Democracy in Name But Not in Practice: Election Fraud & Voter Suppression in the 2020 Democratic Primary

DNC chair Tom Perez.

Very few media outlets have covered the topic of voter suppression throughout the 2020 Democratic Primary, and it’s understandable why they choose to avoid it. It’s a tenuous subject that is prone to attacks from all camps. The United States of America relies on its identity as a democratic country, and calling said identity into question is not only uncomfortable for voters, but shakes the foundation of all decision-making, both federally and globally. When a citizen casts a vote, the assumption is that their vote counts like all the others, and that this is—as is specified in the actual definition of “democracy”—a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. And yet, there are too many signs of malfaisance that have swiftly formed into a pattern.

After two months of primaries, it has become irresponsible not to start this discussion. That said, it is equally irresponsible to outright claim that the contest is rigged. The fact of the matter is that, because the Democratic National Committee is a private institution, we will likely never have enough data to substantiate the claim whether or not the 2020 race has been rigged from the start. It’s a step too far, and does not appropriately credit the propaganda-driven establishment outposts known as CNN and MSNBC that have shaped the Trump narrative for almost 4 years.

That exceedingly histrionic narrative has emphasized this notion of “electability,” which, oddly enough, has had little connection to favorability (a contest that Senator Bernie Sanders has been winning). Between the Iowa caucus and Mini Tuesday (also known as Super Tuesday 2), CNN negatively covered Sanders 3.26 times more than former Vice President Joe Biden. In a similar vein, MSNBC’s 24-hour news cycle laid the groundwork for a Democratic candidate like Biden: one who perfectly embodies the antidote to Trump’s lack of civility. This narrative, as The Hill’s Krystal Ball puts it, claims that “American rot begins and ends with the person of Donald Trump […] so if we just get rid of the villain, good times will return, right?”

Since Biden does not stand for anything concrete other than a return to the days before Trump, the corporatist-civility-candidacy of Joe Biden presents the perfect unity between Hillary Democrats and Never-Trumpers. And after the consolidation of the Democratic Primary race merely 48 hours ahead of the Super Tuesday, the DNC made it clear which candidate they would need as their nominee so that “nothing would fundamentally change.”

In all the 2020 Democratic primaries researched, Sanders’ computer vote counts were always significantly below the exit polls. Biden’s counts, on the other hand, always went up above the exit polls, except in New Hampshire. The only candidate who went up in New Hampshire was Buttigieg.

What these comparisons show is that there are troubling discrepancies between exit polls and vote counts by computer. The question is why do these discrepancies always favor the DNC? If the discrepancies were random, they would randomly favor Sanders and Biden at nearly equal rates.  But they are not random. The DNC’s candidate always gains in the counting. And that is highly suspicious.

Not only have exit polls been way off, but Bernie Sanders has won the popular vote in every single caucus state where votes are hand-counted except one: Iowa, Nevada, and North Dakota. American Samoa, the only caucus Bernie didn’t win; went to fellow progressive Tulsi Gabbard. Bernie had won Washington, Maine, and Wyoming by double digit landslides against Hillary Clinton in 2020 when they were each still caucus states; after switching to primary systems with machine-counted ballots in 2020, he lost Washington and Maine by slim margins and Wyoming by a whopping 45 points against Joe Biden.

One might also point out that in the Super Tuesday vote, there were 14 states.  All of the results in which Biden won were fully reported within days of the election.  But in the three in which Sanders won – California, Utah, and Colorado – the final results were still unreported over a week later.  This made it appear that Sanders was further behind than actually true by the time Super Tuesday II rolled around. That probably encouraged voters to choose Biden as the leading candidate.

TDMS Research did similar research in 2016.  The result was that Clinton generally went up and Sanders down.   We’re just having a repeat of 2016.  The criticisms of these results don’t hold water.  Even if there are mistakes, why do all the mistakes favor the persons who oppose Sanders?

In 2016, TDMS wrote the following:

“In the US, citizens attempting to independently verify the computerized vote counts predominantly rely on exit polls as the means to ascertain the correctness of the unverified computer vote count. USAID in their 2015 booklet “Assessing and Verifying Election Results” stated “[e]xit polls are powerful analytical tools … [a] discrepancy between the votes reported by voters and official results may suggest that results have been manipulated, but it does not prove this to be the case.”

