FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hillary Clinton Versus Bernie Sanders: Taking Election Fraud Allegations Seriously (Part 1)

by

Joshua Holland’s editor at The Nation apparently did not think much of his work to debunk election fraud allegations in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Instead, Holland put the half-baked column out at Raw Story after giving a softball interview, replete with a textbook example of circular reasoning, to the sole exit pollster for this election cycle. As with his since debunked debunking of a federally coordinated crackdown on the Occupy movement, Holland afterward went on his merry mocking way. Here, even though he acknowledged that he’d been alerted by dozens, if not hundreds of people, that a citizens group gave sworn testimony to irregularities in Chicago’s audit of electronically cast ballots between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Holland did not bother with so much as a phone call to Chicago’s Board of Elections to ask about those allegations.

Where conspiracy theories can be nipped in the bud, they should be. But bad reporting helps no one. Maniacal people have viciously attacked the survivors of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting in part because unscrupulous media initially reported multiple shooters then did nothing to follow-up with the very simple explanation for why they got things wrong.

CounterPunch has a history, even if I do not personally agree in every case, of rejecting big United States conspiracy theories from those surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination to 9/11 trutherism. I have spent weeks investigating election fraud claims including interviewing multiple exit pollsters, veteran hackers, academic experts on United States elections, and elections officials and workers in multiple states. These include the Edison exit pollster interviewed by Holland along with a spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Elections. Over the course of several articles, I will be attempting to debunk election fraud allegations where they can be, or, alternatively, to provide the best explanations for why things seem amiss in so many different primaries and caucuses in the race between Clinton and Sanders.

I began with a set of factors to help determine which states required most attention for investigation:

1-Candidate Beats the First Full Wave of Exit Polls by 7.0% or more + 1 Other Factor
2-Evidence Suggesting Substantial Election Fraud Without Significant Rebuttal
3-3 or more of Factors 4-9 Below
4-Candidate Outperforms First Full Wave of Exit Polls by between 3.5% and 7.0%
5-Actual Evidence of Substantial Election Fraud With Some Rebuttal
6-Actual Evidence of Some Election Fraud Without Significant Rebuttal
7-Substantial Areas of State Use Voting or Tabulation Machines Proven to be Hackable or to Miscount
8-Candidate Strongly Outpolls Pre-Election Polls with No Obvious Explanation
9-State Uses All or Majority Voting or Tabulation Machines Greater Than 10 Years Old

Any one of the factors in numbers one through three means a particular state requires significant attention to explain what went wrong, though, for instance, a single good explanation for why exit polling is so bad would knock out most cases.

I will be saying more about the various factors over the course of the series. For now, the first factor, one that has drawn a decent amount of attention in some spheres already, is comparison to exit polls. I’ve already noted that when countries with governments the United States does not like hold elections, exit polling is taken as fairly authoritative in establishing the possibility of election fraud.

“But the polling is different in the United States!” runs a certain logic.

Simply making this assertion without backing it up with data and sound argumentation does not work. I will be looking at those exit polling differences, where they matter, and at exit polling for primaries as a whole in Part 3. For now, I will grant that, in and of themselves, exit polls cannot make the entire case. After all, when exit polls sponsored by the United States government missed badly in Venezuela, the Carter Center negotiated a rigorous audit that would not be possible in many U.S. locations because of poor election machine design. The Carter Center then observed the details of the paper audit from beginning to end. The previous results were confirmed.

But that does not mean exit poll differences can be ignored altogether. When the recall election for Scott Walker in Wisconsin showed a 7% deviation from exit polling, FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten addressed what seemed like a outrageous difference, only to argue that it was not so outrageous. Part 3 will address arguments like Enten’s, his colleague Nate Silver’s “Ten Reason’s Why You Should Ignore Exit Polls,” and similar suggestions that exit polling in the U.S. is just bad and we should accept it without question. In short, none of them weigh the evidence for and against manipulation of electronic voting machines a vote tabulators seriously.

Exit polling has been far more accurate on the GOP side, even with multiple candidates, including multiple anti-establishment candidates. There has been just one miss outside the expected margin of error, so far as I can tell, perfectly in keeping with what one expects in terms of scientific polling’s accepted accuracy interval of nineteen times out of twenty. Even where things have been closer to the margin of error, they have not all favored one candidate, least of all the GOP winner. Donald Trump has overperformed near the margin of error, or by more than 3.5%, just one time. Ted Cruz has overperformed four times, once outside the margin of error (Texas), and Marco Rubio underperformed significantly once. “Clinton, meanwhile, has overperformed by at least 3.5% sixteen times, nine of those times outside the margin of error.”. Sanders beat a 3.5% margin versus exit poll expectations just once (Oklahoma), and it was within the margin of error.

