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Time for change

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Some Tips to California Voters to Avoid Being Disenfranchised

I got much of this from a former California precinct worker who posted it at a Bernie Sanders site, Jackpine Radicals. He is especially concerned about a category of voters called DTS (Declined To State party preference), who legally can vote in the Democratic Party, but he is worried that they might be targeted for suppression in an attempt to steal the election. However, I see that according to the California Secretary of State Website, the DTS category has been renamed to NPP (No Party Preference – perhaps in an effort to confuse these voters), so I will cover them together. The poster also includes a disclaimer which says that this information is correct and current to the best of his knowledge, unless the Democratic Party made recent rule changes that he is unaware of with the goal of taking votes away from Bernie. I will summarize his most important points:

1) MOST IMPORTANT: If you are in the DTS or NPP category, they will probably try to give you a non-partisan ballot (in fact the SOS website specifically says they will), which does not include the Presidential primary on it. If they ask you which ballot you want to receive, or if they don’t ask and try to give you a non-partisan ballot, tell them you want a Democratic ballot. Do not just say that you are a Democrat, or don’t say that at all. Tell them you want a Democratic ballot, which they are legally required to give to you if you request it (assuming you are registered DTS or NPP or Democratic and at the right precinct). Make sure you have a Democratic ballot before you vote. If you mistakenly begin voting and then realize that the Presidential primary is not on the ballot or that one of the candidate’s names is not on the ballot, do not finish voting – take the ballot to a poll worker and demand a Democratic ballot. If they refuse to give you one, report to the highest election official at the polls and to the Sanders campaign.

2) Many California voters are reporting that their registrations have been switched to Republican or some other category which is not allowed to participate in the Democratic primaries, or if they are voting absentee have received an absentee ballot that does not include the Presidential primary on it. So check your voter registration, and if it has been switched, get it changed back if you can. They forge signatures in order to change voter registrations, and this can be easily proved, but you would have to go to the BOE office or County Elections Office and have them compare your signature to the signature that changed your voter registration.

3) Do not wear anything that will identify you as a Sanders voter. If you do, you may be accused of electioneering, or you risk being illegally purged or having your vote not count.

4) If you are newly registered or recently changed your registration, but you did so by May 24, you are legally allowed to vote in the Democratic primary if your most current registration change is to the Democratic Party or DTS or NPP (there may be one or more other categories that are also legally allowed to vote, but it doesn’t appear to me that that is the case). So, if you are told at the polls that your name is not on the roster, ask them to check “Late Changes”, where your name should appear.

5) If your name cannot be found, make sure that you are in the right precinct. If you are not, make an attempt to vote in the right precinct because otherwise you will be required to vote Provisional ballot, which may not count.

6) If you are in line by 8 pm, you must be allowed to vote (if otherwise legally allowed to vote). If they try to tell you otherwise, report it to the highest election official at the polls and to the Sanders campaign.

7) If you received an absentee ballot but didn’t use it, in order to cast a regular vote (i.e. not provisional ballot), you must bring a spoiled absentee ballot with you to the polls.

8) Voter ID is not required by law in California. But I would advise that if you have one, bring it anyhow, just in case.

9) If they say that your voter status is inactive, you are still legally allowed to vote by regular ballot in California. If they don’t give you a Democratic ballot, report to highest election official at the polls and to Sanders campaign.
Posted by Time for change | Sun May 29, 2016, 02:38 PM (43 replies)

The Less Noted and Discussed Aspect of the Clinton E-mail Scandal

The bulk of attention in the Clinton e-mail scandal focuses on breaches of national security – which I won’t talk about here. But there’s another aspect to it that some people may find to be more important and darker than her breaches of national security: Her attempt to hide her federal business from the relevant federal agencies and the American people. The relevant part of federal law violated by this attempt is in the IG report:

Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account, by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary. At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service.


In fact, among the “personal” Clinton e-mails discovered by the IG, one contains an apparent admission that a major reason for her decision to set up a private e-mail server for the conduct of government business was to prevent “access” to it by federal officials or anyone else, as noted by the Washington Examiner. The Examiner discusses this aspect of the scandal and sums it up by saying:

But the classified information discussion may be a distraction from a more important issue: Clinton's inappropriate secrecy, keeping her emails outside the reach of federal officials and outside the reach of public-records laws. In America the government's business is the people's business — but Hillary Clinton wanted the American people out of her business.


What might Clinton have wanted to keep away from the federal authorities and the public?

One possibility would be that she was afraid that it might shed light on reports of corruption involving the Clinton Foundation. Another article by the Examiner notes:

Thousands of emails made public by the State Department between May of last year and Friday indicate donors to the Clinton Foundation were often given personal meetings, generous contracts or special consideration that was seemingly not afforded to the same number of private groups that had not written checks to the charity.


