I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It don't count unless it's counted. (Properly, that is)

So you've been reading all the hype about Democrats tying up control of both houses of Congress, right? Just yesterday Ron pointed out how even some of the conservative stalwarts are predicting that the Dems will not only take substantial control of the house but squeeze out a small majority in the Senate. Well, you might want to hold off on opening the champagne for a bit longer.

Over at Hew Hewitt's (R-Mars) ClownHall blog, Dean Barnett is not only predicting that's not true, he's calling for the GOP to sweep all of the races in play.
So what’s it all mean? In the tied races, the Republican will win. In the close races, the Republican will win. It adds up to Republicans running the table in the Senate. That’s right – running the table. Montana, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, New Jersey, Rhode Island (whoopee), and Maryland will all send or re-send Republicans to the Senate. But wait, there’s more! Michigan will send Sheriff Michael Bouchard to the Senate. And in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum is in striking distance.
To make such a bold prediction in the face of polls predicting disaster for the GOP from both sides of the aisle, you must have some sort of reason, eh? To put your name on the line and call the game 72 hours in advance for the Republicans... what does Dean base this on? Let's forget for a moment what the real reason probably is and see what excuse he's cooking up to explain what seems clearly impossible, or at least very unlikely. His story? The polls are just suddenly all wrong since 2004 and that's because Republicans are too busy and intelligent to waste their time talking to pollsters. (No... I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.)
...liberals are bigmouths who can’t wait to share their opinions with strangers. Conservatives have lives.

To take a more serious look at the matter, what the polls measure right now are people passionate or bored enough to spend a half hour talking to a stranger or, worse still, punching buttons on their telephone when prompted to by a recording. Democrats are more likely to tolerate this exercise, just as they were more likely to tolerate the inquisition of an eager grad student as they left the polls on Election Day ’04.

Sure, you could laugh this off as the delusions of a wingnut drunk on the neocon Koolaid, but I think you'd be wrong. Just as we watched in horror as the 2004 results were posted, you need to remember that the voting results don't count until the various boards of elections post the final numbers. You can have the most people supporting you. You can lead in the polls. Hell, you can even get the most votes. But none of that matters unless the official posted numbers show that you won.

There is already once again talk of active GOP movements to supress the vote in largely minority and Democratic areas where key races are being held. The linked article is talking about Pennsylvania. Barett is coming out saying that Santorum could still win. Look at the polls! What kind of loon could think that Santorum stands any sort of chance on Tuesday? Maybe somebody who knows that the final vote count will show Santorum squeaking by regardless of how many people vote for Casey.

In many of these states Republicans still control the state government and appoint the people overseeing the execution of the election. (e.g. how many voting machines get sent out to each district, who "inspects" and prepares the machines, who will be "monitoring" the elections at the various polling places.) Also, more and more states have come on line with electronic voting machines leaving no paper trail, such as those produced by Bush devotee Diebold. In just the last month we've seen multiple reports of these machines being hacked. As I mentioned on Friday, it's already looking very unlikely that the Maryland Senate race will be counted very fairly.

It don't count till it's counted, folks. And frankly, I have no idea what we can do about it. But I'll believe there's a major Democratic mid-term win when I actually see them sworn in next January.

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