11/11/2004

cooking up a live election... err... frog

the Republican method of "cooking up a live frog".

According to my Republican friends, Democrats are always loud and in a hurry so when they try..
Dems:

* throw the live frog in hot boiling water
* the frog jumps out immediately and runs away

Rethugs:

* Put the live frog on a pan with tepid water
* Let him enjoy the "bath"
* Slowly, by infinitely small ammounts they raise the temperature
* When the water reaches boiling point it's too late for the frog to notice anything..

Did they just boiled themselves a live election ?

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Please consider

As you know, it can be helpful to have a testable hypothesis or model of a complex situation.

Based on the various threads and posts concerning manipulation of votes in the 2 Nov 2004 National Election, it might be worthwhile to consider a hypothesis that I'll refer to as the 'imperceptible adjust and gambit distraction' hypothesis.

In testing such an hypothesis, you might consider looking for a distribution of unexplained votes for Bush of 1K here and there in small precincts, 10K here and there in somewhat larger precincts, all of which would be done at the 'counting stage' and not at the level of the 'ballot box', and you might find that the 'imperceptible adjust' fit;

You would also consider where and what type of events would act as 'distraction gambits', for instance, thugs at the polls in a place like OH or underwriting to get Nader on the ballot in places like OH, PN, etc., or locking observers out of a few rooms where ballots were being counted or .....

Small numbers of votes relative to the size of each reporting area being added while lots of smoke was being generated, would be a reasonable way to not only get sufficient numbers for an EC win, but create just enough of an overall delta to claim 'popular support.' If done well it would render almost any effort to uncover and prove very difficult, and thereby raise a bar to the scrutiny of any claim and create a risk most would not take.

A different situation but one that I have thought of more in the past 5 days than I have since I lived through it. We lived in DC through the entire 'pentagon papers' and 'watergate' tragedies and I'll never forget the first mention of 'the tapes.'

Every person I spoke to in the first hours, days of the revelation that those tapes existed either proclaimed 'impossible,' 'unimaginable,' 'they'll burn'um before they release them'.... In other words, it was all so astonishing, so much requiring of one to suspend reason -- how could such things even exist and, even more astonishing, that they weren't destroyed followed by a statement of 'you've gotta be kidding me, the President is going to secretly record such discussions, blahdeblahdeblah.'

Well, this time around, it appears that most folk just want this issue to go away because each instance being discussed appears just too small to matter either in OH, or FL, or...., and besides, he's got a 3M popular vote lead.

To that I say, maybe and maybe, but, just step back, take a look at the entire picture, form a hypothesis about how it could have been done and then test the hypothesis.

However, the issue that is most important to me is entirely non-partisan. It is comprehensive disenfranchisement. And, central to the disenfranchisement is the use of voting systems that are readily compromised and lead to the reality we face today.

We have no idea what really happened on 2 Nov 2004. We have no idea what would have happened had each eligible voter been given a paper ballot, marked it and deposited it, and those ballots were counted by fellow citizens under the supervision of a non-partisan group of observers.

That we claim to be the model of Democracy and have a more verifiable system working in Serbia than here is truly tragic.

That we claim the Iraqi's are going to have a fair election in Jan 2005 and what we show the world is the one we just had -- oh, sure.

And, one other very IMPORTANT factor if one were the architect of an approach such as the one hypothesized above, one would have had to think carefully about how long it would take for someone to uncover it.

If left to a few investigative journalists, a GAO look-see here and there, ....., likely forever if at all.

But, what about those 'internets' .... well, that experiment is underway just now and....we'll see.

And, what about exactly the type of statistical analysis that Sheldon Drobny is proposing:

http://www.opednews.com/drobny_110904_election_investigation.htm

Perhaps, we're about to uncover something. But, as noted above, we already have plenty of evidence of a dysfunctional franchise and we'd better fix it real soon now.

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