“Although the focus of this report is on the discrepancies between the exit polls and the computerized vote counts, it must be mentioned that other researchers have analyzed the 2016 Democratic Party primaries from related perspectives and their results are not reassuring.  Axel Geijsel (Tilburg University, Netherlands) with Rodolfo Cortes Barragan (Stanford University), for example, recently released their working paper on 22 states with votes backed by a paper trail versus 14 states that did not.  They found that States with a paper trail yielded higher support for Sanders (51%) than Clinton (49%).  States without a paper trail yielded higher support for Clinton (64%) than Sanders (35%).”

There will be no need for tinfoil hats; what we will look at is the pattern of attempts to suppress votes over the last 2 months. Why? Because this is supposed to be a democratic contest. Because this suppression is disproportionately affecting young voters, low-income voters, and voters of color. And because suppressing these demographics hurts one candidate in particular.

Senator Bernie Sanders

Iowa

Those who followed the Iowa Caucus will remember the Iowa Democratic Party’s disastrous mobile app that produced inaccurate electoral results. Developed by a for-profit tech firm (aptly) named Shadow, Inc., the app’s voting data matched neither the Iowa polls nor the Sanders campaign’s internal data from that night. To those who supported the Sanders campaign in 2016, the inaccuracy was foreboding. Equally concerning was that with 0% of the results having been reported, then-Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg had already claimed a victory for his campaign:

Pete Buttigieg Official Twitter account.

As more news trickled in, we learned that not only was the app run by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but also that seven different Democratic or advocacy campaigns contributed $153,768 to the tech firm last year. Among the contributors were Joe Biden and, notably, Pete Buttigieg, whose campaign made a $42,500 contribution to the app. The Buttigieg campaign claimed that it had supposedly made the contribution to use the app’s text messaging tool. Since her loss in 2016, Hillary Clinton has been incredibly vocal about her disdain for Bernie Sanders; her campaign’s connection to the app, which was reported to be inadequately tested, is definitely suspicious. Though chaotic, this incident alone was not enough to make the case that the Democratic Party was distorting election results. Sheer incompetence is the simpler answer. Regardless, we can accurately affirm that the Shadow, Inc. app developers were firmly entrenched in the Democratic establishment, and that itself raises some red flags. To its credit, however, the Sanders campaign seemed prepared for this disaster in that it had developed its own app that would allow Precinct Captains to track down the votes in case the official results proved to be inaccurate.

“When you do turn out, you should not be waiting three, four, seven hours in order to vote.”

— Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Texas

The 2020 Texas Democratic Party presidential primary was held on March 3, 2020. Election results from the computerized vote counts differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. According to the exit poll Sanders was tied with Biden but lost in the unobservable computer counts by 4.5%.

In the late hours of Super Tuesday, exit polls ostensibly showed that Biden and Sanders were neck and neck, each with 34% of the vote. But when the votes were finally counted, Sanders dropped down to 30%, and the combined discrepancies between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Biden at 4.4% significantly  exceeded the 2.9% exit poll margin of error for the exit poll difference between the two. In this election candidate Sanders saw the largest discrepancy between the exit poll and computer vote counts. His projected vote proportion fell 4% in the vote counts—an 12% reduction of his exit poll share. The discrepancies between Sanders and Bloomberg at 4.9% was double their respective margin of error.

Just as in the Iowa caucus, the irregularity in the electoral process worked significantly against Sanders, whereas the discrepancies of data for other candidates remained well below the 2.9% threshold. After a week of pro-Biden media narratives, a Dallas County Elections Administrator reported that her county office failed to count 44 thumb drives of voting data, which made up roughly 10% of the votes in polling location sites in Dallas, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Mesquite and Rowlett. Yet again, the argument that introducing new technology into the voting process backfired remains valid. And yet, these mistakes seem to affect Sanders more than the other Democratic candidates. What’s more, voter suppression in Black and Latino neighborhoods was rampant. From the 3-7-hour lineups to vote to the actual closing of stations in areas with traditionally higher turnout from minorities, poor people, and young people, it’s clear whose voices matter most to the DNC.

Super Tuesday fury as ‘thousands of voters’ in black and Latino neighbourhoods forced to queue for hours in Texas

There is good reason to believe that the exit poll just prior to publishing showed a Sanders win in Texas.