Or maybe they involve her central involvement with the disastrous Libyan War, which Clinton played a central role in creating, which helped ISIS and other terrorist groups gain power, and which Clinton has never even acknowledged as a mistake.

Or perhaps it would show something about her $225,000 speeches to Wall Street. There are federal laws against candidates for high federal offices receiving money for personal use from powerful interests, and with good reason. Large sums of money from powerful interest groups that are regulated by the federal government might cause a new U.S. President or other public official to favor those powerful interests over their other constituents. (In my opinion, there should be similar prohibitions against campaign contributions from powerful interest groups, for the same reason, but that’s another issue, since unfortunately those bribes are legal). Clinton claims that her speeches to Wall Street which earned her such huge sums of money were made before she became a candidate for President. But her e-mails could show that she was running long before she announced it publicly, in which case the pay she received for some or many of her Wall Street speeches would be illegal.

The Examiner sums up the problem with Clinton’s lack of transparency:

Transparency is essential to a functional democracy. Congress and various arms of the executive branch have created rules to bring about that transparency. Hillary Clinton broke those rules, in keeping with her career of antipathy for transparency. This antipathy to a core value is disqualifying in a presidential candidate. It's also a trait she shares with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, as presidential candidates traditionally do….. Democracy needs sunshine in order to flourish. America is in for four years of darkness.


I think it would have been better if the Examiner had changed its last sentence to read: “America is in for four years of darkness IF Trump and Clinton receive their Party’s nomination and are the only viable contenders in the November Presidential Election.” In other words, I think that if the Democratic Party goes through with its long intended coronation it will not only be committing political suicide but worse yet, it will be perpetrating a great disservice upon the American people.

It would be like if Richard Nixon, at the height of the Watergate scandal, rather than resigning the Presidency, had announced his intention to run for another term (He couldn’t have done that because he was in his second term at the time of his resignation, but this is just a hypothetical analogy). At least when Nixon resigned he had the privilege of having a successor who he approved of. If Clinton is the Democratic nominee she won’t have that option – assuming that she disapproves of a Trump Presidency.
Posted by Time for change | Fri May 27, 2016, 07:45 PM (56 replies)

Alison Grimes Should Recuse herself for the Kentucky Re-canvass

Alison Grimes, who as Kentucky Secretary of State is in charge of the running of elections in Kentucky, recently said:

I’m not only here to do my job as your secretary of state to make sure folks actually get to the polls to vote, but second, and most importantly, to support a family — both the former president and the woman I believe will be our next president.


So the chief elections officer in Kentucky, who the taxpayers pay to ensure fair elections, thinks that it is more important for her to support the campaign of one of the candidates.

With the re-canvass coming up tomorrow, I feel the need to repeat a paragraph from a recent post of mine regarding the Kentucky Democratic primary, because I now have something significant to add to it:

On Tuesday evening I was following comments on the reddit live blog while also following the KY election returns. Early in the evening, with about 20% of precincts reporting, with Bernie ahead in the state count by about 4%, several redditors noticed something very strange, which I was unable to personally observe because the site on which I was following the returns did not report results by county. What they noticed was a sudden decrease in the percent reporting from Jefferson County, simultaneously with a big increase in the vote count for Clinton. This concerned me, so I looked back at the election results, which literally seconds ago had shown Bernie with a 4 point lead, and it was completely gone – Clinton had taken the lead. Throughout the rest of the evening I saw somewhat similar comments from the redditors, causing me to believe that there were several similar occurrences, but I was more focused on the election results than their comments (which I now regret), so I am unable to discuss them in the detail that I discussed the first one.

Now I read this, which confirms my impressions from Election Night:

As I watched the returns come in last night… I noticed a trend in the numbers as they came in. Sanders would be gradually building a lead, getting it up to about 2,000 votes or so and then suddenly, a big number shift would come in and Hillary would be up a thousand, two thousand, four thousand votes all at once. Then the numbers would trickle in and Bernie would gradually regain the lead over the course of an hour or so and suddenly, once again, Hillary votes would come in in one massive dump and she would go up by another thousand or two thousand.

This unlikely trend continued all night…. Jefferson County kept injecting some votes periodically yesterday during the count but then they stopped with about 2 hours or so to go before the final votes… Jefferson County held their vote totals until about 98% of the votes were in from the rest of the state and they suddenly dumped a bunch of Hillary votes into the mix, giving her a 2,500 vote lead with 98% of the votes in and a guaranteed “victory” in Kentucky.


Also in the article is a video of Grimes cheerleading for Hillary at a rally in Louisville (in Jefferson County) before a crowd of 200 people – to give you an idea of how popular she is there.

