Tuesday, November 09, 2004

K.O. Redux

things fall apart "Man Of The Hour" Keith Olbermann recieved 1,500 positive e-mails in response to last night's "Countdown" story on voting irregularities in Ohio and Florida. And 62 negative replies.

Well the volume is startling to begin with. I know some of the overtly liberal sites encouraged readers to write - but that’s still a hunk of mail, and a decisive margin (hell, 150 to 62 is considered a decisive margin). Writing this, I know I’m inviting negative comment, but so be it. I read a large number of the missives, skimmed all others, appreciate all -- and all since -- deeply.

Even the negative ones, because in between the repeated “you lost” nonsense and one baffling reference to my toupee (seriously, if I wore a rug, wouldn’t I get one that was all the same color?), there was a solid point raised about some of the incongruous voting noted on the website of Florida’s Secretary of State.

There, 52 counties tallied their votes using paper ballots that were then optically scanned by machines produced by Diebold, Sequoia, or Election Systems and Software. 29 of those Florida counties had large Democratic majorities among registered voters (as high a ratio as Liberty County - Bristol, Florida and environs - where it’s 88 percent Democrats, 8 percent Republicans) but produced landslides for President Bush. On Countdown, we cited the five biggest surprises (Liberty ended Bush: 1,927; Kerry: 1,070), but did not mention the other 24.

Those protesting emailers pointed out that four of the five counties we mentioned also went for Bush in 2000, and were in Florida’s panhandle or near the Georgia border. Many of them have long “Dixiecrat” histories and the swing to Bush, while remarkably large, isn’t of itself suggestive of voting fraud.

That the other 24 counties were scattered across the state, and that they had nothing in common except the optical scanning method, I didn’t mention. My bad. I used the most eye-popping numbers, and should have used a better regional mix instead.

Interestingly, none of the complaining emailers took issue with the remarkable results out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 29 precincts there, the County’s website shows, we had the most unexpected results in years: more votes than voters.

I’ll repeat that: more votes than voters. 93,000 more votes than voters.


I don't think this story is over yet.