As explained by Joe Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Media Research in a 2016 interview with The Washington Post, as soon as polls close in a state Edison Research alters the exit poll in accordance with incoming vote counts. They are hired by the networks to predict the winners and losers in an election as soon as possible and to provide the proportion and voting patterns of various demographics and their views on topics of interest. The incoming vote counts are useful to them to better predict the results of the unobservable computer counts. They were not hired to ascertain their accuracy.

Texas as in a few other states such as New Hampshire and Florida have the great majority of the state’s polls closing an hour earlier than the remainder. This is great for Edison Research because they can use that hour’s access to the tabulating votes from much of the state to adjust their exit poll prior to first publishing after all polls close in those states. In Texas, as the final vote count shows, candidate Sanders was losing the state and they likely used these results to downgrade a Sanders win to a tie with Biden in their first published exit poll.  Edison Research and or the major networks with access to this unpublished poll would be able to confirm if it indeed showed a Sander’s win and by how much.

[1] Exit poll (EP) downloaded from CNN’s website by TDMS on election night, March 3, 2020 at 9:03 PM ET. Candidates’ exit poll percentage/proportion derived from the gender category. Number of EP respondents: 3,130. As this first published exit poll was subsequently adjusted towards conformity with the final computerized vote count, the currently published exit poll differs from the exit poll used here and available through the link below.

[2] Candidates’ percentage/proportion of the total computer-generated vote counts derived from reported counts (94% reporting) updated on March 6, 2020 and published by The New York Times. Total number of voters: 3,290,429

[3] The difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate (subtracting values in column two from the values in column three). A positive value indicates the candidate did better and received a greater share of the total reported count than projected by the exit poll. For example, as candidate Sanders, reported percentage/proportion of the total vote decreased by 4% compared to his exit poll share this value is negative.

[4] This column shows the percentage increase or decrease from the candidate’s exit poll projection (difference in column four divided by exit poll proportion in column two).  Shown, to simplify the table, only for candidates with greater than 4% share in the exit poll.

[5] This column presents a distinct Margin of Error (95% CI) for the exit poll (EP) differences between candidate Biden and Bloomberg versus each of the other candidate’s EP results. This margin of error (MOE), for example, between Biden and Sanders is 2.9% and the MOE between Bloomberg and Sanders is 2.3%.  For simplicity MOE only shown for candidates with greater than 4% share in the EP.  As this election involves multiple candidates the common method of ascertaining an MOE of the poll and then doubling it to see if the difference between two candidates is significant is replaced by a more appropriate method that directly calculates a distinct MOE for the difference between any two paired candidates.

[6] The discrepancies between the exit poll and the reported computer-generated vote counts comparing candidates Biden and Bloomberg with each of the other candidates (subtracting each candidate’s difference between exit poll and computer count from Biden’s difference of 0.3% and in a separate column from Bloomberg’s difference of 1.0%. If the MOE is greater than the discrepancy it the discrepancy is not significant as it can be explained by the MOE. Conversely if the MOE is smaller then it cannot explain the discrepancy and another explanation is required. As shown in the table the combined discrepancies between Warren and Biden and separately between Warren and Blomberg are smaller than their respective MOEs and thus not significant.  The combined discrepancies between Sanders and Biden and separately between Sanders and Blomberg are significant and cannot be explained by their respective MOEs.

Download: Texas 2020 Democratic Party Primary Exit Poll. Published by CNN at poll’s closing on election night.

Massachusetts

Just as in Texas, election results from the digital vote counts deviated significantly from the exit poll results conducted by Edison Research. The difference in Massachusetts is that Sanders is not the only candidate to have had an abnormal discrepancy in results. Both he and Elizabeth Warren suffered a 3.8 and 3.7 difference respectively. Moreover, the exit polls showed that Biden had garnered 28.9% of the vote, but after counting, Biden’s results had jumped 4.7% to a total of 33.5%. These differences represent a phenomenal swing of 8.4% between Biden and both Sanders and Warren. Since exit polls are widely recognized to act as a safety measure for checking the validity of vote counts, these discrepancies are concerning.

The 2020 Massachusetts Democratic Party presidential primary was held on March 3, 2020. Election results from the computerized vote counts differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. As in the 2016 Massachusetts primary between candidates Sanders and Clinton, disparities greatly exceed the exit poll’s margin of error. Sanders won Massachusetts in the exit poll and lost it in the computer count.

