Election Fraud: Response to Joshua Holland
Last week, actor and activist Tim Robbins tweeted on the exit poll discrepancies . And the media presstitutes went after him with a vengeance.
Joshua Holland wrote a response in The Nation. He followed with another piece in Raw Story: On Tim Robbins, election fraud and how nonsense spreads around the Internet
Monday, actor Tim Robbins caused a stir when he tweeted out a Facebook meme, charging that CNN and The New York Times are blind to a massive conspiracy going on right beneath their noses. It had close to 1,000 retweets when Robbins apparently deleted it.
A quick glance is enough to know that there are problems with the meme. The exit poll numbers are wrong. In Massachusetts, for example, CNN reported that exit polls showed Clinton winning by 2 points, which is very close to her 1.4 percent margin in the final results. In Alabama, CNN reports the exit polls showing Clinton with a 57-point margin, the Facebook meme claims it was 44.7 points, and the final result was 60.4 percent.
But where did Tim Robbins come up with these numbers? I decided to do a bit of reporting, and I ended up chasing this Facebook meme down a rabbit-hole of misinformation and conspiracism. It offers a pretty good case-study of how bullshit can come to dominate our online discourse.
The meme was created by Lee Camp, a political comedian who hosts a weekly show on RT, the Russian foreign news network. It has over 2,000 shares on Facebook as of this writing. Via email, I asked Camp for his source, and he pointed me to a post on Reddit by a user who goes by the handle “turn-trout.” Turn-trout, who didn’t respond to a message seeking comment, claims that these are unadjusted exit polls, and links to a spreadsheet purportedly showing wide discrepancies between the raw data and the final results.
The spreadsheet was created by Richard Charnin, who writes a blog devoted to “JFK conspiracy and systemic election fraud analysis.” Charnin’s spreadsheet appears to be the basis of a broad swath of viral Internet content alleging widespread election theft during the 2016 primaries, including the work of Free Press editors Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis. Charnin seems to think that exit polls can reveal that virtually all our elections have been rigged, writing, “in the 1988-2008 presidential elections, the Democrats won the exit polls by 52-42%; they won the recorded vote by just 48-46%, an 8% discrepancy.”
I exchanged some… interesting correspondence with Charnin. After calling me “very biased and misleading” for a recent piece, he claimed that “ALL exit polls are forced to match the recorded vote.” I asked him whether the exit poll data in his spreadsheet were unadjusted, and he said that they were the data released by major media organizations. He then told me that “the mainstream media won’t dare touch the Third Rail – ELECTION FRAUD,” but it’s cool because “Tim Robbins just talked about it.” Finally, the truth emerges.
Virtually all of these claims are based on the idea that exit polls are a telltale sign of fraud. In a follow-up tweet, Tim Robbins explained that, “exit polls are historically pretty accurate,” and “are a heads-up on vote tampering.” Turn-trout agrees, writing, “Exit polls have historically and throughout the world been used as a check against, and rough indicator of, the degree of election fraud.”
This is also the basis of claims by Wasserman and Fitrakis – who point to the precision of German exit polling to emphasize the point – and Steven Freeman, a Penn State psychologist who authored the book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count.
(Note: Steve Freeman is not a psychologist. He holds a PhD from MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he teaches research methods and survey design).
So there you have it. They say a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on, and that’s especially true of the internet. Here we have an example of an actor citing a comedian who picked up a claim from an an anonymous Reddit user citing preliminary exit poll data put together by a JFK conspiracy theorist. Bringing it all full circle is The Hill, which ran a story titled, “Actor Tim Robbins blames Sanders losses on ‘voter fraud,’” which will no doubt be shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter.
Last week, I attempted to debunk allegations of widespread election fraud by the Clinton campaign that have been swirling around on social media. My argument was an appeal to common sense: If Hillary Clinton entered the race with a very large lead in the national polls and an enormous amount of support from Democratic Party activists and elected officials, as she did, and then quickly built up a significant lead in pledged delegates, as she did, then at no time since the start of the race, regardless of how unscrupulous her campaign might be, would there be any rational motive for risking infamy by rigging the vote. You don’t need to cheat when you’re winning.
Holland called it a “rabbit hole of misinformation and conspiracism”? When someone uses the conspiracy meme, I have concluded based on 15 years of posting that the author will proceed with misinformation and factual omission.
