Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Election Snatchers

Over at Raising Kaine there is a post giving an in-depth look at how the GOP stole the 2004 election and how the dems need to be on guard in 2006 in order to prevent it from happening again.

Since 2000, there has certainly been plenty of speculation that the GOP stole the election in Florida in the 2000 election. While I don't think it happened, I can at least see someone's arguement that we cheated 500 or so ballots out of several million to win.

The 2004 election is an entirely different ballgame. RK suggests in 17 situations that the GOP stole the election from Kerry. They also cite exit-polling data as well as pre-election polls to support their belief that Bush didn't really win. The post basically suggests that the Bush machine literally stole millions of votes.

Here are my questions:
First off, Bush won by 3.5 million votes in 2004. Is the GOP so good that we can cheat/steal/doctor at least 3.5 million votes? Bush won Ohio alone by 135,000 votes.
My next question is that if we did or can, why do we ever lose elections? Kilgore lost by a measely 100,000 votes; surely we could have at least 125,000 to cheat them out of (or maybe we did and Kilgore really lost by 225,000; I dunno).
Finally, why is it that we GOPers only steal elections in the most democratic areas of the U.S? In the 2000 election debacle, the dems accused us of fixing the votes in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. These are the 2 strongest democratic localities in Florida. There were very few if any GOP officials at any level of their government. Wouldn't it be more likely that if we were going to steal an election, we would do it in an area that is already favorable to GOPs (in Virginia terms, its as if we would try to fix the election in Richmond and Charlottesville, as opposed to Chesterfield and Rockingham Counties)?

It just amazes me how far some dems have went with legitimizing why they lose elections. The dems need to realize that accusing the GOP of stealing elections is not going to get them anywhere. Realizing the true reasons for losing is the first step in regaining your majority (the other option is letting your opponent destroy himself, which seems to be the democratic strategy right now).

On a related note, the GOP needs to quit using the "biased media" as our excuse for losing as well. That doesn't accomplish anything either.


  • At 7/15/2006 5:05 PM, Blogger CR UVa said…

    This is exactly why I stopped reading Raising Kaine. Their posts come in two categories, (1) the tin-foil-hat category, as seen in the post you mention, and (2) the unexplicable-love-for-a-Republican-DINO category (Webb hardly fits the mold of the Kerry and Lamont they seem to idolize). Right now, Lowell has to be frustrated with the troubles the Webb campaign has experienced (and which he does not appear to have acknowledged), and he is showing himself to buy very heavily into the DU line of thinking. I would like to be the first to submit (if I'm not the first, I apologize to the person who is) that RK has jumped the shark. Though, then again, I seriously doubt Lowell could pick up the girls Fonzie could.

  • At 7/15/2006 9:33 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    CR, the thing that concerns me (or maybe gives me hope) is that RK isnt the only bunch that believes this crap.
    There are lots of dems everywhere that honestly believe that the Diebold guy made the voting machines throw the election to Bush. I have had people tell me point blank that they honestly believe that.

  • At 7/15/2006 10:00 PM, Blogger James Young said…

    Yeah, this claim definitely falls into the moonbat category. In fact, it is highly likely that Bush actually won many more electoral votes than he was awarded. Kerry won Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes), for instance, by fewer than 145,000 votes. He won Wisconsin (10 electoral votes) by only a little over 11,000 votes. He won Minnesota (10 electoral votes) by only a little over 9,000 votes. He won New Hampshire (4 electoral votes) by only a little over 9000 votes.

  • At 7/16/2006 12:43 PM, Blogger Mosquito said…

    I wish I could trust our electoral process and vote verification/counting. Why is it that in 2000 and 2004 exit polling was suddenly wrong? There is a long hx of validity of exit polling; it just defies logic!

    Why is it that casinos in Las Vegas have more security and verification processes than our own "voting" computers? I would like to "know" that my president has been elected in a fair and open process. Until this situation is corrected no one can prove their candidate has won. Surely this should be a bi-partisan issue!

  • At 7/16/2006 12:49 PM, Blogger Charles said…

    Mosquito, it is much more likely that partisans found a way to manipulate the entirely uncontrolled exit poll process, rather than the actual voting machines.

    Also, don't discount that, with the vitriol of many democrats, people voting republican were simply afraid to admit it to strangers who they feared would give them a hard time or worse.

  • At 7/16/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger BDM said…

    Also, let us not forget that odds are some kind of election fraud does occur in every election on both sides. This fraud can occur knowingly and unknowingly.

    If a person claims the Republicans stole the election in Virginia, they ae desperately trying to get attention on their side and rally the "pissed off voters" to vote against the Republicans.

    This screams of desperation.

  • At 7/16/2006 12:57 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Great point Charles
    Mosquito, what else can we do that makes a more "open process"?