In addition to the strange sudden swings to Clinton due to massive vote dumps from Jefferson County and a Secretary of State who is an ardent Clinton supporter, is the fact that exit polls, which the TV networks have been sponsoring throughout the primary season, were suddenly cancelled for the rest of the primary season shortly before the Kentucky primary. The Clinton vote count this primary season has consistently exceeded exit poll predictions, frequently by very large amounts. It would have been very interesting to see an exit poll for the Kentucky primary.

For all these reasons, I was very excited to hear that Bernie is requesting a re-canvass of Kentucky. But as best I can tell, Kentucky uses electronic voting machines WITH NO PAPER TRAIL in at least some counties. I have been unable to determine which counties do this, but I suspect that Jefferson County is likely to be one of them. Add to that a highly partisan Secretary of State, and the biggest questions are: How is the true vote count going to be determined where there is no paper trail? Does anyone have the capability to ascertain vote rigging by inspecting these machines? If attempts are made to do so, are the voting machine manufacturers going to try to block such inspections with the excuse that their machines are “proprietary”? And if so, is the Secretary of State going to roll over and let them get away with that? And if and where paper trails are available, will the vote counting be open to public inspection (as in Florida 2000) to make sure that the counting is done fairly?

These are all extremely important questions, and the Secretary of State is going to have a big role to play in all of them, and more. Democracy cannot afford to have this done by someone who says that it is more important for her to support one of the candidates than it is to ensure a fair election, especially given the highly suspicious election returns we saw in the Kentucky primary last week. We had that with Katherine Harris in the 2000 Presidential election in Florida and Kenneth Blackwell in the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio. In both cases, the election of George W. Bush was the result. We also saw it with Roberta Lange at the Nevada Democratic State Convention a couple weeks ago. This kind of thing cannot be tolerated in a country that calls itself a democracy. Alison Grimes must recuse herself for this very important re-canvassing process if we are to have much confidence in the results.


Posted by Time for change | Wed May 25, 2016, 10:41 AM (0 replies)

Electoral Map Sanders vs. Trump – Looks Like a Landslide

There are two different maps that look at a general election between Sanders and Trump. One includes only states that have been polled, and considers solid leads (10 points or more) and leaning leads (5-10 points). The other map extrapolates from that to allocate un-polled states based on how the state voted in 2012.

The map that considers only polled states looks like a landslide for Sanders:
http://www.270towin.com/polling-maps/sanders-trump-electoral-map

Sanders leads in those states by an electoral count of 237 to 13. Only 13 EC votes in the Sanders column are “leaning” leads (5-10 points), the other 224 being solid (10 or greater). On that map, Sanders has solid leads in NH, NY, MA, NJ, PA, MD, VA, NC, MI, WI, MN, CA, AZ, UT (total of 224 EC votes) and “leaning” leads in IA and CT (13 EC votes). Trump has leads only in LA and WV (both solid Republican bastions in the past 4 presidential election, with a total of 13 EC votes). Sanders’ lead in Utah is especially striking because Utah hasn’t voted Republican in a Presidential election since 1968 – but Trump is very unpopular in the West. Keep in mind that these numbers of 237 (total) or 224 (solid) EC votes for Sanders do NOT include several states which he couldn’t possibly lose to Trump, including VT, HI, WA, OR, IL, RI, DC, NV, CO, and NM. I’m including NV, CO, and NM here because they are Western states with large Hispanic populations, which can’t stand Trump for obvious reasons. These states that Sanders couldn’t possibly lose to Trump add up to 73 more EC votes, to give him a total of 297 solid EC votes, which is plenty enough to win. Too close to call states (<5 point leads) include MO, GA, SC, FL, IN, OH (total 93 EC votes).

The other map, which extrapolates by adding un-polled states based on 2012 results is somewhat more favorable to Trump, as it adds only 7 EC votes for Sanders from what I discussed above (DE and ME) and 128 for Trump. But many of those states are quite questionable for Trump, based on his very poor showing against Sanders in the polled states. It includes many Western states, where Trump is quite unpopular. Given that Sanders has a solid lead in Utah, it seems likely that he could pick off quite a few other traditionally Republican states in the West as well against Trump.


What about Clinton?

Clinton’s electoral map against Trump shows a likely win, but it is substantially weaker than the Sanders electoral map. Worse yet, her popularity has been decreasing lately, so that her net favorability ratings are now at negative 19% - almost 30 points lower than Sanders at +9.7%.

Maybe one reason for that is the recent strong-armed despicable abuse of power demonstrated by Clinton surrogates at the NV State Convention. Videos of the events there are circulating widely, apparently effectively combatting the biased “news” media reports that omit the many abuses of power by Clinton surrogates and talk only about false reports of “violence” by Sanders delegates. I guess our “news” media, as well as the Democratic Party, considers loud and angry protests against the theft of our democracy to be the equivalent of violence.

