It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes." - Joseph Stalin
How do record numbers of new registered voters, massive turnout, exit polls pointing to Kerry victories in battleground states, add up to returning an incumbent, let alone this incumbent, whose approval rating is in the mid-40s?
Easy. It doesn't.
Since when do exit polls - and oddly enough, just those of the states in contention - get it so wrong? Only since Florida 2000, and a funny thing about that: the exit poll turned out to be correct. If every valid vote had been counted in the state, Gore would have carried it.
Battleground states employing electronic voting saw Bush's vote up to five percent higher than their exit polls had forecast. The exit polls of other states proved to be accurate predictors of the returns.
And I don't know what to make of this scrubbing of history, but look at a screenshot of CNN's exit polling data for Ohio as of 12:21 this morning: 51% of men and 53% of women are voting for Kerry, and 49% of men and 47% of women are supporting Bush. Now, look at an update of the same page an hour later: Kerry has fallen to 47% and 50%, while Bush is up to 52% and 50%.
Until all Americans' votes are again verifiable, and none vanish into the proprietary software of Republican firms, Americans have no democracy. Or rather, they have one that would make Ferdinand Marcos proud.
PS, FYI, see Daily Kos on the Florida numbers. Also, here's a good page on the theft of the election, and an important release this morning from blackboxvoting.org:
Voting without auditing. (are we insane?)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON Nov 3 2004 -- Did the voting machines trump exit polls? There’s a way to find out.
Black Box Voting (.ORG) is conducting the largest Freedom of Information action in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit.
America: We have permission to say No to this. It is our right.
We call on every candidate not to concede. Don't play along. It is your right.
Among the first requests sent to counties (with all kinds of voting systems -- optical scan, touch-screen, and punch card) is a formal records request for internal audit logs, polling place results slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips.
Such a request filed in King County, Washington on Sept. 15, following the primary election six weeks ago, uncovered an internal audit log containing a three-hour deletion on election night; “trouble slips” revealing suspicious modem activity; and profound problems with security, including accidental disclosure of critically sensitive remote access information to poll workers, office personnel, and even, in a shocking blunder, to Black Box Voting activists.