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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OTP November 2012 - Moneypoll! The Pundits vs. The Election-Data Nerds

Come next Tuesday night, we’ll get a resolution (let’s hope) to a great ongoing battle of 2012: not just the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the one between the pundits trying to analyze that race with their guts and a new breed of statistics gurus trying to forecast it with data.

In Election 2012 as seen by the pundits–political journalists on the trail, commentators in cable-news studios–the campaign is a jump ball. There’s a slight lead for Mitt Romney in national polls and slight leads for Barack Obama in swing-state polls, and no good way of predicting next Tuesday’s outcome beyond flipping a coin. ...

Bonus link: Esquire - The Enemies of Nate Silver

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 11298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mr president, off-topic, politics, sabermetrics, usa

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   7901. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4302458)
I would be curious about what the rest of the world thinks about this. It has been said that those in Europe tend to laugh at our political sex scandals because they view us as being uptight because of the way we view sex outside the marriage in this country. I kinda consider this to be odd because England for example has had examples of sex scandals that have negatively affected the careers of those who were participants in the affair. Maybe its just a French thing?
   7902. bunyon Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4302459)
47% of Americans are just not going to consider sleeping with me. And there is nothing I can do about it.
   7903. BDC Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4302463)
Maybe its just a French thing?

Sarkozy would be the best recent example. His complicated sex life was the topic of intense interest, and he was intensely sensitive about its portrayal in the media. But few French people gave a #### about it all when it came to thinking he was or wasn't a good President.
   7904. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4302464)
When it comes to slipping around, I have it on good word that 53% of Americans are givers and 47% of Americans are takers.
   7905. BDC Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4302465)
47% of Americans are just not going to consider sleeping with me. And there is nothing I can do about it

Fortunately that 5-10% of undecideds amounts to a hell of a lot of women.
   7906. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4302466)
   7907. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4302467)
She didn't get a random history liberal arts degree from some namby pamby liberal arts college then go looking for a job.

She is a West Point graduate making a career in the military who attained the following degrees at some of the world's most respected institutions (excepting U of Denver). If you think they are worthless, you are an idiot. And the initial thrust of RDP's simpering is that she isn't a high acheiver. I guess it pales in comparison to 20519 posts on a random dork baseball web site.

Broadwell graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1995. She majored in political geography.[10] She earned a master's degree in international security from the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2006.[11][12] She earned a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2008.[13][14] Broadwell is a Research Associate in the Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership Fellows.[15] In 2008, she entered the Ph.D. program at Department of War Studies at King's College London.[16]
   7908. I am going to be Frank Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4302473)
So this Kelley woman is Lebanese-American. Is there a way Israel get dragged into this?
   7909. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4302476)
Sarkozy would be the best recent example. His complicated sex life was the topic of intense interest, and he was intensely sensitive about its portrayal in the media. But few French people gave a #### about it all when it came to thinking he was or wasn't a good President.

Hell, the current French president has four yard children by his former mistress and onetime political ally Segolene Royal, while saying that marriage is "a bourgeois institution" and refusing to marry her. Sarkozy is a regular A. C. Green compared to Francois Hollande.
   7910. bunyon Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4302477)
And I have no objection to those saying, rightly, that this kind of thing happens and that a person who cheats on their spouse is not, necessarily, a terrible person. I've known cheaters, was married to one once, and I know they're not all terrible people. However, it is, usually, a terrible thing to do. The spouse usually finds out and is usually hurt badly. So, any gain you get from it should be enough that you're not worried about how much you're going to hurt them.

My argument was with people alleging that Mrs. Petraeus had no right to be surprised or complain because she - in their opinion - was old and ugly. Which is just a despicable position, even if it is just an internet persona exaggeration.
   7911. Greg K Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4302479)
Wikipedia's article on Belinda Stronach provides this interesting nugget.

"Some of the media reaction to Stronach's candidacy was criticized. Casting Stronach as an "heiress" with a "coddled career" — to the point of joking comparisons to Paris Hilton — and the attention paid to her physical appearance and personal life, was described by a commentator as patronizing and sexist.[8] The Canadian media, though generally considered to exercise much greater reserve and discretion about the private lives of public figures than the media of other countries, paid considerable attention to rumours and innuendo about Stronach's personal life."

I didn't know the Canadian media had that reputation. I recall there was also some media buzz when Stronach abandoned the Conservative Party for the Liberals her erstwhile romantic interest in the party, Peter McKay, referred to her as a "dog" in a bit of parliamentary back-and-forth. (Hmm, wiki says McKay was romantically linked to Condoleeza Rice as well).

I would think UK attitudes towards sex scandals differ from those on the continent if only because the British reading public seems to love scandal in all its forms.
   7912. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4302480)
And the initial thrust of RDP's simpering is that she isn't a high acheiver.


I wonder how notably different Broadwell's resume quoted above is from any other (male) up-and-comer in the military think-tank circuit. Hell, the reason she was in Petraeus' social circle was because he *thought she was bright and smart and worth taking on as a protege.*

Is David Petreaus not a "high achiever" either?
   7913. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4302482)
EDIT: To be fair I never had a really attractive woman really come on to me and make me actively say no either.

Well, that's the kicker isn't it. Most of us are faithful not because we are noble, moral animals, but because infidelity requires work, and we're normally lazier than we are horny. But take any of us out of the routine and put us in the star/athlete/powerful man of history mold where women might, on occasion, actively show interest in us without us having to do any work? At that point, the primate will take over near every time.


