Election 2020

More on Statistical Stupidity at SCOTUS

Yes, the nonsense in Texas AG Paxton's lawsuit is as bad as it first appeared

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As I noted yesterday (here), Texas AG Ken Paxton's suit asking the Supreme Court to overturn the certified election results in GA, PA, WI, and MI (thereby throwing the election to Trump) purports to show that:

The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—independently given President Trump's early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000. For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power (i.e., 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000^4). See Decl. of Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D. ("Cicchetti Decl.") at ¶¶ 14-21, 30-31. See App. 4a-7a, 9a. 11.

Although I had not yet read the Cicchetti Declaration when I posted my comments, I assured you that it did not, and could not, demonstrate what Mr. Paxton claimed it demonstrated, and that it was nonsense of the highest (or lowest) order, and I promised a more complete explanation once I had read Ciccheti's full analysis.

Well, now I have read it (see the Appendix posted here), and it's as bad as I knew it would be. [h/t Jonathan Adler]

Here is how that idiotic "one in a quadrillion" estimate was derived.

First, Cicchetti shows that if the voters in 2020 had the same Dem vs Rep preferences as they had in 2016, the chance that the results would show Biden out-performing Hillary Clinton to the extent reported in the certified results is virtually zero. That is correct. Here's his analysis.

"10. In 2016, Trump won Georgia with 51.0% of the vote compared to Clinton's 45.9%, with more than 211,000 votes separating them.  Clinton received 1,877,963 votes and Trump received 2,089,104. In 2020, Biden's tabulated votes (2,474,507) were much greater than Clinton's in 2016.

11. I tested the hypothesis that the performance of the two Democrat candidates were statistically similar by comparing Clinton to Biden.  I compare the total votes of each candidate, in two elections and test the hypothesis that other things being the same they [i.e., Clinton and Biden] would have an equal number of votes. . . . I can reject the hypothesis many times more than one in a quadrillion times that the two outcomes were similar.

Statistics textbooks and statistics professors love to state problems with reference to balls in urns, so we can restate what Cicchetti has actually shown this way:  Suppose you have many millions of balls in an urn; 51% of the balls are red and 45% of them are blue (the 2016 distribution). You now draw 5 million balls out of the urn (the 2020 election). The chances that 2.5 million of them (50%) would be blue is, indeed, virtually zero (one in a quadrillion).

So we can reject the hypothesis that Cicchetti testing: that "the performance of the two Democrat candidates [i.e., Clinton and Biden] were statistically similar [and] that other things being the same they [i.e., Clinton and Biden] would have received an equal number of votes." As he shows, the two performances are not "statistically similar." If the voting population in 2020 had exactly the same distribution of preferences it had in 2016, Biden could not possibly have out-performed Clinton as substantially as he is reported to have done.

Second, he demonstrates that if the population of voters using mail-in ballots had the same preferences as those voting in person, the chance the mail-in ballots could have turned the tide for Biden in the manner reported is also virtually zero. That is also correct.

"14. At 3:10 AM EST on November 4 the Georgia reported tabulations were 51.09% for Trump and 48.91% for Biden…. On November 18 at 2 PM EST, the reported percentages were Trump 49.86% and Biden at 50.14%.

15.  [T]he votes tabulated in the two time periods could not be random samples from the same population of votes cast…. There is a one in many more that quadrillions of chances that these two tabulation periods are randomly drawn from the same population.  Therefore, the reported tabulations in the early and subsequent periods could not remotely plausibly (sic) be random samples from the same population of all Georgia ballots tabulated."

That, believe it or not, is it.  (A) If the 2020 voting population had precisely the same party preferences as the 2016 voting population, Biden could not possibly have won; and (B) if the mail-in and in-person voters had precisely the same party preferences, Biden could not possibly have won.

Wow! Man bites dog!!  Who would have believed it!!  If the 2020 voting population had the same Repub/Dem split as it had in 2016, Trump must have won!! If mail-in voters had the same preferences as in-person voters, Trump must have won!! And if my aunt had four wheels, she'd be a motorcar!!

Dr. Cicchetti, in other words, has falsified two hypotheses that nobody in his/her right mind could possibly have believed might actually be true. Garbage in, garbage out.

I would remind Dr. Cicchetti—and, more importantly, Texas AG Paxton—that we periodically conduct "elections" precisely because voter preferences may change over time, and some people who voted for the Democratic candidate in one election might choose the Republican in the next, or vice versa. Were this not the case, I suppose we'd still have a Federalist as Chief Executive.  ["Your Honor, the chance that Thomas Jefferson carried Maryland in 1800, as has been reported, is less than one in 8 million billion quadrillion!!  (assuming that voter preferences haven't changed since the 1796 election …)"]

And I would urge Dr. Cicchetti to re-do his analysis, but instead of comparing Biden's performance to Clinton's he should compare Mitt Romney's performance in 2012 to Donald Trump's in 2016. This, of course, would prove conclusively that Donald Trump could not possibly have carried Pennsylvania or Michigan or Wisconsin (given voters' 2012 preferences) … one in a quadrillion!

And as far as the mail-in vs in-person distributions is concerned, only about 2.48 million pundits and prognosticators predicted, before the election, that mail-in ballots would likely skew Democratic. So there, too, Cicchetti's findings are hardly a surprise.

Dr. Cicchetti's analysis—for which, I assume, he was paid handsomely—is merely silly, irrelevant, and a total waste of time.

Attorney General Paxton, though, is another story; his use of Ciccetti's analysis is mendacious and misleading and, I believe, unethical.  Recall what the Motion he filed at the Court asserts:

The probability of former Vice President Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—independently given President Trump's early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020, is less than one in a quadrillion, or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000. For former Vice President Biden to win these four States collectively, the odds of that event happening decrease to less than one in a quadrillion to the fourth power (i.e., 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000^4). See Decl. of Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D. at ¶¶ 14-21, 30-31. See App. 4a-7a, 9a. 11.

No, no, no, Mr. Paxton—that is most definitely not what Cicchetti demonstrates. You have omitted the critical qualifier: that probability is less than one in a quadrillion assuming the distribution of voting preferences is exactly the same in the two populations (mail-in vs. in-person voters).  If those distributions are not the same—and there is absolutely no reason to think they are—the Cicchetti Declaration says absolutely nothing at all.

In the long history of misuse of pseudo-statistics and probabalistic mumbo-jumbo, about which many books have been written (my personal favorite being "The Drunkard's Walk" by Leonard Mlodinow—highly recommended), this surely has pride of place. It is a disgraceful performance, and I would hope that the voters in Texas would take note.

And if, as several of the commenters on my earlier posting suggested, Paxton (who is currently under indictment for securities law violations) is doing all this just in order to get a pardon from Trump, that is—to put it mildly—a gross abuse of the power entrusted in him by the good people of Texas.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: December 9, 2015

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  1. If I were a Trump supporter who believed the conspiracy theories about a stolen election, I would be pissed off at Trump for picking such a crappy legal team that this is the best they can do.

    1. Trump must be part of the Anti-Trump conspiracy!!!

      1. That’s basically the QAnon conspiracy theory summed up in one sentence, as far as I can tell.

    2. My working hypothesis is that it’s intentionally bad in order to lose as many cases as possible and therefore demonstrate just how widely spread this conspiracy against the president is.

      More losses -> more grievance -> more outrage -> more donations -> profit $$$$

      I’m not sure that this is right or explains everything (Paxton angling for a pardon is most certainly Occam’s result) , but it’s at least more plausible than this statistical nonsense.

      1. The other working hypothesis is that no competent attorney would be willing to make the arguments in court that Trump has insisted they do, hence his legal team is a bunch of incompetents, filing cases that are destined to fail.

        Hard to say which. Probably a bit of both.

        1. You nailed it. I wondered something deeper.

          Why after years of economic under-performance and demographic decline when some portion of the population gets all butt-hurt and decides to go “populist” (aka fascist … but oh so “luv of country”), why do they always worship an obvious grifter buffoon? Why is it always the worst and frankly intellectually stupid that is chosen??

          The answer is, I think, the same. No competent, intelligent person would so heartily jump in and so readily tear up/ignore principles of freedom, fair play etc. You get a dictator, the man is a joke. Hitler was views as a clown. He took over, devastated but in the end, his stupidity hurt the military strategy of competent generals and sealed his own end.

      2. So it’s like the plot of The Producers – you can make more money on a flop?

        1. Since winning isn’t an option, we’ll never know. Suffice it to say they’re making a lot more money by losing than they would by not bringing the cases at all.

      3. It’s also entirely possible all these people genuinely believe in all of this and donations are just an added bonus.

    3. Fine, except it’s not Trump’s legal team who filed this suit.

      1. Right. Powell, Giuliani and Ellis have been doing a bang-up job by comparison.

        BTW:

        Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump · 2h
        We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!

      2. But who wrote the suit. Do we assume that AG Paxton or his staff wrote the brief or is it more likely he was handed a brief written by others?

