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The Fear

(Warning: Incomplete, incoherent ramblings to follow. I'm working on setting aside a separate section of Squub for my paranoid politics, plus some contributions from some others that will probably be a bit more grounded. In something.)

First off: root.cellar's comments are turned off. And I can't find an email link on the page. I was going to let him know, or ask him why. So, mister root, in case you get over this way, wazzupwidat?

Second of all: you few and far between right wingers might want to step out again for the rest of this post. I'm planning on grounding myself again at some point; the plan was to start tonight. But I've just been led on a tangent which was sort of started, oddly enough, at the weblog of the only real hardcore right guy in my weblog links section. (UCoCU)

He was asking about what went wrong with the polls. I was starting to write a response talking about how I was curious too, and I was thinking that earlier today I'd read something else saying something about how exit polls used to be much more accurate than they are now.

So I back-tracked and remembered I'd been reading the following over at this Making Light post:

"If we go back in history to prior presidential elections, those exit polls were dead on," said Dennis Simon, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "Something has changed to make them less dead on."

(That quote's attributed to this Seattle Times article.)

Making Light followed up with some other information. On Democratic Underground someone (Mark Crispin Miller) is claiming the election was "rigged," in Ohio and New Mexico, at least. I feel semi-irresponsible posting that here; I can't accept or reject it at this point. There's no hard data given; just some theories about discarded ballots tending to be more heavily democratic than otherwise.

(Note: For a good presentation of how this exit polling data is collected and tabulated, (and a much less paranoid-sounding take on this stuff,) read Exit Polls: What We Know over at Mystery Pollster.)

(Now on to the paranoid stuff...)

The reason I'm posting it is because it's suddenly becoming an obsession of mine. It's freaking me out that there was so much talk, pre-this-election and post 2000-election about how we were going to make sure every vote was counted. It was freaking me out yesterday, and I started researching the whole Diebold thing. In 2003 when the original Diebold reports regarding their CEO Walden O'Dell saying he was, "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year," came out I didn't quite dismiss them out of hand; but I did put most of the surrounding chatter in the "conspiracy theory" column. Basically I assumed that since that had come out before the election, and not after, there was no way any sort of fix could still happen related to those machines.

Last evening, though, I wanted to make sure, and so I started compiling some information. I'm still working on that; I don't have enough for it to be important right now. I did find out, though, that Ohio rejected the use of those Diebold machines in many of their counties. (Didn't find exact numbers yet.) So I again, last night, let the conspiracy-rigging idea be relegated to the fantasy pile.

So now I hit this stuff about the hole-punch machines that WERE used on Ohio. The Democratic Underground article is something that really sets my nerves jumping. Primarily because while I was reading it I flashed on Bush's words today, that smiling face gloatishly proclaiming things about mandates. I am imagining how he's hearing the voice of God in the form of a mandate, delivered to him either by the people of this country or by a couple of elections officials.

In all of this, with all of my raving, I still want to be understood. One of my biggest problems with the number of Bush supporters is that I can't understand what I'm missing, why they can dismiss what I see as fundamental flaws. So let me repeat where I'm coming from, what one of my central premises is: to me it's nearly indisputable that Bush or his administration lied in taking us to war. That's it; I'm still working from there. If I could be convinced that that's not the case, with proof, then maybe I wouldn't feel like I'm standing in quicksand now amidst these weird ideas about exit polls not matching results.