I've been tested plenty of times, including a couple of times when I was just staying faithful to the girl I was dating at the time (who later cheated on me, so I dumped her - I don't regret my fidelity though). One of the women testing me offered to go to the document vault in the basement of our office and blow me, and she was hotter than the hubs of Hades.

Just a couple of months ago I had to fend off a woman, who happens to be my best friend's youngest sister and who by all accounts is an attractive woman. If you want details of what she said and did, let me know.

Like I said earlier, people can behave how they want, but don't tell me that all of us are animals and only haven't cheated because we haven't had the opportunity for a go with a hot young piece of ass. Do I lust after woman other than my wife? Of course, but I don't flirt and I would never act on those fantasies as long as I'm married.
   7914. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4302483)
Now that there's a *second* general involved in the whole Petraeus thing, I really think I'm going to need one of those organizational chart-tree things you see in a cop TV or movie in which crime families are being investigated.
   7915. Greg K Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4302502)
My infidelity story is from the less fun end of the stick. About six or seven years ago my girlfriend cheated on me, but we stayed together another year before breaking up. We're still friends though...actual friends, not just friendly. Me and her wandered around Europe for a month last year. She's not a very nice human being, but hey, nobody's perfect!
   7916. Randy Jones Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4302504)
Now that there's a *second* general involved in the whole Petraeus thing, I really think I'm going to need one of those organizational chart-tree things you see in a cop TV or movie in which crime families are being investigated.

Gawker has a flowchart.
   7917. The Good Face Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4302506)
Broadwell graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1995. She majored in political geography.[10] She earned a master's degree in international security from the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2006.[11][12] She earned a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2008.[13][14] Broadwell is a Research Associate in the Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership Fellows.[15] In 2008, she entered the Ph.D. program at Department of War Studies at King's College London.[16]


Not to pile on Ray, but that's a pretty darn good educational background. It's not like she has a B.A. in Womyn's Studies from the Hollywood Upstairs Academy of Learning.
   7918. Lassus Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4302507)
Here's a primer on cheating that's not taken from Cosmo.

The most consistent data on infidelity come from the General Social Survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and based at the University of Chicago, which has used a national representative sample to track the opinions and social behaviors of Americans since 1972. The survey data show that in any given year, about 10 percent of married people — 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women — say they have had sex outside their marriage.
University of Washington researchers have found that the lifetime rate of infidelity for men over 60 increased to 28 percent in 2006, up from 20 percent in 1991. For women over 60, the increase is more striking: to 15 percent, up from 5 percent in 1991.
The researchers also see big changes in relatively new marriages. About 20 percent of men and 15 percent of women under 35 say they have ever been unfaithful, up from about 15 and 12 percent respectively.


Sam, if you want to take those figures and skew them up from where they sit to a majority of 65% or higher (or whatever "the primate brain" dictates to you), or if Good Face wants to say that a 28% faithlessness rate means that being faithful is not the norm, I have some Jeter gold gloves I'd like you each to present to the Captain with your apologies. Your position is not supported by the data.

(That being said, this is an excellent, Nate Silvery parsing of the data by year and circumstance to cover a lot of ground. A really great article, thank you.)
   7919. Kurt Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4302518)
Not to pile on Ray, but that's a pretty darn good educational background. It's not like she has a B.A. in Womyn's Studies from the Hollywood Upstairs Academy of Learning.

Yes, Ray is being a doofus on this point.

That said, I'm a little wary of declaring a forty year old a "high achiever" based exclusively on her *academic* resume. I note that nobody is citing the "career" section of her wiki; I don't know enough about the militay to know how impressive that is.
   7920. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4302522)
I am amused, as Ray likes to say, that my innocuous "high achiever" comment seemed to set him off. I didn't say that Broadwell is brilliant, or a genius. I was just pointing out that based on her numerous degrees, and her physical fitness chops, she appears to be a very work-focused and achievement-focused individual--like Petraeus.

Based on a brief note I saw at the yahoo homepage, this story may be getting more serious, though. It said that Broadwell has admitted to taking classified documents from "secure buildings." My knowledge base on these issues is very thin, but ISTM that if true, that could be pretty serious stuff.
   7921. Howie Menckel Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4302525)

"Broadwell has admitted to taking classified documents from "secure buildings.""

cue the Sandy Berger talk in 3-2-1....

   7922. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4302527)

Not to pile on Ray, but that's a pretty darn good educational background. It's not like she has a B.A. in Womyn's Studies from the Hollywood Upstairs Academy of Learning.


Don't knock it -- the Hollywood Upstairs Academy of Learning Womyn's Studies department actually offers minors in Temptation...
   7923. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4302529)
Don't knock it -- the Hollywood Upstairs Academy of Learning Womyn's Studies department actually offers minors in Temptation...


And there are some lucky downstairs folk that can testify to how valuable the degree is.
   7924. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4302530)
That said, I'm a little wary of declaring a forty year old a "high achiever" based exclusively on her *academic* resume


I know that BTF is floor-to-ceiling with geniuses and Masters of the Universe, but I am pretty comfortable calling Broadwell a "high achiever" in the context of American society as a whole. YMMV.
   7925. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4302535)
Sam, if you want to take those figures and skew them up from where they sit to a majority of 65% or higher (or whatever "the primate brain" dictates to you), or if Good Face wants to say that a 28% faithlessness rate means that being faithful is not the norm, I have some Jeter gold gloves I'd like you each to present to the Captain with your apologies. Your position is not supported by the data.


1) I recycled the "shake the hand of the man on the left/right of you" story for a reason. My position is not 65% or higher, but rather something between 33 and 50.