Using the criteria above, I initially grouped the states into three categories. Having one factor of numbers four through nine is not enough to move a state into the “moderate” category. Some of the states, as we will note particularly tomorrow in “Debunking Some Election Fraud Allegations (Part 2),” can quickly be downgraded with a little research and reasoning. Others require far greater scrutiny to figure out what has happened. (The word “substantial” matters. I am not concerned in this series with the electioneering hi-jinks reported in every election ever from dogcatcher to the highest offices in the land. Bill Clinton’s election day antics have irritated people and are the subject of a lawsuit, but they are not likely responsible for even one delegate of Sanders’ current 275 pledged delegate deficit. As I’ve written previously, if exit polling had been reasonably accurate, the gap between Clinton and Sanders would likely be well over a hundred delegates closer.):

Strong Potential Indicators of Substantial Election Fraud for Sanders Versus Clinton (12)
South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, New York, Delaware

Moderate Potential Indicators of Substantial Election Fraud for Sanders Versus Clinton (8)
Virginia, Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wyoming, Indiana

Little to No Potential Indicators of Substantial Election Fraud for Sanders Versus Clinton (21)
Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Connecticut, Iowa, Nevada, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nebraska, Maine, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington

Danger Zone for Upcoming States:
California, New Jersey

Tomorrow’s piece will begin with a look at accusations of fraud for states like Wyoming, Delaware, and Iowa. As the week wears on, we will turn attention to more acute suggestions of fraud. Throughout, I will return to what I call the Alabama Test. I will be taking very seriously the best explanations for why, what people are perceiving as indicators of fraud, may actually not show fraud. But then we will apply the Alabama Test. Could a particular explanation help tell us why the first full wave of exit polling in Alabama missed the eventual outcome by fourteen points?

While Alabama may seem like an unusual place for a test case – Bernie Sanders didn’t even compete there – the proportional nature of Democrats delegate allocation means it matters. What’s more, various characteristics of Alabama’s election and exit polling put particular stressors on various explanations, fraudulent and non-fraudulent, for why exit polling missed there worse than any other place so far. Not all of the allegations of fraud involve exit polling, of course. Part 4, as planned, will look more in depth at the question of switched registrations, especially in Arizona and New York.

My commitment is, as ever, to follow the best evidence wherever it might lead, whether to fraudulent, non-fraudulent, or inconclusive conclusions.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of times Clinton has outperformed the first full exit poll by at least 3.5%. The correct number is sixteen rather than nineteen. I apologize for the misstatement.

Part 1: Taking Election Fraud Allegations Seriously
Part 2: Debunking Some Election Fraud Allegations
Part 3: In-depth Report on Exit Polling and Election Fraud Allegations
An Interview With Lead Edison Exit Pollster Joe Lenski
Part 4: Purged, Hacked, Switched
Part 5: Chicago Election Official Admits “Numbers Didn’t Match”
Part 6: Clinton Does Best Where Voting Machines Flunk Hacking Tests

Doug Johnson Hatlem is best known for his work as a street pastor and advocate with Toronto’s homeless population from 2005-2013. He is now a film producer and free-lance writer based in Chicago.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 24, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Reflections on DC: Promises and Pitfalls in the Anti-Trump Uprising
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Developer Welfare: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan
Melvin Goodman
Trump at the CIA: the Orwellian World of Alternative Facts
Sam Mitrani – Chad Pearson
A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics
Kristine Mattis
Democracy is Not a Team Sport
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Mexico, Neo-Nationalism and the Capitalist World-System
Ted Rall
The Women’s March Was a Dismal Failure and a Hopeful Sign
Norman Pollack
Women’s March: Halt at the Water’s Edge
Pepe Escobar
Will Trump Hop on an American Silk Road?
Franklin Lamb
Trump’s “Syria “Minus Iran” Overture to Putin and Assad May Restore Washington-Damascus Relations
Kenneth R. Culton
Violence By Any Other Name
David Swanson
Why Impeach Donald Trump
Christopher Brauchli
Trump’s Contempt
January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Mark Schuller
So What am I Doing Here? Reflections on the Inauguration Day Protests
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail