2/02/2005

Did Bush Win Wisconsin?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting appalling discrepancies in the voting results for that city.

Record-keeping surrounding the Nov. 2 presidential election in Milwaukee is so flawed that in 17 wards there were at least 100 more votes recorded than people listed by the city as voting there.

In two wards, one on the south side and one on the north side, the gap is more than 500, with fewer than half the votes cast in each ward accounted for in the city's computer system, a Journal Sentinel review has found.

Such gaps were present at different levels in nearly all of the city wards and could hamper the investigation launched last week by federal and local authorities into possible voter fraud by giving an incomplete or inaccurate picture of who actually voted.
Here's the graphic from the Journal Sentinel showing the wards and the discrepancy in each:


(Sorry about the width of the graphic - I know it's wider than the well behind it.)

John Kerry won Wisconsin by 11,813 votes - because he so thoroughly thumped Bush in the city of Milwaukee. The question now is whether or not this widespread more-votes-than-voters problem is simply the result in incompetence, negligence, or if it's an indication of something more sinister.

It's entirely possible that every single overvote in Milwaukee was for George W. Bush, and that a fair an accurate count would double Kerry's margin of victory. No matter what an investigation of the discrepancies uncovers, it won't change the outcome of the election. That does not mean we should simply shrug our shoulders and forget about it.

Vote fraud hurts everyone, not just the candidate on the receiving end of the electoral shaft. It undermines faith in the process, it breeds division and polarization, and it discourages people from taking part the next time around. Why would anyone stand in line for hours to vote if they think there's a fair chance their vote won't count anyway?

Barbara Boxer's tears might have some credibility if she could shed them for every stolen vote, and not just for the ones of which she approves.