2) Note that the article you are citing is from 2008.

3) Note that the article you are citing marks and upward trend in the data.

4) Note that the article you are citing marks a notable demographic trend towards younger cheaters.

5) Note that the article you are citing stipulates a known problem in the collection of data on this subject; willful under reporting due to social and moral stigma.

Now, proceed, governor.
   7926. JustDan Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4302536)
My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar.

When will you be back?

I can't tell you that. It's classified.
   7927. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4302538)
I know that BTF is floor-to-ceiling with geniuses and Masters of the Universe, but I am pretty comfortable calling Broadwell a "high achiever" in the context of American society as a whole. YMMV.


My yardstick is -- if you've been on The Daily Show, you've done alright, achievement-wise...
   7928. Ron J2 Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4302540)
Going back a whole bunch of pages: from a Henry Farrel post (mostly) about pundits and the aftermath of the election:

"at last count, you could have subtracted 4.7 points (!) from Obama’s margin in every state and he would still have won"
   7929. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4302543)
Also, it probably bears mentioning that so far the only "scandalous" information to come out about Jill Kelley is that she's a socialite with a twin sister. Have we seen any actual evidence that she slept with either Petraeus or Anthony Allen?

Update: that Gawker flowchart is awesome.
   7930. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4302544)
Also, it probably bears mentioning that so far the only "scandalous" information to come out about Jill Kelley is that she's a socialite with a twin sister. Have we seen any actual evidence that she slept with either Petraeus or Anthony?


Well, it's not extra-marital 'scandal' -- but HuffPo has an article up about a 'cancer charity' that Kelley ran that seems to have mainly been a tax-free slush fund.

According to filings --

From the records, it appears that the charity fell far short of its mission. While the origins of the seed money used to start the charity in 2007 are unclear, financial records reviewed by The Huffington Post reveal that the group spent all of its money not on research, but on parties, entertainment, travel and attorney fees.

By the end of 2007, the charity had gone bankrupt, having conveniently spent exactly the same amount of money, $157,284, as it started with -- not a dollar more, according to its 990 financial form. Of that, $43,317 was billed as "Meals and Entertainment," $38,610 was assigned to "Travel," another $25,013 was spent on legal fees, and $8,822 went to "Automotive Expenses."


EDIT: Just to add - the attorney for the charity was Kelley's sister...
   7931. Kurt Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4302549)
I know that BTF is floor-to-ceiling with geniuses and Masters of the Universe, but I am pretty comfortable calling Broadwell a "high achiever" in the context of American society as a whole. YMMV.

Sure, in the same sense that Blaine Gabbert is a great football player in the context of American society as a whole.

I get what you're saying, and I don't entirely disagree. The "work-focused and achievement-focused" stuff in 7920 I agree with. But I'm in my early 40's, and the people I know who I would call "high achievers" (*NOT* me) in their fields wrapped up their advanced degrees fifteen years ago. They weren't entering PhD programs in 2008.
   7932. DA Baracus Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4302551)
   7933. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4302552)
Well, it's not extra-marital 'scandal' -- but HuffPo has an article up about a 'cancer charity' that Kelley ran that seems to have mainly been a tax-free slush fund.


Yeah, she and sissy both seem to be pretty classic case grifter/hucksters, or "socialites" as we call them when they earn their pearls and move up into polite society, but in the case of the Petraeus/Broadwell affair, it was originally intimated (rather strongly) that she was another "other woman" and that she and Broadwell were at it over who was the real deal secret lover for his affections. That seems to have been made up, as far as I can tell. Gawker indicates some potentially inappropriate "under the table touching" between Kelley and Betray-us* but again, that seems to be made to be more sordid than the evidence supports.

*can we break out the General Betray-us ad in the Times again?

Also, it looks like I was unclear about my opinions on Holly Petreaus in this matter. To be clear, I don't think she "should have seen it coming" and I don't begrudge her any sense of outrage, pain or vengeance she might have about it all. My statement last night was that given the players and the facts, no one from the *outside* should have been shocked that the middle aged dork in uniform might have been sneaking out with a younger, fitter woman on the side.
   7934. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4302553)
Going back a whole bunch of pages: from a Henry Farrel post (mostly) about pundits and the aftermath of the election:

"at last count, you could have subtracted 4.7 points (!) from Obama’s margin in every state and he would still have won"


Since you brought it up Ron.... In 59 Philadelphia voting divisions, Mitt Romney got zero votes

There are lots of other links I could post that highlight extremely suspicious stats like this, but JoeK likely has already. And for the umpteenth time, I'm not a Romney supporter, but this election had lots of problems.
   7935. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4302554)
But I'm in my early 40's, and the people I know who I would call "high achievers" (*NOT* me) in their fields wrapped up their advanced degrees fifteen years ago. They weren't entering PhD programs in 2008.


She is one of those people who has been forever in higher education, as a substitute for entering the real world. And when she tried to finally enter the real world by "writing" this book - well, you see how well that went.
   7936. DA Baracus Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4302556)
Since you brought it up Ron.... In 59 Philadelphia voting divisions, Mitt Romney got zero votes


9 Cleveland precincts as well.
   7937. The Good Face Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4302557)
or if Good Face wants to say that a 28% faithlessness rate means that being faithful is not the norm, I have some Jeter gold gloves I'd like you each to present to the Captain with your apologies. Your position is not supported by the data.