And now polls for head to head competition against Trump show Trump with an actual lead (though a statistical dead heat) against Clinton. That is not a single poll, but an average of several recent polls (He leads in three recent polls and trails in two). What a terrible risk we’ll be taking if Clinton is the Democratic nominee.
Posted by Time for change | Sun May 22, 2016, 03:07 PM (40 replies)

Clinton Delegate Whistleblower at NV State Convention: We Were Told



The Clinton delegate whistleblower says that they were told that party leaders could "scrub anyone they wanted to". She says that they were also told that the statement came from above -- i.e. Roberta Lange.

I just have this to say about anyone who tried to tell us that the 58 Sanders delegates at the NV State Convention who were decertified were done so for any legitimate reason: they were either very ignorant of the facts, very naive or very dishonest.

Well, maybe now our national "news" media will have to retract some of the ugly spin against Bernie and his delegates that they've been reporting about what happened at the NV State Convention. But I doubt that they will.

Posted by Time for change | Sun May 22, 2016, 07:40 AM (35 replies)

Strange Electronic “Glitches” in Jefferson and Pike Counties in KY Democratic Primary

On Tuesday evening I was following comments on the reddit live blog while also following the KY election returns.

Early in the evening, with about 20% of precincts reporting, with Bernie ahead in the state count by about 4%, several redditors noticed something very strange, which I was unable to personally observe because the site on which I was following the returns did not report results by county. What they noticed was a sudden decrease in the percent reporting from Jefferson County, simultaneously with a big increase in the vote count for Clinton. This concerned me, so I looked back at the election results, which literally seconds ago had shown Bernie with a 4 point lead, and it was completely gone – Clinton had taken the lead. Throughout the rest of the evening I saw somewhat similar comments from the redditors, causing me to believe that there were several similar occurrences, but I was more focused on the election results than their comments (which I now regret), so I am unable to discuss them in the detail that I discussed the first one.

Also of note is that very late in the election, with the vote count extremely close, suddenly all of the votes from Pike County, one of only 4 counties in KY where Sanders won by more than a 2:1 margin, disappeared, giving Clinton a substantial lead. Votes from Pike County returned several minutes later, and when they did Clinton still had a small lead, which she maintained until the end. The Inquisitor reports that when the Pike County returns came back, 20% of the votes were gone, but others maintain that all the votes came back. I cannot resolve that issue, but many are calling for a hand recount of Pike County, and in the interest of ensuring a fair election, I believe that should be done, as well as a hand recount of Jefferson County.

Call me paranoid, but these findings sound very suspicious to me. I was dying to get hold of exit poll results to see if the strange electronic “glitches” from Jefferson County would show up as substantial exit poll discrepancies from the official vote count, but guess what happened? Exit polls have been cancelled for the rest of the Democratic primary season. Perhaps some people in a position of power became very nervous over the fact that the large exit poll discrepancies (scroll down to see exit polls) seen in so many Democratic primaries this year (but not in the Republican primaries), 23 of 26 favoring Clinton in the official count compared to the exit polls (including 10 above the margin of error, ALL of which favored Clinton in the official count), have aroused a good deal of suspicion and calls for hand counted audits, which would settle the question of whether the exit polls were wrong or the electronic machines were wrong. Well, no need to worry about that any more. We’ll just have to trust the electronic voting machines that are owned and programmed by right wing corporations with little or no government oversight, or with oversight by highly partisan and corrupt election officials (for example, Katherine Harris (FL 2000), Kenneth Blackwell (OH 2004), and Roberta Lange (NV 2016)).




Posted by Time for change | Fri May 20, 2016, 03:29 PM (40 replies)

Bernie’s Statement about the Nevada State Convention

I posted about the happenings at this convention a few days ago. Here is the statement that Bernie made about it, in part in response to inaccurate reports of violence at the convention. I have bolded the parts that I think are especially important to emphasize:

It is imperative that the Democratic leadership, both nationally and in the states, understand that the political world is changing and that millions of Americans are outraged at establishment politics and establishment economics. The people of this country want a government which represents all of us, not just the 1 percent, super PACs and wealthy campaign contributors.

The Democratic Party has a choice. It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change – people who are willing to take on Wall Street, corporate greed and a fossil fuel industry which is destroying this planet. Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy.

Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada, for example, claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence. Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals. But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked.

If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned. I am happy to say that has been the case at state conventions in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii where good discussions were held and democratic decisions were reached. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention. At that convention the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place. Among other things:

* The chair of the convention announced that the convention rules passed on voice vote, when the vote was a clear no-vote. At the very least, the Chair should have allowed for a headcount.
* The chair allowed its Credentials Committee to en mass rule that 64 delegates were ineligible without offering an opportunity for 58 of them to be heard. That decision enabled the Clinton campaign to end up with a 30-vote majority.
* The chair refused to acknowledge any motions made from the floor or allow votes on them.
* The chair refused to accept any petitions for amendments to the rules that were properly submitted.


