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Friday, November 19, 2004
Lies, Damned Lies....--Updated!

And statistics. A group of students and professors at Cal-Berkeley are convinced that something's fishy in Florida.

The three counties where anomalies were most prevalent were Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade. In Broward, statistical analysis showed Bush should have received 13,000 fewer votes this year than in 2000. In fact, he received 59,000 more votes than expected, for a net gain of 72,000 votes.

In Palm Beach county, analysis showed that Bush should have gained only 17,000 votes. But instead he gained 57,000. In Miami-Dade county he was expected to gain votes, but by much less than he actually did. According to the researchers he should have received only 29,000 more votes, but he actually gained 44,000 votes.

The numbers cited make little sense at all. Let's look at Broward County, since that seems to be the one with the biggest reported "anomaly". First of all, a LOT more people voted for one of the two major party candidates in Broward in 2004 than voted in 2000; 682,000 compared to 564,000, an increase of over 20% in turnout. That's actually a little low; overall turnout was up about 28% in the Sunshine State.

And yet with 128,000 more people voting in Broward, they expect Bush's total number of votes to go down by 13,000? That doesn't make any sense unless you assume that all the new votes went to Kerry.

Look at it another way. Bush improved his share of the vote by about 2.5% in Florida. He improved his share of the vote by 3.5% in Broward County. If we say that he should only have improved it by 2.5% as elsewhere, you'd lop about 7,000 votes from Bush's total. If you say that he shouldn't have improved his share at all, you'd have to take 24,000 votes away from his actual total. But if you say that he should have gotten 13,000 fewer votes than in 2000, while leaving Kerry's vote total unchanged, you'd have Bush getting only 27% of the vote in Broward, a 4.4% decline compared to 2000. Bush's share of the vote did not decline by 4% in any county in Florida; his worst performance compared to 2000 was -3% in tiny Gadsden County.

(Update: The figures changed in a later version of the Wired Article, so I revised my calculations).


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