Huh? Never said anything like that. My comment about the "norm" was limited to the subsection of men who routinely have attractive women coming onto them. Famous athletes, famous actors/musicians, the extremely wealthy/powerful, guys who are really, really, ridiculously good looking, etc.
   7938. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4302559)

Since you brought it up Ron.... In 59 Philadelphia voting divisions, Mitt Romney got zero votes


That's because the Ominous Black Panther was stationed at one of them!

And Republicans in the other 58 were afraid he might show up, so they didn't go to the polls.
   7939. formerly dp Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4302564)
She is one of those people who has been forever in higher education, as a substitute for entering the real world. And when she tried to finally enter the real world by "writing" this book - well, you see how well that went.
So is this what you backing off your original claims that an MPA is the equivalent of a 'basket-weaving' degree? Also, depending on her responsibilities, being a 'research associate' at a well-regarded public policy school can very much be a 'real-world' job, where one is doing 'real-world' things. This seems like a lot of straw-grasping in defense of what was a colossally dumb set of assertions.

I'll put it differently: she has a more broadly-marketable CV than you do.
   7940. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4302565)
Still, was there not one contrarian voter in those 59 divisions, where unofficial vote tallies have President Obama outscoring Romney by a combined 19,605 to 0?

Out of 19,605 people, I can't believe there wasn't at least one accidental vote for Romney.
   7941. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4302566)
That's because the Ominous Black Panther was stationed at one of them!

And Republicans in the other 58 were afraid he might show up, so they didn't go to the polls.


Seriously though, how you can explain a 19,605 to 0 margin? The likelihood of that actually happening would have to be infinitesimally small.

Also, check this out People go to vote, ballots already cast in their names; Others vote more than once
   7942. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4302572)
In my book, serving the military is the real world. YMMV.
   7943. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4302574)
Seriously though, how you can explain a 19,605 to 0 margin? The likelihood of that actually happening would have to be infinitesimally small.


I can't. I think 19,605 to 0 raises a red flag. And so should liberals, since they're fond of the disparate impact argument when it comes to showing discrimination.
   7944. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4302575)
I can't. I think 19,605 to 0 raises a red flag.


It should be looked into.
   7945. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4302576)
Seriously though, how you can explain a 19,605 to 0 margin? The likelihood of that actually happening would have to be infinitesimally small.


Is it "infinitesimally small"?

These were areas with large black populations, and African-Americans voted for Obama about 95% of the time, right?

And if there is some sort of fraud, it would be implied that if someone DID vote for Romney, they had their vote removed or changed, right? If so, why would the perpetrator remove/change ALL the Romney votes? Wouldn't it make more sense to leave some Romney votes there?

And why in Philadelphia, a city that heavily votes for Obama in the first place, in a state (Pennsylvania) that really wasn't in play for Romney (using real polls, not "Republican Math Polls")?

Shouldn't something like this happen in Ohio? Florida?

(Also, has anyone tried cherry picking Romney districts in Alabama/Utah/Mississippi/Kentucky to see if they can find 99.999% Romney votes?)

Edit: That said, go ahead and investigate. There isn't harm in shining light in odd results just to keep people honest.
   7946. formerly dp Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4302578)
In my book, serving the military is the real world. YMMV.
Drone pilots are in a grey area.
   7947. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4302581)
Shouldn't something like this happen in Ohio? Florida?


Like I said, I could post lots of links from local sources all over the country. The site on which they are aggregated would lead to me being called names like tin foil hat guy, etc., so I'm not going to bother.
   7948. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4302584)
As far as I can tell, if I go to work in a place with walls, a ceiling, and a floor, it's part of the "real world."
   7949. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4302587)
They weren't entering PhD programs in 2008.


Perhaps not, but Broadwell has two Masters' degrees, one from Harvard, and went to West Point. She stopped work on the doctorate, supposedly, because she got/made/created an opportunity to co-write a book on the most famous military man in the United States, a household name, and as part of this opportunity, got to spend a lot of time with him, including time in combat zones, apparently, as a result. Here is her career background, as per Wiki:

Broadwell served in the United States Army and the United States Army Reserve. She was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Reserves in August 2012.[17]

Broadwell was Deputy Director of the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.[4] She also worked with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.[4]

Broadwell met Petraeus in 2006 when he was a speaker at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[18] She was a graduate student at the time.[18] According to the Charlotte Observer, she told him about her research interests after he spoke.[18] He handed her his card and offered his help.[18] She began a doctoral dissertation that included a case study of his leadership, with Petraeus fully cooperating.[18] Broadwell then co-authored a biography of Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, with Vernon Loeb that was published in January 2012.[19] Her account of the razing of Khosrow Sofla was criticized for minimizing the destruction.[20]

Broadwell has also written for the New York Times and the Boston Globe.[21][22] Her public speaking engagements have included addressing a group of Republican women in October 2012 organized by the then Colorado House Majority Leader Amy Stephens.[23][24]


There is certainly room for cynicism aboout Broadwell and Petraeus here, based on the card exchange, and subsequent scandal, and again, I am not holding her up as either a genius or as a person to admire. But this is also not a situation in which Petraeus hooked up with a hostess, or, say, an intern.
   7950. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4302592)
I think 19,605 to 0 raises a red flag. And so should liberals, since they're fond of the disparate impact argument when it comes to showing discrimination.


I think 19,605 to 0 shows definite discrimination against Mitt Romney. I am not convinced it shows evidence of a vote problem.

I am not against someone looking into it, but I doubt anything will come to light. Out of curiosity what would the vote total needed to be to not be a "red flag"?
   7951. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4302595)
I am not against someone looking into it, but I doubt anything will come to light.


