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News :: Politics
Statistical Analysis of Exit Polls-No Conspiracy Needed
02 Jan 2005
I've always believed that if there was foul play in this election it would be accomplished through electronic means and the only way to know would be through exit polling.
So I've been waiting patiently for a comprehensive analysis of exit poll data by qualified analysts. That moment has slowly, but finally, arrived. The latest is the analysis posted below in its entirety (converted from PDF for convenience and posterity) by Jonathan D. Simon, J.D. and Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D. from Institute of Government and Public Affairs - University of Illinois at Chicago. This paper, combined with others, namely Freeman, is as close to a "smoking gun" as you will ever find.
The 2004 Election Was Stolen
by TocqueDeville
Thu Dec 30th, 2004 at 19:37:23 PST

This is my first post regarding the possibility that the 2004 election was rigged. Some may be surprised by that since I've had a few post advocating severe scrutiny and focused attention by the blogging community.
But through all this time I've waited before reaching a conclusion. This is because I've always believed that if there was foul play in this election it would be accomplished through electronic means and the only way to know would be through exit polling.
So I've been waiting patiently for a comprehensive analysis of exit poll data by qualified analysts. That moment has slowly, but finally, arrived. The latest is the analysis posted below in its entirety (converted from PDF for convenience and posterity) by Jonathan D. Simon, J.D. and Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D. from Institute of Government and Public Affairs - University of Illinois at Chicago. This paper, combined with others, namely Freeman, is as close to a "smoking gun" as you will ever find.

Diaries :: TocqueDeville's diary ::
I've watched with amusement as people have tried to prop up theories about why the exit polls were so "wrong": Bush supporters are more reluctant to discuss their vote, or Democrats vote early. Meanwhile the same proponents of such theories chide the suspicious for reaching beyond the bounds of credibility. And in the background, on someone's TV, CNN is chattering about Ukraine and Dioxin.
Also, some fail to appreciate the significance of exit polls for proving election theft. The power of statistical evidence should be well known. DNA or fingerprint analysis is actually statistical in nature. The veracity of such evidence is derived from a statistical probability that no one else shares those traits. By the same token, if the election outcome is statistically improbable, by a factor of 1000 or more, you can pretty much take it to the bank that the outcome is wrong.
`Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence', I heard recently. This assertion is built on the false premise that rigging an election in the United States is somehow extraordinary. Considering the history of US elections, and the stakes involved, and the fact that 80% of all votes in the US were either cast on, or counted by two private corporations owned by Republicans, this and all elections should be suspect from the start.
History will judge us harshly for this election. Not just the Bush administration, but the media, the Democrats, and the online community as well. Future historians will no doubt get a chuckle for the providence of the Ukraine fiasco falling so closely behind our own. But mostly, when they examine the American response to the exit poll discrepancies of the 2004 election, they will be saddened by the blaring naiveté, maliciousness, and cowardice.
There is indeed a norm that permeates American culture, propagated mostly in the media, that some things are just too ugly to talk about. Some believe the consequences of rocking the boat are too risky. Perhaps, in some cases, they are. Despite its age, history has proven a fragility in our country that we often care not to admit.
But not talking about it isn't going to make it go away. And the consequences for rocking the boat pale in comparison to the consequences of allowing our democracy to be stolen away.

The 2004 Presidential Election: Who Won The Popular Vote?
An Examination of the Comparative Validity of Exit Poll and Vote Count Data
December 28, 2004
Jonathan D. Simon, J.D.
Verified Vote 2004
verifiedvote2004 (at)
Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D.
Institute of Government and Public Affairs
University of Illinois at Chicago
rbaiman (at)
Published by the Free Press (
The views expressed are the authors' own and are not necessarily representative of the
views of their respective institutions. Comments or questions directed to the authors
are welcome.
Executive Summary
• There is a substantial discrepancy--well outside the margin of error and outcomedeterminative--between the national exit poll and the popular vote count.