  • At 7/16/2006 2:16 PM, Blogger Vivian J. Paige said…

    I'm with mosquito on this one. Paper-verified voting should be a bipartisan issue. We should all want to have confidence in the voting system. Without a way to tell if votes are being properly counted, I have no such confidence.

  • At 7/16/2006 4:31 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    The thing I dont understand about paper verified voting is that its just as likely that the receipt will be tampered with as the machine.
    If Diebold can make a machine count all votes for Bush, don't you think they can make it print out saying you voted for Kerry?
    I just don't see how it will really help.

  • At 7/16/2006 5:02 PM, Blogger AnonymousIsAWoman said…

    Having come from South Florida, I actually know a little about the demographics of the region. Whoever labeled both Dade and Broward as Democratic stronholds is wrong.

    Broward certainly is. But Dade County is very much a swing area. The Cuban-Americans are very pro-Republican and Miami, Miami Beach and a good deal of South Florida south of Broward is Republican.

    Also, while I do not believe that the Republicans were able to deliberately manipulate the entire South Florida vote, what was at issue were the large number of ballots that were incorrect.

    The famous hanging chads was only one example. While there appears to be no deliberate wrong doing, many of those ballots were simply mangled and couldn't be properly read.

    But the worst example of Gore's losing his vote was also the least deliberate attempt to steal the vote, that is the infamous Palm Beach butterfly ballots. For all the fun that people made of the voters who got confused, I saw those ballots and you didn't have to be a sight challenged senior citizen to be confused by that ballot.

    The Palm Beach County supervisor of elections was genuinely trying to improve the ballot and was proud of her creation. Nevertheless, it was a horrible ballot that was very confusing. As even Pat Buchanan, who won many liberal Jewish precincts, admitted somewhat humorously, "I don't think this is my vote."

    Because there was no evidence of wrongdoing, those ballots could not be tossed out. Even though everybody involved realized that those people did not intend to vote for Pat Buchanan, legally nothing could be done to change the results. Those butterfly ballots had more to do with throwing the victory to Bush than most of the other stuff.

    I still believe that Gore was the choice in Florida but that legally he lost. And those butterfly ballots, which was an honest mistake, were the reason why. Those were the ballots that would have given him his victory in South Florida and the state. But those ballots legally never could have been subjected to a recount.

  • At 7/16/2006 8:56 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Thanks for the insight AIAW. Kerry got 65% in Broward and 53% in Miami-Dade. These 2 along with Palm Beach County (60%) were the 3 weakest localities for Bush in 2004.
    If someone's arguement is that Bush won b/c of a stupid ballot that just accidentally resulted in wrong voting, I think that has some creedence.
    Conversely, the idea that we cheated millions and millions of votes everywhere in America is just plain ridiculous and is nothing more than a legitimatization for losing.

  • At 7/17/2006 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Voter Verified Paper Trails would provide the voter with a hard-copy receipt for their vote. The BOE would tally the vote and publically post the results (on-line, hard-copy), with a vote-identifying code number that was also printed on the voter's vote receipt. Voters would check the official recorded result against their own receipt. Voting irregularity would be instantly identified. The receipt would become the sole official ballot during a recount.

    See how easy that was?


  • At 7/17/2006 10:04 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Sounds like a good plan to me.

  • At 7/17/2006 3:27 PM, Blogger Mason said…

    so really all you'd have to do is fake the paper ballots?

  • At 7/17/2006 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mason: What do you have right now? A computer with a tally on it. You wouldn't know if it was fake or real would you?

    Voter Verifiable Paper Trails You know how when you go to the bank and the Diebold printer prints two copies of your withdrawl - one being a carbon?

    Well, one goes to the voter. One goes to the County BOE Registrar. In addition to identifiable vote number the receipt would encode a range of specifics - location, machine, time of vote, poll worker machine key, etc.

    Should there be a problem the above data would be examined to 1)Confirm the Vote, and 2)Analyze the vote. Anomalies and inaccuracies - tied to precincts, time frames, and reset keys.This allows the BOE to QA/QC their reporting.

    On the voter end of things the receipt is a powerful tool to thwart criminal behavior. First, you know that the voter/voters hold a record. Second the voter can check their vote and report a problem. Working in large groups - say "Republicans for Accurate Voting", voters would be asked to log-in and record their vote through an independent auditing agency. That agency would be able to do quick check tallies of disputed precincts on their behalf - say ones that did not conform to exit polling. A range of problems could be quickly identified.

    Worse case, you throw out the results if you can't get an accurate vote within certain MOE, or criminal activity was identified.

    We have other structural problems - voting has moved to touch screens, but we still run polls like my great-grandaddy did. It takes too long to vote. It is time that we declare an election to take place over the course of several days, at the convenience of the voter in say, a public office (DMV, Courthouse, Community building).