Agreed. It looks weird, so look into it. But it's not impossible (and it certainly didn't swing the election.)
   7952. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4302597)
In 2008, McCain got zero votes in 57 Philadelphia voting divisions. That was a big increase from 2004, when George W. Bush was blanked in just five divisions.

From the article mentioned earlier. No mention if the 57 divisions in 2008 were investigated. You'd think the Republicans would have raised a stink but I don't remember any such thing.
   7953. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4302598)
*can we break out the General Betray-us ad in the Times again?


Heh...
   7954. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4302599)

It should be looked into.


Yep.
   7955. DKDC Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4302606)
To pick a number out of the air, more than a thousand votes without a single Romney vote is suspicious.

Even more so if these 59 precincts were connected in some way (geographically contiguous or say they all roll up to the same oversight/audit group).
   7956. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4302615)
Since you brought it up Ron.... In 59 Philadelphia voting divisions, Mitt Romney got zero votes

I'm all for a closer examination of any election results, but the example "division" in the linked article is 94% black. Obama won 93% of the vote among blacks nationwide. And I don't have the breakdown, but I'm guessing Obama might do even better among concentrated urban blacks. He's gonna score pretty high in places like that.

And it's not like the 6% of the non-black residents of this "division" are a proportional cross-section of other races/parties/income levels -- I would not be surprised if there are zero reliable likely Republican voters among that remaining 6%.
   7957. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4302616)
Regarding the zero'ed out precincts...

I don't know... precincts are pretty darn small samples. Having been/being involved with GOTV and other electioneering in my own city - there are most definitely places where I could see this. In a previous ward, I knew several precinct captains that were so on top of things that they could make eerily good predictions on vote totals and turnout. Good captains even track their 'people' and know at various points in the day who needs a door knock. They would literally have complete plots of every eligible voter, know whether they were strong, weak, or leaners, etc. These are heavily, heavily, heavily Democratic areas -- and again, if we're talking precincts, we're talking a manageable number of blocks in the larger city. It makes absolute logical sense to me that in many major urban areas -- you could quite easily find swaths without a single GOP voter. They're the exception - not the norm. I don't know how many precincts Philly has -- but Chicago has roughly 2500... That's a hell of a lot of little niches where it's completely within the realm of statistical possibility - remember, we're talking areas that go 75-80%+ Democratic to begin with - to have 1-2% of those 2500 be complete shutouts.
   7958. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4302617)
Ah we have nothing to worry about anyway because in the future humans will be getting stupider so none of this will matter.


Mutations in the human brain are making us stupider.
   7959. BDC Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4302620)
In King County in the Texas panhandle this year, the vote was 139 for Romney, 5 for Obama. Which means nothing – it looks more plausible on the face of it than 144-0, but as Generator implies, fraud can look more plausible than truth, so mere looking plausible means nothing either. To me, it's really just an indication of how polarized certain localities were this year. Both sides often seem aghast that anybody in their right mind could have voted against their guy, but in some places pretty much everybody did.

   7960. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4302623)
Seriously though, how you can explain a 19,605 to 0 margin? The likelihood of that actually happening would have to be infinitesimally small.

This is a little like saying, what are the odds a team would outscore their opponents 50-0? But that's just what they did in 10 shutout victories this past season!

Not that I'm saying it doesn't warrant an audit (and I think most places do regular audits of election results, no?), but these numbers are a little misleading.
   7961. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4302625)
In 2008, McCain got zero votes in 57 Philadelphia voting divisions. That was a big increase from 2004, when George W. Bush was blanked in just five divisions.

Hmm... it's almost like predominantly black districts became extra careful and Democrat-focused in their presidential voting in 2008 and 2012. I wonder what happened?
   7962. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4302629)
0 votes in a division sounds implausible. Rigging voting to yield 0 votes in a division sounds implausible. But never underestimate the chutzpah of politicians and their machines.

I'd say investigate a representative sample. You probably don't have to be Nate Silver to figure out a reasonable sample. Then again, you might need to be better than a Republican pollster.
   7963. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4302632)
Given all the numbers crunchers here, it seems like this 'suspicion' could be pretty easily gamed out...

I can't find the total number of precincts in Philly -- but I would suspect that Chicago's total (actually 2,556) seems similar to Philadelphia's. We also know the voting spread out of virtually any area. Obama won Philadelphia with 85.9% of the vote.

If you divide the total Philly vote in 2500 individual chunks -- and keeping in mind that Obama won nearly 86% of Philly as a whole -- what are the logical probabilities that you'd have a relatively small (and 2% is relatively small) number of those chunks be complete shutouts? I make no claims to be a mini-Nate, but it seems to me that this seems about right...

I mean - even when he was hitting .400, Ty Cobb had O'fers and even Neifi Perez, I'm pretty sure has had 4 for 4 days.
   7964. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4302635)
Also, check this out People go to vote, ballots already cast in their names; Others vote more than once

What do you do when faced with serious election irregularities? Anonymously post them on Twitter, of course!

But seriously, the very first example at that link is either bogus or exaggerated -- the Twitter poster claims he discovered that someone already voted in his name for Obama. I'm pretty sure there are no precincts in the U.S. that mark your choice of candidate on their voter log.

And I would be especially suspicious of anyone "bragging" on Twitter about anything, particularly something that would require some effort for virtually zero personal benefit (i.e. voting multiple times in a presidential election).
   7965. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4302640)
0 votes in a division sounds implausible. Rigging voting to yield 0 votes in a division sounds implausible. But never underestimate the chutzpah of politicians and their machines.


