June 2016

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Skeptics Guide Part 2: Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence

A couple of weeks ago, based on claims that exit polls showed that the primary was stolen from Bernie Sanders, I said: “I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Now we have the reverse situation from the NYTimes: Exit Polls, and Why the Primary Was Not Stolen From Bernie Sanders <read>

I seems like a pretty good case that the exit polls do not prove  the election was stolen.

Unfortunately, the Times headline is incorrect.  This evidence in this article only claims  that the exit polls do not prove that Bernie won. There is no proof that the official results are correct.  They may be, they may not be.  We still need Evidence Based Elections, providing strong evidence that the results are correct.

Book Review: Down for the Count

Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America
by Andrew Gumbel.  An updated version of Gumbel’s earlier Steal This Vote.  A lot has happened in 12 years!

I highly recommend, for an overview of the history of voting issues in the United States.. I can add a small caveat the to the description on Amazon:

Down for the Count explores the tawdry history of elections in the United States—a chronicle of votes bought, stolen, suppressed, lost, miscounted, thrown into rivers, and litigated up to the U.S. Supreme Court—and uses it to explain why we are now experiencing the biggest backslide in voting rights in more than a century…

The web: Hardly ready for Internet voting.

So many articles this week demonstrating that the web is not safe for voting. Especially when in the hands of under-resourced government agencies and political parties. (It is also unsafe in the hands of fully-resourced governments and cyber-experts.)


  • Singapore plans to take its Government offline.
  • Then we have an above average size government agency that cannot create a safe voter registration system.
  • Meanwhile the party that allows overseas voters to participate in its primaries via Internet voting has its own problems.

As CTVotersCount readers know, Internet voting should not be compared to a normal application. Its not like the risk of copying some public information, information that should be public, stealing a few million from a bank. Its about billions in government spending, changing election results and covering that up.

Common Sense: The Skeptics Guide to Election Integrity and Fraud

Two events in the last week or so prompt this post.  First, last Saturday I was at the Reason Rally at the Lincoln Memorial.  One speaker said “Be skeptical of everything”.  A later speaker  assured us, among other things, that two things I believe to be true were actually conspiracy theories.

Second, a recent series of posts by Richard Charmin,  essentially claiming that in many states the primary was stolen.

So, where do I come out?  I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” and the speaker at the Reason Rally who said to “be skeptical of everything”.  Here we have competing extraordinary claims:

  • By Richard Charmin:  That, in a large number of states the election results were manipulated in favor of a single candidate.
  • Implicitly by complacence: “Move on, nothing to see here, exit polls are always wrong in the U.S.  Don’t be concerned that every time someone brings this up, they are always wrong in favor of one candidate or party”

Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy

An article by David Dill, founder of Verified Voting, from Stanford University: Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy

How could we be fooled?

Suppose masses of emails get sent out to naive users saying the voting website has been changed and, after you submit your ballot and your credentials to the fake website, it helpfully votes for you, but changes some of the votes. You also have bots where millions of individual machines are controlled by a single person who uses them to send out spam…

How bad could it be?…