For the record, I have two masters degrees in applied mathematics and have followed presidential elections since 1952.
Holland said that the exit poll results are “wrong”. Really? What was the basis for that statement? He has obviously not viewed the data downloaded from CNN. Holland called the numbers “bullshit”. That says it all. The articles are biased and misleading and will not fool those who are aware of the facts and the math that proves election fraud.
Holland interviewed Joe Lenski of Edison Research, the polling firm . But he failed to get Lenski to explain why exit pollsters force a match to the recorded vote – even if the recorded vote is bogus. Lenski does not logically explain why ALL exit polls are matched to the recorded vote counts. He has never provided a rationale for the match. Of course Lenski works for the Corporate Media (the National Election Pool). Holland fails to see the significance of that. He never considers that the recorded vote may be fraudulent. In fact, he never mentions the F-word – nor does anyone else in the corporate media. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
Holland wrote that Lenski stressed that “pre-election polls are also adjusted to conform their samples to what pollsters know about the populations they’re trying to measure. The irony of all of this is that the adjusted data are far more accurate than the raw data”.
Are we supposed to take that comment seriously? Apparently Holland does. If that is the case why won’t the pollsters show us the raw exit poll data in all the precincts polled? And how did they end up with an exact 0.01% match to the recorded vote in the CT primary? Holland fails to see the significance of that.
1988-2008 Presidential Exit Polls
In spreadsheets linked from my blog, I provide 1988-2008 historical presidential vote and unadjusted exit poll data. The Democrats led the exit polls by 52-42% but led the recorded vote by just 48-46%. The probability of the 8% discrepancy is one in trillions. Holland does not have a clue about Probability and Statistics 101. He does not appreciate or comprehend the magnitude of the discrepancy. The data is available if he would care to truly investigate. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
The data shows that 135 of 274 state presidential exit polls from 1988-2008 exceeded the margin of error – and 131 moved in a “redshift” to the GOP. The probability is ZERO: E-116. That’s 116 zeros after the decimal. Holland does not appreciate or comprehend the magnitude of the discrepancy. He fails to see the significance of that fact.
Sanders has won 12 of 13 caucuses, but only 6 of 27 primaries. Election fraud anomalies were apparent in NY MA IL AZ IA NV OH DE WY WI MO DE MI AL TN GA AR TX. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
Sanders led hand-counted precincts in Massachusetts by 17%, while machine counted precincts went to Clinton by 2%. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
The CNN NY Primary exit poll indicated that Sanders had 48% (officially he had 42.1%). But he may have done better than 48% since ALL exit polls are adjusted throughout the day to the recorded vote. And hundreds of thousands of voters were disenfranchised when their registrations were flipped or dropped altogether. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
There was an 11.8% discrepancy between the NY exit poll (52-48%) and the recorded vote (57.9-42.1%). The probability of the discrepancy is 1 in 120,000. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
Sanders exit poll share declined from the poll to the vote in 21 of 23 exit polls.
The probability P = 1 in 30,000 = binomdist(2,23,0.5,true). Holland fails to see the significance of that.
Sanders exit poll share exceeded his recorded share by more than the margin of error in 9 of the 23 primaries. The probability of this result being due to chance:
P= 1 in 90 million = poisson( 9,0.025*23,false). Holland fails to see the significance of that.
As usual, in the recent CT, MD and PA primaries, the exit poll was forced to match the recorded vote. The differences between Clinton’s 2-party adjusted exit poll share and the recorded share were: CT .01%; MD 0.10%; PA -.17%. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
The mainstream media (including The Nation) won’t dare touch the Third Rail – ELECTION FRAUD. They never discuss malicious, proprietary voting machines and central tabulators that were built to flip the votes. Holland fails to see the significance of that.
Will Holland look at the evidence which proves that the primaries are being stolen from Sanders and write about it? Perhaps he will learn something and see the significance of these posts:
Note: I challenge Holland to try to refute the data and analysis in these books:
Matrix of Deceit: Forcing Pre-Election and Exit Polls to Match Fraudulent Vote Counts
Proving Election Fraud: Phantom Voters, Uncounted Votes and the National Exit Poll
Reclaiming Science: The JFK Conspiracy
Fitrakis and Wasserman
Holland criticized Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserstein, both well-respected and prominent activists who have written books on Election Fraud. He wrote:
That didn’t sit well with Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis, whose earlier piece for The Free Press, “Is the 2016 election already being stripped & flipped?,” I had mentioned briefly in the column. They’ve now published a lengthy broadside accusing me, and The Nation, of not being able to handle the truth when it comes to “election theft.” (It’s an odd charge, given that my Nation colleague Ari Berman has done some of the best reporting in the country on vote suppression.)