• The possible causes of the discrepancy would be random error, a skewed exit poll, or
breakdown in the fairness of the voting process and accuracy of the vote count.
• Analysis shows that the discrepancy cannot reasonably be accounted for by chance or
random error.
• Evidence does not support hypotheses that the discrepancy was produced by problems
with the exit poll.
• Widespread breakdown in the fairness of the voting process and accuracy of the vote
count are the most likely explanations for the discrepancy.
• In an accurate count of a free and fair election, the strong likelihood is that Kerry
would have been the winner of the popular vote.
The Significance of a Popular Vote Victory
Although it is the Electoral College and not the popular vote that legally elects the
president, winning the popular vote does have considerable psychological and practical
significance. It is fair to say, to take a recent example, that had Al Gore not enjoyed a popular vote margin in 2000, he would not have had standing in the court of public opinion to maintain his post-election challenge for more than a month up until its ultimate foreclosure by the Supreme Court.
In the 2004 election now under scrutiny, the popular vote again has played a
critical role. George Bush's apparent margin of 3.3 million votes clearly influenced the timing of John Kerry's concession. Although the election was once again close enough that yet-to-be-counted votes offered at least the mathematical possibility of a Kerry electoral college victory--and although, once again, concerns about vote counting were beginning to emerge from early post-election reports and analyses--Kerry apparently believed that, unlike popular vote-winner Gore, he did not have effective standing to prolong the race.
As ongoing inquiries continue to raise serious vote counting issues, Bush's
apparent popular vote margin has loomed large as a rationale for minimizing these issues,at least as far as their impact on the outcome of the race. While much concern has been expressed about "counting every vote," even the Kerry camp has issued disclaimers to the effect that their candidate does not expect that so doing will alter the outcome.
With the results in Ohio currently subject to both recount proceedings and legal
contest, dramatic developments compelling a reversal of the Ohio result cannot be ruled
out at this time. Yet to overturn the Ohio result, giving Kerry an electoral college victory
(or even to disqualify the Ohio electors via challenge in Congress, which would deprive
Bush of an electoral college majority and throw the election to the House of
Representatives), would likely be regarded as unjust and insupportable by a populace
convinced that Bush was, by some 3.3 million votes, the people's choice.
Thus, although the popular vote does not legally determine the presidency, its
significance is such that we must give due consideration to any evidence which puts the popular vote count itself at issue.
Sources of the Exit Poll and Vote Count Numbers
As the analysis which we undertake below is based upon the conflict between two
sets of numbers, one generated by the exit polls for the presidential race and the other
generated by the vote counting equipment, it is necessary to review the nature of the two
sources of results. Exit polling, since its invention several decades ago, has performed
reliably in the projection of thousands of races, both here at home and, more recently,
abroad.1 The record of exit polling from the 1970s through the 1990s was essentially free of controversy, except for the complaint that publication of exit poll results prior to poll closings dampened voter turnout by discouraging late-in-day voters from bothering to vote, the race having already been "called."2 Voters could be so influenced because they had come, indeed, to regard exit poll projections as all but infallible. Significant exit polling problems began to appear along with the development and spread of computerized vote counting equipment, since which time exit polls have had a notably poorer track record in spite of improvements in polling methodology.
Compared to standard pre-election polling, exit polling has certain advantages
and disadvantages. On the plus side, exit polls sample actual rather than just "likely"
voters and do not fail to include voters who are not attached to a conventional phone line
or who screen their calls.3 This results in significantly greater accuracy. On the minus
side, exit polls employ a cluster sampling technique, grouping respondents by precinct,
rather than a fully homogenized random sample of the target venue. This results in
somewhat less accuracy. On the whole, the advantages in accuracy an exit poll enjoys
over a pre-election poll of the same sample size tend to outweigh the disadvantages.
