"With all due respect, Tim, you're full of shit."
That's what highly regarded media critic Mark Crispin Miller told me this morning, in response to my opinion that President Bush had been reelected in a more or less fair vote, with electoral and popular margins that can't be explained away by the various (often credible) claims of vote fraud.
Well, if a respected NYU professor says it, it must be true. Still, I think folks on the left might be better off figuring out why more people voted for Bush than continuing to pound the Bush-illegitimacy drum that Tuesday's results would appear to have silenced.
However, while I don't think more Diebold conspiracy theories are going to be of much use to the Democrats, I'm happy to see attention focused on the real problem of vote fraud. In that spirit, here is a roundup of anomalies, some apparently real and some pretty dubious, making the rounds since Tuesday:
* Glitch in electronic voting in Franklin County, Ohio delivers 3,893 extra votes to Bush.
* 1,100 separate complaints of irregularities with touch-screen voting nationwide. Many of these involve cases where a vote for Kerry showed up as a vote for Bush. The president of the Election Protection Coalition calls these complaints "troubling but anecdotal," and says the higher numbers of complaints from Democrats may be due to greater awareness of voter protection coalitions.
* Former U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow (R-SD) objects to GOP's Victory campaign, saying it cheats the vote. "When you tamper with it, you cheat the system. And cheating in elections is the worst form of cancer because it's uncontrollable."
* Exit polling said to be accurate in non-swing states was off in Ohio and Florida, raising suspicions of Kerry supporters.
* Broward County corrects a bug that miscounted thousands of absentee ballots.
* A correspondent claiming to be an international pollster writes to Miller with the following observations:
The breakdown/meltdown of registration vs actual voting trends in several counties throughout Ohio and Florida. THIS IS NOT ANECDOTAL. I have been exposed to multiple electoral models in my original country, and you can argue all you want about demographics and such. The plain and simple truth is that it is nonsensical to accept that the ALL THE VARIATIONS mathematically favored the Bush over Kerry, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. By basic statistical rules, that is impossible...
The turnout of newly registered voters has been said to explain the results in Florida. That is completely false. The data...show that if we take the results in several Florida counties that went heavily for Bush, the numbers of registered Republicans ACTUALLY VOTING IN THE COUNTIES goes over 100% statistically, while newly registered Democrats underperform...
Zogby's exit polling must not be ignored. His exit polls predicted 311 electoral votes for Senator Kerry at 5:00 PM on Nov. 2. He apologized for this the next day because Kerry "failed" in Ohio and Florida. The truth is that the exit polling was accurate in states with paper-trail voting, and inaccurate in states with voting machines operating...
* Count Every Vote 2004, a voting rights group, reports hundreds of anomalies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina:
Among their preliminary findings, the group listed a shortage of early voting locations in Duval County, Fla., the largest county in Florida in area and voting-age population, the failure of electronic voting machines in three South Carolina counties, and the loss of votes at a North Carolina precinct when too much information was stored on a computer unit.
"In one case, sprinklers came on while people were waiting to vote and the poll workers didn't know how to turn them off," said Alma Ayala, who monitored voting in St. Petersburg, Fla.
* Unexplained power surge/glitch in LaPorte County, IN reduces 79,000 votes to 22,000 (or something like that: This particular story makes no sense to me).
* A voter in New Mexico reports touch-screen machine turned his straight Democratic ticket into a straight Republican ticket.
* Former director of the Auglaize County, Ohio, Board of Elections claims a former employee of Election Systems and Software violated election protocol by using the computer that creates ballots and compiles election results on October 16.
* Summit County, Ohio, election worker says GOP operatives accompanied retards and nursing home residents into voting booths.
* Conyers, Nadler, Wexler demand GAO investigation into problems with ES&S machines.
* Various snafus with e-voting nationwide.
Since the Democrats by and large lost this time around, they'll be the ones coming up with voting scandals, which is fine by me. I just don't want to hear any claims about how Republicans are uniquely, or even unusually, trying to game the vote. Who kept Ralph Nader off the ballot in 16 states? Who paid a freelance campaign worker in crack to register fake voters? And how come when Democrats do it it's good ol' two-fisted ward politics, amusingly reminiscent of Tammany Hall and the Daley machine, but when Republicans do it it's a totalitarian scheme coming straight from Karl Rove's lair in Berchtesgaden? That having been said, vote fraud is a disgrace no matter who's doing it. So turn over every rock, Democrats.
Hit it, Thoreau...