Agreed. Robert A. Caro's second book about LBJ including his rigged Senate race against Coke Stevenson in 1948 has a long and wild story about vote-rigging in South Texas. 0 votes out of 20,000 seems nuts, as does guys being stupid/ballsy enough to rig it that way, particularly when in a totally clean vote in those divisions, Obama was quite likely to pull in around 95-97% anyway. But you never know.
   7966. Randy Jones Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4302643)
even Neifi Perez, I'm pretty sure has had 4 for 4 days.

He had six 4 for 4 games and one 5 for 5.
   7967. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4302645)
Obama won 93% of the vote among blacks nationwide. And I don't have the breakdown, but I'm guessing Obama might do even better among concentrated urban blacks. He's gonna score pretty high in places like that.


Using the 93% as a baseline we would have expected to see 1,372 of the 19,605 votes be for Romney or other candidates (did any of the third party candidates receive votes there, if they were on the ballot?).

Let's say in those precincts the "true" baseline is 98%. We would still expect to see 392 Romney votes.

Yeah, 0 is simply implausible.
   7968. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4302647)
So was Obama blanked in any divisions in Utah or Idaho?
   7969. Shredder Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4302649)
And I would be especially suspicious of anyone "bragging" on Twitter about anything, particularly something that would require some effort for virtually zero personal benefit (i.e. voting multiple times in a presidential election).
From the stories I've read so far, only a few people have been arrested for trying to vote more than once. All were Republican, and two of them claimed they were "testing the system" when they got busted. Seems like the system worked pretty well.
   7970. Poulanc Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4302652)
Let's say in those precincts the "true" baseline is 98%. We would still expect to see 392 Romney votes.


Just because you 'expect' to see Romney votes doesn't mean you are going to.


Besides, as spycake alluded to, this isn't one large block of 19,605 votes. This is 59 different blocks that have been picked to exaggerate the result. So each block of voters is really only, on average, 332 people.
   7971. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4302653)
Agreed. Robert A. Caro's second book about LBJ and his rigged Senate race against Coke Stevenson in 1948 has a long and wild story about vote-rigging in South Texas. 0 votes out 20,000 seems nuts, as does guys being stupid/ballsy enough to rig it that way, particularly when in a totally clean vote in those divisions, Obama was quite likely to pull in around 95-97% anyway. But you never know.


But it's NOT "0 votes out of 20,000" -- at least, not logically so... you can't just arbitrarily combine precincts that share a common trait (Romney shutouts), then claim you've created some random sample... again - I'm not a statistician, but this is such naked self-selection bias that even I can see it. It's 60 independent groupings of about, what, ~900 voters each?

Again - we're talking about areas where at the city level Obama was winning 85%+ of the vote... Break those areas of millions into much smaller chunks -- without looking up the exact precincts, we're talking about 59 precincts out of thousands in areas where Obama was expected to and did run up huge margins.

   7972. Srul Itza Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4302654)
But never underestimate the chutzpah of politicians and their machines.




Boss Tweed: Remember the first rule of politics. The ballots don't make the results, the counters make the results. The counters. Keep counting. --- Gangs of New York
   7973. Kurt Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4302658)
0 votes out of 20,000 seems nuts, as does guys being stupid/ballsy enough to rig it that way, particularly when in a totally clean vote in those divisions, Obama was quite likely to pull in around 95-97% anyway. But you never know.

It is stupid and ballsy, but IF there were shady doings in those districts, I would guess they involved the raw vote totals rather than the percentages.
   7974. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4302659)
Besides, as spycake alluded to, this isn't one large block of 19,605 votes. This is 59 different blocks that have been picked to exaggerate the result. So each block of voters is really only, on average, 332 people.


Yes, but countering that, the 93% (or 98% or whatever) is the percentage of the vote among blacks for Obama. And there is no way all of the 19,605 voters being tallied up were black. So even the baseline we're using is not really completely representative.

How many of the 19,605 were white voters, or at least non-black? And how many of _that_ subset would we expect to have voted for Romney? And still... zero. Not a vote.
   7975. Srul Itza Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4302660)
So each block of voters is really only, on average, 332 people.


Isn't Ray usually the first one to shout "small sample size"?
   7976. bunyon Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4302662)
Also, it looks like I was unclear about my opinions on Holly Petreaus in this matter. To be clear, I don't think she "should have seen it coming" and I don't begrudge her any sense of outrage, pain or vengeance she might have about it all. My statement last night was that given the players and the facts, no one from the *outside* should have been shocked that the middle aged dork in uniform might have been sneaking out with a younger, fitter woman on the side.

Fair enough.

The vote should definitly be looked into. I'm with the folks that say that the voter ID stuff in the last year has been a pretty blatant attempt by Republicans to decrease Democratic turnout.

However, I don't see how anyone can claim there are no voting problems or that fraud is under-detected. It would be trivial to pull off. It is one of many areas where bipartisan efforts should be made (as a start, I'd say increased security around voting locations and government issued (i.e. free (i.e taxpayer supplied)) photo IDs. Voter fraud is mostly small in the US because most people are fairly honest. I know I could have voted several times last Tuesday had I wished to.
   7977. Poulanc Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4302668)
And there is no way all of the 19,605 voters being tallied up were black. So even the baseline we're using is not really completely representative.


From the article :
The unanimous support for Obama in these Philadelphia neighborhoods - clustered in almost exclusively black sections of West and North Philadelphia - fertilizes fears of fraud, despite little hard evidence.


