It was inevitable, and it probably happened in 2000 as well: conspiracy theories that the election was stolen. “Too many voting ‘irregularities’ to be coincidence” appears to wrap a bunch of theories into one handy post. This post has bad information presentation: the graphs presented don’t go down to a zero baseline, thus exaggerating the effect that the author wants to portray. There’s incomplete information: just a few states are presented, possibly a cherry-picked set to illustrate his point. Sources cited are often just other random blogs, which don’t necessarily have accurate data. There are a couple of exceptions to that, which I’ll get to. And, finally, some statements just seem wacky. The author draws the conclusion that Kerry decided to play dead and concede because the whole election was rigged.
I do not believe that John Kerry was tossed up there as a phony candidate. I do believe in the possibility that the election was stolen, though. It was a close race, so I can imagine that people would be tempted to push it in their desired direction. If Kerry had been polling much farther ahead, pulling the wool over our collective eyes (and getting away with it) would have been more difficult.
Many people out there, including Bill Clinton, are telling people to get on with it and move on. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do, if there was genuine fraud. Rigging an election is tantamount to treason. It undermines the democratic component of our republic.
If it was truly the will of the electorate that Bush remain our President, that’s okay. Not what I’d ideally like, but that’s at least what we voted for. But what if there was tampering, and Bush was not truly reelected?
Greg Palast says that Kerry actually would have won in Ohio, had the “discarded” and provisional ballots all been counted. Kerry was down 136,000 votes in Ohio. Palast argues that a majority of these ballots were likely to have been cast by minorities who would likely have voted for Kerry. He surmises that the Democrats didn’t want a repeat of 2000’s debacle, which would likely make the party look like whining losers. That’s certainly a lot more plausible than Kerry being a ruse of a candidate. However, it’s a shame for a quarter of a million American citizens to be deprived of their basic right to vote.
Others have noted irregularities in Florida. In general, you would expect voters registered with a certain party to vote for that party, minus some portion that jumped the other way. I’m actually a registered Republican, so I’m an example of that. But, you wouldn’t expect the jumpers to form a large majority of the voters from that party. In Florida, and only on the optical scanning machines, there were a number of counties where you see things like 77% registered dems, but a 77% tally for Bush. This is especially intriguing because of the tie to a specific technology. The situation in Ohio seems more a matter of counting peculiarities and an unwillingness to go the distance on the part of the Republican Secretary of State. In Florida, it sounds much more like a hack.
This type of thing during the election and the electioneering done via redistricting in Texas are the way to killing our country. People who voted for Bush have every right to be pleased that their candidate won. But, we all need to be careful… some day, you might not want a Republican candidate, but you might not have any choice.