05 April 2005

Computer Experts Allege U.S. Vote Fraud

Brian Livingston - April 5, 2005

A group of distinguished computer scientists and mathematicians, including nine Ph.D.s, says it has found statistical evidence that vote counts of the 2004 U.S. presidential election were tampered with in one or more states, affecting the outcome.

To support its claims, the group, known as USCountVotes.org, shows that exit polls taken on Nov. 2 cannot be reconciled with announced vote tallies in some states.

The discrepancies, the organization points out, are worse in the U.S. than in one of two exit polls conducted during Ukraine's recent national election, which resulted in the results being thrown out by that country's Supreme Court last December. The two Ukrainian exit polls showed a discrepancy between the expected vote count and the official vote count of 4.7 to 10.7 percentage points. In the U.S., both USCountVotes.org and the company that conducted the presidential exit polling agree that the official vote count is at least 5.5 percentage points different from the expected vote count.

Americans, to be sure, are still exhausted from the 36-day legal ordeal that followed the 2000 presidental election. They understandably want the 2004 election to be wrapped up and consigned to history. For this reason, I've avoided writing about various problems with the 2004 election that computer scientists have speculated on for the past several months.

When USCountVotes.org released its comprehensive statistical analysis on March 31, however, the situation dramatically changed. There can be no doubt that questionable practices affected votes for president in some states.

Because the legitimacy of the U.S. government rests on the expectation that it is fairly elected, it's in the interests of Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike to examine the new evidence and use it to correct whatever problems are found. In addition, I believe this situation can show how computer science can be used when business groups with different interests want to assure themselves that any contested process will be handled faithfully.


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