The discrepancies between the exit poll and the vote count for Sanders and Biden totaled 8.4%— double the 4.0% margin of error (95% CI) for their exit poll differences. Warren’s and Biden’s discrepancies also totaled 8.4%, again double the margin of error (95% CI) for their exit poll differences. . These discrepancies replicate the total discrepancy of 8.0% favoring Clinton in the 2016 Massachusetts Democratic Party primary between her and Sanders. This time two progressive candidates exhibit the same discrepancies now favoring Biden representing the establishment’s choice.

Presidential candidates Biden’s and Bloomberg’s vote counts exhibited the largest disparity from their exit poll projections. Biden’s unobservable computer-generated vote totals represented a 16.2% increase of his projected exit poll share. Given the 1,397,222 voters (97% reporting to date) in this election, he gained approximately 65,200 more votes than projected by the exit poll. Bloomberg increased his vote share by 29% and approximately 36,900 more votes than projected. Their gain came largely at the expense of candidates Sanders and Warren whose combined vote counts were 104,300 less than projected by the exit poll.

Noteworthy is the fact that the 2016 Massachusetts Republican Party exit poll taken at the same time and at the same precincts as the Democratic Party primary, and also with a crowded field of five candidates, was matched almost perfectly by the computer count—varying by less than one percent for each candidate.

[1] Exit poll (EP) downloaded from CNN’s website by TDMS on election night, March 3, 2020 at 8:00 PM. Candidates’ exit poll percentage/proportion derived from the gender category. Number of EP respondents: 1,394. As this first published exit poll was subsequently adjusted towards conformity with the final computerized vote count, the currently published exit poll differs from the results above.

[2] Candidates’ percentage/proportion of the total computer-generated vote counts derived from reported counts (97% reporting) updated on March 8, 2020 and published by The New York Times. Total number of voters: 1,397,222

[3] The difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate (subtracting values in column two from the values in column three). A positive value indicates the candidate did better and received a greater share of the total reported count than projected by the exit poll. For example, candidate Biden, reported percentage/proportion of the total vote increased by 4.7% compared to his exit poll share.

[4] This column shows the percentage increase or decrease from the candidate’s exit poll projection (difference in column four divided by exit poll proportion in column two).  Shown only for candidates with 4% or more share in the exit poll.

[5] This column presents a distinct Margin of Error (MOE) of the exit poll (EP) differences between candidate Biden and each of the other candidate’s EP results. The MOE , for example, between Biden and Sanders is 4.0% and the MOE between Biden and Warren is 3.9%.  For simplicity MOE not shown for candidates with less than 4% share in the EP.

[6] The disparities between the exit poll and the reported computer-generated vote counts comparing Biden and each of the other candidates (subtracting each candidate’s difference between exit poll and computer count from Biden’s difference of 4.7%.). Disparities for candidates Sanders and Warren are double their respective MOE. For example, candidate Biden’s unverified computerized vote count exceeded his EP projected vote proportion by 4.7% while Sander’s computerized count understated his EP projected vote proportion by 3.8% for at total discrepancy of 8.4%. This 8.4% disparity, greatly exceeding the 4.0% margin of error based on their exit poll proportions, is statistically significant and it cannot be explained by the MOE.

Download: Massachusetts 2020 Democratic Party Primary Exit Poll. Published by CNN at poll’s closing on election night.

Vermont

The Vermont primary is a slightly different case, as the discrepancies between exit polls and electoral results did not disproportionately affect the winner of the race. It is a case worth noting, though, both because these discrepancies are higher than in other the primaries and because the results in Vermont demonstrate yet again how easy it is to commit fraud with digital votingAccording to exit polls, Sanders had a firm command of 57% of the vote in his home state, while Biden had 17%. Biden was never going to win in Vermont, but he was however quite close to being below the 15% threshold and therefore at risk of receiving zero delegates from the state. The reported vote count, by contrast, showed Sanders to have fallen by 6.3% to a nonetheless commanding lead of 50.7% and Biden to have risen 4.5% to a safe 22% of the votes—a 26.1% increase of his exit poll share, which represents a massive swing for Joe Biden with an exit poll share of 17% and in danger of receiving 0 delegates (if his vote count fell below 15%)..