These are on top of failures at the precinct and county conventions including trying to depose and then threaten with arrest the Clark County convention credentials chair because she was operating too fairly.

Posted by Time for change | Wed May 18, 2016, 07:30 PM (1 replies)

My Critique of Nate Silver’s Critique of Exit Polls

I very well recall the stolen Presidential election of 2004 because that is the event that incited me to join DU, just as the stolen Presidential election of 2000 was, I believe, the event that incited the birth of DU (which I believe was born on inauguration day of January, 2001, but I might be off by a little bit on that). I joined DU shortly after the stolen 2004 election, primarily to participate with DUers in the investigation of the election. Some of my DU posts caught the attention of a small group that was organized to lobby the U.S. Senate to officially object to the election results, and I was invited to join the group, which I did, my role being to present my statistical findings, primarily those regarding the exit polls.

It should be noted that discussion of the 2004 stolen election was rampant on DU after the election and for many months and even years afterwards. Concurrently, election integrity organizations sprung up all over the country. The large discrepancy between the exit polls and the official vote counts, nationally and in most states, was a central part of the discussion on DU and focus of the election integrity organizations. According to the exit polls, John Kerry won both the national popular vote and the Electoral College (the deciding state being Ohio), though George W. Bush won the official vote counts of both. The discrepancies, taken as a whole, were way outside the margin of error. The vast majority of DUers who participated in the discussions about this (as well as many outside of DU) agreed that the exit poll discrepancies were a very strong indication of election fraud. There were some dissenting voices on DU, which many or most DUers involved in the discussions considered to be trolls. I did not and do not agree with that characterization. I’m pretty sure that at least a handful of the dissenters were knowledgeable and honest in their dismissal of the exit polls, though wrong. I find it very interesting that today, where we see even greater exit poll discrepancies than we saw in 2004, opinion of the value of exit polls on DU is much more evenly divided. Clearly the fact that a Democratic candidate, rather than George W. Bush, is the one whose official vote count consistently outperforms the exit poll predictions is the reason for the difference on DU regarding the value of exit polls, from what it was following the 2004 Presidential election.

Since the Clinton supporters on DU, who universally (as far as I can tell) dismiss the value of exit polls, point to various statements on exit polls made by our corporate news media, and especially those of Nate Silver, as proof that they are useless, I think that it is important to look in detail at Silver’s critique of exit polls and see how much sense they make.

I am a recently retired public health epidemiologist who worked for more than 40 years as such. My work primarily involved scientific studies of public health issues, all which involved detailed statistical analysis. 39 of those studies were published in peer reviewed medical or public health journals, most for which I was the first author. I also worked for one of the newly formed election integrity organizations, the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), as their data coordinator. The EDA conducts its own exit polls and has published several articles on the subject, a couple which I co-authored. I mention all this to make the point that I am qualified to critique Silver’s statements on exit polls. I certainly am not saying that I have as much knowledge or experience in polling as he does. But statistics is statistics, no matter what field it is applied to.

And I do have one very important qualification that Silver doesn’t have: the willingness to consider the possibility that exit poll discrepancies from official vote counts might indicate something different and much more serious than a problem with the exit polls, especially when they consistently favor one candidate. Scientific studies in public health all have various problems with them. But we don’t just say that because the study is imperfect in various ways that its findings are useless. Instead, we consider all the various alternative explanations for our findings, analyze them, decide what the most likely explanations are and why, discuss them in our manuscript, and submit it for publication.

So let’s take a close look at Silver’s "Ten Reasons Why you Should Ignore Exit Polls”.


Nate Silver’s “Ten Reasons Why you Should Ignore Exit Polls”

Silver ends his discussion on exit polls by saying that an independent panel created by CNN following the disastrous Florida election of 2000 recommended that they ignore exit polls for assisting them in calling elections, and he recommends that we do the same. What he is referring to when he calls the Florida election a “disaster” is not the fact that it was stolen but the fact that the TV networks called Florida first for Gore, then for Bush, then too close to call, quite an embarrassment for the networks. What he doesn’t tell us is that the first wrong call for Gore was the result of exit polls that were off because of the “butterfly ballot” in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County, which was very confusing and caused many thousands of voters to think that they were voting for Al Gore when they actually didn’t (many of those even wrote Gore’s name in, but their vote still was never counted). He also doesn’t tell us that the second bad call, for Bush, was the result of an electronic machine “malfunction” in Volusia County that suddenly subtracted about 15,000 votes from Gore’s total in a single precinct with less than a thousand voters. And he also doesn’t tell us that exit polls are still used to call elections, despite what one panel recommended 15 years ago. You may recall that Maryland was called for Hillary Clinton in this year’s primary with 0.0% of the vote in. What do you think they used to call that election?