    4. Krychek_2 : “I would be pissed off at Trump for picking such a crappy legal team that this is the best they can do”

      It’s just like the rest of Trump’s presidency : Symbolic action as deep as a Potemkin village façade. DJT’s “brand” required he act the petulant brat child upon losing. It’s irrelevant whether the resulting actions are coherent, effective or reasonable. That wouldn’t make the slightest difference.

      Likewise, the Cult requires there be deep state conspiracies and fraud against their day-glo orange deity. It’s irrelevant whether their “statistics” are laughable & their “evidence” a joke.

      It’s been that way for four years – just pick any subject: Trump didn’t need a trade policy if scattershot tariff actions made a lot of noise. The Cult didn’t need results if Trump put on a noisy show. It’s always been theater. Like pro-wrestling, better because it’s unreal, not in spite of…

    5. Actually, I am pissed off, though I tend not to take conspiracy theories very seriously. Trump clearly failed to understand the need for legal representation that actually wanted him to win, so he hired law firms consisting of Democrats. Then as they bailed, ended up hiring people he thought he could trust, but who were ill prepared and maybe not so clever, either.

      If he’d early on realized the need to hire actual supporters as legal representation, he’d have had time to do a good search, and have assembled a legal team that was both competent AND loyal.

      As it is, the competent people weren’t loyal, and the loyal people weren’t competent.

      1. Brett:

        No competent attorney would have told Trump that he had a ghost of a chance of winning any of these lawsuits, and no lawyer concerned about his reputation would have agreed to take any of these cases.

        But I agree with grb’s comment: These lawsuits have been a metaphor for the entire Trump presidency. Totally incompetent, all show and nothing of substance. January 20 cannot arrive soon enough. Every time I listen to Joe Biden, I am reminded of how good it felt to have a president who was actually a president.

        1. No, if you’re conservative/libertarian, there’s a lot to like about the Trump Presidency.

          Judges.

          A certain amount of deregulation. Not as much as I’d have liked, but the APA kind of got in the way.

          No new gun control except that bumpstock stupidity. I blame that on the NRA giving the go-ahead, not Trump doing what they said was OK.

          No new wars. That’s pretty big. Would have brought more troops home, too, if it hadn’t turned out the bureaucracy were lying to him about troop numbers.

          Finally officially recognizing that China is an enemy, not merely a competitor, and trying to get us disentangled from them.

          Moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Which, rather than sparking war, seems to have led to some peace treaties!

          It’s not a bad record, and if not for the bad luck of a pandemic, I think he’d be looking at a second term.

          1. Brett Bellmore : “Finally officially recognizing that China is an enemy, not merely a competitor….”

            Really? It’s been a commonplace across the entire foreign affairs spectrum that China is the U.S. foe of this century. If I point to remarks Obama made, you’ll say that’s all talk – which would be a damn funny response. After all, except for his usual incoherent sturm und drang, what did Trump do? Nothing but noise.

            The clearest action he took strengthened China. Trump sabotaging a U.S.-led Asia-Pacific trade bloc just resulted in a China-led Asia-Pacific trade bloc. Just more bungling…….

            https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/today-in-unintended-consequences-2/

            Brett : Moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Which, rather than sparking war, seems to have led to some peace treaties!

            Moving the embassy had zero to do with any treaties, but what did is pretty interesting. The Iranian nuclear program was considered an existential threat against the U.S. during Obama’s presidency. So he developed a treaty that shut Iran’s program down, as Trump’s own White House repeatedly certified.

            But by then the Right had changed their mind. They no longer cared about Iran’s A-bomb capability; that was second-fiddle to maintaining a regional coalition against Iran – allied with the Saudis. That coalition was the cause of the handful of treaties with Israel. Whether that compensates for Iran’s aggressive resumption of its bomb program is a question you can answer. I don’t think it does.

            1. “But by then the Right had changed their mind. They no longer cared about Iran’s A-bomb capability;”

              Rather, they no longer cared for the fiction that Obama’s non-treaty (There’s a reason it’s called a “deal”.) had actually stopped Iran from getting the bomb.

              1. Brett : “…. fiction that Obama’s non-treaty …. (etc)

                The only one trafficking in fiction here is you, Brett.

                Iran’s nuclear program was stopped (full stop). As has been pointed out to you multiple times, Trump’s White House was required by law to certify whether Iran was obeying all restrictions of the treaty. They did so multiple times.

                Neither Trump’s enablers or the White House itself tried to claim cheating or non-compliance when they sabotaged the deal. They complained about Iran’s missile program, conventional arms build-up, mischief in the region, hostility to the U.S. — in short, anything & everything EXCEPT anything to do with nuclear weapons. That had vanished as a concern.

                I followed a RCP link recently to some foreign policy nabob website arguing against resuming the deal. The commentator didn’t bother to claim cheating either, instead just shrugged his shoulders and said we will “contain” Iran’s nuclear capacity. Maintaining pressure was the be-all & end-all now, nuclear program be damned.

                Granted, if you go way, way, way down the Right-wing food chain you eventually find people who claim Iran was cheating. Of course they have no evidence because they’re just making stuff up. Point to the evidence against them, and they put fingers in their ears and make bilabial trilling sounds. Iran cheating is just an absolute to them, like the firmness of the earth. They’re impervious to proof.

                Go even further way, way down the Right-wing food chain and we find you, Brett……

      2. I think certain Democrats/liberals brought sufficient pressure down on the more skilled lawyers, that it left the Trump team with less skilled lawyers.

        IE Liberals said “Top law firm, if you take this case, we’ll black list you and your firm”. And the top law firms decided, it wasn’t worth being black listed.

        So, then only the less skilled lawyers were around.

        1. Yeah, Trump’s awful and ridiculous cases are actually due to political pressure from the left.

          FFS, dude, listen to yourself.

          1. Sarcastr0…It happened.

            https://nypost.com/2020/11/11/lincoln-project-to-target-lawyers-representing-trump-to-challenge-election/

            Lawyers and law firms were threatened. Now, I don’t think that has anything to do with the strength of the arguments put forward by POTUS Trumps legal team.

            1. I think it affected the strength of the arguments for sure. Using “influence” to make sure top legal talent won’t take a case means that lesser legal talent will take it. Which means the arguments will likely be lesser.

              This type of “influence” applied to lawyers makes me very wary about the people pushing the “influence”.

            2. The Lincoln Project Republicans are neither Democrats nor liberals.

              1. That is more than a bit debatable. From NRO (which is hardly a bastion of Trumpism):

                “The media can keep calling you “Republicans,” but if you support Democrats, take Democratic Party positions, make voting for Democrats all the way down the ticket a binary choice and moral imperative, and then take most of your money from big Democratic Party donors, you’re a Democrat. That’s fine. You should embrace it.”

                https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/who-funds-the-lincoln-project-exactly-whom-you-expect/

              2. No, they’re Democrats who think they can do more damage to the Republican party from within.

                1. Strange bedfellows are a thing that exists, not yet another secret liberal cabal, Brett.

                  They’re Republicans and the America they want is nothing like the America I want.

        2. Even if we take your conspiracy theory literally…

          That’s Freedom of Association, dude. Boycotts are both legal and ethical. Acting like they’re somehow illicit or dirty is repugnant.

          1. “Boycotts are both legal and ethical. Acting like they’re somehow illicit or dirty is repugnant…”

            I’m not sure about that, especially if you’re talking about boycotting lawyers who take up controversial cases.

            Let’s say, for instance, you have a lawyer trying to defend a member of the Falun Gong being persecuted in China. And the Chinese government provides “pressure” to the lawyer, saying if they take the case, they’ll never work again. So, the lawyer drops the case, and Falun Gong member is denied effective representation. Is that “right?”

            Or perhaps take an African American fighting for equal rights in the 1940’s. He tries to get a lawyer, but no lawyer will take the case. If they do, the lawyer would never work again. Is that “right”?

            What this type of boycott or pressure tries to do is use public pressure to affect the quality of the legal arguments.

            1. The wise man bowed his head solemnly and spoke: “there’s actually zero difference between good & bad things.”

            2. AL, don’t change your thesis. You’re arguing that all attorneys except for these lunatics and trolls have been scared off of taking Trumps’ otherwise meritorious case.

              That is your thesis, right?

            3. […] you have a lawyer trying to defend a member of the Falun Gong being persecuted in China. And the Chinese government provides “pressure” to the lawyer, saying if they take the case, they’ll never work again.

              Hoo boy.

              First off, this is why in America –which is better then China– you have court-appointed lawyers in criminal cases if you cannot or will not secure a lawyer. So unless you’re arguing that court-appointed lawyers aren’t effective representation†, this example just shows why America is better then China.

              Second off, there’s a bit of a difference between government action and private action.

              So yeah, China is shit at human rights. We’re better. Moving on.

