“Nothing nefarious” in Prosser’s “win,” says NYTimes’ Nate Silver (typically)

Here Steve Benen, of the Washington Monthly, raises the right questions about Prosser’s sudden “win,” courtesy of Kathy Nickolaus. He finds it noteworthy that Nickolaus “is a

Republican donor who’s been involved in a series of controversial elections, including a ballot mix-up in 2004, sample ballots in 2005 that accidentally told voters who to vote for, a 2007 incident involving touch-screen voting, and perhaps most importantly, a 2002 controversy in which Nickolaus was granted immunity as part of a criminal investigation into Republican misdeeds in the State Assembly. “This is the same Nickolaus who yesterday uncovered a net gain of 7,000 votes for the Republican candidate who was trailing in a closely-watched judicial race.


That’s reasonable, isn’t it? And yet Benen feels compelled to add the following:

“Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, Nate Silver noted that it’s likely nothing nefarious has transpired. The results from Waukesha County were, in fact, unexpectedly low before yesterday, and it appeared that votes had gone uncounted. What’s more, it’s a community in which the GOP dominates, so it stands to reason that when the heretofore missing votes were included, Prosser would be the beneficiary.”

Benen ends by reconfirming that the whole thing is indeed suspicious. As it is–and so’s Nate Silver’s reassuring take on this suspicious contest, because Nate Silver’s always telling us why we should not suspect election fraud; and since he’s now the star election- numbers-cruncher at the New York Times, his blithe view carries quite a lot of weight.

From that exalted perch, he has done much to bolster the exceptionalist fantasy that elections in America are never stolen.

Indeed, according to the seasoned mathematician Richard Charnin, Silver’s methodology is flawed, and, therefore, his numbers often skewed, by his blindness to election fraud, which he has never factored into his analysis. (For example, see http://www.buzzflash.net/story.php?id=1111050.)

And what does Silver say to Charnin’s arguments? He says…. nothing. Although Charnin has tried often to get Silver to respond (and I have tweeted Silver several times to get him

to respond), the Times‘s polling guru has stayed absolutely mum, notwithstanding Charnin’s expertise and vast experience–and, of course, the huge importance of this issue.

He won’t talk about election fraud, except to give us reasons why it hasn’t happened; nor will the New York Times report the evidence that such fraud has occurred. By keeping people in the dark about what’s really going on, such silence makes it that much easier for those who steal elections to keep doing it.

We therefore have a right to know, and Silver is obliged to say, exactly what he thinks about all this, especially now that the Republicans are (clearly) doing everything they can to thwart and further shrink (what’s left of) our democracy.



Political Animal by Steve Benen
April 8, 2011

AS IF WISCONSIN DEMS WEREN’T ANGRY ENOUGH…. As recently as a month ago, the state Supreme Court election in Wisconsin wasn’t expected to be close. But progressive activists, motivated by excessive GOP overreach and attacks on unions, mobilized and mounted a spirited campaign in support of JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Wednesday, it looked as if she’d pulled off a miracle, narrowly defeating conservative Justice David Prosser. Yesterday, the discovery of thousands of votes quickly tilted the race in the other direction.

Read more.

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