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Was the 2004 Election Stolen? 1425

Posted by kdawson
from the disenfranchising-ohio dept.
jZnat writes, "In June Rolling Stone ran an article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. delving into the statistical improbability that Bush won the 2004 election based on massive amounts of evidence that support a Republican-sponsored election fraud across the country, particularly in Ohio. The GOP used a number of tactics in its fraudulent campaign including ballot-stuffing, denying newly registered voters (particularly in urban and minority precincts) their voting privileges via illegal mailings known as caging lists, inane voter registration requirements, preventing thousands of voters from receiving provisional ballots, under-providing Democrat-majority precincts with voting machines thus creating enormous queues of voters, faulty machines (particularly from Diebold) that skewed results in the GOP's favor, mostly unnoticed ballot-stuffing and fraud in rural areas, and a fixed recount that was paid for by the Green and Libertarian parties that essentially supported the initial fraudulent numbers." From the article: "'Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen,' Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling, told me."
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Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

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  • Yes/No/Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:41PM (#16126234)
    There has been fraud, corruption, and all manner of crap going on in elections in the US since the beginning of time. (And, might I add, consider the source.)

    This hasn't change since Bush took office, and won't be any different in 2008. It's not just Republicans that do it, nor is is just Democrats. (Witness the decades-old joke from Democratic stronghold cities: "Why did the Democrat walk into the cemetery? To thank his voters.")

    As dirty and reeking of conflict-of-interest as it is, when Diebold's CEO said he was committed to delivering Ohio's electoral votes to Bush, he meant it as a Republican corporate leader and campaigner; not in the context of "rigging" an election.

    No, the disenfranchisement that happens now and will continue to happen is the same disenfranchisement and dirty tricks that always happens: the rise of the internet for the general population, particularly since the last pre-Bush presidential election, has enabled the kinds of incredible information exchange on all manner of topics that we've seen in the last two elections. That will only increase, and it cuts both ways: as much as it allows the exchange of legitimate information, it acts as a breeding ground for conspiracy theories, some wacky, some not-so-wacky, some with elements of truth, but still serving to subvert any faith we ever had in our system.

    The worst part is so many people believe that not one, but two, elections were actively and intentionally "stolen"/rigged exclusively by Republicans, that anytime any Republican/conservative candidate ever wins an election from this point forward, it will always be doubted. Even recounts will be doubted. People want to believe, well, what they want to believe.

    All of the political, governmental, financial, famous and otherwise, and other powerhouse figures in the United States on the anti-Republican/conservative side(s) didn't just stand idly by while not one, but *two* elections were stolen.

    Nothing new has happened on either side in 2000 or 2004 that hasn't ever happened before. That's just a fact of life. These are the same county election entities that have run elections in locales for generations. Yes, things change a bit, especially with the introduction of electronic voting machines (which, ironically, were the result of various Democratic and bipartisan initiatives designed to allow more equal and consistent management of and access to polling places). But all e-voting vendors offer permament voter-verified receipt options on current and some previous models of machines - but these additions cost even more money; money that many municipalities weren't willing to spend.

    Worse still, we're talking about it two (or six, depending) years later. Not only do we have people who believe firmly that both elections were stolen, but we have people who literally believe something will cause a suspension of the 2008 elections, allowing Bush to remain in power. To me, the growing ranks of people who believe that with all their heart - growing mostly because of the internet, and sources of information that reinforce what they want to believe - are actually more of a threat to our system of government than anything else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by koreth (409849)

      but we have people who literally believe something will cause a suspension of the 2008 elections, allowing Bush to remain in power.

      To be fair, though, I've heard that about every president since I've been old enough to know what a presidential term was. At this point I'd be surprised if there weren't people thinking that toward the end of a given president's tenure. Happily, it's always a very small minority of extreme left-wingers (the Republican President is going to declare martial law or some nationa

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theshibboleth (968645)
      Yes there has always been corruption in American politics, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything about it. The last couple of eletions have been extremely close. As far as people being paranoid about the next election being cancelled, it is disturbing when a sitting administration talks about postponing the election [cnn.com].
    • Re:Yes/No/Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ptbarnett (159784) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:07PM (#16126371)
      Worse still, we're talking about it two (or six, depending) years later. Not only do we have people who believe firmly that both elections were stolen, but we have people who literally believe something will cause a suspension of the 2008 elections, allowing Bush to remain in power.

      The right-wing believed Clinton would do the same thing in the late 1990's. Of course, it didn't happen. And it's about as likely to happen this time.

      But, they viewed the 2000 fiasco in Florida through the same lens: for every person that believes that Bush stole that election, there is someone on the opposite side that believes that Gore was narrowly prevented from stealing the election. There is plenty of "evidence" for both, if you carefully choose what to believe.

      To me, the growing ranks of people who believe that with all their heart - growing mostly because of the internet, and sources of information that reinforce what they want to believe - are actually more of a threat to our system of government than anything else.

      I agree that the polarization is getting worse, but I don't think the Internet is to blame. I believe the traditional coalitions of "left" and "right" that once wanted similar things (and differed only on the details) are drifting further apart as the extremists take control of the respective major parties. In the past (past 30-40 years), it typically happened to only one party and the other captured the "center".

      But now, the center is fed up and stays home, leaving the party faithful to battle it out. And the parties need something to motivate their followers, and aren't above stretching the truth a little to do it.

      • Re:Yes/No/Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Coryoth (254751) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @07:54PM (#16126968) Homepage Journal
        I agree that the polarization is getting worse, but I don't think the Internet is to blame. I believe the traditional coalitions of "left" and "right" that once wanted similar things (and differed only on the details) are drifting further apart as the extremists take control of the respective major parties. In the past (past 30-40 years), it typically happened to only one party and the other captured the "center".

        The parties aren't getting wider apart in their policy, they are simply getting more divisive in the marketing. In practice the two parties are more similar in ideology than ever. Certainly they're more similar in methodology than ever - politics has ceased to be about ideas or leadership and has become about marketing, focus groups, and push button issues. The key to political campaigns in this day and age is analyse your potential voters and find whatever issues have emotional ties. Usually those issues are trivial ones because ultimately it's the little things that we encounter in day to day life that irk us, it's the things that often don't matter in the grand scheme that tend to piss us off in that deep emotional way that is being exploited by politicians. Once the political strategists have gotten a decent list of irrelevant but emotionally charged issues they use them as convenient push buttons to try and herd people in the direction they want. But they've gotten so obsessed with all the trivial issues themselves that they don't even have a direction anymore and are, ultimately, themselves driven by whatever helps them push the electorates buttons. Mostly that means cash for marketing campaigns. Both major parties in the US have become parties of corporate control. Sure they have their hand picked issues to bicker over, and certainly those are highly emotionally charged issues so that they're highly divisive, but ultimately they re both selling the same thing.

        So let's repeat that: the parties haven't gotten more extremist over the last few decades. Rather they have simply gotten a lot better at mining the public psyche to find out what particular issues and bullet points currently carry the greatest emotional weight, and at focussing all discussion on those bullet points. Instead of considering the powerpoint style rhetoric on the hot button issues of the day, try comparing actual legislative records - what actually gets done - and compare that to legislative records of the past: In practical terms the two parties are more similar than ever.
      • Re:Yes/No/Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LionKimbro (200000) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @09:41PM (#16127466) Homepage
        Hm; This seems to be mainly metaphysical calculation in your head: "Center: Good, Off-Center: Bad."

        "Of course, it didn't happen. And it's about as likely to happen this time."

        One is spoken of in terms of a certainty, the other in terms of a probability.

        Nary a shred of evidence, not even an argument.

        Just: "Probably not." "I don't think so." "I don't know, and it's not worth checking."

        Fascinating.

        You can get away with anything, when people think like this.

        I think it's good that you can cast off concerns about the world for a time, hole up in yourself, and so on. But I wouldn't go around encouraging others to do so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lonewolf666 (259450)

      Nothing new has happened on either side in 2000 or 2004 that hasn't ever happened before. That's just a fact of life. These are the same county election entities that have run elections in locales for generations. Yes, things change a bit, especially with the introduction of electronic voting machines (which, ironically, were the result of various Democratic and bipartisan initiatives designed to allow more equal and consistent management of and access to polling places). But all e-voting vendors offer perm

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by partisanX (1001690)
      To me, the growing ranks of people who believe that with all their heart - growing mostly because of the internet, and sources of information that reinforce what they want to believe - are actually more of a threat to our system of government than anything else.

      The question you have to ask is WHY? Why are people now so inclined to believe in "conspiracy theories" and distrust the government on this level now? Is it really just because of the internet? Could it have anything to do with the fact that this
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by daveschroeder (516195) *
        Well, those aren't conspiracy theories.

        "Axis of evil" is rhetoric, just as much now as it was then. Accurate? Maybe, maybe not. The point is that it's just political rhetoric, not a conspiracy theory.

        As for WMD, to requote something I've said before, which applies here:

        To quote something I've said before, but which applies here:

        [w]hile I agree that there isn't going to be an Islamic ICBM delivering a nuclear weapon anytime soon, there were *hundreds of tons* of WMD unaccounted for in Iraq, post-1998. The in
        • Re:Yes/No/Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

          by partisanX (1001690) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @07:12PM (#16126731) Homepage
          Well, those aren't conspiracy theories.

          Hogwash.

          "Axis of evil" is rhetoric, just as much now as it was then. Accurate? Maybe, maybe not. The point is that it's just political rhetoric, not a conspiracy theory.

          Axis of evil is an implication of a conspiracy on the part of the members of said group. It is very much a conspiracy theory in that it implies they are conspiring to do us wrong. Is it rhetoric? Sure, but it is also meant to get people thinking in terms of the axis plotting evil against them.

          The often repeated claim, which you could call rhetoric, but which is also clearly a conspiracy theory, is that "liberals want to destroy the country". The people who espouse this will offer "evidence" to their audience to support it. They, in essence, offer factoids about "liberals" and then fill in the gaps as to their meaning.

          But perhaps I'm wrong in my semantic use, but please, humor me, and explain to me what is the difference between a group of partisans advancing ideas that another group of partisans are out to destroy america, that a group of nations are out to do evil to us, etc... how are these really different in the effects they have on those that believe it, than the conspiracy theories are?

          As for the rest of your stuff, it's all irrelevant to the point of my post.