              Or perhaps take an African American fighting for equal rights in the 1940’s. He tries to get a lawyer, but no lawyer will take the case. If they do, the lawyer would never work again. Is that “right”?

              Again, if it’s a criminal case, then he deserves competent representation in the form of a court-appointed lawyer.

              If it’s a civil case? Then no.

              And it’s not like this is actually controversial. I may be pissed at someone, but if I can’t afford a lawyer, then I don’t get to demand the state appoint me one to help me sue.

              All that said? The problems in your examples aren’t boycotts, it’s a totalitarian government and racism. Pretending that a tool can only be legitimate if it can’t be misused is the kind of child-like argument for gun control you’d expect to hear at a middle school mock debate over gun control.
              ________
              †Which is admittedly arguable, but that’s a case for reforming how we provide and fund public defenders.

              1. 1. I said the person was persecuted, not necessarily charged with criminal charges. Which is different. But the story of the Falun Gong in China is particularly interesting, in how a religious group can be effectively diminished and persecuted by those in government and government-associated entities. There are unfortunate parallels to todays situation. And China is shite at human rights. But seeing how and why they are shite is important to preventing the same here.

                2. As for civil rights, most of this wasn’t criminal. And what you seem to be saying is, if a Black man tried to sue for his rights in 1940, it would be entirely fine with you if the white community blacklisted any lawyer who would dare help him…regardless of the law. Is that what you’re saying?

                Keep in mind, this isn’t anything about a court-appointed attorney. I’m saying, even if the black man has the cash in a civil matter, he can’t hire a lawyer, ., because no one will take the case.

        3. “I think certain Democrats/liberals brought sufficient pressure down on the more skilled lawyers, that it left the Trump team with less skilled lawyers.”

          I think you’re a hopeless loser who swallows nonsense like candy and regurgitates it like a baby bird’s mother.

          You’re lucky better Americans tolerate people who do not deserve respect.

      3. Brett, the Pittsburgh lawyer who signed the initial pleadings in the Trump campaign’s big Pennsylvania case and whose firm bailed after a few days absolutely is a Republican.

        1. Yeah, a ‘Republican’, but who did his firm donate their money to?

          Not Trump. 99.9% Biden, 0.1% ($50) Trump, for Jones Day. Porter Wright? 100% Biden.

          Biden’s law firm donated 100% to Biden, by contrast.

          Hasn’t the Lincoln Project convinced you yet that not everybody who calls themselves a “Republican” is telling the truth? “Republican In Name Only” is a real phenomenon.

          Trump made the really stupid mistake of assuming his lawyers would stay bought, and didn’t bother hunting for lawyers who actually wanted him to win.

          1. Trump made the really stupid mistake of asking courts for legally impossible remedies that were barred by laches or based on the flimsiest of factual premises. That’s his real problem. No one wants him to win more than the delusional lawyers he has now. The problem is not that real competent lawyers couldn’t be bought and kept, it’s that the real competent lawyers actually care about legal ethics and have their professional reputations to consider. There’s a reason that Paul Clement isn’t anywhere near this case. Same goes for Ben Ginsburg. Or the solicitor general of Texas. And it doesn’t having anything to do with wanting Trump to win or not.

          2. Your argument here relies on the assertion that lawyers only take clients whom they agree with politically, which is nonsense.

            You’re trying to find convoluted explanations when Occam’s Razor would tell you that no competent lawyers are taking these cases because they are hot stinky dumps of cases.

      4. Actually, I am pissed off, though I tend not to take conspiracy theories very seriously. Trump clearly failed to understand the need for legal representation that actually wanted him to win, so he hired law firms consisting of Democrats. Then as they bailed, ended up hiring people he thought he could trust, but who were ill prepared and maybe not so clever, either.

        “Hi. I’m Brett. I don’t take conspiracy theories seriously. Also, here is the dumbest conspiracy theory ever. I’m smart. Not dumb like everyone says.”

  2. I would like to thank Texas AG Ken Paxton for demonstrating the existence of cubic stupid.

    1. Is that because he’s been indicted under state law, not federal, and this play for a pardon won’t do him any good vis a vis state prosecution?

      1. Only indicted under state law so far.

      2. He’s also being investigated by the FBI for abusing his office. So there are potential benefits to obtaining a Presidential pardon.

        1. I assume you’re talking about that pardon thing? Nah, that investigation was of people trying to bribe him. No bribe was paid, no pardon was issued, no evidence even that he heard about the attempt.

          And the investigation has been over for a while, all that happened recently is that a judge unsealed some documents from it.

    2. But is it time cubic?

      Yes yes, i know, 2000 called, they want their meme back.

  3. The worst thing about this is that not only do the Court and the Facts have a demonstrated bias against Trump …

    but those evil libtards have also given the ‘Rona to Trump’s legal team, in order to make sure he can’t advance his claims! The worst thing is that the evil libtards gave the ‘Rona to them all at Christmas parties, showing us how much those Demonrats hate Christmas.

    1. Loki, you’re not supposed to give away our secrets. I’m quietly organizing a community supper featuring roast reindeer so Santa won’t have the necessary sleigh power to deliver the presents.

      1. Masks or no masks?

    2. It goes beyond that.

      Think about it–the entire field of statistics is in on the steal. My god, the actual fabric of the universe is against Trump!

      I need to donate some more money so that he can drain this (universal) swamp.

  4. Sources reveal Mr. Holmes is constipated.

  5. When did this stop being a blog for quality legal analysis?

    1. When it moved to Reason. It was great with it was stand-alone, ok when hosted by WP, then went downhill fast as part of Reason.

    2. Buh Hunter

    3. This is quality legal analysis. At least, as much as an analysis of such poor quality litigation can be.

    4. I dunno, when did conservative snowflakes start being unable to tolerate any criticism of Dear Leader?

  6. In paragraph 16 of his Declaration, Cicchetti appears to concede that the disparity between the pre-3:00 a.m. distribution and post-3:00 a.m. distribution might be explained by a heavier concentration of absentee or mail-in ballots in the latter and/or by certain Biden-heavy precinct counts coming in late. But he implies that we don’t know for sure about either factor. Post seems to take for granted that the entire post-3:00 a.m. count consisted of absentee or mail-in ballots. Do we know that?

    Also, Cicchetti makes what on its face appears to be a pretty compelling point about the huge disparity in rejected ballot percentage from 2016 to 2020. What is the answer to that?

    I get that his use of 2016 preferences as the presumptive baseline for 2020 is ridiculous, but if there isn’t a good answer for the other points he makes, maybe he’s right about the need for further inquiry.

    1. “Also, Cicchetti makes what on its face appears to be a pretty compelling point about the huge disparity in rejected ballot percentage from 2016 to 2020. What is the answer to that?”

      “On its face” is doing a lot of work there, given that he offers no source for his number of rejected ballots in 2020, and the Georgia SOS hasn’t yet published numbers.

      1. Well, some numbers. But that actually IS a valid question.

        1. Brett’s not saying that jet fuel does … and doesn’t …. have any particular properties w/r/t steel girders.

          Brett’s just asking questions.

          1. #StopTheSteel

        2. Actually, it’s not. The only interesting question is whether absentee ballots in the 2020 election were improperly accepted in sufficient quantities to matter. That is, were there legally required reasons to reject thousands of accepted ballots. Comparing 2016 to 2020 isn’t much help in answering that question because the “populations” are radically different.

          1. I think you misunderstand the point about rejection rates.

            If we assume that the underlying quality of the ballots was unchanged between 2016 and 2020, then procedural changes probably caused the change in rejection rate. (Assuming this is a real change in rejection rate, not just partial data.) A lot of those procedural changes, though not all, were illegal.

            So, hypothetically, if those procedural changes hadn’t happened, what would the outcome of the election have been in Georgia? Well, if you assume the voting pattern was the same among rejected and accepted ballots, and adjust to 2016 rejection rates, Trump wins.

            This just goes to establish “harm” from the changes, that they were, apparently, of sufficient magnitude to have altered the outcome. If they’d been too small to have altered the outcome, they might still be illegal, but there’d be no harm, and so no standing.

            1. Well, sure, if those rejection rate numbers are actually the numbers. But so far the only source we have for those numbers is one Charles J. Cicchetti, Ph.D.

              1. Not quite, I’ve also seen a newspaper article on the topic that claimed similar numbers from the SoS office.

                Georgia absentee ballot total grows 6x, ballot rejection rate plummets to historic low of 0.24 percent

                But I’ll grant that I don’t see these numbers posted at a government website yet.

                1. And as I pointed out when you linked to that earlier, that’s an article from a week _before_ the Georgia SOS said that they didn’t even know the total number of rejected mail-in absentee ballots yet, because they hadn’t finished counting, and hence – even disregarding the fact that said article offers a completely different number than the one Cicchetti came up with – I’m more than a bit reluctant to credit it as a source.

                  1. Also, the Peach Tree Times is not a “newspaper.” I noticed that it was blocked on my work computer, so I Googled the name and found it on a list of pay-to-play fake news sites.

