Monday, January 05, 2009

Deep Thoughts now in the Senate?

I admit it, the specter of Al Franken in the US Senate is even more repulsive to me than Obama as President. On election night, Norm Coleman seemingly won re-election by about 775 votes. Now the total has flipped 1100 votes in favor of Al.

The Wall Street Journal - "Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as 'duplicate' and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes."

Why is it that we believe random error favors Republican Candidates and perpetual recounting moves us towards the "truth," which is, a Democrat won? This supposes in reality, an evil force that twists elections like Gremlins or Leprechauns during the process and always in favor of the Dark Side, which would be conservative candidates, or in the case of Norm Coleman, candidates more conservative than Al Franken.

Even the Wall Street Journal shows what pantywaists conservatives are when it comes to process because, instead of taking election night totals (unofficial I know) and noting the full size of the swing, they take another total, 215, which is a total most conservative observers view as already containing the first onslaughts of fraud.

Election totals are always a near universal canvas of the whole. The idea that we can accurately count every vote makes for nice soundbites, but it's impossible. Even if it were possible, we'd never know we did it. In polling statistics, error rates center around the size and randomness of the sample or how representative it is of the whole. We then here error rates of plus or minus 5% or 3% depending on the size of the sample.

On election night though, all the ballots are cast. They may not all be counted, and in fact we can be certain that they are not, but all of them are in fact cast. The count so closely approaches the whole that error rate has to be considered almost non existent. You can count on the notion that the ballots erroneously excluded from the count will fall neither on one candidates side, or the other at a rate different that the voting total, as counted.

Putting it another way, you can be certain that if due diligence is the same, across the board, that if there were 1000 ballots not counted, and one candidate got 43.11 percent of the vote total that was counted, and the other got 43.09 percent of the votes that were counted, that you would have about 429 - 433 uncounted votes for each candidate. The larger the uncounted vote total, the more it would match the total as a whole. The idea that Al Franken could make up 1100 votes in a recount is fanciful. It is only slightly less fanciful that Al Franken could make up 440.

There are some vote pools that tend one way, or the other. In some states like Florida, which has a large number of military personel, absentee ballots swing conservative. A large number of uncounted absentee ballots could swing the vote one way or the other, for that reason. It depends on why the voters in a state vote absentee.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in districts that tend to vote heavily one ideology or another, the elections officials also tend to mirror that ideology. If any hanky panky goes on, it's generally controlled in favor of the party in control in that district. What the Journal points out is that more votes have been counted in the precincts accounting for most of Al Franken's gains, than people who voted. Votes were counted twice. It also seems as if a sort of deliberately slack set of standards in those precincts made that fraud possible. Believing that Al Franken made up this kind of ground also requires that you believe that the Gremlins attack Democrat controlled districts only, and need to be exorcised by recounts, for the truth to be known.

With the thin Republican membership of the Senate, they still have a sort of veto power over the Obama Administration, if they stick together. One rogue Republican on each cloture vote means they have no power at all, if Al Franken maintains his theft of this election. The sort of thing that has happened in Minnesota is treason, it should be punishable by death. It won't be, and Republicans will roll over and play dead I am afraid, and lose this one and the media will not even attach the name "controversial" to Al Franken's supposed election.

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