          You are asking for the villification of Bush to stop and you are saying that you view those who believe in "conspiracy theories" as a bigger threat to our system than government. On the former, I disagree, he has reaped what he's sown, on the later, I somewhat agree. Our system is not in a good place when over 1/3rd of the people believe not only that the government could take part(either actively or passively) in a terrible thing like 9/11, but actually did... that is not a good place for our system to be.

          But, when you constantly lie, and lie, and lie, what is the logical result of that? People don't trust your word. People don't trust your character. People don't trust you.

          This administration has lied, either knowingly or unknowingly on the WMD issue, the secret prisons, the wiretapping, etc... and your post about what you think Iraq was about, if it is indeed true, is a very good example of the people being told lies to hide true intentions(conspiracy theory?). If that's what it was about, then the president should have been forthcoming with our true goals there from day one. To suggest otherwise, is to compromise the integrity of our democratic republic, an integrity that is built on the trust the people have of the government. If the government can't trust the people with the truth, then the people can't trust the government to do their will, and then the conspiracy theories start to take hold. It's cause and effect.

          Right or wrong, whether you believe it or not, Clinton lost a lot of clout and respect for himself and the office with the great many Americans when he did what he did

          And it's amazing to me that you are sitting here telling me how Clinton lost clout for his lies, while seemingly unwilling to see that Bush has lost clout for his lies too. It really doesn't matter whether you think he deserves to lose clout for his lies, the fact is, he has lost clout and his lies are the reason(whether you think they are "good" lies or not). For the record, I supported Clinton's impeachment at the time, and I would again under the same circumstances. That was all irrelevant to my point.

          And on that John Kerry bit...
          Don't bother quoting John Kerry to me. I hold both parties in equal contempt. Quoting one liar to justify another means very little to me. I will say this, I don't subscribe to most of the conspiracy theories. In fact, I share a good deal of your concern, but rather than trying to VILLANIZE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE who believe them(which you are clearly trying to do), I see cause and effect at work. A deceptive government does not deserve to be believed. Whether they intentionally decieved or no
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dynamo52 (890601)

      There has been fraud, corruption, and all manner of crap going on in elections in the US since the beginning of time

      While true, There has never been wholesale, systemic manipulation of the electoral process on this scale. Previous acts of fraud tended to be minor and localised, mainly due to an overzaealous member of one or the other parties. The irregularities referrenced in the 200 and 2004 elections, however, appear to be a well planned and concerted effort by the extreme right wing to ensure thier a

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @07:12PM (#16126732) Homepage Journal
      Whether or not the elections in 2000 and 2004 were stolen does not change the fact that we are witnessing an unprecedented attempt to consolidate power in the hands of a very wealthy, very few. And they are mostly Republicans.

      You say that people believing that the Bush Administration is capable of the most egregious types of illegal activities is more of a threat to our system of government than those illegal activities themselves. This is known as baloney.

      Yesterday, we saw a President declare that a law must be passed that will have the effect of absolving him and his administration from any war crimes that may have been committed since 2001, retroactively. He is afraid that as the 14 prisoners that he's transferring from secret prisons (just the thought of secret prisons is anti-American) are interviewed by the Red Cross when they get to Guantanamo (Guantanamo is anti-American) we will learn that they were tortured in ways that violate a Convention that has served us well for more than half a century, and this will expose Mssrs Bush and Cheney to quite valid charges of War Crimes.

      So, in a classic cover-your-butt move, this despicable man is going to pardon himself and his friends, in advance. I hope those of you who voted Republican are proud.

      All this to protect his sudden need to try people with secret evidence. Let that sink in for a second. You are arrested and not told why. You are held for 3 years without any charges being brought against you. You are brought to court and a judge tells you that you are found guilty, based on evidence that you and your lawyer will not be allowed to see. Who wants to try to argue that any of this is the "American Way"?

      And this entire charade, 2 wars and untold suffering is done because 19 guys in dirty nightshirts were able to commandeer a couple of planes and kill 3000 people. We're told not to worry about the guy who masterminded this crime because after all we can't find him anyway, and there's a much more important thing we have to do because of this massive crime and that's fight a war thousands of miles away from where this criminal is hiding. And it just so happens that this war that's so urgent is in a place that has a huge supply of oil. And, it just so happens that the President got into politics with the help of the oil industry, but that's all just a coincidence. And it's a further coincidence that the one corporation that has profited the most from this war was run by the Vice President until a short time before the election. And, by the way, that Vice President's income tax return last year showed income of tens of millions of dollars even though his salary is only about 250 thousand bucks. But ignore all of that because THIS PRESIDENT IS A-GONNA KEEP US SAFE. Safe from terrorists. Forget that you're more likely to die of toenail fungus than from terrorism.

      One great thing about this country is that although it's possible to scare Americans, they don't stay scared for long. If there's a God in heaven, the Bush Administration and his Republican lickspittles are going to pay dearly for what they've done to a country that not too long ago was held in regard by the world as being a beacon of freedom, but is now known for secret prisons, torture, domestic spying and stupid, destructive wars.

      To Hell with George W. Bush. And Dave Schroeder, regardless of whatever it is that would make you try to defend him, to Hell with you.
    • Re:Yes/No/Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @07:19PM (#16126775) Homepage Journal
      I bet you didn't say anything like that in public in 1996 when Clinton was reelected, reassuring us that any purported Democratic vote fraud was "nothing new, don't worry your pretty little head about it".

