Why We Need Manual Recounts And Audits

They used optical scan! They had the paper! How could the wrong candidate be elected? (See Myth #9 )

Governor’s race decided by margin of 0.2% with highly questionable results. But not recounted or audited. Democratic Underground has the story <read>. Here are the pertinent details:

A close look at the 2002 Alabama Governor’s race suggests that the fraud perpetrated in that election was more obvious than even the 2000 or 2004 U.S. Presidential elections. The final official results were Riley 672,225, Siegelman 669,105 – a difference of 3,120 votes, representing a margin of 0.2% of the total.

The initial vote count for Governor for Baldwin County, reported from the Bay Minette tabulator at 10:45 p.m., was quite surprising to say the least. It reported: Riley (R) 30,142, Siegelman (D) 11,820, and the Libertarian candidate, John Sophocleus, 13,190. Although it was expected that Siegelman would lose Baldwin County, the margin of the loss not believable, as he had lost Baldwin County in the Governor’s race in 1998 by only a little over four thousand votes. Furthermore, the idea of his losing to the Libertarian candidate was not plausible.

Result: Free lodging for the ‘sore loser’, but not in the Governor’s Mansion:

So, “someone” from the sheriff’s office went into the tabulation room to look into the matter and returned a few minutes later, announcing that the problem had been fixed. The new totals, which were reported at 11:04 p.m. and picked up and distributed by the AP, were: Riley 31,052, Siegelman 19,070, and Sophocleus a much more reasonable 937. The pickup of 7,250 votes by Siegelman was enough to give him a slim state-wide victory.

But two minutes later, at 11:06 p.m., the results were changed again, reducing Siegelman’s total back down to 12,736, a decrease of 6,334 votes, which gave the election back to Riley.

Two days later, Pfeifer petitioned for a hand recount of the Baldwin County ballots. But Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor ruled later that day that the seals on the boxes containing the ballots could not be broken without a court order to do so. He claimed that his ruling was based on the Alabama Constitution. Don Siegelman contested the ruling and continued to seek a recount, which may have been the reason that he was framed for bribery and sent to prison…

In addition, James H. Gundlach, a professor of sociology at Auburn University, performed an analysis of the data and concluded that someone with a wireless connection must have changed the tallies. He presented his analysis at the 2003 annual meeting of the Alabama Political Science Association


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