Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sorry, Brad

Brad Friedman again rips into my latest post on the accusations of fraud in the Ohio election.

I apologize for my joking suggestion that those making this argument are members of the foil hat brigade. In fact, it turns out that my suggestion should have been completely serious. The fraud allegations began with a story by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman. It turns out that Fitrakis is cozy with Lyndon LaRouche, the commander of the foil hat brigade!

How could I have been so stupid?! Electoral fraud this vast, this clever could only be the work of a criminal mastermind, none other than Queen Elizabeth!

Friedman does make one factual assertion. He writes:

And, btw, if you actually give a damn (which clearly you don't), you may wish to take note of how many counties in Ohio count their votes with Electronic Devices which employ secret software which is inspected by nobody (as the GAO Report will point out to you if you bother to read it). The percentage is upwards of 98% or so in Ohio. But don't let that stop you from forwarding misleading information.

Actually, only 40 of Ohio's 88 counties (45%) use the Diebold AccuVote that Friedman and others suggest is the machine responsible for the fraud. Another 6 counties (7%) use different types of electronic voting system, 10 counties (11%) use optical scan systems, and 32 counties (36%) use the old-fashioned punchcard machines. So where Freidman comes up with his 98 percent number, I have no idea.


John Jenkins said...

Is it possible that 98% of those who cast votes on electronic machines cast them on the Diebold machines (i.e. 46 counties total with 40% of them representing 98% of the population who cast votes on electronic machines)?

Not that I agree with the tinfoil hatters (for one thing, that would cost Diebold a lot of business if it were true, and businesses are not suicidal), but that could be a possibility, that Friedman is misstating something (intentionally or otherwise) rather than being completely wrong.

Mark Lindeman said...

jj, my guess is that Friedman may've been thinking of the percentage of voters nationwide (not in Ohio) that vote by any machine-counted means. (Note that Friedman refers to counties that count their votes with "Electronic Devices," not counties where votes are cast electronically.) Many folks say that optical-scan ballots and punch cards aren't much better than Direct Recording Electronic devices if one can't trust the counting machines. Some of them would advocate nothing but paper ballots, hand counted. Others would settle for op-scan ballots with mandatory random hand recounts.

Friedman could probably find better uses of his time than to quarrel with Klinkner and Blumenthal over Ohio 2005.