So let’s take a look at Silver’s reasons why we should ignore exit polls:

1. Exit polls have a much larger intrinsic margin of error than pre-election polls
Silver correctly notes that the margin of error in exit polls is generally larger than in pre-election polls because of the cluster sampling that is used related to the precincts that are sampled in exit polls.

So what’s the big deal? Richard Charnin’s publication of exit poll discrepancies made appropriate adjustment of the margins of error based on cluster sampling, and still there have been 10 states (I don’t know about Oregon or Kentucky yet) with exit poll discrepancies from the official vote count outside the margin of error, and they all favor Hillary Clinton in the official vote count compared to the exit polls. Adjustment made, problem solved. Anyhow, margin of error is a statistical concept that depends totally on random error. Clinton outperformed Sanders relative to exit poll predictions in the good majority of states that weren’t quite outside of the margin of error too. A large margin of error does not cause findings to consistently point in the same direction. That’s why it’s called random error.

2. Exit polls have consistently favored the Democratic share of the vote
Yeah, since the stolen election of 2004 and the widespread use of easily manipulated electronic voting machines, indeed they have. It’s interesting that Silver uses the 2004 Presidential election as his one and only example. He doesn’t even consider the possibility that electronic vote manipulation was the cause of the exit poll discrepancies in that election – he just merely assumes that it was due to exit poll problems rather than electronic voting problems. That is circular reasoning.

3. Exit poll discrepancies were particularly bad in this year’s primaries
He was referring there to the primaries of 2008 and the fact that Barack Obama consistently under-performed related to the exit poll predictions. Again, he doesn’t even consider the possibility that the exit poll discrepancies may have been related to electronic machine manipulation rather than exit poll problems. And guess who Obama was running against in those primaries?

4. Exit polls challenge the definition of random sample
He says that it is hard to get an accurate random sample because some polling places are very busy and the pollster may be standing “yards away” from the voters. Yeah, ok, fine. The sample may not be perfectly random. Compare that to pre-exit polls, where some demographics of voters can’t even be reached by telephone or in any manner. How many “yards away” are these potential voters (not actual voters, as in exit polls) from the pollster?

5. Democrats may be more likely to participate in exit polls
This is almost a total reiteration of number 2. But I guess he needed it to reach 10. He also provides a study to support the point. And guess who conducted that study that Silver referred to. Scott Rasmussen, the right wing pollster who consistently over-estimates the Republican share of the vote even after whatever election fraud there is helps them out.

6. Exit polls may have trouble calibrating results from early voting
Silver acknowledges that most, but not all exit polls attempt to include early voting in there analysis. And he points out that doing so can be problematic because it requires an estimation of the number of early voters relative to Election Day voters, which may be wrong. But there are two things be leaves out of this explanation: One, that the states that don’t include early voting are the ones where the amount of early voting is considered too small to make a difference, and; two, that any trouble with exit polls that apply to difficulties in estimating the relative number of early voters applies in exactly the same manner to pre-election polls.

7. Exit polls may also miss late voters
That’s kind of a weak statement. He qualifies his statement with “may”, meaning if the exit pollsters go home early, before the polls close. To the extent that that happens it may or may not bias the sample, depending upon the demographics or candidate preference makeup of the late voters. But Silver says nothing about how common it would be for the pollsters to leave significantly prior to poll closing. Exit polling is a science, based on the necessity of polling a random sample. Anyhow, I have not seen radical swings in exit polls towards the end of the day, and if there were any, they should reflect similar radical swings in the official vote count, which could be assessed.

8. Leaked exit polls may not be the genuine article
What Silver means by this is that sometimes some people will leak interim results of exit polls, rather than the final exit polls (just prior to “adjustment” to fit the official vote count). But the exit polls that Richard Charnin and others have published this year, which I and others have cited frequently, are final exit polls. They are the “genuine article”, as Silver puts it. So for the purposes of our discussions of the huge exit poll discrepancies that favor Clinton in the official vote count, this is a non-problem.

9. A high turnout election may make demographic waiting difficult
In his discussion of this problem Silver for the first time in his article acknowledges that pre-election polls may have the same problem. But what he doesn’t say is that the problem of demographic weighting should be much greater in pre-election polls compared to exit polls. The reason for that should be obvious. In pre-election polls, models are needed to predict which demographic groups are more likely to vote. In exit polls such models are hardly needed at all to predict the final vote count because the polling is done on voters who actually showed up to vote.

Perhaps he brings this issue up because (though he doesn’t say so) some say that younger voters, for example, may be more likely to respond to an exit poll, and if so, that would skew (bias) the exit poll (in this case towards Bernie Sanders). But if that is the case, then why did Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, all with a relatively very old population of voters, exhibit some of the greatest exit poll discrepancies in the Democratic primaries this year? The theory just doesn’t hold up to the data, at least not in this year’s Democratic primaries.