It’s unfortunate that Wasserman and Fitrakis didn’t engage my argument (or link to my piece so that readers might judge it for themselves). Instead, they waved away the idea that looking at motive is a legitimate way of evaluating the likelihood that a crime has been committed, writing that the argument was “a bit hard to follow.”
Fitrakis and Wasserman join these very serious problems with innuendo and thin evidence to claim that virtually all elections, including the 2016 primaries, are rigged. They dismiss those of us who don’t buy their claims as being incapable of handling the truth. But skepticism goes both ways, and true skeptics require more concrete evidence than Fitrakis and Wasserman are able to offer.
Fitrakis and Wasserman responded:
Is Hillary Stealing the Nomination? Will Bernie Birth a Long-Term Movement?
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News 4/27/16
In 2016, the first thing to face is the massive disenfranchisement of millions of voters, mostly citizens of color and youth. We are heartened to see Bernie and Hillary joined together in an Arizona lawsuit.But the long lines and urban registration stripping that we saw in Phoenix, Madison, and elsewhere this spring will spell doom for the Democrats if they cannot guarantee their constituencies’ the right to vote in November.
At this point, we’re not optimistic. The efforts at re-enfranchisement are little and late. Among those doing superb work on this stripping of our voter rolls are the great Greg Palast (www.gregpalast.com), Ari Berman of The Nation, and others.But the electronic flipping of the alleged vote count remains a demon black box. The 2000 election was turned from Gore to Bush by electronic manipulations in Volusia County, Florida. The 2004 election was turned from Kerry to Bush in a Chattanooga basement which transformed a 4.2% Democratic lead into a 2.5% GOP victory in 90 dark minutes. All that could happen again in 2016.
Over the years we’ve respected the work of The Nation’s Josh Holland, who’s expressed concern about our reporting on indications of irregularities that seem to favor Hillary over Bernie. But our stated conclusions on them remain far from conclusive. If we thought we had definitive evidence that the Clinton campaign was stealing the nomination from the Sanders campaign, we’d say so in direct, explicit and unmistakable phrases.Simply put: we do NOT at this point believe they rise to the level of provable theft, as we are certain was the case in 2000 and 2004. We understand concerns and welcome the dialogue. But we’d like to avoid the usual circular firing squad. Writing in The Nation, Josh has deemed it important to mention disagreements with our former collaborator Steve Rosenfeld, and our good friend Mark Hertsgaard. Mark’s writing on global warming has been legend. In 2004 he criticized some of our reporting on the Ohio vote count. We disagreed with him then and still do. Nothing in the past 12 years of our research and writing while based in central Ohio has surfaced that would make us change our reporting on how the 2004 election was stolen. Quite the opposite.
