Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More analysis of North Carolina 

More analysis of North Carolina on democracy underground:

BeFree asked me a few days ago to look over the North Carolina election returns. Things looked funny. They were way out of sync with the exit polls and no one could believe that Erskine Bowles had lost in the Senate race. The deeper I looked at the figures, the more things began to look disturbing. I downloaded the precinct data and began to pour through it for clues. Then I saw that the absentee vote (which apparently also includes the early voting data) was huge, comprising more than *a million votes* and nearly a full third of the total vote (30%). It offered the chance to compare an unadulterated voting pattern against the strange results of election day. I reasoned with an early vote that large, it is no longer a sample but a benchmark. The nearer one approaches 100%, the more accurate the picture of the whole. At one third, any inconsistencies should even out -- even if more white suburban Republicans voted by absentee (as has been charged in the past with smaller samples) or if the Democratic GOTV pushed our early numbers (as has been assumed for this election).

In that respect, I was lucky to have looked at North Carolina -- it's not as crazed as the battleground states and the electorate is nicely split between parties. Any inconsistencies of one side dominating the early vote would have showed up in the data -- they didn't.With that in mind, I began an informal review of the NC absentee vote. What I found was stunning, and I believe it should have national implications. I have little doubt that we will find the same thing elsewhere by using benchmark absentee data against election day returns.

It not only reflects the pattern of exit poll discrepancy we saw throughout the country, but it also makes a compelling case for purposeful tampering with the electronic data. I also think it reveals the three objectives of the Bush re-election campaign: 1) re-election 2) mandate 3) strong Senate majority.