10. You’ll know the actual results soon enough anyhow
What kind of reason is that for ignoring exit polls? By saying this, Silver willfully ignores the main reason why almost all, if not all election integrity activists, and many other Americans believe that exit polls need to be done: to monitor our elections for signs of fraud, as is done in many other countries; to look for warning flags and follow them up with investigations, primarily with extensive hand counted audits to see whether the vote counts from our woefully insecure and easily manipulated electronic machines match the hand counts, and; where they don’t, to use hand counts of the whole state (publicly monitored) to identify the actual results of the election. Does Silver really believe that people interested in improving our democracy see the main value of exit polls as learning the “actual” results of the election a little bit earlier?


What Silver doesn’t tell us in his criticism of exit polls

There are four very important issues that Silver omits from his discussion of exit polls, some which I’ve already alluded to:

One is the circular nature of his reasoning, which shows itself in his 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 10th reasons for ignoring exit polls. Essentially, what he is saying is that we should ignore exit polls because they have been “wrong” before. What he means by “wrong” is that they differ from the official vote count. But for the purpose of a discussion which considers whether exit polls are of value in monitoring the accuracy of the official vote count, differing from the official vote count in no way proves that the exit polls are wrong. They only prove that either the exit polls are wrong or the official vote count is wrong. Only extensive audits by hand counting paper ballots will tell you which is the case, and that is never done in this country, except when the official count is extremely close.

Two, in recent history, at least since 2004, whenever there are very large exit poll discrepancies, it is always the more conservative candidate who comes out ahead in the official count compared to the exit polls. That happened in the 2004 Presidential election (as well as 2008 and 2012, but in those years not enough to make a difference in the final count), in numerous Congressional elections between 2004 and 2014, and it happening again now, in the Democratic primaries. Isn’t there a pattern here that is worth commenting on? Related to that is the fact that the election machines used to count our votes are owned, programmed and run by right wing corporations.

Three, he doesn’t acknowledge that some of his criticisms of exit polls apply equally to pre-election polls (items 4 and 6) or worse (item 9)

Fourth, he doesn’t balance his discussion by noting some very substantial advantages that exit polls have over pre-election polls – far more substantial than the reasons he gives for ignoring them, which I hope I’ve made clear. I find that very ironic because he makes his living (I assume) from doing and analyzing pre-election polls, which he must believe have some value, otherwise why would he spend so much time doing them. The very substantial advantages that exit polls have over pre-election polls are: 1) They assess how the voter actually voted rather than how s/he intends to vote at a later time; 2) Pre-election polls rely on models to estimate who likely voters will be. Different pollsters use different models to estimate that, and obviously some of them are wrong. Sometimes most of them are wrong. Exit polls have no need for such models. Each respondent to an exit poll has approximately a 100% chance of voting because s/he has already voted, and; 3) despite the problems that exit polls have in obtaining a true random sample of voters, the problems with obtaining a true random sample with pre-election polls are far worse for the very simple reason that many voters cannot be sampled at all because they are unobtainable by phone.

Why doesn’t Silver even mention these substantial advantages of exit polls over pre-election polls? Could it be that it’s because he makes his living by doing pre-election polls?
Posted by Time for change | Wed May 18, 2016, 11:18 AM (19 replies)

How Clinton Won the Nevada State Convention

We have heard s reports from Clinton supporters that Sanders delegates to the Nevada State Convention last night were poor losers and acted outrageously, etc. etc. etc. Well, from everything I have read and heard about how the convention was run, there were very good reasons for their “rude” behavior.


The state convention

I’ve heard bits and pieces from various sources and cannot find a single coherent source that explains everything. Here is a video that gives you some idea of the chaos involved, but surely doesn’t put it together into a coherent story. These are what I consider to be the essential issues:

There were clearly more Sanders delegates at the convention than Clinton delegates. The Clinton delegates proposed a set of rule changes for the convention that, according to the Sanders delegates would make it easy for them (the Clinton campaign) to pick up some extra delegates for the national convention. A “voice vote” was taken, and it was ruled that the rule changes would go into effect. The Sanders delegates vociferously objected to the ruling, clearly unconvinced that the “voice vote” was legitimate. But to no avail. The rule changes went into effect.

There were 64 Sanders delegates who were decertified from the convention. The news article I read on the subject said simply that the decertified Sanders delegates felt that they were wrongly decertified. The main reason for the decertification was that they were said not to be registered as Democrats. That came as a complete surprise to the decertified delegates. Related to that, I read a DU post last night from an Iowa Democratic delegate (and I hope he or she responds to this OP) saying that he also was decertified from the Iowa caucuses, along with several other Sanders delegates, because, he was told, he (and many of the other decertified delegates) were registered as Republicans or otherwise not registered as Democrats.

