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August 1, 2004 - Events NOT Occurring in Boston

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Coburn Wins Nomination for Oklahoma Senate Seat
Ron Jenkins - The Associated Press - Tuesday, July 27, 2004; 10:28 PM


OKLAHOMA CITY - Former three-term Rep. Tom Coburn won the Republican nomination Tuesday for the seat of GOP Sen. Don Nickles, trouncing a popular Oklahoma politician after a bruising and expensive campaign marked by allegations of backstabbing and shady land deals.


And the AP story gives more detail.

So what?

Amy Sullivan’s analysis in the Washington Monthly -


Campaign observers widely believed that Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, who was one of two Republicans challenging Coburn for the spot, has much broader appeal for swing voters and would have been a formidable opponent in November. Coburn, on the other hand, has the backing and financial resources of a number of conservative groups, but also the baggage of a right-wing reputation. He only made things worse for himself a few weeks ago when he remarked that doctors who perform abortions should get the death penalty. And then clarified that while there isn't yet a law that would allow capital punishment for such doctors, he would support the passage of one. Nice.


She goes on to say Oklahoma isn’t like this at all – they have a Democratic governor, after all.  Coburn may or may not win, but she says he’s an aberration.  Maybe he is.

And maybe many family planning doctors should be executed for murder.  Or maybe not.


Lost Record '02 Florida Vote Raises '04 Concern
Abby Goodnough, The New York Times, July 28, 2004


Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.

The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.

A county official said a new backup system would prevent electronic voting data from being lost in the future. But members of the citizens group, the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, said the malfunction underscored the vulnerability of electronic voting records and wiped out data that might have shed light on what problems, if any, still existed with touch-screen machines here. The group supplied the results of its request to The New York Times.

"This shows that unless we do something now - or it may very well be too late - Florida is headed toward being the next Florida," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a lawyer who is the chairwoman of the coalition.

After the disputed 2000 presidential election eroded confidence in voting machines nationwide, and in South Florida in particular, the state moved quickly to adopt new technology, and in many places touch-screen machines. Voters in 15 Florida counties - covering more than half the state's electorate - will use the machines in November, but reports of mishaps and lost votes in smaller elections over the last two years have cast doubt on their reliability.


The item goes on to explain how “event logs” in the systems aren’t very reliable – and this is not Diebold.  This is Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Nebraska.  Crashes.  Lost data.  No possible recovery.  Oh well.

A comment from “Holden” at Eschaton -


Florida May Be the Next Florida

Hey, Florida - ever hear of backing your data up on CD? Coupled with Jeb's new law prohibiting manual recounts of electronic votes and his continued attempts to disenfranchise non-Hispanic felons and - well, I think you can see where this is going.


Yep. The answer to the question of the upcoming presidential election – how to make it fair - is to forget Florida.  Win enough votes elsewhere so that it doesn’t matter who “wins” in Florida.

Write it off.  It’s a lost cause.

What about things out here in California?

See Fear of Fraud, Paul Krugman in the New York Times on July 27, 2004 explained what happened here -


It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.

When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records.

This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, Calif., reported by Andrew Gumbel of the British newspaper The Independent. Mr. Gumbel's full-length report, printed in Los Angeles City Beat, makes hair-raising reading not just because it reinforces concerns about touch-screen voting, but also because it shows how easily officials can stonewall after a suspect election.


Yep, and down that way many precincts recorded quite a few more votes than they had registered voters, a new twist on the old Chicago theme of vote early and vote often.  Now you don’t even have to show up.

These sorts of things in Florida and California, and one presumes elsewhere, cannot possibly be fixed by November.  It’s over.  We won’t need the Supreme Court this time around.




Note –


Late in the week officials in Florida miraculously found a back-up CD with most of the missing election data they thought had been lost forever.  They tell us everyone should feel better, and more trusting now. 


Is this CD the real deal?  I would be nice if there was a chain of custody involved, but there isn’t.  They just found it in the back of a desk drawer.  Yeah, right. 


Well, Florida is a casual place – a place run by the president’s brother.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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