            2. “If we assume that the underlying quality of the ballots was unchanged between 2016 and 2020”

              And exactly why would you assume that? How is it that the rejection rate from 2016 somehow gets to be accepted as the standard?

              As for the procedural changes, if those changes are partly responsible for the difference in rejection rates, how do you know that the problem was with the 2020 absentee ballots and not with the 2016 ballots?

              Again: you misunderstand. If there is any good reason to think that the 2020 absentee ballots were insufficiently rejected, that could be an interesting question. The rejection rate in 2016 has no bearing on that question. Unless, of course, you make a bunch of assumptions for which there is no basis.

            3. If we assume that the underlying quality of the ballots was unchanged between 2016 and 2020, then procedural changes probably caused the change in rejection rate.

              If we assume that all ballots for Biden were produced by illegal aliens working in sweatshops in the basement of Comet Ping Pong, then Biden got zero votes in 2020!

              (Assuming this is a real change in rejection rate, not just partial data.) A lot of those procedural changes, though not all, were illegal.

              None were illegal.

            4. You are again making a questionable assumption about the quality of the ballots. There was an expectation of a large number of mail-in absentee ballots. There was also a large education effort for both the voters and those receiving the ballots to insure improved ballot quality. This means you could expect ballot quality to be better.

          2. When you say, Comparing 2016 to 2020 isn’t much help in answering that question because the “populations” are radically different what do you mean by radically different?

            1. Population was larger, slight demographic differences, but for statistical purposes the fact that it’s a different year and different candidates is entirely sufficient to make them a different “population”; If you take ten temperature readings today, and ten tomorrow, doesn’t matter if you take them in the same location, they’re different populations for analyzing the statistics, because it’s a different day, and no reason to suppose the temperature hasn’t changed.

              Same thing here. Different election, different “population.”

    2. ok, but why include the absurd stuff (2016=2020 or day-of=mail-in) with the potentially valid (reject ballot %). Seriously, why? The former makes him appear incompetent or deliberately deceptive.

    3. The 2016 figure includes all rejected ballots which are dominated by late arriving ballots. The 2020 figures do not yet include late arriving ballots. See more here.

        1. That’s why I say the sites ‘debunking’ this focus on signature based rejection, while the affidavit concerned total rejections.

          Standard ‘fact checking’ technique: Fact check something slightly different from the claim you’re “checking”, so that you can prove false a statement somebody didn’t actually make.

          1. Fact check: the affidavit compared total rejections (2016) to something that is not total rejections (2020).

          2. What is the 2020 rejection rate that Cicchetti used and where did he get it from? How do you know that Cicchetti wasn’t comparing overall rejections from 2016 to signature verification rejections in 2020? Signature verification rejection rate is all that I can find, what is a source for total rejection rate in 2020?

  7. What are the odds that the Democrat base will show up for a candidate who is hiding in his basement for three months prior to the election? What are the odds that the Democrat base will show up for a candidate who is obviously in the midst of dementia? What are the odds that all four battleground states simultaneously stop counting votes, shutter the counting rooms, make everyone leave, then mysteriously Joe Biden’s in the lead later on that evening with no votes should have been counted? What are the odds that a sitting president with a 97% approval rating within his party, having well over 70 million votes, is going to lose to such opponent?

    Probably one in one quadrillion.

    1. You’re right, of course. The odds of all of those things having actually happened is about one in one quadrillion.

      1. That’s too much subtlety for these guys.

    2. 1. Democratic voters like a candidate who takes covid seriously and does not want to kill their supporters.
      2. Biden is not clearly in the mist of dementia. He speaks much better then Trump.
      3. When the four states are in the same time zone and they have been counting ballots since 7 am.
      4. Because his party is in the minority. Trump never broke 50% approval rating. And the lost while getting 70 million votes because the other guy got more votes, and more votes in the right number of states.

      1. Very good. Agreed.

    3. What are the odds a president who never broke 50% approval his entire presidency will lose reelection? Surprisingly large.

      I’d go so far as put them at (quadrillion minus one) in one quadrillion.

      You see, Hoosier-Daddy, although Trump had a “97% approval rating within his party”, his party doesn’t constitute a majority of Americans. And the rest of us really, really, really dislike Trump. To tell the truth, we kind of consider him a bungling lack-brain pathological-liar buffoon. Wanna calculate the odds that one of those wins reelection ?!?

    4. It’s almost like encouraging your supporters to take incredibly risky activities during a pandemic, including telling them to vote in person and not to vote by mail, is a bad campaign strategy, and that lots of people have known that for a long time.

      Politics is crazy complicated sometimes!

    5. What are the odds that delusional right-wingers make up a bunch of nonsense because they’re in denial about their guys soundly losing?

      100%, I’d say.

  8. When rubbishing something, avoid adding rubbish to the pile. The urn analogy is completely inapt b/c the affidavit claims to account for standard deviations. (I don’t know enough to know if the method of summing the square root of the two offers a sufficient baseline.)

    The gist of the proffer seems to be, inter alia, that (1) in Georgia, you can neither presumptively equate Clinton vote tallies with Biden vote tallies nor presumptively say that the later vote distribution was equal to the general distribution of all votes cast — it’s a question of presumptions; (2) given the known absentee ballot vote distribution from the present cycle, if the rejection rate from the earlier cycle were employed, the outcome would change in Georgia; and (3) Michigan messed up.

    The claim as a whole isn’t rubbish. Suits between states rarely are, and the designated commentariat risks its own credibility by suggesting the contrary so sloppily.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    Mr. D.

    1. “The urn analogy is completely inapt b/c the affidavit claims to account for standard deviations. (I don’t know enough to know if the method of summing the square root of the two offers a sufficient baseline.)”

      This is… not actually an answer. It’s responding to a different question altogether, if any question at all; you may as well have said that the urn analogy is inapt b/c of the font used in the blog. Post’s issue, as he explains at very great, beat-a-dead-horse-and-yet-apparently-not-quite-enough-for-some length, is that Cicchetti’s test is whether Biden could have received as many votes as he did _if voter preferences were similar between him and Clinton_. What statistical method Cicchetti uses to establish that water is wet isn’t the issue here.

      1. I refer the honorable gentleman/lady/blood-sugar level to my original point, which seems to have evaded the assault of dead horses, printed fonts and wet water unscathed.

        The affiant apparently isn’t computing the probablility of any given distribution occurring, but rather whether the two, accounting for the normal amount of deviation, bear relation. So Post’s post, post-posting, seems an empty rail.

        Mr. D.

        1. He’s computing the probability of whether the two could occur if you assume the voting population, and their preferences, remain the same. There is no “standard deviation” that measures how voter preferences vary from election to election because voter preferences over time are not independent variables along a single normally distributed data set.

          1. I see the point that you’re working towards, but the larger frame is that the statistical analysis considers only the objective elements — the difference in red and blue votes. It dispels the presumption that the Democrat vote remained constant between the cycles, despite the procedural changes — the delta quite possibly presenting a genuine issue of material fact for trial, or at least stating a claim.

            As for the standard deviations, the analysis requires them, I know nothing about them, they’re apparently a bona fide bit of mathematical mumbo jumbo, and I make it a practice never to inquire as to where someone might have acquired their deviations, standard or otherwise. Cheers.

            Mr. D.

            1. “I see the point that you’re working towards, but the larger frame is that the statistical analysis considers only the objective elements — the difference in red and blue votes. It dispels the presumption that the Democrat vote remained constant between the cycles, despite the procedural changes — the delta quite possibly presenting a genuine issue of material fact for trial, or at least stating a claim.”

              Wow. That’s an impressive bit of gobbledygook which somehow mangles both statistical AND legal jargon.

              I’m not even mad, I’m kind of impressed!

              1. And gratuitous ad hominem contrafibularities to you as well. This inter-networked computing machine never ceases to amuse.

                Mr. D.

                1. Edited version:

                  And gratuitous contrafibularities to you as well. This inter-networked computing machine never ceases to amuse.

                  Mr. D.

            2. Read Cicchetti’s analysis carefully. What he is properly asserting is that the voting populations, 2020 and 2016, are almost certainly not identical. He also asserts that they cannot be “similar” though he doesn’t explain what “similar” means in this context. The “virtual” impossibility of Biden winning in Georgia that people are asserting is only meaningful if the two populations of voters (2020 and 2016) is identical in relevant respects. That’s why the urns full of balls analogy is appropriate. It’s a useful metaphor that even unsophisticated small children can understand.

              1. My last comment on this — I’m speaking from common sense, not hard knowledge — but this has been a fascinating exercise in how much table-pounding is going on, and given the context, that’s genuinely a bit frightening.

                The urn analogy suggests that the reason that the odds against the identity of the two sample sets are so high is that the the fact that there are many possible permutations within each set, meaning that the declaration of non-identity between the two sample sets is pragmatically meaningless when expressed mathematically. In fact, the affidavit seems to suggest that the analysis is bounded by guesses at expected variation, and the calculation of non-identity is based on the _percentage_ of possible outcomes falling outside that bounded range.