      Democrats didn't "stand by idly", but were locked out of any action. As you'd know if you'd RTFA, rather than just rush to First Post some spin to excuse Republican vote fraud "because everyone does it".

      Don't you think that Harris saying 2004 in Ohio was as bad as it's ever been, meaning it's worse than almost every other election? If 2006 is rigged even worse, will that still be OK? Where is your limit to accepting vote fraud, where you no longer think "bad enough" is OK? When Democrats do it someday?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      >Nothing new has happened on either side in 2000 or 2004 that hasn't ever happened before.

      In 2000 and again in 2004 the elections in a swing state were supervised by one candidate's bleeding *campaign manager*. That lethally toxic level of conflict of interest may have happened before, but it can't have been often, and it's always unforgivable.

      >we have people who literally believe something will cause a suspension of the 2008 elections, allowing Bush to remain in power.

      Simple fact, not conspiracy theo
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:44PM (#16126244) Homepage Journal
    Rehashing a Rolling Stone article from June, that was already covered on /. at the time? Running a dupe a few days or a week later is one thing, but it's been 3 months!
    • by Keebler71 (520908) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @08:08PM (#16127073) Journal
      Not to mention the fact that the story has been pretty much debunked [salon.com] already. The number one claim of "proof" that the election was stolen was the dicrepancy between the exit polls and the final polls. The company that did the exit polling did their own investigation (as seen in their 77-page report [exit-poll.net]) and found that
      • They screwed up.
      • The early numbers released were inaccurate due to bad gender participation weighting factors. (the end-of-day results were actually much closer to the actuals than most people realize)
      • There was no difference in exit poll errors between touch screen and other methods."Some have suggested that the exit poll data could be used as evidence of voter fraud in the 2004 Election by showing error rates were higher in precincts with touch screen and optical scan voting equipment. Our evaluation does not support this hypothesis. In our exit poll sample overall, precincts with touch screen and optical scan voting have essentially the same error rates as those using punch card systems. In the larger urban areas these systems had lower WPEs than punch card precincts."
      • Kerry supporters were more likely to participate and complete an exit poll
      • strong correllation between the age of the poll volunteer and the pollee's willingness to participate
      I haven't given any credence to the notion that the election was stolen since I read this [nytimes.com] piece in the NYtimes. It follows Dem operatives in Ohio on election day in 2004. It documents their intial happiness and as they spend the day trying to get the vote out (for the Dems) and increasing nervousness as they see more and more indications that the Republicans simply had a stronger get-out-the-vote campaign. (Read it all - whatever your political leanings, it is very educational as to the lengths the parties will go to try to swing the vote up to the last second).
  • by dingDaShan (818817) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:45PM (#16126246)
    We are talking about a Rolling Stone article... a half-gossip magazine. The "entertainment industry's" take on politics... why is this even on Slashdot? Of course the election was rigged! This would explain why the disjointed, disorganized, and divided Democratic party lost an election to an incumbent. Lets just keep making excuses if it makes us feel better.
  • by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:46PM (#16126250) Journal
    Do you ever get the feeling that the people posting these stories do so just cause they like to rattle people's cages?


    Democrats versus Republicans
    Creationism versus evolution
    Open software versus proprietary

    These are all sure to create vicious back-and-forth arguments that'll put the responses over that magical 300 number.

    • by Stonent1 (594886) <(ten.kralctniop.tnenots) (ta) (tnenots)> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:47PM (#16126256) Journal
      Maybe we should start moderating the stories? I give this one (-1 Flamebait)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deanj (519759)
      Yep. That's exactly what they're doing.

      It's a left-leaning site. I have NEVER seen a right-leaning article approved here. Ever.

      It does drive traffic though, so they're still making money, which is why they do it in the first place.
      • by Quantam (870027) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @09:42PM (#16127468) Homepage
        It's a left-leaning site. I have NEVER seen a right-leaning article approved here. Ever.

        I think the reason for that should be pretty self-evident. Just look at the left's policies from the perspective of the average Slashdot geek:
        Welfare: Because working takes time away from completing my tier 17 class set
        No war: Because I can only hit stuff in Counterstrike
        No warrant-less surveillance: Because not everyone in my private collection is 18
        Anti-trust legislation: Because Microsoft needs to die
        Abortion: Because if I ever manage to find a girl that'll sleep with me, I sure don't want to have to worry about multiplication errors
        Gay marriage: Because I'll probably never find that girl anyway

        Need I go on?
  • BFD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BCW2 (168187) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:47PM (#16126257) Journal
    Like this is different from any other election? Look up what happened in 1960 in Texas and Illinois if you think 2000 or 2006 were the most crooked. The only difference was that Nixon refused to demand a recout because it would hurt the country and the last two don't care how much damage they do!
  • by loraksus (171574) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:50PM (#16126271) Homepage
    *grabs popcorn*