The 2020 Vermont Democratic Party presidential primary was held on March 3, 2020. Election results from the computerized vote counts differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. In this Vermont election, candidate Sanders saw the largest discrepancy between the exit poll and computer vote counts. His projected vote proportion fell 6.3% in the vote counts—an 11% reduction of his exit poll share. In candidate Sanders’ home state, the combined disparities between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Biden at 10.8% was double the 5.4% margin of error (95% CI) for the exit poll difference between the two and exhibited the largest disparity of the 14 primary states that voted to date and for which an exit poll was conducted.

Vermont 2020 Primary Table

[1] Exit poll (EP) downloaded from CNN’s website by TDMS on election night, March 3, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET. Candidates’ exit poll percentage/proportion derived from the gender category. Number of EP respondents: 781. As this first published exit poll was subsequently adjusted towards conformity with the final computerized vote count, the currently published exit poll differs from the exit poll used here and available through the link below.

[2] Candidates’ percentage/proportion of the total computer-generated vote counts derived from reported counts (100% reporting) updated on March 7, 2020 and published by The New York Times. Total number of voters: 157,707

[3] The difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate (subtracting values in column two from the values in column three). A positive value indicates the candidate did better and received a greater share of the total reported count than projected by the exit poll. For example, as candidate Sanders, reported percentage/proportion of the total vote decreased by 6.3% compared to his exit poll share this value is negative.

[4] This column shows the percentage increase or decrease from the candidate’s exit poll projection (difference in table column four divided by exit poll proportion in column two).  Shown, to simplify the table, only for candidates with greater than 4% share in the exit poll.

[5] This column presents a distinct Margin of Error (MOE) for the exit poll (EP) differences between candidate Biden versus each of the other candidate’s EP results. This MOE, for example, between Biden and Sanders is 5.4%. For simplicity MOE only shown for candidates with greater than 4% share in the EP.  As this election involves multiple candidates the common method of ascertaining an MOE of the poll and then doubling it to see if the difference between two candidates is significant is replaced by a more appropriate method that directly calculates a distinct MOE for the difference between any two paired candidates.

[6] The discrepancies between the exit poll and the reported computer-generated vote counts comparing candidate Biden with each of the other candidates (subtracting each candidate’s difference between exit poll and computer count from Biden’s difference of 4.5%. If the MOE is greater than the discrepancy the discrepancy is not significant as it can be explained by the MOE. Conversely if the MOE is smaller then it cannot explain the discrepancy and another explanation is required. As shown in the table the combined discrepancies between Biden and Sanders at 10.8%, doubling the MOE and thus highly significant, cannot be explained by their MOE. Another explanation is required.

Download: Vermont 2020 Democratic Party Primary Exit Poll. Published by CNN at poll’s closing on election night.

California

Similar to the Vermont primary, the discrepancy between exit polls and electoral results showed that Sanders’ commanding lead diminished, which allowed Biden to pick up more delegates than was predicted. For Sanders, the discrepancy was a loss of 4.2%. For Biden, it was a gain of 3.5%. According to analyst Theodore de Macedo Soares, the reason for these discrepancies may be because of the sheer volume of mail-in ballots. As the Secretary of State’s website notes, “[i]n processing vote-by-mail ballots [and provisional ballots], elections officials must confirm each voter’s registration status, verify each voter’s signature on the vote-by-mail envelope, and ensure each person did not vote elsewhere in the same election before the ballot can be counted.” Due to the finickiness of this process, any slight errors could potentially mean that hundreds of thousands of ballots were not counted. Alone, the errors demonstrate how stark flaws of the voting process. Combined with the other strange incidents in the Democratic primary, they contribute to a broader trend of undemocratic activity.

Election results from the computerized vote counts of the 2020 California Democratic Party presidential primary differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. According to the exit poll Sanders won big in CA (by 15%). The unobservable computer counts cut his lead by half (to 7.3%). In the total delegate count to date, substituting the estimated California and Texas exit poll delegate apportionments for the apportionments derived from the computer counts, results in candidate Sanders currently leading candidate Biden by 42 delegates instead of trailing by 45. The possibility exists that massive voter suppression is currently occurring during the extended unfinished count of California ballots.

The combined discrepancies between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Biden currently totals 7.7%; more than double the 3.1% margin of error for the exit poll difference between the two. Warren’s and Biden’s discrepancies totals 5.6%, double the 2.5% margin of error. All margin of errors calculated at 95% confidence interval (CI).  See table note 5.  Values greater than the margin of error are considered statistically significant. The discrepancies in favor of Biden in California as in many of the other states to date, substantially exceed the margin of error at 99% (CI).