But other comments on the nature of electronic election theft throw up a HUGE red flag. And here we worry about a dangerous gap in the work from The Nation and the left as a whole. If international election standards were applied to the 2016 primaries, eight states – Georgia, Massachusetts, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, New York, Tennessee – would be investigated for suspected fraudulent election results, because the actual vote deviates so greatly from the exit polls. Also, the exit polls indicated that Sanders won in Illinois, Massachusetts and Missouri. The e bottom line is this: there is no viable method for monitoring or verifying the electronic vote count in 2016. In a close race, which we expect this fall, the outcome could be flipped in key swing states where GOP governors and secretaries of state are running the elections. This includes most notably Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona, plus North Carolina and Florida (where the situations are slightly different). Steve has called this “a stretch.” He and Josh seem to dismiss the assertion that an election can be electronically stolen as “conspiracy theory,” apparently based on the idea that such thefts would become obvious fodder for an infuriated media and public outrage.This we find this overly trusting and dangerous. Under our current system there is no way to counter-indicate a stolen electronic vote count except by exit polling, for which Josh has expressed contempt. Exit polls in other countries (especially Germany) are highly reliable; here the raw data is too, but can be hard to get. And it’s now standard procedure to have the public numbers “adjusted” to fit official vote counts, fraudulent or otherwise.And even raw data exit polls have no legal standing. —–
Cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore told the Free Pressthat the computer configuration was set up to allow a “man in the middle attack” to alter Ohio’s votes.The late night shift in the 2004 electronic vote count in 10 decisive swing states was by all accounts a “virtual statistical impossibility,” with the odds against that happening in the millions. But now we are being told the idea that this could indicate a stolen election is “conspiracy theory.” PLEASE!!! If someone – anyone! – can demonstrate EXACTLY how the electronic vote count will be monitored, verified and made clear to the media in 2016, and then guarantee that the public and the courts will react with enforceable fury, we will be eternally grateful.We hope in the meantime The Nation will add to Ari Berman’s fine reporting on the stripping of voter eligibilities an in-depth investigation into the “other shoe” of election theft – the flipping of the electronic vote count. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) raised the “Diebold question” at a Congressional Black Caucus hearing on April 21, 2016. Johnson noted how easy it would be to hack the old voting machines, many that are over 20 years old, and vowed to introduce legislation that would make voting secure.
Finally, we are often asked how, if the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen, Obama won in 2008 and 2012. We did, after all, write in 2004 that the 2008 election was being rigged. The answer is simple: it was. But Obama won by far too many votes to have that election credibly stolen. And his campaign was not in denial. We are happy to hear from Steve that our reporting on Ohio 2004 might have enhanced Obama’s scrutiny on the 2008 vote count. But it should be made clear that Obama’s victory could easily have been flipped had the vote count been closer and had fewer states been so definitively won. We believe he actually won by more than 10 million votes in both 2008 and 2012, but was officially credited with far less.
Where, exactly, is the line beyond which an election can’t be stolen? Do the Democrats need to win by 5%… 10%… to get an official victory? And what then happens to the down-ballot races? We prefer not to see those limits tested again. And we need to have people prepared to take tangible action. In 2012 Bob Fitrakis filed a successful Election Day lawsuit preventing illegal computer patches being rigged into Ohio’s electronic machines. In a closer race, those patches might have made the difference. We believe the expectation that they would work did cause Karl Rove to do his legendary flipped-out double-take on Fox News as he was told Mitt Romney had lost Ohio. We also reported (as did The Nation) that voting machines in key Cincinnati precincts were financially linked to the Romney family. We each wrote separate articles about that and were each blacklisted by Daily Kos for doing so, even though the vast bulk of Harvey’s 150+ previous blogs on that site were about nuclear power and renewable energy. Some publications that aren’t progressive understand the problem.
Twenty-three minutes into the 2012 Election Day, Forbes took the Free Press reporting seriously, and warned voters of the dangers of private, for-profit companies owning and maintaining voting machines. Over the years we’ve been repeatedly told that we should stop reporting on electronic election theft because it might discourage voter turnout. And that the key to a Democratic victory in 2016 will be another massive vote count victory that will be “too big to steal.” Frankly, we don’t see that happening this year. And we find such talk deeply disturbing.
We have no doubt that innumerable US House and Senate races have been stolen over the years, along with governorships, control of state legislatures, referenda and more, all of it producing a deep reinforcement of the corporate control of our government. We’re also reasonably certain that neither Hillary nor Bernie is likely to amass in November a margin of victory over either Ryan or Trump that would be big enough to negate the possibility of massive disenfranchisement and electronic vote flipping in key states like Ohio, Michigan, Iowa or Arizona. And anyway … why the hell are we even thinking about leaving such a problem unsolved?
This disease needs a definitive cure. We look forward to further reasoned and reasonable dialogue. We invite Josh and Ari to join us on our panel at the upcoming Left Forum in New York in May. We welcome a public discussion with Steve and Mark in California.Above all, we hope to see those millions of Bernie supporters joining us at the reactor sites, the banks, the women’s health centers, the shelters, the schools and so many other critical hot spots in our corporate-plagued society, no matter who wins (or how) in November.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of six books on election integrity, including the new Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows and Electronic Election Theft(www.freepress.org and www.solartopia.org). Bob’s Fitrakis Files are at www.freepress.org. Harvey’s Organic Spiral of US History is coming soon at www.solartopia.org.