    Seriously though, Diebold machines are a joke. What I don't understand is why widespread vandalism of these machines hasn't been done.
    The exploits are, from what I understand, incredibly simple.
    Unfortunately, I have a feeling that even if Osama bin Laden won the 2008 presidential election based on votes from machines, it would just be blamed on "terrorist hackers" and no actual accountability would be implemented.
    Then, 2 years later, the American public would go back to voting on the same buggy machines, as oblivious as usual. Nothing would of have changed.
    • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:29PM (#16126506)
      *grabs some of your popcorn*

      I'm far more frightened by voter stupidity than election fraud, but would like to see widespread cracking of Diebold machines because that is the only way the public will exert pressure for change.
      Theoretical exploitation of teh mysterious boxes is one thing, but grossly hacking an election would get the attention of the average tard on the street.
  • WAAAAAA!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaufmanmoore (930593) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:51PM (#16126282)
    If Bush couldn't be ousted in '04 and if the Dems can't take control of Congress maybe its something they're doing wrong, cause Bush isn't doing anything right.
  • Cry Cry Cry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) * on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:52PM (#16126287)
    I am not a fan of our current president and I have never voted for him (but I did vote) But the democrats were stupid enough to put a Northern Liberal Democrat against a South Western Republican. So what it did was create a polarized nation during the election, it forced people to be deadly afraid of the other side. So they all voted for one side or the other. So being that bush won, all the people who got all hyped up the Bush will be the end of the world are now going on conspiracies and trying to find any thing to make them seem like they were cheated. While it was a fair fight and they lost. If the democrats were more willing to get a more middle of the road candidate they could have one. But they were betting on that GWB wouldn't win because he didn't win the last election with a majority vote so they were betting that if they get a Full to the left Democrat then they would win hands down. But guess what it didn't work. Next time I hope they get a more middle of the road democrat and perhaps I may vote for them.
    • Re:Cry Cry Cry (Score:4, Informative)

      by Stalyn (662) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:37PM (#16126550) Homepage Journal
      George W. Bush was born in Connecticut and went to college in Massachusetts (Yale and Harvard). The whole North vs. South or West-East Coast vs. Mid-West is all cooked up by the political party machines to make you afraid of their opponent. In reality the majority of America is pretty close on a lot of issues. The only really divisive issues are abortion and gay-rights which are of course inflated to appear more important than they really are. Not to say these issues aren't important but they aren't more important than say education and self-defense.

      American politics has become based on fear. Not so much the policies because in the end politicians will only use fear to manipulate the public in order to get (re)elected. But after they get elected they go back to the normal business of corruption and cronyism. In the end it's our fault, we let it happen resulting from our own ignorance and apathy.

    • Re:Cry Cry Cry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plasmacutter (901737) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @10:47PM (#16127521)
      If you consider a conservative like kerry a "far left" democrat than you don't want "middle of the road".. you want hard right.

        (He can best be considered a centerist, but he's more conservative than clinton.. a democrat who friggin deregulated several industries for christ sake!)

      Ever since reagan we've had center, right, and wackjob hard-right.

      Both bush's were wackjob hard-right, reagan was between right and wackjob hard-right, clinton was centerist, and kerry was at best center-right.

      You don't want "middle of the road", and if you consider right "middle of the road" than you need to stop watching fox news and listening to hannity and re-evaluate your outlook on the world.
  • Plagiarism (Score:5, Informative)

    by amliebsch (724858) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:57PM (#16126316) Journal
    Slashdot is now blatantly ripping off Salon.com, which also had an article headline about Kennedy's Rolling Stone piece staring with Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" [salon.com] Too bad Slashdot, in its ridiculous slanting, removed the final word of Salon's headline: "No." Even Mother Jones and NPR repudiated Kennedy's claims. Mother Jones, fer Christ's sake! What's next, Slashdot? How about some articles about World Trade Center demolition conspiracies! And Was Paul Wellstone's Plane Shot Down?
  • Bad excuses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @05:59PM (#16126327) Homepage

    Because one or the other party did it in the distant past does not make it okay. Technology gave the current ruling party the ability to subvert our election process in a broad and coordinated fashion not available historically.

    The bottom line is a lot of good people fought and died to uphold the ideal of one person, one vote and take pride that we run honest elections. The current administration tramples on the Constitution and stacks government agencies with unqualified partisans. They've looted our national treasury and gotten three thousand of our people killed in an ideological war in Iraq. Not only should they be impeached, but if evidence of rigging elections come to light it should undo all that Bush has done in office, including his Supreme Court appointments.

    I think Bush lost 2000 and 2004 and that represents a greater threat to our country than terrorism. If the right wing wasn't so shamelessly hypocritical they'd be rioting in the streets for Bush's impeachment. The fact they're lending tacit support to this fraud only demonstrates their lack of character.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:00PM (#16126335)
    "Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence." - Robert Hanlon (disputed)

    We had a fun 2004 election up here in Washington state. At the end of polling, the Republican Dino Rosse had defeated Democrat Gregoire by ~200 votes - so close that a recount was mandated. After one recount, Rossi was still ahead by about 60 votes. The Dems paid for a second recount, during which multiple small groups of uncounted ballots from highly-Democratic King County kept turning up. Gregoire won that recount, and is now our (rather uninspiring) governor.