The exit polling in Election 2004 was performed by the combined firms of
Mitofsky International and Edison Media Research, under exclusive contract as "official
provider" of exit poll data to six major media organizations (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox
News Channel, and the Associated Press), which collectively formed the National
Election Pool. 4 Exit polling operations were under the principal direction of Warren
Mitofsky, credited as the inventor of exit polling and recognized throughout the world as
the leading expert in the field. With over 35 years of exit polling experience,
encompassing nearly 3,000 electoral contests in the United States and abroad, Mitofsky
has achieved consistent success in the field and has continued throughout his career to
refine and improve the methodologies and protocols of exit polling.5 In 1999 Mitofsky
received the Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for Public
Opinion Research.
Election 2004 presented a particular challenge and opportunity for Mr. Mitofsky,
whose exit polling operation was hampered in 2002 by a massive computer breakdown.6
It has been reported that preparations for Election 2004 were especially thorough,
entailing increased staff numbers and training, upgraded computer hardware and
software, expanded surveys of absentee and early voters, and dry runs beginning in July
to prepare analysts for the full spectrum of possible election night scenarios.7 It may
fairly be said that the exit polling for Election 2004 was a more advanced, sophisticated,
and meticulous operation than any previously undertaken.
In contrast to the uniform methodology of the exit polls, a variety of methods are
employed to record votes on election day, including optical scan devices, direct
electronic recording (DREs or "touchscreens"), punch cards, paper ballots, lever
machines, and data-point devices, in that order of prevalence. An additional variety of
methods are then employed to transmit these votes to central locations and tally them at
the county and state levels. Ownership and operation of this mosaic of machinery is fully
privatized and is concentrated predominantly in the hands of four corporations: Diebold,
ES&S, Sequoia, and Hart Intercivic. The partisan proclivities and activities of each of
these corporations are a matter of public record. 8 Because of the proprietary nature of
the election system throughout the United States, these vendors of the voting equipment
design, program, operate, maintain, and repair it at every level, most often without
outside or public scrutiny, and with at best a minimal process of testing and certification.9
Boards of Election and state level authorities over election protocols have often accepted financial support from the equipment vendors10 and have also been seen at times to act under the influence of partisanship, appearing to elevate outcomes over fairness of process.11 Such systemic conflicts of interest do little to enhance the integrity or credibility of the vote counting system.
Computer experts have documented the susceptibility of both the recording and
tabulating equipment to undetected errors, hacking, and deliberate fraud.12 A substantial component of the system (DREs, which are responsible for recording approximately 30% of the vote) generates no paper record and is effectively immune to meaningful recount. Central tabulators responsible for compiling over 50% of the vote employ an operating system that has been demonstrated to be vulnerable to entry and manipulation through a standard laptop PC.13 In spite of these vulnerabilities of the counting system, few if any questions about the accuracy of the numbers it produced were raised on election night.14
Election Night 2004: The Exit Poll/Vote Count Differential
On election night 2004, the exit polls and the vote counting equipment generated
results that differed significantly. In the early morning of November 3, 2004, a website screenshot entitled "U.S. PRESIDENT/NATIONAL/EXIT POLL"
posted national exit poll results updated to 12:23 A.M., broken down by gender as well as
a variety of other categories.15 The time of the update indicates that these results
comprised substantially the full set of respondents polled on election day, but were free
from the effects of a subsequent input of tabulated data used to bring about ultimate
congruence between the exit poll and vote count results.16
The CNN posting indicates the number of respondents (13,047), the gender
breakdown of the sample (male 46%, female 54%), and the candidate preferences by
gender (males: 52% Bush, 47% Kerry; females: 45% Bush, 54% Kerry). For the national
exit poll taken as a whole, therefore, the result was 48.2% Bush, 50.8% Kerry.17 The vote counting equipment produced a markedly different result: 50.9% Bush, 48.1% Kerry.18 The differential between the two counts, which were virtually mirror images of each other, was 5.4% overall, or about 3.3 million votes (see Chart 1).

The reaction of election night analysts interpreting this differential was
immediately to query what had "gone wrong" with the exit polls. This was a curious
approach both in light of standard accounting practice, which compels independent
examination of both sets of numbers that are found to be in conflict, and in light of muchvoiced pre-election concerns about the accuracy and security of the computerized vote counting systems. We offer an alternate approach to the conflicting data, based on
fundamental statistical and accounting principles.
