland.(67)
> and around Cleveland.(67)
"almost half"?? LOL! So the majority of those challenged where non-
democrats! This is getting silly and desperate.
Another way Ohio "rigged" the election, according to this piece, is by
requiring people to vote in their precinct. This is a reasonable rule
that exists throughout the country for very obvious reasons.
> The decision left hundreds of thousands of voters in predominantly
> Democratic counties to navigate the state's bewildering array of
> 11,366 precincts
Hilarious. Why do democrats continually find the voting process so
difficult to understand? In 2000, they were "bewildered" by the
butterfly ballot (which was designed by democrats by the way). Now,
they are "bewildered" about which precinct to go to and its all those
wascally republican's fault!! Democrats want to be able to show up at
any precinct at all and vote (even in a different state -- hey why not,
this is a democracy dag gummit!) and further they don't want to be
required to show an ID. LOL! Its beyond absurd. Cynical republicans
think they want these things because democrats know it will increase
voter fraud (ineligble people voting and people voting many times) and
that the democrats think they will benefit from more voter fraud. I
won't comment on that theory but I will agree that the current rules of
voting in your precinct (where your name can practically be checked off)
and with an ID is a very reasonable way to conduct an election and guard
There is much whining in the piece about long lines. This is more
crybaby stuff that a serious news organization would be embarassed to
print. Studies after the election showed that lines really weren't
longer on average in the more democrat precincts. And people crying
about a long line to vote (a vote that happens only one day every 4
years) should look at the people of Iraq who not only waited in long
lines but who braved quite real death threats to cast their vote. Their
voter turnout percentage put ours to shame.
The rest of the piece deals with some faulty voting machines found here
and there. The flaw of course is that Kennedy only looked for them in
democrat precincts. Of course there will be some issues at every
precinct but he only reported the ones in democrat areas. If all the
precincts were put to this much scrutiny, the problems tend to balance
out. But this is not a serious piece and Kennedy made no attempt to do
that. Nothing he cites comes close to turning around the 120,000 vote
lead that President Bush achieved.
Yeah, and, by the way, where are those WMDs, anyway?
> Yeah, and, by the way, where are those WMDs, anyway?
What do WMDs have to do with Democrat election fraud?
There's not much evidence of election fraud, but it is important to vote
for candidates that care about the people of America more than the
corporations and their earnings.
Sometimes, corporate earnings rising actually hurt the American people.
Such things as health care are provided to all in even the smallest of
countries around the world. America has yet to catch up.
while capitalism does allow people more freedom to become, for example,
millionaires, there are some problems with the system that can be easily
fixed with simple legislation.
Yeah. We were supposed to believe billionaire Kerry, half billionaire
Edwards, bought and paid for by multi-billionaire Soros were the "party of
the people". The Democrats like to act like Bush is rich. Compared to Kerry,
Edwards and Soros, Bush is Joe Public.
Over 90% of Democrat campaign funds came from a handful of millionaires and
billionaires. Over 50% of Republican campaign money came from donations
You have to wonder why the "party of the people" is financed by rich special
interests who are working against the man who gave them "tax cuts for the
rich". They must see something in it for themselves. They sure as shit
don't care about the people.
> "George W. Bush incarnates a rejection of the very values,
> beliefs, skills, style, and psychology by which large numbers
> of America's educated class define themselves. Their self-
> concept is violated by his actions, his manner, his attitudes,
> and especially by his triumphs. If he is correct, then they
> are terribly, terribly wrong.".
> "Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by training and former
> practice, has coined the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome
> (BDS) to be an affliction quite common today."
> - Thomas Lifson, Editor, The American Thinker
That Farhad Manjoo review is very shoddy:
>"OrionCA" <Ori...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
>> On Sun, 04 Jun 2006 22:37:01 GMT, Respect <Res...@nospam.com> wrote:
>> >st...@storkyak.com wrote:
>> >> Stork replied to:
>> >> > Yeah, and, by the way, where are those WMDs, anyway?
>> >> What do WMDs have to do with Democrat election fraud?
>> >There's not much evidence of election fraud, but it is important to vote
>> >for candidates that care about the people of America more than the
>> >corporations and their earnings.
>> Which would be the Republicans. Or hadn't you noticed that the
>> principle sponsors to the Democrat Party these days are rich people?
>> Ever hear of George Soros? The old saw about the GOP being the "party
>> of the rich" hasn't been true for a long time. That title goes to the
>> Democrats these days.
>Yeah. We were supposed to believe billionaire Kerry, half billionaire
>Edwards, bought and paid for by multi-billionaire Soros were the "party of
>the people". The Democrats like to act like Bush is rich. Compared to Kerry,
>Edwards and Soros, Bush is Joe Public.
So, having money would preclude one from having progressive political
If ever there was a group of republicans that are bought and paid for
by the most wealthy in this nation and have done NOTHING for the
average working family, this would be them.
And while the Rethugs are spending time worrying about Terry Shiavo,
flag burning and gays getting married, their policies have created an
environment for the working person and middle class families that is
regressive as hell.
What's funny is that you know Karl Rove and the neo-cons are laughing
at all the stupid rubes that believe the bullshit about gays and
intelligent design and how they conned them into voting rethug.
What's really funny is how the "party of the people" claim Bush is RICH and
has an unfair advantage because he's RICH, but they ran a billionaire and a
half billionaire, backed primarily by the same handful of millionaires and
billionaires who backed Gore in 2000. Bush, whose "fortune" pales inb
comparison with Kerry's, Edwards' or Soros' supposedly can buy elections,
but guys with four - five BILLION behind them are too poor to compete.
If I was a lib-turd (I refuse to get a frontal lobotomy to make that
I'd want to change the subject too.
Lib-turd!!! That's hilarious!!!
You "conservatives" are really just the dumbest people on earth.
Oblivious suckers. Easy marks for the okey-doke!
Blockheads that refuse to believe the evidence of your own eyes.
Willfully obtuse, emotionally driven, bitter, sore winners who
will eventually violently supress dissent in America on behalf
of their neo-fascist leaders.