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News From The U.S. Election Reform Movement

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Suspicious Results in New York Senate Race Underscore Need for Immediate Court-Ordered Seizure of All Ohio Voting Machines


Compare, if you will, the following two scenarios.

In Wisconsin, a Marquette University student pulls a prank on his fellow classmates, and claims, in a letter to the school newspaper, that he voted six separate times on Election Day. [Article].

State Republicans demand an investigation into "multiple-voting" in Wisconsin.

The Attorney General of the State of Wisconsin agrees to investigate and quickly discovers the multiple-voting claim was a hoax. [Article].

The student is threatened with prosecution; the decision whether or not to pursue legal action has yet to be made.

Now try this one out:

In New York, a race for the State Senate draws approximately 114,000 votes.

On Election Day, the Westchester County Board of Elections announces that the Republican candidate, incumbent Nicholas Spano, has won the contest by 1,700 votes a comfortable and indeed insurmountable margin.

Nevertheless, Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins successfully militates for a recount.

And according to CBS, that "recount of the machine vote narrowed the gap to single digits."

[The Associated Press (see CNN article, below) echoed the CBS claim, and made clear that the additional votes for the Democrat were not the result of absentee and/or provisional ballots being counted: "[A] recount of the machines narrowed the gap to single digits and touched off an exhaustive tallying of absentee and provisional ballots."].

The matter is not presently being investigated.

Stop for a moment to consider what you just read not the substance of it, but the mathematics behind it.

In a well-to-do New York county with certified voting equipment, CBS news has reported that a machine recount resulted in a gain of 1,691 votes for the Democratic candidate.

What's the big deal, you say?

What's a couple thousand votes among friends, or, for that matter, bitter political rivals?

Not much unless you consider that the total number of votes cast in the election at issue was only 114,000, meaning that the machine recount in Westchester County resulted, in effect, in one out of every 64 votes switching from the Republican candidate to the Democratic candidate.

Yes, you read that right, one out of every 64 votes.

A similar result in a statewide manual recount in Ohio would net Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry approximately 87,500 votes.

Let's be clear it would net Kerry that many votes.

Not gross.

Such a result would narrow President Bush's lead in Ohio from 118,000 votes to 30,500 votes or roughly one half of one percent.

Apart from a single upcoming New York Senate Elections Committee hearing, and some high rhetoric from elected officials ("The 35th Senatorial District has become Dade County," State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer told Newsday; Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone called publicly for a new election), the New York Senate race is not being investigated despite the fact that, according to Newsday, the contest (like the presidential contest in Ohio, we might add) "was fraught with voting irregularities...old machines...a lack of computerization...voters [who] showed up at the correct polling stations but were sent to the wrong machines."

As in Ohio, some of the voting irregularities which later led to the unprecedented recount gains made by Stewart-Cousins were in heavily-Democratic areas. In Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant, the two towns which, along with Yonkers, comprise the 35th New York Senatorial District, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 88,509 to 50,066.

So, we must repeat, in order to better help ourselves believe it: the New York Senate race is not being investigated.

Just as the Ohio presidential election is not being sufficiently investigated, a stance Christopher Hitchens of Vanity Fair recently adopted in his media-busting article, "Ohio's Odd Numbers" (see The Advocate story, below).

And just as in Ohio, some New York Democrats are furious.

Said Yonkers resident and Stewart-Cousins voter Paula Hampton, "I think they [Republicans] cheated. How many votes would it have been if they weren't throwing votes away? They are going to do whatever it takes to make a certain person win. It doesn't feel like democracy."

A Spano voter from Yonkers, Matt Barca, agreed the election and the post-election aftermath were fishy: "It seemed like a lot of rules were being made up and bent along the way."


And somewhere in Wisconsin, a Marquette University student recalls how he faced potential felony charges for a harmless prank.

You decide where the nation's investigative resources should be spent.

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