Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Beware the Rumors and Media Spin

Let's start off with the media spin. The New York Times is already noting that the media may not wait until all the states have closed their polls for the evening before starting to call the election.
A senior vice president of CBS News, Paul Friedman, said the prospects for Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. — before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California. At such a moment, determined from a combination of polling data and samples of actual votes, the network could share its preliminary projection with viewers, Mr. Friedman said.

“We could know Virginia at 7,” he said. “We could know Indiana before 8. We could know Florida at 8. We could know Pennsylvania at 8. We could know the whole story of the election with those results. We can’t be in this position of hiding our heads in the sand when the story is obvious.”

Similarly, the editor of the Web site Slate, David Plotz, said in an e-mail message that “if Obama is winning heavily,” he could see calling the race “sometime between 8 and 9.”
You get the feeling that they're impatient for the coronation? I do. Let the polls close and let the election workers do their jobs in tabulating the votes.

The media touted early exit polls in 2004 showing a landslide victory for John Kerry. President Bush handily won reelection. I fully expect the media to again run with exit polling data that will not truly reflect the outcome in an attempt to shape the outcome of the election.

All the early announcements do is have an effect on the West Coast states where late voters may decide not to head to the polls based on what happened back on the East Coast.

Meanwhile, rumors and reports of thuggish behavior at some polling places is disconcerting. We're going to hear a lot more about this over the course of the day, and some of it may be nothing more than rumors.

Some districts are finding scattered problems with voting machines and heavy turnout is causing long lines.

Republican polling observers were kicked out of several Philadelphia polling locations in violation of a court ruling.
A Pennsylvania judge previously ruled that court-appointed poll watchers could be NOT removed from their boards by an on-site election judge, but that is exactly what is happening, according to sources on the ground.

It is the duty of election board workers to monitor and guard the integrity of the voting process.

Denying access to the minority (in this case Republican) poll watchers and inspectors is a violation of Pennsylvania state law. Those who violate the law can be punished with a misdemeanor and subjected to a fine of $1,000 and sent to prison between one month and two years.
You also have potential violation of state election law in New York. You've got Hillary violating the law on politicking within 100 feet of a polling station. She's right inside as she's being interviewed.

Meanwhile, Starbucks has to offer up free coffee to anyone who asks today because federal law prohibits anyone from offering rewards for votes. They had originally sought to provide free coffee to those who said that they had voted. No good deed goes unpunished, although since this is Starbucks we're talking about, burnt coffee isn't much of a reward.

Here's a bit of advice for those who are overly anxious or concerned about the election outcome. Stay away from Drudge.

Heck, stay away from the news sites altogether.

It does you no good hearing all the crap spewed by people searching out for a story. The only story here is that we're voting and we're deciding. The outcome will not be known until tonight at the earliest. Ignore the exit polls.

Get out and vote. That's the only poll that counts.

Everything else is fluff and pollsters and pundits hoping that they can make a name for themselves.

Gateway Pundit links to a report out of Georgia that nearly 100,000 Georgia voters may also be registered to vote in Ohio and Florida.
A team of investigative journalists from WSB-TV in Atlanta, WFTV in Orlando and WFTS in Tampa and WCPO in Cincinnati compared Georgia's voter rolls with those in Florida and Ohio and found more than 100,000 people who appear to be registered to vote in more than one state, with no government oversight to catch it.
Several people are already under investigation for voting in more than one jurisdiction.

Who says fraud doesn't happen in elections?

Voter intimidation in Philadelphia, courtesy of the Black Panthers. Oh, and when Fox News showed up, the Black Panthers accused them of intimidating voters.

Hillbuzz also notes the media and the Obama campaign are both looking to depress GOP turnout and dispirit those who might vote against Obama.
The goal of the Obamedia is to depress you so much you don’t turn out to vote. Our friend Astrid always falls for this garbage, and we know she is not all alone. She’ll be miserable all day because she’s never learned to turn out the media and just chill out.

This is going to go down just like Super Tuesday - where the media claimed Obama would win California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and others…but Clinton won every state we predicted she’d win.

In fact, we were right about every state in the primaries except Missouri, which Clinton lost by less than 1%. Otherwise, we were spot-on.

So, we know you Eeyores are going to drive everyone in your lives crazy today. You are going to panic and wet yourselves and email/call/bother all of your friends and relatives all day. You’ll forward bogus polls and terrible links to everyone, and depress people left and right.
That's what I've been saying - ignore the polls and get out there and vote. Obama doesn't have this in the bag, no matter what the media is throwing out and calling news.

Meanwhile, why exactly is a law enforcement officer entrusted with detecting voter fraud being told not to send anyone to polling places in Wisconsin?
Last week Mike Sandvick, head of the Milwaukee Police Department's five-man Special Investigative Unit, was told by superiors not to send anyone to polling places on Election Day. He was also told his unit -- which wrote the book on how fraud could subvert the vote in his hometown -- would be disbanded.

"We know what to look for," he told me, "and that scares some people." In disgust, Mr. Sandvick plans to retire. (A police spokeswoman claims the unit isn't being disbanded and that any changes to the unit "aren't significant.")

In February, Mr. Sandvick's unit released a 67-page report on what it called an "illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of (the 2004) election in the state of Wisconsin" -- a swing state whose last two presidential races were decided by less than 12,000 votes.

The report found that between 4,600 and 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted more than once.
It raises more questions than answers, doesn't it.

Rumors of voter suppression calls in Pennsylvania; calls in Lancaster County originating in Philadelphia telling voters that polling places have changed. Consider this one unsubstantiated. However, if you're reading this and am concerned about where you should be going to vote, contact your local board of elections. Most are available online and will provide the correct polling location.

Jules Crittenden is live blogging the election from Massachusetts and has a great collection of links.

More video of the Black Panthers in action from Philadelphia:

11 reasons why you should ignore exit polls at all costs. It boils down to the fact that they are notoriously unreliable and have already shown themselves to overstate Obama's chances in primaries this year. Many of the numbers thrown out there will be bogus, inflated, or nothing more than guestimates of what the real vote will be.

Ignore them.

The real results will be here soon enough.

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