   7978. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4302669)
Isn't Ray usually the first one to shout "small sample size"?


Yes, but only when we are dealing with a small sample. Please do try to keep up.

There is no way that 332 votes is so small a sample that we wouldn't expect to see _some_ Romney votes.

And it's not only "332" anyway.
   7979. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4302670)

Using the 93% as a baseline we would have expected to see 1,372 of the 19,605 votes be for Romney or other candidates (did any of the third party candidates receive votes there, if they were on the ballot?).

Let's say in those precincts the "true" baseline is 98%. We would still expect to see 392 Romney votes.

Yeah, 0 is simply implausible.


Again...

This is statistically illiterate... you're selecting the specific precincts only where Obama tossed shutouts, but conveniently ignoring the fact that there probably about 2500 precincts where Romney didn't get shutout... It's really not much different than if I were to take precincts where Romney way outperformed Obama's city wide total and insisted it was Republican fraud.

Someone with a better grasp of statistics than I really needs to jump in here because I'm sure there's some relatively simple explanation regarding distribution/deviation/etc that accounts for this...

If candidate A wins 85% of let's say -- 250,000 votes -- in a given sample. You break that sample into 2500 smaller chunks. What are the odds you end up with 59 out of those 2500 chunks tallying zero votes? Speaking as someone with only a high level understanding of things like normal distribution, etc -- I think if we're talking 85%, and then scaling that out amongst 2500 smaller chunks, I would expect some of those precincts to be zero vote areas.

   7980. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4302671)
But it's NOT "0 votes out of 20,000" -- at least, not logically so... you can't just arbitrarily combine precincts that share a common trait (Romney shutouts), then claim you've created some random sample


Hey, buddy, I voted for Obama and precinct-walked for local Dems. I have already been to re-education camp; no need for the bold type and the italics.

And your point about the sample is well-taken. But even so, 0 votes out of more than a few hundred seems weird to me. As someone noted upthread, what an investigation would want to look at is whether there is some sort of common link here that might indicate wrongdoing.
   7981. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4302674)
You can't do that basic math, though. 93% of black voters nationwide voted for Obama, according to CNN exit poll data. First you have to assume there is some margin for error there. Second, what about urban areas? If urbanites are more likely to vote Obama too, that would be an extra boost. Plus, if there's going to be an outlier district, I wouldn't be surprised if it was one with a near-100% black population -- demographically likely Repub voters just don't live there, not even in small percentages. And turnout could be a factor -- if this district votes less than others, that's fewer opportunities for someone to even cast an accidental ballot. Although in this case, turnout could have been high, but some well-known facts about the candidates may have made it especially difficult to cast an accidental ballot.

The fact that 5 such zero vote "districts" occurred in the Bush-Kerry election suggests that it's probably not that implausible. And that 57 occurred for Obama-McCain in a state with enough voter-ID advocates to pass a law about it suggests even further that this is not in fact as implausible as it may seem.
   7982. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4302675)
The unanimous support for Obama in these Philadelphia neighborhoods - clustered in almost exclusively black sections of West and North Philadelphia - fertilizes fears of fraud, despite little hard evidence.


What is "almost exclusively"? Could there not have been 100 or 200 non-black voters out of the 19,000? That's only .5 or 1%. I don't know about Philly, specifically, but I have a number of white friends here in NYC that live in black neighborhoods. One of them, actually, has lived in a black neighborhood in Philly in the past.
   7983. rr Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4302676)
I know I could have voted several times last Tuesday had I wished to.


North Carolina Third-Candidate Results:

Johnson 1.2%
Goode .9%
Stein .7%
robinred's mom .00000000000001%
   7984. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4302679)
So was Obama blanked in any divisions in Utah or Idaho?


Yes.

First - rural precincts simply don't have the reporting machinery of urban areas, so it's tough to get a full examination -- but yes, there were multiple precincts in Utah at least where Romney shut out Obama.

Gee... Ray... more evidence of fraud?
   7985. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4302681)
Again...

This is statistically illiterate...


No, it isn't.

Someone with a better grasp of statistics than I really needs to jump in here


Apparently.
   7986. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4302682)
Break those areas of millions into much smaller chunks

Philly only has about 1.5 million inhabitants. FYI, about 1/2 the size of Chicago.

How many of the 19,605 were white voters, or at least non-black? And how many of _that_ subset would we expect to have voted for Romney?

Apparently about 6. 4? :)
   7987. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4302684)
What is "almost exclusively"? Could there not have been 100 or 200 non-black voters out of the 19,000? That's only .5 or 1%. I don't know about Philly, specifically, but I have a number of white friends here in NYC that live in black neighborhoods. One of them, actually, has lived in a black neighborhood in Philly in the past.


Stop combining the precincts into one massive block when it suits your argument.

Out of the 59 precincts - yes - I would be absolutely willing to bet that some of these precincts absolutely had zero non-black voters.

Did they all? Maybe, maybe not... but you keep whipping out this 19K as if it's some sort of meaningful number... it's not. It's the same as me saying that among staunch Utah Mormons that think Obama was born in Kenya -- and I'd be there are 19k of them -- Obama got zero votes.
   7988. Kurt Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4302690)
First - rural precincts simply don't have the reporting machinery of urban areas, so it's tough to get a full examination -- but yes, there were multiple precincts in Utah at least where Romney shut out Obama.

From TFA:
"In Millard County’s Flowell precinct, Romney won 14-0. In its Garrison precinct, he won 17-0. In Sanpete County’s Mount Pleasant 3 Unincorporated precinct, Romney won 14-0."

