11 November 2004

Do-over (Keith Olbermann)

November 10, 2004

NEW YORK— With news this morning that the computerized balloting in North Carolina is so thoroughly messed up that all state-wide voting may be thrown out and a second election day scheduled, the story continues.

Tonight on 'Countdown,' we'll examine the N.C. mess (which would not include a second presidential vote), new fuzzy math in Nevada, allegations against the Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ralph Nader's news conference, and the other voting developments as they occur. A Stanford computer expert will address the vulnerability of the Optical Scanning system (and answer the question: which is easier to hack, electronic voting or exit polls?), and Newsweek's Jonathan Alter will join me to report on the reporting.

In the interim, for the North Carolina situation, we refer you to the Website of the excellent newspaper The Charlotte Observer.


A bunch of cats across the parking lot (Keith Olbermann)

NEW YORK - The election vote mess is like one of those inflatable clown dolls. You knock it down with your hardest punch, it goes supine, and then bounces back up, in the meantime having moved an inch or two laterally.

The punch, of course, is the explanation that the 29 more-votes-than-voters precincts in greater Cleveland appear to have been caused by the addition of Absentee Ballots. The total difference between registered voters and votes (93,000) might be explained by that process, but it does little for one’s confidence in the whole result from Ohio.

The problem is, the rubber clown immediately bounces back with the report that officials in Youngstown managed to catch a slight glitch in their voting there: a total drawn from all the precincts that initially showed negative 25,000,000 million votes cast. It evokes a Monty Python sketch (“Mr. Kevin Phillips Bong - Sensible Party - 14,352. Mr. Harquin Fim Tim Lim Bim Bus Stop Fatang Fatang Ole Biscuit Barrel - Silly Party -- minus 25,000,0000).

No reason to worry about the integrity of the outcome in Ohio, is there?

The most pleasing thing of the last three days of blogs and newscasts is the reassurance from political professionals that all of you (all of us) who have wondered about what went on a week ago yesterday are not necessarily nuts. We might not necessarily be right, but there are some very stodgy, very by-the-book folks who think we’re damned right to be asking.


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