                So if I have 5 million marbles in an urn, the fact that one draw could be 2,499, 999 / 2,500,001 seems to make the declaration of non-identity with a 50/50 split less credible, since counting up all of these other outcomes would run up the odds. In fact, though, the analysis appears to construct a range within which a declaration of identity would be plausible, and the large number of marbles operates to increase the precision of the declaration, not provide an almost innumerable number of data points that would run up the odds against it without being meaningful.

                Right, wrong, or orthogonal, my final word. Cheers.

                Mr. D

                1. What you have is two urns, labeled”i n-person and “absentee.”

                  The in-person urn has mostly red balls in it, with some blue. The absentee urn is the other way around.

                  Suppose you draw a lot of balls out of in-person and tabulate the colors. Then when you are finished with that you draw a lot out of the absentee urn and start adding those to your tabulation.

                  It should come as no surprise that as you do that the red/blue breakdown shifts dramatically towards blue. That the final total then has a slight edge to blue is not improbable at all.

                  It’s only if you assume that the absentee urn has the same color distribution as the in-person that you get Cichetti’s result. But we know that assumption is false.

    2. (1) in Georgia, you can neither presumptively equate Clinton vote tallies with Biden vote tallies nor presumptively say that the later vote distribution was equal to the general distribution of all votes cast — it’s a question of presumptions;

      Cichetti’s calculation assumes that the distribution of support between Trump and Biden is the same as it was between Trump and Clinton. There is no reason to make this assumption. People move in and out of GA. People die. People turn 18. People change their minds.

      It further assumes that the distribution of support was the same for absentee ballots as for in-person votes. This is patently ridiculous, as it was widely known and discussed, prior to the election, that Democrats were vastly more liely to vote absentee than Republicans were.

      (2) given the known absentee ballot vote distribution from the present cycle, if the rejection rate from the earlier cycle were employed, the outcome would change in Georgia

      We don’t know the absentee ballot rejection rate. While your statement may be true as a matter of arithmetic, it’s hard to see what it proves. In 2016 the rejection rate in GA was 3.1%, less than half of that in 2016. This year we had all kinds of efforts by both parties to make sure ballots were filled out correctly.

  9. Holy heck! I just realized that the election of President Clinton in 1992 was a fraud. President Bush (I) should have had a second term!

    If we assume that President Clinton’s performance in 1992 was statistically similar to Mr. Dukakis’ performance in 1988 – no doubt a reasonable assumption – then there’s essentially no way that President Clinton won the election.

    We’re also assuming, of course, that Mr. Perot’s performance in 1992 was statistically similar to the leading independent candidate’s performance in 1988. But that seems like a reasonable assumption as well. There’s no way Mr. Perot actually got nearly 20 million votes. That was a massive fraud.

    1. And it all follows … the blue dress never existed, we will never know what the the definition of the word ‘is’ is, the promotion of universal health care by Hillary in 1992-3 never failed and we got something better than obama care decades earlier, Perot runs the next election and wins…

  10. As someone with a technical career, I must admit I think that public policy would be better if lawyers/politicians/judges had better mathematical and technical knowledge, especially statistical knowledge. The level of statistical knowledge in the U.S. is extremely low. Some lawyers and public figures who might be very intelligent in other areas are clueless when it comes to statistics, and will propose absolutely ridiculous arguments involving incredible leaps in logic.

    I think that we should probably focus on teaching statistics in high schools instead of geometry and advanced algebra; it’s just so much more relevant in everyday life.

    That said, I can’t tell if this is caused by stupidity or by malfeasance.

  11. I just came to see what the trumpanzees would say in response to this and boy did they not disappoint.

    1. I mean, they did, because they are all disappointments. But yeah, highly entertaining.

  12. “Dr. Cicchetti, in other words, has falsified two hypotheses that nobody in his/her right mind could possibly have believed might actually be true.”

    That’s just plain silly. How do you falsify a hypothesis? There’s no evidence that Cicchetti was attempting anything untoward, as your own analysis indicates, assuming the given, the conclusion follows. The hypotheses can certainly be wrong, or debatable, but “falsified”? Sounds more like Post started from the conclusion and worked backwards, and then tossed some ad hominem on top for good measure.

    AG Paxton might be on the hook for shadiness, especially in his misrepresentation of Cicchetti’s findings, but that still doesn’t allow us to form the conclusion that Cicchetti falsified the hypothesis (which, again, is just a silly thing to assert.)

    1. The misuse and abuse of the scientific method is common among law professors trained in research methods. You can reject the null hypothesis, but you don’t “falsify” a hypothesis.

      “Falsify,” or more correctly, “falsification,” in scientific terms, means that you make up data.

      1. The scientific method starts with the creation of a “falsifiable” hypothesis as opposed to an “unfalsifiable” hypothesis.

        For example, you want to ask whether experimental drug A has a statistically significant prophylactic effect on men ages 40-70 compared to no drug therapy, instead of, say, does experimental drug A help? The former is a specific and falsifiable hypothesis. The latter is a vague and unfalsifiable hypothesis.

        1. Let me clarify, if you may.

          You start with an H1 (the hypothesis that you’re testing) and H0 (the null hypothesis, that’s H-zero, that nothing’s there). Your data can lead you to reject the H0, which means you think that something happened. Rejecting the H0 means that you think that your independent variable affected the dependent variable. You’re in danger of making a type 1 error though, so we have confidence intervals, typically at p=.05, which means that is there is a 95% chance that it wasn’t random chance that something occurred. But it is still possible.

          Meanwhile, if your data does not show that something occurred, you cannot reject the H0. Meaning that there was no relationship between your variable. However, then you’re in danger of making a type 2 error, when you reject then null when there really isn’t anything there. This happens all the time, as for the 5% confidence interval, it is still quite possible to be noise.

          The fundamental basis of the scientific method is that we can never show XYZ is happening, only that ABC is not occurring. At some point, after so many tests, a relationship between variables becomes a “law”, but you never “falsify a hypothesis.”

          I suggest Post brush up on his methods, and review the work of Thomas Kuhn from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)

          1. It appears that Karl Popper’s views about falsifiability are more commonly accepted among introductory statistics and quantitative method courses than Kuhn’s views.

            1. Ah. So, let’s discuss Popper then. I think that you’re not understanding falsifiability and how it applies to the scientific method.

              In short, all you can ever do is reject the null. Put into practice, you have to set up a hypothesis that is falsifiable in order to test it against the null hypothesis because you can never *confirm* a hypothesis. If you reject the null, you never “falsify” the null, likewise, you don’t confirm H1 by rejecting the H0, nor do you falsify the H1 by not rejecting the H0. Make sense?

              In fact, Popper was insistent that you can never fully falsify anything! That’s what makes his theory of science a bit maddening to some, because after a certain point, you reject the null so many times for a relationship between variables, that what’s the point of not saying you “confirm” something based on endless observations.

              1. So we agree there is something called a falsifiable hypothesis. I think Post was correct in his usage of falsify.

                1. No, falsifiable and falsified are not synonyms.

                  Post claims that the hypothesis was somehow illegitimate. The hypothesis may have been stupid, but it was explicitly spelled out, and nothing was being hidden. Basically, Cichetti really didn’t say anything of value.

                  And Post even agrees:

                  “That, believe it or not, is it. (A) If the 2020 voting population had precisely the same party preferences as the 2016 voting population, Biden could not possibly have won; and (B) if the mail-in and in-person voters had precisely the same party preferences, Biden could not possibly have won.

                  Wow! Man bites dog!! Who would have believed it!! If the 2020 voting population had the same Repub/Dem split as it had in 2016, Trump must have won!! If mail-in voters had the same preferences as in-person voters, Trump must have won!! And if my aunt had four wheels, she’d be a motorcar!!”

          2. you never “falsify a hypothesis.”

            Of course you do.

            That the moon is made of green cheese is a hypothesis. Has it not been falsified?

            That heavy objects fall faster in a vacuum than lighter ones is a hypothesis. Has it not been falsified?

            1. No, your phrasing is misleading. A hypothesis is testable, it doesn’t state something as a fact. A hypothesis states a premise by saying “IF this is true”, then something follows.

              That the hypothesis is easily verified as being untrue (false), does not mean the hypothesis has been “falsified”.

              1. This is lame semantics. Everyone knows what everyone else is saying, and this is not a laboratory.

    2. I suspect what happened is that the lawyers actually specified the questions Dr. Cicchetti would answer. So he ran the numbers for them. And made the premises behind the numbers as explicit as possible.

    3. What a pedantic complaint.

      The bottom line is that he offered a hypothesis, and then his own data showed that the hypothesis was not correct.

      Use whatever jargon you want, the underlying point remain the same.

      And yeah, journalists are shitty at writing about technical stuff. This is known.