Not exactly the same thing, statistically.
   7989. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4302691)
Break those areas of millions into much smaller chunks

Philly only has about 1.5 million inhabitants. FYI, about 1/2 the size of Chicago.

How many of the 19,605 were white voters, or at least non-black? And how many of _that_ subset would we expect to have voted for Romney?

Apparently about 6. 4? :)


Finally found it...

Philly has 1687 precincts.... so -- in a city where Obama won 85.9% of the vote, he pitched shutouts in 3.5% of them... and the average precinct size IS 332.

Now... are we down investigating those scallywag urban blacks who voted 'suspiciously' so we can move on to the multiple southern and western precincts where Obama got zero votes?

Or - do those not matter because those people aren't the nefarious sort who would cheat?
   7990. Poulanc Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4302692)
What is "almost exclusively"? Could there not have been 100 or 200 non-black voters out of the 19,000? That's only .5 or 1%. I don't know about Philly, specifically, but I have a number of white friends here in NYC that live in black neighborhoods. One of them, actually, has lived in a black neighborhood in Philly in the past.



And what percentage of non-white urban votes did Obama win?


Seriously - with percentages nearing 97 or 98 percent of a total population choosing one candidate, you would EXPECT to see small pockets where 330 votes all went to one side. You aren't going to get a normal distribution with a sample this biased.
   7991. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4302693)
Zonk: What is the likelihood that a precinct has Obama at 332-0? Well, it's possible. Even plausible. Sure. I mean, we'd expect to see 5-15 Romney votes in the precinct or whatever, but instead we see 0. Fine.

But 59 such precincts?
   7992. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4302694)
Ray, I won't call you statistically illiterate just yet, but the attempt to push aggregate totals back down to specific samples is...

Well, Ray, statistics doesn't work that way.
   7993. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4302695)
First - rural precincts simply don't have the reporting machinery of urban areas, so it's tough to get a full examination -- but yes, there were multiple precincts in Utah at least where Romney shut out Obama.

From TFA:
"In Millard County’s Flowell precinct, Romney won 14-0. In its Garrison precinct, he won 17-0. In Sanpete County’s Mount Pleasant 3 Unincorporated precinct, Romney won 14-0."

Not exactly the same thing, statistically.


Why?

Because there are fewer people?

I thought we were talking about precincts?
   7994. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4302696)
The problem you guys have is with the number 0. Zero. Zero. Zero. And it happened 59 times.

And all people here have said is that it's implausible. The fact that you can't stipulate to that is hilarious, but, sadly, not unexpected.
   7995. Kurt Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4302701)
Why?

Because there are fewer people?


Yes, of course. Because there are fewer people (and fewer precincts).

   7996. JL Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4302702)
How many of the 19,605 were white voters, or at least non-black? And how many of _that_ subset would we expect to have voted for Romney? And still... zero. Not a vote.

From CBS news:

Obama's dominance was mostly confined to largely African-American areas of West and North Philadelphia. In the third division of Philadelphia's 28th Ward, for example, 94 percent of the residents are black, and the 2010 census recorded only seven white residents. Voter registration lists showed only 12 registered Republicans in the division, none of whom voted for Romney or responded to the Inquirer's requests for comment.

So is it surprising that out of seven white votes, non-voted for Romney, or that 12 Republican's did not bother to vote for him either?
   7997. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4302703)
I agree that the 59 precincts are cherry picked. Obviously. But it is implausible that there were _59_ such precincts.
   7998. formerly dp Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4302705)
The problem you guys have is with the number 0. Zero. Zero. Zero.
Ahhh, 'zero'...I kept reading it as the number 'o'...
   7999. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4302707)
Ray, using your own methodological process, you'd "expect" Obama to win some percent of those 14 votes from Mount Pleasant. (This is a flaw in you methodology. Statistics don't work that way.)
   8000. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4302709)
However, I don't see how anyone can claim there are no voting problems or that fraud is under-detected. It would be trivial to pull off. It is one of many areas where bipartisan efforts should be made (as a start, I'd say increased security around voting locations and government issued (i.e. free (i.e taxpayer supplied)) photo IDs. Voter fraud is mostly small in the US because most people are fairly honest. I know I could have voted several times last Tuesday had I wished to.

I'm not going to claim it's 100%, but I would guess it's 99.9% good at blocking the fraud you suggest could/would be committed by individual voters in any large sample election (congress/state/prez).

Think about it: to vote, you've generally got to have your name and address on the rolls already, or present some documents to register (where same-day registration is allowed, at least). So you've got to either know some names and addresses of people who haven't voted, or print up some fake documents. Then, the logistics: how many times could one person vote? Two or three times seems do-able, but still some effort involved. What about ten times? If you don't work that day and can drive around to different precincts, it seems possible, but my god that is a highly motivated person.

And the big question: what exactly does that super-motivated fraudster get out of the deal? Two, or three, or ten extra votes for their candidate, in a race likely to be decided by thousands of votes even if it's very close? And what exactly does any one such person stand to gain from the election of one candidate or another? The most motivated would probably be the candidate themselves or their immediate families, but of course they also have the most to lose if the fraud is detected. And most are pretty comfortable and well-off regardless of whether they lose a close, high-profile election.

Smaller sample elections are obviously more subject to this, but I don't think we should base our whole election system on properly electing mayors in 250 population towns. The current system should always be tweaked and tuned, but all this talk of individual voter fraud and voter ID as a "solution" really bugs me.
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