Monday, October 30, 2006

Stop your glitching

In a follow-up to a previous post about reports coming in from Missouri, Texas and Arkansas that voters were seeing their Democratic ballot choices mysteriously converted to the Republican candidates, reports are likewise coming in from Florida, where several instances of voters watching their onscreen Democratic selections turned into votes for the Republican nominee have been observed.
Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist....

Joan Marek, 60, a Democrat from Hollywood, was also stunned to see Charlie Crist on her ballot review page after voting on Thursday....

Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up.
It's always amusing to watch MSM try to quickly convey that none of this is an indication of any underlying and systematic behaviour but, rather, is simply manifesting a few spurious "glitches," glitches that always seem to be switching votes from Democrats or Independent candidates to Republicans. The actual "glitch" we're probably seeing is that the machine is displaying the vote switch.

In fact, I have never seen one report of a Republican vote being converted to another candidate. That's quite a biased glitch and it is certainly not random by any stretch of one's statistical imagination. The authors of the Miami Herald piece even extend to themselves the chore of immediately labelling anyone suspicious of such one-side behaviour as wild-eyed "conspiracy theorists." But we have now seen reports of exactly this same biased vote switching in 2004, as detailed in the Conyers Report, and now, two years later, voters in four states have reported exactly the same biased behaviour in early voting for these crucial mid-term elections. If you're not suspicious of this, chances are you're an idiot. Or a writer for the Miami Herald.

Election workers seem harried enough and no doubt are apoplectic about what voters in Miami are seeing. Some are even shutting down machines, which bodes poorly for election day operations. However, voter concerns are supposed to be assuage by the following bizarre and entirely senseless explanation, offered up by Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney,
it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot -- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside.
The frank admission that such behaviour is "not uncommon" is unsettling enough, but the very odd idea that one has to realign the screen with the electronics inside is about as specious an explanation as we've probably ever seen. Which probably means that it came straight from the PR office at ES&S.

I am not going to delve into what a raft of nonsensical bullshit comprises that meaningless, toss-off line, but if that makes sense to you, you might be able to find employment with the Broward Board of Elections or, even better, the company that make Broward's voting machines, ES&S. As I've said before, have you ever seen an ATM machine get so confused and "out of sync" that is started withdrawing money from someone else's account? Or displaying another account while the "electronics inside" conducted business properly on your account? Neither have I. But apparently this problem is so common with touch screen voting machines, election officers have a 15 step procedure for "re-calibrating" such out-of-sync voting machines, machines that seem to get tired and forgetful about who is doing what.

November 7, here we come. Be sure to bring your chicken bones and have your netherworld incantations memorized and ready to recite.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Stein said...

I'm with ya about "glitch" as a suspicious term for phenomena that appear to arise from bias, but happen to have computers involved in them. There was a death sentence in Indiana overturned some years ago because of systematic exclusion of Black citizens from the pool of potential jurors. The court even called the exclusion "systematic." But all the newspaper headlines called it a "computer glitch."

1:33 AM  
Blogger The Misanthrope said...

It makes one not want to vote, as well as give validity to Turd Blossom's prediction of Republicans holding sway.

2:07 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

I just saw in the Wall Street Journal, not surprisingly, that the GOP are claiming an "edge" in rounds of early voting. Check this out:

Republicans say they have some good news in early-voting statistics that suggest their voter-turnout machine is providing an edge in some tight races.

Voter-turnout machine, indeed.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Tara said...

Hi,

Sorry that this comment is unrelated to the above post - I didn't see any email contact for you.

I just wanted to let you know about a campaign called Books for Burma that's about to get underway. We're trying to promote it through the blogosphere, and are just asking bloggers to write a post for us, and ask their readers to visit our site - www.freesuukyi.org. We'll be collecting books and magazines in the U.S. to be shipped to Burmese refugees and exiled activists in Asia.

Any help you can give is in promoting our cause would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Tara
Books for Burma Portland Coordinator
(my blog is at http://ethnicvoices.civiblog.org/)

3:37 PM  

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