The discrepancies between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Bloomberg totals 6.7%; more than double the 2.6% margin of error for the exit poll difference between the two. Warren’s and Bloomberg’s discrepancies totals 4.6%, about double the 2.1% margin of error. To date, California computers totaled 250,600 less votes for Sanders and Warren than projected by the exit polls and 236,700 more votes for Biden and Bloomberg.

The discrepancies between the exit polls’ projections of each candidate’s vote share and the vote shares derived from unobservable computer counts have a considerable impact on the apportionment of delegates to each candidate. The apportionment of delegates is, after all, the main reason for these state primaries.

The current (3/9/2020) apportionment of California delegates, in accordance with the computer counts, stands at 185 for Sanders and 143 for Biden. (These numbers will change in the following days). The estimate derived from the exit polls calculates to 207 delegates for Sanders and 122 for Biden.  In Texas, computer counts resulted in 90 delegates for Sanders and 102 for Biden.  Sanders’ Texas’ exit poll estimates at 121 delegates for Sanders and 71 for Biden.  Substituting California and Texas exit polls’ estimated delegate count for the computer derived counts results in Sanders leading the current delegate count by 543 to 501 for Biden.

A week after Super Tuesday’s elections, the California vote count stands at 89% completed according to the NYT and 70% according to CNN. California’s website for the Secretary of State (SOS) provides a link to a PDF estimate of 3 million votes remaining uncounted between March 4-6. Almost all are mail-in ballots and provisional votes. The SOS website states:  “In processing vote-by-mail ballots [and provisional ballots], elections officials must confirm each voter’s registration status, verify each voter’s signature on the vote-by-mail envelope, and ensure each person did not vote elsewhere in the same election before the ballot can be counted.” At the end of this examination and final count, the main question that the SOS must answer is how many of these votes were not counted—100,000, 200,000, half a million or much less?

By all accounts so called “voter fraud,” when a voter votes more than once in an election, is exceedingly rare. Anecdotally, I recall reading news of only one prosecution for such fraud. The second question that the SOS must answer is how many mail-in and provisional voters they positively identified as having voted twice in this election?

The third question that must be answered is how many votes were not counted because of some variation between the signature on the ballot and the voter registration form. As there is, to my knowledge, literally no evidence that “voter fraud” exists beyond single numbers in the U.S. the answers to these questions will determine if the office of California’s Secretary of State is participating in massive voter suppression.

[1] Exit poll (EP) downloaded from CNN’s website by TDMS on election night, March 3, 2020 at 11:00 PM ET. Candidates’ exit poll percentage/proportion derived from the gender category. Number of EP respondents: 2,350. As this first published exit poll was subsequently adjusted towards conformity with the final computerized vote count, the currently published exit poll differs from the exit poll used here and available through the link below.

[2] Candidates’ percentage/proportion of the total computer-generated vote counts derived from reported counts (94% reporting) updated on March 6, 2020 and published by The New York Times. Total number of voters: 3,290,429

[3] The difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate (subtracting values in column two from the values in column three). A positive value indicates the candidate did better and received a greater share of the total reported count than projected by the exit poll. For example, candidate Biden, reported percentage/proportion of the total vote increased by 4.5% compared to his exit poll share.

[4] This column shows the percentage increase or decrease from the candidate’s exit poll projection (difference in column four divided by exit poll proportion in column two).  Shown only for candidates with 4% or more share in the exit poll.

[5] This column presents a distinct Margin of Error (MOE) of the exit poll (EP) for the differences between candidate Biden and each of the other candidate’s EP results. The exit poll MOE, for example, between Biden and Sanders is 4.0% and the MOE between Biden and Warren is 3.9%.  For simplicity MOE not shown for candidates with less than 4% share in the EP.

[6] The disparities between the exit poll and the reported computer-generated vote counts comparing Biden and each of the other candidates (subtracting each candidate’s difference between exit poll and computer count from Biden’s difference of 4.5%.). Disparities for candidates Sanders and Warren are double their respective MOE. For example, candidate Biden’s unverified computerized vote count exceeded his EP projected vote proportion by 4.5% while Sander’s computerized count understated his EP projected vote proportion by 3.7% for at total discrepancy of 8.2%. This 8.2% disparity, greatly exceeding the statistical 4.0% margin of error based on their exit poll proportions, is significant as it cannot be attributed to the MOE.