Statistical Analysis Of Exit Poll Results
Steven F. Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania has analyzed Election 2004
exit poll results for battleground states,19 and has drawn certain conclusions regarding the significant discrepancies between exit poll results and vote counts for several critical
states. In particular, the odds against the discrepancies in Ohio, Florida, and
Pennsylvania occurring together are computed at 662,000-to-one, or a virtual statistical
impossibility that they could have been due to chance or random error. Receiving
somewhat less emphasis is the overall pattern of discrepancy in the state polls--again
with the vote counts turning in Bush's favor, though less dramatically in the
nonbattleground states, as will be discussed below. The national popular vote is not
addressed in that paper, but the same statistical principles are applicable, and will be
employed in this analysis.
While the individual state samples totaled 73,678 reported respondents,20 a
national sub-sampling was undertaken by Edison/Mitofsky, which comprised 13,047
reported respondents, chosen as a representative random sample of the nation as a whole.
This sample was drawn from 250 targeted polling places and from 500 individual
telephone interviews with absentee and early voters.21
What is remarkable about this national sample of 13,047 is its size. When
compared with more familiar pre-election poll samples of about 2000 - 2200 respondents,
it is approximately six times as large. Such augmentation of sample size reduces a poll's margin of error (MOE) from the ±3% to which we have become accustomed, down to ±1.1%.22
The ±1.1% MOE tells us that, barring specific flaws in the design or
administration of the poll and in the absence of significant mistabulation of the vote
count itself, the exit poll result for the selected candidate will fall within ±1.1% of his
vote count 95% of the time. In this case it tells us that we can be 95% certain that
Kerry's popular vote percentage would fall in the range 49.7% to 51.9%; that is, it would
fall outside that range only once in 20 times. Kerry's reported vote count of 48.1% falls
dramatically outside this range.23
To carry our analysis further, we can employ a normal distribution curve (see
Figure 1) to determine--again assuming proper poll methodology, no discriminatory
voter suppression 24, and an accurate and honest popular vote count--that the probability
that Kerry would have received his reported popular vote total of 48.1%, or less is one in
959,000--a virtual statistical impossibility.25
The Popular Vote Winner
We can proceed one helpful step further and calculate the likelihood, based on the
exit poll results, that Kerry would receive more popular votes than Bush. The break-even
point would be 59,024,629 votes, or 49.54% of the total.26 This percentage lies,
significantly, outside the MOE of the national exit poll and in fact we find that Kerry
would receive fewer votes than Bush only 1.3% of the time. Put another way--given the
exit poll results, proper poll methodology, and an accurate and fair voting process--
Kerry would be the popular vote winner of Election 2004 98.7% of the time.
Is Something Wrong With The Exit Poll Results?
The clear implication of our analysis is that neither chance nor random error is
responsible for the significant incongruence of exit poll and tabulated vote results, and
that we must look either to significant failings in the exit poll design and/or
administration or to equally significant failings in the accuracy and/or fairness of the
voting process itself to explain the results. Given the dramatic implications of our analysis, we of course must consider carefully any argument that has been put forward suggesting that the exit polls failed as an accurate measure of voter intent. We examine the two least implausible hypotheses that have been put forward.
The first deals with the proportion of respondents by gender. The composition of
the national sample by gender was 46% male, 54% female, which prompted a claim that
females were over-represented, skewing the results towards Kerry. While it is not proven
that this is in fact the case, if it is taken as stipulated and the sample is reweighted to
reflect a "normal" gender breakdown of 52% female, 48% male, the effect is to increase
Bush's exit poll percentage by 0.2% to 48.4% and decrease Kerry's to 50.6%. The effect
on the bottom line is minimal: Kerry would be the popular vote victor 96.9% of the
The second hypothesis put forward is the "reluctant Bush responder" hypothesis.