      1. “What a pedantic complaint.

        The bottom line is that he offered a hypothesis, and then his own data showed that the hypothesis was not correct.

        Use whatever jargon you want, the underlying point remain the same.

        And yeah, journalists are shitty at writing about technical stuff. This is known.”

        Pedantic? Sure. So?

        Yet, it was still more informative than your reply.

  13. And still no comments on the other affidavits attached to the filing.

    1. Are these the same affidavits that keep getting tossed for unreliability, hearsay, and false statements?

      Or are these a new and improved batch of morons?

        1. There you go, Jerry. Two comments.

          1. It’s the same bullshit that was presented as “evidence” in previous cases and roundly rejected by the courts as int credible a couple dozen times so far.

            So, three comments. You’re welcome.

    2. Do you expect there to be? YouTube at this point has gone 1984 and said they will start removing “misleading content about the results of the presidential election, including claims that the outcome was shaped by widespread fraud.”

      1. ‘Why are private entities not allowing my baseless attack on our republican form of government?! It’s just more proof I’m right!!!’

        Wow, dude.

        1. Please stop putting words in my mouth. I never said it was more proof I’m right. At most, you can say that I’m saying that Google is trying to control the narrative, which is what I’m saying.

          Wow. You just can’t help yourself, can you?

          Relax. It’s all going to be okay, no matter who wins.

          1. You’re saying you cannot provide supporting evidence due to Youtube.
            And considering you believe despite your lack of ability to check the latest video from whatever neo-Beck you prefer, I’m pretty comfortable with my characterization of your position.

            1. Of course you would be comfortable with your position, if you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t write it out and be so strident about it, now would you? Don’t be so silly that you need to restate the obvious as a form of doubling down.

              Again, I’m saying Google is trying to control the narrative, which they are. Quit your speculative telepathy (lol) and presumptions of bad faith (lol). You’re good for a chuckle, Sarc, if nothing else.

              p.s. What do you mean by “neo-beck”?

              1. You’re not just talking about narratives – I can read. Jerry B. asks about the and you blame youtube for the lack of a response.
                That’s a great excuse for not having any supporting evidence.

                And if you believe a thing without supporting evidence, what does that make you?

                1. I am just talking about narratives, can’t you leave it at that? If you insist on rehashing pointless debate about evidence that one side is sure of accepting and the other rejecting, you’re wasting our respective time and it’s not worth responding too. It’s like the abortion debate. But, I will tell you on a personal level, that one salient piece of data won me over that it’s not just a play by Trump to stay in office. For me, the video evidence in GA is particularly compelling, and no, it has not been debunked.

                  Let me ask you, then, why are you so dead set that nothing is amiss?

                  1. I’m rehashing because sticking to narratives and ‘can we really know what is true’ is a dodge.

                    Be very careful about being won over on a personal level. Our intuition can be pretty bad.
                    Cheerlead all you want, but don’t let it author what is true.

                    1. I’m not chearleading. If anything, you are. You’re taking mistaking correlation with causation here in what you think I’m thinking and what you think I’m doing.

                      So, you decline to express why you’re so sure that everything was on the level? That’s a dodge, let me tell you.

                  2. ” For me, the video evidence in GA is particularly compelling, and no, it has not been debunked. ”

                    Is it not true that everyone who saw that video who also knows something about the way ballot processing worked there said that there was nothing strange going on?

                    So, if there were thousands and thousands of ballots injeted into the system, as you seem to allege, where did they come from and how was it accomplished without screwing up the tallies?

                  3. mad_kalak : “For me, the video evidence in GA is particularly compelling, and no, it has not been debunked”

                    Presumably you mean the “suitcase video”. This raises the question: How gullible do you have to be to swallow “evidence” that even gawdforsaken Rich Lowry won’t touch with a ten foot pole? And to find it “compelling” no less!

                    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/about-the-suitcase-video/

              2. Presumptions of bad faith?

                These show trials and “hearings” have been going on for over a month now. We don’t have to presume bad faith, Giuliani put the demonstration of such on national television.

                1. If you think that questioning election results (*cough* 2016 *cough*) means that you’re showing bad faith, than what does that say about the Democrat Party? They got 3 recounts in 2016 and a special counsel investigation out of questioning election results.

                  1. Questioning the results with the arguments they have is, if not intentional bad faith, not caring about the truth and who you convince of BS with populist playacting.

                    1. So, the Dems weren’t populist playacting when they convinced 1/2 or more of their base that Russia literally hacked the voting machines? Whew. Mmkay.

                    2. Did not see a lot of Dems making that case, m_k. Your attempted parallel only shows the contrast between politics and grifting off of antidemocratic feelings on the right.

                    3. Did not see a lot of Dems making that argument? It divided the country for 3 years, and included party leaders like Pelosi and Schumer. I could point to a bunch of names, but you know what, then we are back to where I am often am with you about who makes an “official sarc spokesperson (TM)” on an issue. You so often claim diffused responsibility, and thus no responsibility.

                    4. That “Russia literally hacked the voting machines?”

                      Nope.

                  2. To be clear, you are now defending Giuliani going to Michigan to dance for Michigan Republicans, featuring such rock-solid obvious evidence of fraud as “I can’t tell Asians apart, so you should overturn the election” as “good faith questions”?

                    That’s what you’re going with?

                    A handful of recounts that were never purported to be about overturning the election are not comparable to the circus we have been subjected to.

                  3. No one questioned the results. Clinton didn’t even ask for recounts. Jill Stein did for whatever reason. The Russia investigation was looking into a few things, none of which were related to saying the vote wasn’t the vote. They were:

                    1. Did the Russian government support efforts to influence Americans to vote for Trump?

                    2. Did Russian intelligence hack into servers controlled by Democrats and release that information to help the Trump campaign?

                    3. Were Trump campaign staffers knowingly involved in these efforts?

                    Both the Senate Intelligence Committee (run by Republicans) and the Special Counsel (a lifelong Republican) concluded that the answer to the first 2 were yes, and that 3 was unproven.

                    Simply put, the Russian government was trying to convince (absurdly credulous and gullible) people to vote for Trump using a combination of fake news, propaganda, and real information that was stolen. The actual results were the results and no one with any level of importance disputed that.

                    1. Hillary joined the recounts. Moreover, she and Podesta cooked up that Russian collusion bit with zero evidence, and the Democrat Party drove that narrative of an illegitimate president for 3 years.

                    2. They were happening anyway, and she only said they’d observe them. They didn’t put out any press statements explaining how they would ultimately win.

                      If you read even a little bit of the Mueller Report or the Senate Intelligence Committee Report (which Tom Cotton of all people signed onto) you’ll find that there were several reasons for the investigation into “collusion” and that a bunch of Trump campaign people did meet with people associated with Russian intelligence, even if “collusion” was not provable.

                      Also, its the Democratic Party. Its members are called Democrats. This is its name. By calling it the Democrat Party you are 1) making a childish insult 2) lying about its name. If you can’t avoid lying about something’s name to achieve some smug juvenile satisfaction, how is anyone supposed to take you seriously about anything?

                    3. Okay, the Democrat Party bit is a bit of deliberate tweak. I get that. I won’t knock it off though because the reasoning behind it makes sense.

                      At a certain point, though, don’t you think that there is a certain lack of self-awareness. Dems don’t want allegations of voter fraud looked into, insisting everything is on the up and up (despite 3 years or more of going on about election security) and now that the shoe is on the other foot, it’s the GOP that’s conspiracy mongers?

                      I don’t expect an answer on that self-awareness bit, but it’s be nice for one. I’m about done with this thread anyway. I will check it tomorrow.

                    4. “Okay, the Democrat Party bit is a bit of deliberate tweak. I get that. I won’t knock it off though because the reasoning behind it makes sense.”

                      You won’t knock it off because you like childish insults. You probably were a middle school bully who made up nicknames for people that they didn’t like.

    3. The others are just a re-hash of the same bull and debunked claims that have been preciously filed.

    4. “Yes, I know all the other affidavits attached to the other few dozen lawsuits demonstrated nothing of note, but what about this one? No good? How about this one? And this one? And….”

      ad nauseam.

      Accept it. Trump lost.

  14. Hmm, I think that should the TX case go against the Dems, there will be more anger than in 2000, by far.

    Democrats right now are like kids given a new toy (a Biden presidency) and it’s possible that it will be taken away from them. The media and their thought leaders have done them wrong but not calling for calmly letting the legal process play itself out.

    Yes, and I also see that if Biden takes office on 20 Jan, that Trump will have done the same thing to his followers, in that they think that the election is stolen. He has pushed his version of events as much as the Democrats as well.

    Does he who controls the narrative, control the truth? Does making a narrative and pushing it make it truth? Those are deeply philosophical questions that nobody is really thinking about in the heat of their partisan emotions.

    This is how civil wars start.

    1. There is less than a one in five quadrillion chance that Texas wins their case.

      None of Clinton, Obama or Biden pushed the narrative that Clinton win the 2016 election.