I have also seen reports of Sanders delegates being locked out of rooms when crucial votes came up at the Nevada State Convention.

So it appears to me, on the basis of the strong armed tactics used by the Clinton campaign to win the Nevada caucuses, that some “rude” behavior by the Sanders delegates was not only warranted but was obligatory on their part as a protest in an attempt to represent the interests of those who elected them.


A word about the County Conventions where Sanders took a temporary lead in delegates

A discussion of this issue would not be complete without including the county conventions where Sanders took a temporary lead in delegates. There are Clinton supporters who have called this unethical, and I’ll bet that they will also say that because of that, whatever methods they used at the state convention to win would be justified in order to rectify the situation. So let’s take a closer look at this:

The reason given for Sanders taking a lead at the county conventions, in particular Clark County, was that hundreds of Clinton delegates either didn’t show up or flipped their vote to Sanders. If that was the end of the explanation, perhaps it would still be a good enough explanation, because if Clinton delegates didn’t want to take the time to attend the convention or changed their mind about who to vote for, then what does the Clinton campaign have to complain about?

But I doubt very much that that is all there is to the story, though I have seen no deeper explanation in writing. It strikes me as somewhat odd that hundreds of Clinton delegates would not show up at the county conventions, and unbelievably odd that so many would switch their votes to Sanders. After all, they were elected to represent Clinton. How could they possibly excuse such behavior?

The only plausible explanation that I can think of is that either prior to the convention or at the convention revelations were made about how Clinton “won” the original voting in the Nevada caucus, and that those revelations were so striking that many Clinton delegates were sickened by them to the point where their consciences would not allow them to vote for Clinton at the county conventions. What other reasonable explanation is there?

What revelations could there have been? Here’s one:

She needed pure corruption, intimidation and manipulation to squeak out an unimpressive win in Nevada…. That got Hillary a few hundred extra votes and put her over the top in Nevada…. she needed union and casino bosses {who supported one candidate} to basically order their union employees to take half their day off, and pay them to vote.



What this all means

The purging of Sanders delegates at the Nevada state convention is reminiscent of similar and massive purging of would-be voters in Arizona, New York, and many other states in the Democratic primaries this year. The main difference, I think, is that when you mess around with this kind of thing at a caucus you’re dealing with people who are very highly motivated to see democracy run properly and who are likely to be determined to spread the word around of the methods used to subvert democracy.

There is a revolution brewing in this country, even prior to Bernie Sanders’ announcement of his intention to run for President. That revolution is reflected by favorability ratings for the U.S. Congress running at record low levels, usually between 10 and 20% and sometimes dipping into single digits, and 45% of voters who do not consider themselves to be either Democrats or Republicans (42% independents and 3% other).

The many and massive “irregularities” occurring in the Democratic primaries this year are not reflecting favorably on the Democratic Party, and there has been a lot of talk going on about a mass exodus from the Democratic Party following the Democratic convention. The happenings at the Nevada State Convention have just added a good deal of fuel to the fire.
Posted by Time for change | Sun May 15, 2016, 05:14 PM (90 replies)

Sanders Regains Stolen Colorado Delegate

Bernie Sanders won one more delegate in Colorado than first projected after the Colorado Democratic Party admitted this week that it misreported the March 1 caucus results from 10 precinct locations. The party discovered the discrepancy a week after the caucus but did not correct the public record. Hillary Clinton's campaign discussed the error with state party officials last week, but the Sanders campaign apparently didn't realize the issue until being informed Monday evening by The Denver Post.


http://www.denverpost.com/election/ci_29755029/colorado-democrats-admit-mistake-that-cost-bernie-sanders

The event discussed in this Denver Post article only results in a net gain for Sanders of two delegates. As such, it may not seem to be a big issue. But I think it is because it clearly shows what the Clinton campaign and her supporters in the Democratic Party think of election integrity.

This was not just a “mistake”, as the article tactfully puts it. It may or may not have originally been just a mistake. But the Democratic Party knew about it for several weeks and did nothing to correct it. The Clinton campaign also knew about it but said nothing about it. Nothing was done to correct the “mistake” until an independent party, the Denver Post, informed the Sanders campaign about it. That makes it a stolen delegate rather than merely a mistake, regardless of whether or not it was initially just a mistake.

As such, it should provide even further urgent reason for a thorough investigation, including extensive hand counted audits to compare with machine counts, in all states where evidence of election fraud exists, whether that evidence consists of exit poll discrepancies with the official vote count, inadequately explained voter purging, disappearing Sanders votes associated with electronic machines, fake audits that add votes to Clinton and subtract them from Sanders to make the hand counts match the machine counts, or whatever.
Posted by Time for change | Sat May 14, 2016, 03:45 PM (22 replies)
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