It suggests that Bush voters were for some reason less willing to fill out an exit poll
questionnaire, and therefore were undercounted in the poll results. If such a phenomenon
could be proven, it would be a source of significant skewing and effectively invalidate
the polls. The proponents of this hypothesis, however, have yet to offer any supportive
evidence for their theory.28 The hypothesis also does not explain the nonuniformity of
the pattern of state-by-state discrepancies.29 In fact, one could equally well imagine that
a "reluctant Kerry responder" phenomenon was at work, and that the exit polls
systematically underrepresented Kerry's vote.30
In light of the history of exit polling and the particular care that was taken to
achieve an unprecedented degree of accuracy in the exit polls for Election 2004, there is little to suggest significant flaws in the design or administration of the official exit polls.
Until supportive evidence can be presented for any hypothesis to the contrary, it must be
concluded that the exit polls, including the national mega-sample within its ±1.1%
margin of error, present us with an accurate measure of the intent of the voters in the
presidential election of 2004.
According to this measure, an honest and fair voting process would have been
more likely than not--at least 95% likely, in fact--to have determined John Kerry to be
the national popular vote winner of Election 2004.31 Should ongoing or new
investigations continue to produce evidence that, to an extent determinative of the
electoral college outcome, votes have not been counted accurately and honestly or
discriminatory vote suppression has occurred, the re-examined popular vote outcome
may well be deemed relevant to the question of what remedies are warranted.
1 See Polling and Presidential Election Coverage, Lavrakas,
Paul J, and Holley, Jack K., eds., Newbury Park, CA: Sage; pp. 83-99.
2 This problem was theoretically resolved by a gentleman's agreement to withhold release of exit poll calls until the polls had closed.
3 Because only actual voters are included, these might more accurately be referred to as "exit samples"rather than "exit polls."
4 As described in the National Election Pool Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International .
5 Exit polling has been relied upon as a check mechanism for the vote counting processes in numerous foreign elections. Indeed Mitofsky himself received public commendation from Mexican President Carlos Salinas for his contribution to the credibility of that nation's 1994 election. Most recently, exit polling has been instrumental in the overturning of election results and the ordering of a new election in the Ukraine.
6 As a result exit polls were not employed in the projection of election outcomes in 2002.
7 Newark Star-Ledger, 10/28/2004, page 1, "Networks Will Look to Somerville of Tuesday." See also,Bauder, D., "TV Networks to Test New Exit Polling System," The Associated Press, Oct. 13, 2004,reprinted at
The specific methodologies and protocols employed are detailed on the websites for Mitofsky International(, Edison Media Research (, and the National Election Pool (
8 See, e.g., Smyth, J., Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 28, 2003, reprinted at: ; see also .
9 See Zeller, T., "Ready or Not, Electronic Voting Goes National," The New York Times, Sept. 19, 2004
(reprinted at
10 See "On the Voting Machine Makers' Tab," The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2004, Editorial Page.
11 See, e.g., Welsh-Huggins, A.. "The Next Katherine Harris?" Associated Press Report Oct. 27, 2004,
reprinted at (detailing actions
taken by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell).
12 See, e.g., Rubin, A., "An Insider's View of Vote Vulnerability," Baltimore Sun, March 10, 2004
(reprinted at; Levy, S., "Black Box Voting Blues,"
Newsweek, Nov. 3, 2004 (reprinted at
13 The GEMS system, employed by Diebold in central tabulators serving about half the venues, is particularly susceptible to entry and manipulation (hacking or preprogramming) as was dramatically demonstrated on national television (CNBC: "Topic A With Tina Brown") when critic Bev Harris led Howard Dean through the necessary steps in less than two minutes (see Hartmann, T., "Evidence Mounts
That The Vote May Have Been Hacked," at
14 Such unquestioning acceptance may be portrayed in a positive light. As Warren Mitofsky himself has said: "In a democracy, it's the orderly transfer of power that keeps the democracy accepting the results of elections. If it drags on too long, there's always a suspicion of fraud." The perils of unquestioning acceptance of what may, given the vulnerabilities of our vote counting system, be falsified results should, however, be self-evident.