    2. Correction: it is not actually possible that the Biden presidency will be taken away.

    3. Epistemological wankery continues to rise among Trump supporting VC commenters.

      There are ways to tell if things are true.
      And critical thinking skills that have been overwhelmed by populist tribalism will return over time, as the new status quo normalizes.

      Civil wars don’t come from outrage, they come from actually weak institutions.

      1. I suggest you brush up on the Spanish Civil war, mon-frere.

        1. Oh yeah, the Spanish government was super strong. Solid coalition and great institutionalists in the military.

          1. Your “weak institutions” idea that you must have read in some Vice think-piece is like the “failure to reduce speed in order to avoid a collision” tickets that cops give you. Sounds intelligent and well read, but it’s a catch-all.

            The conservative Spanish folk woke up one day after an election to find their churches being destroyed, and then there was some turnabout. It was actually caused by…get this…political polarization. Check the Britannica article for a good starting point, but even Wikipedia notes this.

            Get up to speed and get back to me on this topic.

            1. “Get up to speed and get back to me on this topic.”

              Why should anyone ever engage with you on any topic of substance?

              1. I can say the same about you…Sarc is as thick as a brick about some things…you’re a relentless partisan that filters all reality through your Democrat Party glasses and hearing aids. I’m at least aware of my bias and work to minimize.

                In 1776, you’d be Tory no matter the Intolerable Acts. In Athens you’d vote guilty to Socrates. In Rome, you’d be pro-Caesar and join the mob. You’d would elbow their way to the front of the crowd in order to open a handkerchief to collect some splatter as the guillotine dropped. There is no reasoning with you on politics, but maybe other topics. Care to discuss pop culture? What kind of movies do you like? Myself, I am a fan of sci-fi.

                1. And you’d support a fascist political movement given the opportunity. Indeed, you may even be doing it right now.

                  1. Maybe from your point of view. I mean, I think that despite if all, if Biden wins in the end, Trump should not go scorched earth…the republic has come back from worse. Won’t be the same though.

                    If Biden is in the Oval Office, I think I would feel somewhat like a republican felt in the South when ended Reconstruction. The result would be about the same too.

                    1. My point of view is the historical one where desperate conservatives end up supporting fascist parties or parties that make nice with fascists by mistakenly believing they can control their excesses.

                      “If Biden is in the Oval Office, I think I would feel somewhat like a republican felt in the South when ended Reconstruction. The result would be about the same too.”

                      You’re going to feel like a black person in the Jim Crow South? Well that’s delusional.

                    2. And you’re delusional if you don’t think disaffected Dems tore this country apart the last 3 years after Hillary lost. Trump is a symptom…not the disease.

                      Cancel culture is closer to Jim Crow that you think, buddy.

                    3. Query: were Republicans who did everything they possibly could to stymie Obama tearing this country apart? Or was that just real patriotic Americans being patriotic with their patriotism?

                      But frankly: why would you expect Democrats to just roll over for a guy who led rallies calling for their nominee to be imprisoned, and then once in office did nothing but insult prominent Democrats, accuse them of crimes? I mean surely someone as rude, insulting, and brash as Trump deserves some of the blame for the division.

                      “Cancel culture is closer to Jim Crow that you think, buddy.”

                      WOW. You have no idea what Jim Crow was, do you?

                    4. “Getting banned from websites is just like being lynched,” he said sagely.

                2. “I’m at least aware of my bias and work to minimize.”

                  Muahahahahahahahahaha!

                  Thank you for providing what is easily the best laugh I have had all week.

                  1. Glad I could oblige ticking your funny bone. I would say I found you funny too, but I find you sad though, truth be told. I’m too apathetic about you to find humor in you.

                    1. I hate to break it to you, but apathetic isn’t a synonym for drunk.

              2. That’s a good point. I’ve wasted enough time here today.

                Good day.

            2. Thanks for your theory, but actually my thinking came from Richard Hanania.
              https://reason.com/volokh/2020/09/17/thursday-open-thread-9/#comment-8463782

              1. Ah, I stand corrected, it wasn’t some Vice article. Thanks for that at least. Therefore my comment that “weak institutions” is a stupid catchall applies to him. You can say that about any state failure or collapse or civil war.

                1. FFS, read the linked post. It’s interesting.

                  1. Indeed, I will. Lots of Spanish Civil War talk around for the past year or so, one more take won’t hurt I guess.

      2. “Epistemological wankery continues to rise among Trump supporting VC commenters.”

        As opposed to the wankery of Team Artie and the Hihntards, championed by Sarcastr0? It will take many years for anyone to reach those astronomical levels of Sarcastr0logical (Sacrastr0nomical? :p ) wankery.

        1. Unless you name the wankery, it doesn’t really work as well.

          Just tying me to Hihn and RAK is just a weak guilt by association.

          Think on your semantics, and try again; there is some wit in there somewhere, I like where you’re going!

    4. That attitude in the two comments above this…that’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not an unreasonable bet to make that a 6-3 GOP appointed court (like in 2000 when it was 5-4) makes a call you disagree with. Now, it’s not a certain thing, nothing is, but it’s certainly quite possible and more than I think you’d care to admit.

      BTW, the pro-Trump people are ready now to start hanging folks, but nobody wants to toss the first stone as it were. It’s like BLM and Antifa breaking out the guillotines in their rhetoric and displays.

      It’s not going to end well for the Republic, either way.

      1. This isn’t a close question. It’s not a coin flip where it could come out either way.

        Conservative lawyers agree – this is going nowhere.

        Trump supporters being the types to threaten political violence has been going on since the 1990s. Maybe they’ll do a Christchurch, but they’re not getting what they want that way.

      2. I will give you 10-1 odds on $1000 that Texas loses.

      3. “lawyers agree”? Whew, again Sarc, you’re good for a laugh. When have lawyers ever agreed on anything?

        With that kind of surety, you’re going to be very, very upset if it doesn’t go your way. Remember that I warned you.

        And I’m not revealing my person information to make any bets, not in this day and age.

        1. Thing is, m_k, on this they do. Across ideology.

          Because it’s got jurisdictional and justiciability issues up the wazoo, even before you get to the…original legal reasoning of the pleadings.

          1. Remember the joke about 4 lawyer in a room with 5 opinions? Okay, we’re at that stage with you now that red is blue.

            Welp, enough lawyers decided to put together the brief, with several states joining in, which I’m sure is done in consultation with lawyers. So, I stand by my reference to a well known trope.

            Could they win? Maybe. Remember that.

    5. You really don’t see a difference been a single state’s recount being in question, and attempts to disenfranchise millions of voters in damn-near every swing state of the union on no evidence?

      You don’t see any reason why folks might think those aren’t comparable?

      1. The argument, that you likely don’t agree with, is that Texas and LA (and whatever other states are joining in) are being disenfranchised by PA, WI, GA and WI not following their laws on the books about how elections should be run. I’m working my way through the brief now, but here’s a relevant excerpt: The citizens of Plaintiff State have the right to
        demand that all other States abide by the
        constitutionally set rules in appointing presidential
        electors to the electoral college….Significantly, Plaintiff State presses its own form
        of voting-rights injury as States. As with the oneperson, one-vote principle for congressional
        redistricting in Wesberry, the equality of the States
        arises from the structure of the Constitution, not from
        the Equal Protection or Due Process Clauses.

        So, essentially, we have 1/2 a dozen of one (claiming disenfranchisement) and a 1/2 a dozen of another, (claiming disenfranchisement).

        1. Even if this is a correct argument (never mind the federalism implications of a federal court telling one state how to conduct its elections because another state doesn’t like how they do it), they’re not entitled to a remedy at all because they didn’t bring this up before the election and they’re seeking to disenfranchise millions of people after the fact.

          1. Well, that’s the theory behind PA’s response, which I’ve skimmed too. And the Theory of Laches. That TX and such waited to long, etc. etc. (never mind the litigation before the election).

          2. One last thought…then I’ll stop.
            Amici curiae are the States of Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.

            (p.s.: You and I disagree, but I respect how you can do it civilly, even if it is in strong language at times. Merci, beaucoup.)

            1. I know SCOTUS will dismiss this case with a single sentence and no noted dissents. However, especially if Trump joins the case, it would be very helpful to our democracy for SCOTUS to issue a unanimous opinion using very strong language to castigate Trump.

              1. “However, especially if Trump joins the case, it would be very helpful to our democracy for SCOTUS to issue a unanimous opinion using very strong language to castigate Trump.”
                I tend to agree. I will not be heartbroken if the Court hears the case, in anticipation of that result.

    6. “This is how civil wars start.”

      In America, the bigots and knuckledraggers lose the wars. I encourage the Volokh Conspirators; their downscale, anti-social fans; and all Republicans, conservatives, and clingers to ponder that point.

      You’re lucky your betters are tolerant with respect to people and positions that do not deserve respect.