    Thing is, this really looked like a rigged election; and a lot of Republicans still think it was. But looking at the various pieces, my personal conclusion is just that the King County Elections department is largely incompetent, and has been for a while - it just hasn't come up because we've never had this close an election. Ballots left uncounted inside of voting machines; absentee ballots that get stored away, uncounted; ballots from overseas military people that were wrongly disqualified... it's all easily covered by incompetence.

    I have no doubt that fraud occurs; but I also don't doubt it runs both ways.

    Another other issue that everyone conveniently ignores, of course, is counting error. Simply put, the likely error in any given count of N random items (as long as N is sufficiently large) is 1/sqrt(N). With a really close election, you simply can't know who the true winner is.
    • by internic (453511) on Monday September 18, 2006 @12:22AM (#16127867)
      Another other issue that everyone conveniently ignores, of course, is counting error. Simply put, the likely error in any given count of N random items (as long as N is sufficiently large) is 1/sqrt(N). With a really close election, you simply can't know who the true winner is.

      While in many instances you can think of counting as having a poissonian distributed "counting error" (the uncertainty of which goes like sqrt(N), not 1/sqrt(N)), one actually has to justify whether such a model applies before using. It doesn't seem clear that it does apply in this case. If what were concerned with is the number of recorded votes for a particular candidate (arising from a number of actual votes for a candidate), then what we'd be interested in is the number of errors. If there's a constant error rate (meaning voting errors are a poissonian stochastic process), then the mean number of errors would be proportional to N rather than sqrt(N), but the important point is that the proportionality constant could be arbitrarily small, depending on the reliability of the voting method. Now it's true that the standard deviation of the number of errors would be equal to sqrt(N), but that really isn't relevant to the question at hand. In short, there's no a priori estimate of the number of voting errors without some model for how those errors occur, and there's no reason to think it should go as sqrt(N).

      Now, if you were viewing voting totals as a poll of populous at large, then assuming the sample was large but still small compared to the total population, you might image that the vote total would approximate the will of the populous with a sqrt(N) counting error; however, this reasoning is invalid for two reasons: the proportional of the population is not that small (though still, perhaps, smaller than we'd like), and the sample of people that turnout to vote is not random, and therefore not represenative. In any case, the vote is not a poll but is supposed to reflect the will of the people who actually votes, so again this sqrt(N) counter error is not relevent.

      I think there is some sense in determining what the error rates are on voting systems (perhaps this is already done) and what things are, statistically, too close to call, but you simply can't say that was the case in Washington or anywhere else without more evidence.

  • by Jimmy_B (129296) <slashdot @ j i m r a n domh.org> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:15PM (#16126418) Homepage
    So far, we've got posts bashing the slashdot article for not being current, bashing the Rolling Stone article for being by Rolling Stone, and a few posts of "it's not that bad, get over it". We remember the Florida 2000 fiasco, which was much ado about nothing, and assume this is the same.

    It's not.

    Seriously, read the article. This isn't just about a few dirty tricks, although there are plenty of those. It isn't about a few thousand votes, like Florida was. It's about outright, large-scale ballot stuffing, hundreds of thousands of votes, fraudulent manipulation of voter rolls, and deliberate sabotage by the Republican secretary of state (who was also the co-chair of President Bush's re-election committee).

    It's an extraordinary claim, which does indeed require extraordinary evidence, but the evidence IS there. But no one's willing to look at the naked emperor. Everyone made up their mind about whether Bush was good or bad a long time ago, but now the Bush-supporters have no defense but to close their eyes and plug their ears. And for the most part, they're doing exactly that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thule (9041)
      Maybe Gore should have setup a parallel government. I think that is the plan for the looser in Mexico.
  • by iendedi (687301) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:18PM (#16126438) Journal
    There is one indusputable fact and that is that the statistical proabibility that the exit-polls could have contradicted the actual results by such a huge margin are vanishingly small (on the order of 1 in a million). And further, that specific contradictions have an even more impossible probability.

    You can trash this article all you want, but if you are a math-fearing geek (as you should be to have a slashdot membership card), then you simply cannot argue with the conclusion of this article. Being a republican or a democrat does not allow you to magically modify mathematical certainties. Personally, I am appalled at the number of people trashing this article because it is written by JFK Jr or published in the Rolling Stones. Use your geek sense! Geeks dont think like that... So who are you guys?
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:20PM (#16126454)
    You mention Hitler in your argument, you automatically lose. You mention Diebold in Ohio for 2004 and you also automatically lose.

    Diebold machines were only used in two counties in Ohio - Hardin and Lucas - and in both counties, these were optical scan machines. The total population of these two counties is less than 500,000, or about 1.5x the vote margin in the entire state. Couple that with the fact that Lucas County went heavily in favor of Kerry in that election, and we see that implicating Diebold in improprieties in Ohio's 2004 election is a load of crap. Most left-wing noisemakers have the good sense not to implicate Diebold directly, instead trying to make a tenuous connection to the former Diebold CEO's comments about winning the election for Bush, and letting suspicion and paranoia take care of the rest. But never let the truth stand in the way of political propaganda on Slashdot!

    Diebold machines were used in about half the state's counties in 2005, so if you want to rail about that, go right ahead.

  • by Chardish (529780) <chardish@NOspam.gmail.com> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @07:27PM (#16126818) Homepage
    Seeing as this is a 4-month-old political opinion piece of a speculative, conspiratorial nature that doesn't even pretend to promote an unbiased or nonpartisan viewpoint, what business does it have on Slashdot?