15 The time-stamped screenshot was printed out by Simon at 1:29 A.M. on Nov. 3, 2004, and is attached for reference as Appendix A. The data derived from the CNN screenshots printed by Simon for the individual states may also be referenced at
16 This practice is referenced in "Methods Statement: National Election Pool Exit Polls Nov. 2, 2004,"
(.pdf) at
17 The totals for the full sample are computed by combining the candidate preferences of male and female
respondents: Bush = [(males)46% x 52%] + [(females)54% x 45%] = 48.2%; Kerry = [(males)46% x 47%]
+ [(females)54% x 54%] = 50.8%
18 Approximately 1% of the total vote went to minor candidates. Therefore a vote percentage of 49.54% rather than 50.0% constitutes a winning margin for either Bush or Kerry. It is important to bear this in mind in reading the analysis below.
19 Freeman, S., "Was the 2004 Presidential Election Honest? An Examination of Uncorrected Exit Poll
Data," Working Paper #04-10, rev. Nov. 23, 2004; .
20 For the 47 states and District of Columbia for which data was captured by Simon, see:
21 See "Methods Statement: National Election Pool Exit Polls: National/Regional Exit Poll," available
from the National Election Pool in .pdf format at
22 Ibid, p. 2, Table. Calculation of the margin of error may be checked as follows: Calculate the standarderror of a random sample using the formula , where p = Kerry percentage of the
vote (0.481) and N = the sample size (13,047). The fact that an exit poll is a cluster sample, grouping
respondents by precinct, rather than a fully homogenized random sample of the target venue, increases the
standard error by 30% to 0.00568 (see Merkle, D. and Edelman, M. "A Review of the 1996 Voter News
Service Exit Polls from a Total Survey Error Perspective," in Election Polls, the News Media and
Democracy, ed. P.J. Lavrakas, M.W. Traugott, New York: Chatham House, pp. 68 - 72). Ninety-five
percent of the time, a result predicted on the basis of a random sample will be within 1.96 standard errors,
or ±0.011 (1.1%) for a sample of this size.
23 It is dramatic because a 2.7% "miss" at these levels of precision is extremely unlikely to occur. The statistician's measure of such likelihood is known as a "standard deviation." A result which is off, as in this case, by 4.7 standard deviations is without question "dramatic:" the odds against its occurrence are enormous.
24"Discriminatory voter suppression" refers to methods that disproportionately reduce voter turnout in precincts that favor one candidate, for example through disproportionate allocation of voting machines. Because state level exit polls are weighted sums of precinct voting shares, disproportionate changes in turnout can contribute to a discrepancy in state exit polls relative to the actual vote.
25 Probability of a 48.1% vote share assuming an exit poll vote share of 50.8%: P(0.481) = 1 -
NORMDIST(0.481, 0.508, 0.005686, True) = 0.0000010424 (where NORMDIST is an Excel spreadsheet
function that gives the probability of obtaining 0.481 for a normal distribution with a mean of 0.508 and a
standard deviation of 0.005686). 1/0.0000010424 = 959,336.
26 Based on final election numbers from the Washington Post, Nov. 24, 2004.
27 For reference, even a clearly "male-skewed" 50% male, 50% female sample would have resulted in a
Kerry victory 93.5% of the time.
28 There is some intriguing evidence to the contrary, drawn from an analysis performed by William Kaminsky, a graduate student at MIT. Kaminsky finds that in 22 of the 23 states which break down their voter registrations by party ID the ratio of registered Republicans to registered Democrats in the final,
adjusted exit poll was larger than the ratio of registered Republicans to registered Democrats on the official registration rolls. In other words, the adjustments performed on the exit polls in order to get them to agree with the official tallies would, if valid, require Republicans to have won the get-out-the-vote battle in essentially every state. We find this requirement implausible, and indeed observational evidence pointed to just the opposite: massive new voter turnout, which virtually always cuts in favor of the challenger; huge
lines in Democratic precincts; unadjusted exit poll data showing apparently greater Democratic turnout; etc. Exit polls appropriately stratified to official party ID percentages, which would effectively neutralize any suspected "reluctant Bush responder" phenomenon by including the expected proportions of
Republican and Democratic voters, would on the basis of Kaminsky's analysis have yielded results at least as favorable to Kerry as those upon which we have relied in our calculations.
