Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, June 01, 2006

And They Call it Democracy (2)

Rolling Stone has an article by Robert Kennedy Jr., entitled, 'Was the 2004 Election Stolen'. After reading it, I can only conclude that they got the order of the words wrong in their title. Anyone have any links to anything at all persuasive that can challenge this, or is it pretty much conceded at this point? I know the article just came out recently, but up to now, I've never seen much of a counter-argument made to assertions of vote manipulation and fraud in the last U.S. presidential election.

Update: Antonia mentions this as well. So far the only response has been the same, "I can't refute any of the actual allegations, or explain any of the anomalies, so I will just claim that you are crazy for talking about this" that I've seen before. If it is so ridiculous, surely it should be fairly easy to explain why, no?

Update 2: I've read lots of rebuttals to the Kenneday article (thanks for anyone who provided links). This one is probably the best (or at least the most thorough) of the bunch. But while I have seen enough to convince me that the Kennedy piece was pretty one-sided (in case that wasn't obvious to begin with) and that he isn't the most trustworthy writer, most of what I've seen in response doesn't add to all that much, rebutting a few (mostly minor) points fairly convincingly, hand-waving with varying degrees of plausibilty on others and basically conceding Kennedy's point on a number of others. Clearly, as was brought up in the comments, the U.S. really needs a more transparent and fair electoral system, one run by a non-partisan agency and one where there is a paper trail for all ballots - you wouldn't think that would be that hard.


  • While the jury is still out on this, here is a link to an article refuting a piece Kennedy did for Rolling Stone last year linking autism to thimerosal. I'm not qualified to judge his latest work, but this does leave me with doubts about his intellectual and journalistic integrity.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 PM  

  • Anon.

    You may e3ngage in an adhominem attack on Kennedy if you want, but that still does not refute the facts in this Rolling Stone article.

    So Kennedy was wrong. He was perhaps shown to be wrong by atacking his arguements and premises and evidence.

    Rather than than dismiss this article as more of the same, apply the same standard. Show that his arguements and premises and evidence for the 2004 Presidential election being stolen are false or mistaken.

    By Blogger Mike, at 9:04 AM  

  • I appreciate the link, but I'd be more convinced that it is relevant to this case if I hadn't seen almost all the same points that Kennedy makes already made by other people (repeatedly in many cases).

    Rather than providing new information (although there was some stuff that was new to me), the value of the Kennedy piece, in my opinion, is bringing all the pieces together in one article, citing all the sources, and getting it published in a more widely-read publication.

    As Mike says, someone needs to take the same approach to the election piece that was taken in the article you link to.

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:12 AM  

  • Check Instapundit for links to a couple of RFK Jr. stolen election debunks such as this
    and others

    By Anonymous Peter, at 10:33 AM  

  • Thanks for the link Peter, it does clear up a couple of minor issues (such as the extra 13,000 votes in one precinct) although I note that the article concludes its discussion of Ohio by saying, "The irregularities [in Ohio] were sufficiently widespread to call into question Bush's margin of victory. This was not a fair election, and it deserves the scrutiny skeptics have brought to it. They shouldered a task that mainstream media and the government should have assumed—and still should take on, especially since some key questions can only be settled by invoking subpoena power."

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:02 PM  

  • Probably the best thing the US could do to improve the security and reliability of elections would be to create a nation-wide regulatory body, not unlike Elections Canada.

    Centralization isn't always the answer, but the way US elections are administrated on a state and district level seems to leave parts of the system vulnerable to corruption and manipulation.

    I think it would be harder for a national party to manipulate a national election administration than it would be for a national party to sway a few key local election administrations.

    By Anonymous famousringo, at 3:24 PM  

  • Yes, I couldn't agree more, FamousRingo. The other easy step would be to mandate a paper receipt for all ballots cast.

    By Blogger Declan, at 4:39 PM  

  • On the matter of the exit polls: is it possible that potential Kerry voters saw the results on TV/internet and said "good, now I don't have to vote" while potential Bush voters said "oh, I'd better go vote before the polls close."? i.e., did the existence of exit polls change the behaviour of some voter who were waiting until the last minute?

    Granted, I don't know much about the exit polls - maybe they sample all day long, up until the polls close. That would refute my claim.

    Also, exit polls have been around for a long time - why would this election be different? Maybe the internet? Seems unlikely, but possible. Maybe because everyone knew it would be a close vote? Well, that doesn't sound different from 2000...

    So I take the exit polls part of the article with a grain of salt, but can't refute it outright. And of course, that doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the article.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:06 PM  

  • The other easy step would be to mandate a paper receipt for all ballots cast.

    Well it's true: paper printouts could give us a way to verify results, but paper's very expensive. And we've already spent an awful lot of money on these computers. (.mov)

    And agreed, a national system would surely help to make sure standards were common across the country. Sadly, with the decentralized model in the US, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    I also don't like all the crap you have to do to vote in the US (register *way* ahead of time (much easier to make such a rule with fixed election dates, by the way), make sure your address is correct, make sure you're not on the list of felons, make sure you're not legally insance, etc., etc., etc.).

    By Anonymous Nicholas, at 6:21 PM  

  • Don, the exit poll issue seems almost separate in my mind from the others. I am skeptical the exit polls prove anything because if they do, it would suggest that something was amiss across much of the country and a country-wide vote rigging scheme seems impossible to implement, execute and keep under wraps without something going wrong (unless there was something done centrally and systematically with voting machines).

    On the other hand, I've yet to hear a plausible explanation for the wide and systematic divergence between the exit polls and the results, so in the absence of that it is hard to close the book on it - Normally I would want to go with the simpest explanation that explains the results in a case like this but so far, I haven't seen a plausible explanation.

    Given the situation, it seems reasonable that there should be an investigation and the company which did the polling should be forced to release the raw poll data.

    Given the raw poll data, it should be much easier to determine why the polls were so far wrong.

    As for your proposed theory, it is contradicted by the fact that the exit polls for the Senate races (conducted on the smae people as the presidential exit polls) didn't show nearly the same bias.

    This article here is a pretty good summary of the inexplicable with the exit polls.

    Also, Wikipedia has a good article.

    Nicholas - Thanks for the link, hilarious (yet sad). I am pretty puzzled by the push for electronic voting machines, but I guess paper *is* pretty expensive.

    By Blogger Declan, at 7:22 PM  

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