[i] Delegates are usually apportioned by a mix: delegates from the proportions of votes at the congressional district level and the proportions at the state level. Examination of the data indicated this fact not significant in estimating delegate apportionment using exit poll vote shares. As only two candidates received 100% of delegates in CA, their computer vote proportions of 33.8% for Sanders to 26.5% for Biden were transformed to total 100%, keeping their vote proportion ratios they became 56% Sanders, 44% Biden. Sanders’ assigned 185 delegates was divided by his 56% share to determine number of delegates per percentage of vote share—3.30 delegates per percentage point. The same approach with Biden’s assigned 143 delegates resulted in 3.25 delegates per percentage point. As these numbers were virtually identical, varying by less than 0.05, the mix of delegate sources had no significant effect.

The exit poll shares (38% for Sanders and 23% for Biden) were transformed to total 100% keeping their exit poll ratios: 63% Sanders, 37% Biden). These transformed shares were then multiplied by the votes per share times 100 to arrive at 207 delegates for Sanders and 122 for Biden (totaling 329 delegates, and due to rounding almost exactly equaling the 328 total delegates assigned by the vote count). Similar calculations were performed for the Texas primary. This detailed procedure should be enough to duplicate by others and an Excel worksheet is available upon request.

Download: California 2020 Democratic Party Primary Exit Poll. Published by CNN at poll’s closing on election night.

Exclusive: AOC blames Bernie’s lackluster performance on voter suppression

Michigan

While it’s clear that the increase in youth voting for which the Sanders campaign had hoped has not in fact materialized, it’s crucial to remark upon the difference in wait-times between polling stations in middle class suburban areas and polling stations on campuses. Just as in Texas, student polling stations in Michigan have consistently been too small and too understaffed to handle the high volume of students lining up to vote. In a state in which thousands more young people are attending Bernie Sanders’ rallies in 2020 than in 2016, the youth vote should have increased rather than have mostly stayed the same. But it’s clear that although the youth turnout has been higher, even if the number recorded votes has not changed. The stagnation is unsurprising when considering how many young people wanted to vote, but could not due to the long lineups. The generational divide in the Democratic primary race has increasingly become evident: in Michigan, Sanders has 76% of support from voters aged 18 to 29 and 52% of support from voters aged between 30 to 44. If the DNC wants Biden to be their nominee, then it makes perfect sense that they would suppress the votes of young people.

Election results from the computerized vote counts of the 2020 Michigan Democratic Party presidential primary differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. The large discrepancies greatly exceeded the margin of error for the exit poll projected differences between candidates. In this election candidate Sanders underperformed his exit poll projected proportions by 15.4%. Sanders consequently received 105,000 less votes than projected while others (mainly Biden and Bloomberg) received 111,000 more than projected by the exit poll. Of concern is Michigan’s destruction of the ballot images, that could have been used to greatly facilitate a recount, that were created by their scanners for their counts. This destruction appears to violate both federal and state laws.

This large vote shift is made more remarkable by the fact that Edison Research had almost an hour’s access to Michigan’s rapidly accumulating vote totals from almost the entirety of the state that closed an hour earlier than the small sliver in the central time zone, to alter, as is their normal practice, the exit poll to conform to the vote totals. After this hour’s adjustments the exit poll used herein was published. Undoubtedly candidate’s Sanders exit poll proportion was much larger than the proportion first published and Biden’s much less. Conceivably, given the large discrepancy remaining after alteration, the pre-adjusted original exit poll may have shown a Sanders’ win.

The same can be said for Sanders’ and Biden’s vote-count-adjusted exit polls for Texas, New Hampshire, and next Tuesday, Florida.  Unless Edison or others release the unadjusted exit polls for these and other states with dual time zones, U.S. citizens will never know the original exit poll’s projected proportions of votes for each candidate. This is unfortunate as these same citizens will also never know with any degree of certainty the actual proportion of votes cast for each candidate as they were counted by unobservable computers.

In Michigan, the combined discrepancies between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Biden totaled 7.5%, much larger than the 4.6% margin of error for the exit poll difference between the two. These same discrepancies between Sanders and Bloomberg totaled 10.2% about four times the margin of error at 2.5%.  The discrepancies in favor of Biden and Bloomberg substantially exceed the margin of error at 99% (CI).

