Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More Debunking

Josh Levin, writing in Slate, also debunks the Olbermann conspiracy theories in Still Raging Against the Machines - Debunking another election conspiracy theory:

The big problem with this theory is that this year's results match those from 2000. (And with the exception of Dixie, which used punch cards in 2000, all of these counties used optical-scan machines four years ago.) In 2000, Baker County had 83 percent registered Democrats, and 69 percent of the county's voters went for Bush. Dixie County had 86 percent registered Democrats, and 58 percent went for Bush. Franklin County: 81 percent registered Dems, 53 percent for Bush. Holmes County: 83 percent registered Dems, 68 percent for Bush. (For complete 2000 results in Florida by county, look here. For 2000 results as compared to voter registrations, look here.)

While each of these counties had a lower percentage of Bush voters in 2000 than in 2004, the 2000 election was much closer than this one. Each of these counties also appears to be moving toward the GOP. In all four, there is a lower percentage of registered Democrats and a higher percentage of registered Republicans in 2004 than in 2000.

Of course, you could argue that this similarity to the 2000 results just points to an even bigger conspiracy. But that's a bit, well, crazy. Take a look at the geography: All four counties are either in Florida's panhandle—known by some as the Redneck Riviera—or the northern part of the state. Like their neighbors in Georgia and Alabama, northern Florida voters tend to be very conservative. Baker, Dixie, Franklin, and Holmes counties are represented in the House by two Republicans and a Blue Dog Democrat who lists his No. 1 issue as "Second Amendment rights." Democratic registrations here are more an artifact of history than evidence of massive fraud.

This article was a follow-up to Levin's earlier round-up of election conspiracy theories inspired by electronic voting, Rage Against the Machines , which is well worth reading.