Voting Early (Paper Ballots) vs. Election Day (Machines)

04 Feb

Voting Early (Paper Ballots) vs. Election Day (Machines)

This 2008 analysis compares exit poll discrepancies in states that voted early by mail or hand-delivered paper ballots. Approximately 30% of the 131 million total votes were cast early. The exit poll red-shift to the GOP is negatively (-0.50) correlated to early mail or in-person voting (paper ballot). In other words, the unadjusted exit polls are a closer match to the recorded vote in early-voting states where, presumably, election fraud is minimal.

In general, exit poll discrepancies from the recorded vote (red-shift) are lower in states with a high percentage of early paper ballot voting. Conversely, states that utilize unverifiable DREs on Election Day have much higher exit poll discrepancies – as one would intuitively expect.

The 15 states with the highest early voting turnout had an average 2.3% red-shift. The 15 with the lowest early turnout had an average 6.8% red-shift.

For example, the states with the highest percentage of early/hand-delivered paper ballots early/hand-delivered paper ballots had tiny red-shifts (Pct,R/S): OR (100%,1.75%), WA (89%,0.54%) and CO (79%, -1.8%).

This scatter-chart shows that as the percentage of early (Vote-by-mail or hand-delivered) paper-ballots increase, the exit poll red-shift decreases. Note that the three points at the extreme right represent CO, WA, OR.

Approximately 30% of votes cast were mailed or hand-delivered and 7% of paper ballots were recorded late (absentee, provisional, etc.). The remaining 63% that were recorded on Election Day were a combination of DREs, Optical scanners and punch card machines. Since 30% of total votes cast in 2008 were on unverifiable DREs, then about 50% of Election Day voting was on DREs. And that explains why exit poll discrepancies were highest in states that only had Election Day voting.

Now what about the votes recorded AFTER Election Day – the Late (paper ballot) votes? How did the Democratic Late Vote share compare to the overall recorded vote? Not surprisingly, since late votes were cast on paper ballots (provisional, absentee, etc.), the Democrats did much better.

Proof: there were 121 million votes recorded before or on Election Day. Obama had 52.4%. But he had 59.2% of 10 million late recorded votes.

Here is the takeaway: If you have the option, vote early using paper ballots. Don’t wait until Election Day to vote in cyberspace. And lobby election officials to mandate that, at minimum, the paper ballots are hand counted in randomly selected precincts or counties.

Election activists who are opposed to voting early by mail or hand-delivered paper ballots should check out Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Oregon installed its vote-by-mail system in 1998. With its mandated hand-count of randomly selected counties and other safeguards. Since 2000, Oregon has by far the best record of all the battleground states based on various statistical measures of accuracy. Washington and Colorado have recently followed suit. Is it just coincidental that the three states with the highest early voting rates had the lowest exit poll discrepancies?

Election Model Forecast; Post-election True Vote Model

2004 (2-party vote shares)
Model: Kerry 51.8%, 337 EV (snapshot)
State exit poll aggregate: 51.7%, 337 EV
Recorded Vote: 48.3%, 255 EV
True Vote Model: 53.6%, 364 EV

Model: Obama 53.1%, 365.3 EV (simulation mean);
Recorded: 52.9%, 365 EV
State exit poll aggregate: 58.0%, 420 EV
True Vote Model: 58.0%, 420 EV

2012 (2-party state exit poll aggregate shares)
Model: Obama 51.6%, 332 EV (Snapshot)
Recorded: 51.6%, 332 EV
True Vote: 55.2%, 380 EV


Posted by on February 4, 2012 in 2008 Election


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2 responses to “Voting Early (Paper Ballots) vs. Election Day (Machines)

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