29 A complete analysis of all 45 states and the District of Columbia for which comparable exit poll data is available shows that four out of the 11 battleground states had exit poll/vote count discrepancies that were outside of a standard 5% (one-tail) margin of error, whereas this was the case for only one of the 35 nonbattleground
states. Moreover, all of these statistically significant discrepancies were in favor of Bush. This data is at odds with claims of "systemic" pro-Kerry exit poll skew. See Baiman, R. Dec. 19, 2004 at: (some figures have been updated by the author to reflect more recent data).
30 It is by no means self-evident that either candidate's supporters were systemically more likely to be intimidating or more easily intimidated. While it might be more reasonably argued that voters finding themselves in a dwarfed minority in their communities might have been less willing to be exit poll respondents, in light of the even division of the national electorate, any such tendencies would have
resulted in a wash, with no net effect on the validity of the national exit poll. We would of course welcome the release by Edison/Mitofsky and/or the National Election Pool of the data which would facilitate further analysis of these and other factors.
31 It should be clear that more is at stake than the presidency itself. Use of computerized vote counting will only increase, as mandated by law. Vote counting is the bedrock protocol of a democracy and meaningful reform of a broken counting system is dependent on an expression of public will ultimately exercised at the ballot box and fairly, accurately, and honestly tabulated. If the system has broken down
and is no longer counting accurately and honestly, there is no effective democratic mechanism to bring pressure upon a governing majority to reform a vote counting status quo which is seen to work in its favor.
This is, as may be seen, a potentially crippling catch-22 for a democracy. Figure 1:

Appendix A See PDF
UPDATE: Though I nor the above paper make any statements about how this election was stolen, many have expressed a belief that it would require an implausably widespread
conspiracy. For many, this is a fundamental barrier.
No Conspiracy Required
Since so many votes are cast on DREs (touchscreens), or counted on central tabulators, by so few companies, it would literally require only one person to rig an election. For those who know little about computers, let me explain.
All these machines run software to perform their task. In this software is thousands of lines of code. Instructions so to speak. All that is required to alter those instructions, say, to add an extra 20 votes for Bush for every 100 votes counted, is just another few lines of code.
Since there is no public oversight of this software and no access to the privately owned, proprietary code, no one would be the wiser.
And since so many machines, all running the same software, are used, only 20 votes is all
they would need to add.
For example, Ohio has 11,360 precincts. Lets say your company counts 5000 of them. That's about the range of Diebold. So lets say you write a program that gives Bush 20 measly vote sin every precinct and you gain 100,000 votes. Have your little code add 20 for Bush and subtract 20 from Kerry, 200,000 net.

Steve Gibson of Gibson Research, a highly respected programmer who discovered the Netscape spyware scandal, describes how his website was attacked by a teenager. This kid had written a virus that spread around to hundreds, if not thousands of computers. With a key command, he could control all these computers (bots, as their called) and had them all attack Gibson's website with denial of service attacks. He did this presumably from his mom's house.
There's a reason so many computer geeks are against computer voting and vote counting.
Because they know a teenager could have stolen this election.
Not only does it not require a conspiracy, but it doesn't require even the Bush campaign to know about it. Imagine if you worked for Diebold and you knew that you could undetectably secure Kerry's victory with a few simple lines of code. Tell me you wouldn't think about it.
It is possible that Bush really thinks he won this election fair and square and some guy named Bob is sitting back right now knowing that he changed history. It would be funny if it weren't so horrifyingly possible.

This work is in the public domain
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