Many states, such as Michigan, use scanners to make images of the ballot that are then counted by computers. Approximately 80% of U.S. jurisdictions use such image-creating scanners. These images easily aggregated and disseminated would immensely facilitate recounts. According to trusted sources Michigan’s Secretary of State ordered all precincts to disable the default setting in the machines to save these images.

The reason given is that such image retention would pose a delay in the processing of votes and that the paper ballots are a sufficient record. All federal-election materials are required under federal and state laws to be preserved for at least 22 months. As it is the images and not the actual ballots that were counted, their destruction appears to violate federal and state laws.

Inquiries may be made to Michigan’s Secretary of State. For the important elections occurring next Tuesday, particularly in Florida, with dual time zones and less reliable exit polls resulting from the incorporation of Florida’s machine counts, inquiries may be made to the Secretary of State of these and other states.

Although the retention of such images is invaluable in facilitating recounts, in practice the only count that really matters is the first one. As in all other major democracies this first count, if the U.S. wishes to engender trust in its elections, must be done by hand.

[1] Exit poll (EP) downloaded from CNN’s website by TDMS on election night, March 10, 2020 at 9:00 PM ET. Candidates’ exit poll percentage/proportion derived from the gender category. Number of EP respondents: 1,685. Exit poll proportions rounded to nearest integer as appropriate for data derived from whole integers. As this first published exit poll was subsequently adjusted towards conformity with the final computerized vote count, the currently published exit poll differs from the exit poll used here and available through the link below.

[2] Candidates’ percentage/proportion of the total computer-generated vote counts derived from reported counts (99% reporting). Published by The New York Times. Total number of voters: 1,585,360.

[3] The difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate (subtracting values in column two from the values in column three). A positive value indicates the candidate did better and received a greater share of the total reported count than projected by the exit poll. For example, candidate Sanders, reported percentage/proportion of the total vote decreased by 6.6% compared to his exit poll share.

[4] This column shows the percentage increase or decrease from the candidate’s exit poll projection (difference in column four divided by exit poll proportion in column two). This value is used to show how many more or less votes the candidate received than projected by the exit poll. Shown only for candidates with 4% or more share in the exit poll.

[5] This column presents a distinct Margin of Error (MOE) of the exit poll (EP) for the differences between candidate Biden and each of the other candidate’s EP results. The exit poll MOE, for example, between Biden and Sanders is 4.6%.  For simplicity MOE not shown for candidates with less than 4% share in the EP.

[6] The disparities between the exit poll and the reported computer-generated vote counts comparing Biden and Bloomberg with each of the other candidates (subtracting each candidate’s difference between exit poll and computer count from Biden’s and Bloomberg’s differences of 0.9% and 3.6% respectively. Disparities between Sanders and Biden are much larger than their MOE. Between Bloomberg and Sanders, they are four times their MOE. These disparities are significant as they cannot be attributed to the MOE.

Download: Michigan 2020 Democratic Party Primary Exit Poll. Published by CNN at poll’s closing on election night.

MOE (95% CI) was calculated according to multinomial formula in:  Franklin, C. The ‘Margin of Error’ for Differences in Polls. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. October 2002, revised February 2007. Available at:  https://abcnews.go.com/images/PollingUnit/MOEFranklin.pdf

NPR via Getty Images

All of the “errors” we have seen in the last few months have benefited either Biden or Buttigieg. In the end, however, no good will come from speculation unless we can substantiate it with proper evidence. For one, the data available merely suggests that what could be happening constitutes electoral fraud, but it is highly unlikely that the Democratic parties, statewide and national, will release the data necessary to make such a claim with certainty. That being said, we all need to be critically vigilant. What we also know is that voter suppression is happening in low-income areas and that Sanders’ exit poll results and electoral results do not match by significant margins. There is a clear pattern of inconsistencies between exit polls and electoral results that have routinely undermined Bernie Sanders. Voter suppression may even be worse during the general election if we do not address this issue. A separate, independent institution should be put in charge of the electoral process, because it’s possible—probable, even—that the DNC is operating within the law in its attempt to block Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination. But that should be all the more concerning for anyone who presupposes that each voter matters and that each vote is weighted equally.

*In the interest of article length,the state primaries of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and California were not discussed. Though suspicious discrepancies did occur in these races, none of them grossly affected the ranking of the candidates


*This article was expanded from original source published at Graphite Publications.


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