    7. It is impossible that Trump is given the win legally. Because he didn’t win. Biden won. But it is perfectly possible that butthurt Trump supporters will throw a tantrum and act out against people who disagree with them. They aren’t very smart, and most are entitled crybabies. Civil war, though? That would require resolve and follow-through, neither of which they’re very good at.

  15. Excellent article explaining this nonsense. Thanks for the insight.

  16. The expression about supposing with my aunt that I know went

    If my Aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.

    But maybe I’m just dating myself

    1. Yes, I heard it that way, too … But this is a family blog!

  17. There’s no doubt that Biden will be a totally illegitimate President. Even setting aside all of the obvious fraud and anything illegal, the election was not “free and fair” by any stretch of the imagination just when looking at the known legal actions and circumstances. Secrecy of the ballot, for example, doesn’t exist any more with default mail voting and ballot harvesting. The mainstream media is propaganda but doesn’t have to register as a Biden PAC or anything. 1 in 6 Biden voters actually said they wouldn’t have voted for Biden if they had heard of the allegations of sexual assault against him but they never even heard about it. The Chinese Communist Party is deeply in bed with our traitorous political establishments, and is openly celebrating in state media and elsewhere the election of their “old friend” Biden (their words). One of them crowing about this while speaking at a public event also confirmed the business dealings with Hunter Biden in the selling out of America.

    1. You’re really way out there these days, eh?

    2. ML…The process is: You hold the popular votes in the states, and then roughly 5 weeks later, the EC elects the POTUS. That 5 week period (used to be much longer pre-FDR) is there to deal with voting irregularities. POTUS Trump’s legal team is getting their day in court.

      At the end of this defined process, we will have a legitimatePOTUS. I don’t care at all for Biden, but if he is elected by the EC, he is the POTUS. The process left to us by the Framers was followed.

      It serves no useful purpose to walk down the ‘illegitimate POTUS’ path. I would urge you to re-examine that.

      In the fullness of time, years perhaps, the full story of the 2020 election will be known. Until then, I feel we should respect the process handed to us.

      1. Over the past four years, folks like ML have become a fundamentally different breed of conservative than you are, Commenter.

        You have no shortage of issues with liberals, but it hasn’t caused you to discard critical thinking and fidelity to our republican form of government.

        1. Sarcastr0, I will have fidelity and loyalty to our Republic to my very last breath. It is that simple. I love this country. What we have here is magical. I truly believe that. If we want to call it American exceptionalism, so be it.

          I will go to my grave (at this point) with the belief that POTUS Trump won this election. It was an agonizingly close election in the battleground states. There are plenty of peculiarities that lead POTUS Trump to contest the electoral result, using our constitutionally defined process, and there is nothing wrong with that. He and his team get their day in court. I said from the start all of this has a termination point. We’re just about there.

          I will also say that I will be looking at the data as it is developed over the next few years. If the data show Biden really did win, and there really isn’t a boatload of invalid votes…well then my belief changes and I’ll die knowing that sadly, POTUS Trump really did lose. The data are the data.

          I do not have to like the electoral result (I don’t). I do have to respect the electoral process the Framers left us. Our Republic has dealt with contested elections before.

          1. I will go to my grave (at this point) is a weird way to be. The data is incomplete, yet you have complete confidence…

            But hey, you’re still pulling in the same direction I am re: America’s system of government, so I can’t complain too much.

            1. Let’s see what the data show over the next few years. It will take a couple of years to get all the data anyway. I have time, I’ll wait.

              1. Hah. Reminds me of COVID. I’d guess 2024 before we have good clean population data about what worked and what didn’t.

          2. The data are already the data. If they weren’t, someone would have demonstrated it. We’re not dealing with health data here, we’re dealing with “this guy” or “that guy”. But keep dreaming, maybe someday you’ll win.

    3. Cool story, bro.

      Prove it.

  18. As a third-party voter who views various witness reports in the same light as claimants against supreme court nominees, I actually think there are more irregularities with the vote count than most ends-justify-the-means media and Dems are willing to admit, and there are important questions about the right remedy to incentivize future bureaucrats to follow election laws. Thanks for pointing out how this suit will likely end as failing the laugh test. Valid concerns of process integrity will likely fester until a future election.

    1. Invalid concerns will also fester. This is the way of the GOP now – grievance over democracy.

      1. Not just the GOP. The left likely spurred a lot of sensible split tickets with its Resistance and Russia nonsense, and there should be no doubt that an opposite election result would have led Dems to argue patience, let all challenges and processes be exhausted.

        1. There’s a bunch of intel and DoJ reports about Russia. Also a bunch of successful prosecutions. You can argue the interpretation, but Russia ain’t nothing.

          This is nothing. And it is also very clear that ‘let all challenges be exhausted’ is not going to remove any doubt from those who still have doubts.

    2. Just Eric wrote: “I actually think there are more irregularities with the vote count than most ends-justify-the-means media and Dems are willing to admit, and there are important questions about the right remedy to incentivize future bureaucrats to follow election laws.
      I agree with you there. I think there were irregularities, and that a review of the whole system would not be a terrible idea for the new Administration. One of the (many) things that are so godawful about Trumpist positions here is that they have made it much more difficult that we could have a sane discussion of these questions in the near future.

  19. Here are my tentative thoughts on this matter: https://priorprobability.com/2020/12/10/is-something-rotten-in-the-states-of-georgia-michigan-pennsylvania-and-wisconsin/

    In summary, Cicchetti makes two claims: one regarding the election results in Georgia overall (let’s call this “Claim A”); the other specifically about the mail-in ballots (“Claim B”). (Also, for the reasons I will give below, I agree with David Post’s critique of Claim A, but disagree with Post’s critique of Claim B.) Let’s start with the weaker claim, shall we? Claim A is simply that, holding voter preferences from 2016 constant, it is extremely unlikely that Joe Biden could have won the Georgia contest in 2020 by honest means. Alas, this claim is total bullshit. Why? Because holding voter preferences constant makes absolutely no sense in the context of an election contest. The whole purpose of an election is to measure voter preferences, and voter preferences may change from one year to the next. That is the whole point of holding elections!

    Let’s now turn to Claim B, which is the stronger of the two claims. Claim B is that the mail-in ballots are suspect and probably rigged because the final results of the mail-in ballots diverge greatly from the final results of the early-voting ballots and the in-person ballots. Specifically, Cicchetti states in Paragraph 14 of his Declaration:

    “At 3:10 AM EST on November 4 the Georgia reported tabulations were 51.09% for Trump and 48.91% for Biden (eliminating third-party candidates). On November 18 at 2 PM EST, the reported percentages were Trump 49.86% and Biden at 50.14%…. For this turnaround to occur, the subsequent “late” [main-in] ballots totaling 268,204 votes (5.4% of the votes reported on November 18) had to split 71.60% for Biden and 28.40 for Trump.”

    Here, Post is wrong to dismiss the substance of this claim. Although Post is correct to conclude that we can’t hold constant voter preferences from one election to the next, we can certainly do so with randomly selected subsamples of voters in the same election. The key question, then, is whether the population of voters who voted by mail is in any relevant respect different than the population of all voters, or early voters, or in-person voters? For my part (unlike Prof Post), I remain agnostic on this question.

    1. Votes were recounted. Twice. It was close, for sure, but unless someone can demonstrate actual fraud, there is no being agnostic. There is only being willfully obstinate about accepting reality.

      Biden won. Sorry. Better luck next time.

    2. Dude, we already know that the percentages were near 50-50, so this “one in quadrillion to the 4th power” chance was utter nonsense. And then, not only every poll, but I myself was on the “million call” effort of the Sierra Club, obvious democratic lean database. As predicted by literally everyone who had the slightest real interest, the vast majority of democratic people I talked to were mailing in their vote because they were in cities and afraid of Covid. Not only that, the response rate was extraordinary. The database was tuned to call democrats who don’t always vote. I found 1 out of about 300 calls who wasn’t going to vote.

      Either we have an extraordinary conspiracy warping thousands of ordinary citizens (~50% republican) poll workers and Soros, Hillary, Biden, N.Korea, China, Venezuela hackers who somehow forgot to also flip the Senate.
      OR:
      Trump is a liar

      =>Trump is a proven liar.

  20. Just curious, Mr. Post. Based on your statistical analysis, what is your estimate of the probability of former Vice President Biden legitimately winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—independently given President Trump’s early lead in those States as of 3 a.m. on November 4, 2020?

  21. David, thanks for the clear and concise explanation. I stopped after reading the original documents to section 11. I can do the statistics too and now I know, but I didn’t have to:

    We are talking about “swing states”, so we’d naively expect some chance of either winning somewhere w/in striking range of 50-50. I could then take serious that somehow it was instead 30-70 and dig into the numbers. BUT! If some “Ph.D.” tells me “it is (1×10^15)^4, I can’t check the numbers because I’m on the floor LMAO and out of breath.

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