    If Slashdot is going to be linking to Robert Kennedy, Jr's writings, it better also link to those of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Al Franken, and Bill O'Reilly. Frankly, I'd rather Slashdot stay away from all of them.

    I wish the article itself could be modded down to -1 Flamebait.
  • by riversky (732353) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @07:28PM (#16126830)
    It is far clearer that the Democrats steal elections in my home State of Washington....It is not statistics but actual votes that were fraudent. Dead people, people voting twice etc...The more people counted and recounted the more the Democrats "found" new votes in Democratic districts won by Democrats. This wasn't the opposition finding new votes or uncounted ones to over turn things for the real winner ( ie Gore) after the winner was declared ( Bush in Flordia and Ohio) but it is a clearly a manufactered election by one party. Ohio, maybe tactics were used, but this was a stolen election in WA in black and white .

    This is like the Democrats of the Chicago era.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @08:28PM (#16127170) Homepage Journal
    Ignoring the question of whether the election was or wasn't stolen, I think it's fair to say that the last two elections in the USA have been very close, as has the latest one in Mexico. This leads to the interesting question: how valid is a system where the outcome goes against the wishes of up to half the voters?

    In a parliamentary democracy, what would happen is probably that the largest few parties would form a coalition that held a majority in parliament. They would be in power, but the parliament would still have a say. This way, there's a much closer representation of the various wishes of the voting public.

    "Democracy is the mistaken belief that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time." It's a nice quote, and especially applicable to systems in where there's only one winner (e.g. the winner-take-all system in the US).
  • by Deadplant (212273) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @08:37PM (#16127201)
    All these arguments about who's more biased or who has "sour grapes" are anti-intellectual clap-trap that serve only to stiffle open discussion of vitally important issues.

    Evidence of Democratic fraud does not invalidate evidence of Republican fraud.
    It is not "OK" if both sides cheated. Evidence that both sides cheated re-inforces the conclusion that the election was invalid.

    Why do people keep doing that? countering accusations of fraud with counter-accusations of fraud? It does not follow from that argument that the election result was an accurate tally of voter intentions, quite the contrary. Are people seriously suggesting that we make an assumption that the level of fraud was "probably about even repub/dem" so we don't need to recount?

    I also don't understand why there is any opposition to counting ballots.
    If results are very close and/or if anyone doubts the validity of the results I can think of no legitimate reason to refuse to count the paper ballots.
    Except one: cost. I have a hard time believing that americans are willing to forgo double-checking their election results because it would cost too much.
    Am I the only one here who thinks that fighting to stop a ballot recount should be a criminal offence?
    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @08:39PM (#16127215)
      particular points worth expending mod points for:

      Evidence of Democratic fraud does not invalidate evidence of Republican fraud.
      It is not "OK" if both sides cheated. Evidence that both sides cheated re-inforces the conclusion that the election was invalid.
      Am I the only one here who thinks that fighting to stop a ballot recount should be a criminal offence?

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_nonamiss (743253) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @11:17PM (#16127625)
    I wasn't going to post in this thread, but "The Man" probably already has a file on me, so I'll go ahead and excercise my first amendment rights and comment.

    My comment is this: so what? The president cheated. It seems pretty clear that something fishy was going on in the 2004 election. I am from Ohio, I saw as our shameful Secretary of State (possibly our future governor) stood by his man and took 3rd party candidates off the ballot to make it easier for his master to get re-elected. As much as I didn't want Bush re-elected, I accepted the "truth" like everyone else did. I was even suspiscious. But what's going to happen? Is the Republican controlled Congress going to investigate? Is the Republican appointed Supreme Court going to invalidate the election two years after the fact? Is an armed militia going to march down to the White House and give control back to the people?

    No. None of this is going to happen. As much as our commander in chief goes around waving his flag and talking about how we are "spreading freedom" across the globe, we have lost our freedom in this country. Even if this article is 100% true, nothing will ever come of it. You know why? There are two ways of dealing with those who dissent. One way is to kill them all. Stalin did this, and it worked for a while, but he tends to be frowned upon by history. The other way is to just ignore them. What are they going to do? Post an angry article in their blogs? Write a letter to their congressman? Write and host a satirical fake news show? Even worse, are they going to show the fat cats in Washington and run for office themselves? At the end of the day, nothing will happen. Don't think that the Democrats are any better. The illusion of politics is that you actually have a choice. You don't. All the people in power just take turns passing it around to each other. They pretend to disagree about the issues, but they all have one thing in common. They all want to wear the crown and carry the sceptre. The most devious ones make it to the top, and the others end up getting jobs as high paid lobbyists or fade out of existance.

    So here is what I'm choosing to do. I'm not stupid enough to fight the system. It's like swimming against a rip tide. You swim and swim against the current, and you never get anywhere. Eventually it takes you out to sea, and you die. Instead, I'm going to make the best life I can for myself and my family. I stand up for my rights where I can. I write my congressman, and read about the issues, but I don't fool myself into thinking I can make a difference. Most importantly, I put blind faith in the idea that what goes around comes around. I am not a member of an organized religion, but I'm not arrogant enough to think I know how the universe works. I think there are other facets to our existance that we can't even begin to comprehend. I believe that in some way, in some form, the people who do evil in this world face subsequent consequences in the next. I strive to be the best person I can in this one, and hopefully I will be rewarded. If not, hey, at least I didn't waste my whole life on this Earth stressed out about something I can't do anything about. Sometimes, the blue pill isn't all that bad.
  • by kaffiene (38781) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @11:26PM (#16127660)
    I'm not an American. I am gob-smacked at the head-in-the-sand attitude being displayed by Republican supporters on Slashdot.