    Voting should be no less accurate and assured than depositing your paycheck. And just as easy and convenient.

    Trust yes, but verify.

  • At 7/18/2006 4:39 PM, Anonymous Welcome to the 21st Century said…

    And Bubby, we should make sure we get our original paper checks back from banks instead of those frickin' images.

    Come on guys. An independent panel that can verify that the software programming on a ballot machine prohibits fraud and tampering is all the assurance that's needed.

    You guys sound like the old people at my grandad's retirement community wanting things to be "the way they were". Technological advances are there for a reason....to be used.

    As far as voting being more convenient for the voter, that'd be real great. That way, even more of the uninformed masses would guide the policies that govern my life. If voting today isn't easy enough for people to vote, they probably should not be doing so.

  • At 7/18/2006 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Huh? In your grandad's day guys like you advocated poll taxes. "uniformed masses" were negroes, and their vote was feared - welcome back to the 20th Century.

    One of the more glaring examples of voting abuse in the 2004 election was Cuyahoga County, Ohio - where the city precincts had hours long lines to vote, while the suburbs had no lines. Elections officials gerrymandered voting machines. Many voters left their polling places without voting. Would you stand for that? Why should you?

    So far the polling machine companies have successfully fought to prevent the disclosure of the machine code necessary to QA/QC the software/hardware, and assure an accurate poll. This must change.

    There is no convenience worth more than assuring an accurate vote. It would be in everyone's best interest to maximize one-man-one-vote with confidence - before the outcome of an election fails to meet your particular smell test. Right now we are voting on faith. Many don't believe.

  • At 7/18/2006 8:08 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    8:32, how do you "gerrymander" voting machines?
    Also, how would you like us to make it where this problem doesnt happen.
    Cuyahoga County is one of the most democratic counties in Ohio. Dems run the county, so they only screwed themselves. Maybe if us GOPs start stealing elections in GOP areas you will have an arguement.

  • At 7/19/2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You gerrymander voting machines by having enough in some precincts and not enough in others - despite voter registrations that show you where you need them.

    Cuyahoga County may be Democratic, but the guy in charge of Ohio elections during 2004, is now the Republican nominee for Governor - Kenneth Blackwell. You may remember him for his demand that voter registrations be discarded for being submitted on the "wrong" weigh paper.

    As we move to computer voting, it would be smart to remember that a hacker doesn't have to sitting at your computer to take control of it.

  • At 7/19/2006 1:22 PM, Blogger James Young said…

    I have no trouble believing that voter fraud occurs on both sides, but the kind of which most Dems currently speak is of the wing-nut variety. Nevertheless, I am more than happy to identify those --- one, a current GOP Congressional District GOP Chairman; another, a former House of Delegates member --- in the Virginia GOP whose lack of integrity would make it very easy for me to believe that they would help steal an election, since they have done so before.

    As far as the notion that Ohio was somehow "stolen" for Bush: these people are morons and frauds. I was IN Cleveland on Election Day 2004, standing outside a poll as it closed to make sure that the metal boxes carrying the punchcards made it to the Cuyahoda County Board of Elections unmolested. It was quite curious indeed, when eight different vehicles showed up and dropped off their boxes at this polling place (which wasn't supposed to receive ballots from other polling places). So far as I am aware, the only fraud that occurred in Ohio was DEMOCRAT ballot-stuffing (this was Northeast Cleveland, a Democrat stronghold).

  • At 7/23/2006 7:59 AM, Blogger Lowell Fulk said…

    I have only voted in Rockingham County so I can only speak to the voting machines with which I have experience. I really like the optical scan machines using what appear to be 8.5 by 11 inch cards as ballots. The choices are as clear as I think reasonably possible, and to vote one merely has to fill in the sufficiently large "bubble" beside the name or initiative of choice. The card is then fed into the scanning machine and deposited into a secure container. The tally of votes is printed out at the end of the day. In case of the need for a recount, all of the ballots are tangible and available for examination.
    This is a great improvement over the old lever voting booths (where you flipped little levers/switches to register your choices) used up until the optical machines were adopted. I did try the touch screen machine in this year’s primary, but I do have great reservations and will use the optical scan machines as long as possible.

    Fraud will always be a concern, just as it always has been. But it isn't the only concern. Paper trails may be "old fashioned" but they are also good to fall back on for verification. I have used computers since they first became available to home based use and know first hand that if you suffer a power surge or some other such failure/problem and you haven't made back up of your data on a very careful and regular basis, you're screwed because once the data is gone.... It is gone.... And no amount of lamentation, rending of cloth, or dumping of ashes upon the head will bring it back.

    Paper trails are simply good business.


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