    From the article:

    "According to the exit poll, Kerry should have received sixty-seven percent of the vote in this precinct. Yet the certified tally gave him only thirty-eight percent. The statistical odds against such a variance are just shy of one in 3 billion."

    This is something to be VERY concerned about, not to be brushed aside with some facile quip.

    The article also mentions the fact that the Democrats don't seem to be pushing the issue of electorial fraud, which rather puts the lie to all the posters claiming that this is about Democrats not accepting defeat. The reality is, that had this election been held in a third world country, we would all be decrying it as a case of clear electorial tampering and demanding a fresh election with neutral observers in place.

    When you fail to care whether the electorial process was tampered with, you fail to care about democracy at all. What's more important? GW winning or democracy itself? To me, that's a no brainer, but clearly that's not the case for many of the Republican supporters here and as a member of TheRestOfTheWorld, that's a real worry for me. You need to sort your priorities out.
  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @11:35PM (#16127698) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised that some citizen in good standing (No tickets, no misdemeanors, no felonies, makes good money, is well respected in their neighborhood,) hasn't legally issued a citizen's arrest against the President for Treason. Our citizen's arrest powers, from what I'm reading, are not limited to other citizens, they can go all the way up the chain if one has the backing and evidence to support it. We've already 'witnessed' the crimes, everyday on Television, and Rumsfeld last week came out with the excuse that we invaded Iraq, crying "Think of the oil prices!" Which tells me we did start a war over another nation's oil. These morons are confessing right in front of our faces and we're damned-near blind to it.
  • by doom (14564) <doom@kzsu.stanford.edu> on Monday September 18, 2006 @02:56AM (#16128336) Homepage Journal
    Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:26 PM I've been reading the Freeman and Bleifuss book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? [barnesandnoble.com]

    I have to say that I think the situation is even worse than I thought it was... after the 2004 election, I had the impression that the people who wanted to believe that it was legit at least had some wiggle room, because it seemed like there was some disagreement about the meaning of the exit polls: there was that study at Berkeley that found a discrepancy, but then the MIT study chimed in saying there wasn't, so who do you believe?

    The thing is, the MIT guys later admitted that they screwed up: they used the "corrected" data, not the originally reported exit poll results. The media never reported that development, and I missed it myself...

    Freeman and Bleifuss do a very thorough analysis of the various theories that have been presented to cover the discrepancy, and none of them seem to hold up. It's difficult to see how anyone could read this book and not conclude that phrasing the title as a question was excessively polite...

    And it's impossible to see how you can come away from this situation without seeing that we badly need reform of the electoral system -- a paper trail that can actually be recounted would be a nice start, eh? Even if you don't believe the 2004 election was "stolen", how do you know the next one isn't going to be?

    And anyone who speaks out against that point, is speaking out against Democracy itself, and needs to take a good long look in the mirror to think about what kind of world they want to live in.

    (The "corrected" data by the way, is by definition "corrected" so that the discrepancy goes away. So what good is it? Why do people call it "corrected" and not, oh, say, "fudged"?)

  • by Catbeller (118204) on Monday September 18, 2006 @11:32AM (#16130399) Homepage
    "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?"

    Yes. So was 2000. So, also, will 2008 be stolen.

    Get rid of those damned voting machines, now. If the Republicans didn't know for th most part that the voting machines were being manipulated, they know now, after so many studies have shown how to do it. Even if you think no one stole an election using those damned things before, they will be stolen now. They've step-by-step instructions. How can they possibly stop themselves? You think a little vote change is going to present moral problems to the party that gave us an Iraqi invasion, an executive who claims he has authority to cancel the constitution, 14,000 people kidnapped into secret prisons, that gave us Swift-boating and Ken Starr?

    Why just the Republicans? I've noodled it for years now (soapbox time) and I've narrowed it down to this: business morality. All seem to be profoundly religious, seem to anyway, and profess godly morality and all that. BUT. It's a party of businessmen, whereas Democrats tend to be a populist party. Businessmen, have you ever noticed, no matter their private morality, shut off the Ten Commandments as soon as they're on the clock? Lying, cheating, and stealing, even killing, is okay if you do it in the name of winning. This businessman's exemption to common ideas of morality is overwhelmingly present in the Republican party's situational ethics. Lying isn't just a necessity, it's practically a sport with them. There's so much BS pouring forth per second on Fox News that the heads are strangling, trying not to break out laughing in wonder at how much crap they can say without losing any professional credibilty.

    Unfortunately, business's preocupation with fibbing and ignoring reality to make short-term gains inevitably butts up with reality. Cognitive dissonance, big time. Even a country that watches "Lost" instead of the news -- and who can blame it, considering how "balanced" and useless the news is now -- is noticing that the buggers are lying to them.

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