Exit Polls to Protect the Vote
by : Martin Plissner
Sunday November 7, 2004 - 22:08
Published: October 17, 2004
WASHINGTON - Since the 1960’s, the exit poll, that staple of election-night television, has been used along with other tools to declare winners when the polls close in each state, and its accuracy is noted later when the actual vote count proves it right. A landmark exception, of course, came in 2000, when the networks initially gave the decisive Florida vote to Al Gore.
But now exit polls are being used in some places to monitor the official vote count itself, either to validate the outcome or to mount a challenge to it.
That has happened in several countries in the last year, and in the United States one organization plans to use exit polls in five closely contested states in November to measure whether there have been impediments to voting.
Last fall, an American firm, whose polling clients have included Al Gore and John Edwards, was hired by some international foundations to conduct an exit poll in the former Soviet republic of Georgia during a parliamentary election. On Election Day, the firm, Global Strategy Group, projected a victory for the main opposition party. When the sitting government counted the votes, however, it announced that its own slate of candidates had won. Supporters of the opposition stormed the Parliament, and the president, Eduard A. Shevardnadze, later resigned under pressure from the United States and Russia.
Bonjour Americans - Wake Up!
In August, exit polling figured in a bitter fight in Venezuela over what amounted to competing landslides for and against a recall of the sitting president, Hugo Chávez, a socialist with ties to Fidel Castro.
The recall’s proponents sponsored an exit poll, supervised by Penn, Schoen & Berland, an American firm whose clients have included Bill Clinton and Michael Bloomberg. Sometime before the polls closed on Aug. 15, Penn, Schoen reported that 59 percent of Venezuelan voters had said yes to throwing the president out of office.
A few hours later, the official count, by an election commission under Mr. Chávez’s control, declared him the winner, with 58 percent of the total. Both the Organization of American States and the Carter Center, the Atlanta-based human rights organization founded by Jimmy Carter, said that their observers had seen no irregularities at the polls. In response to the exit poll, they called for a random audit at selected polling stations and again found nothing suspicious.
Mr. Schoen acknowledged in an interview that the poll’s field workers were recruited by a group that helped organize the recall, but he said the volunteers had been trained to conduct the poll professionally, and that his firm would have no reason to put its reputation at risk by participating in a fraudulent poll. The recall’s supporters continue to believe the election was stolen.
In Afghanistan, ballot counting in last weekend’s presidential election may not be over for a few weeks, and a United Nations panel is investigating claims of irregularities. But a survey of voters leaving the polls projected that Hamid Karzai, the current president, had received enough votes to avoid a runoff. The poll’s sponsor, the International Republican Institute, is a Republican-run, federally financed vehicle for promoting democracy abroad. (The Democrats have one, too.)
Could exit polls also play a role in the American presidential election on Nov. 2? The potential is there.
Votewatch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, plans to conduct exit polls in selected states to monitor election procedures and record impediments to voting, including voting equipment flaws, confusion over ballots and perceived discrimination by polling officials.
Steven Hertzberg, a San Francisco systems engineer who founded Votewatch, said he planned to use volunteers supplied by civic groups like Common Cause, among other recruits, and that they would be trained and supervised by polling professionals.
From its exit polling, Votewatch hopes to go beyond anecdotal indicators and get a measure of how many people encountered which kind of problems, Mr. Hertzberg said.
The group has also decided to ask people whom they voted for, or meant to vote for, to assess whether one candidate’s backers are more affected by irregularities. But Fritz Scheuren, president of the American Statistical Association and a principal adviser to Votewatch, said it was important to note that "we are not competing with the networks, and we don’t want to appear to be."
In any event, its backers say, Votewatch won’t be projecting who will win or lose in November - only the incidence of voting problems that might affect the outcome.
— Martin Plissner, a former CBS News political director, is the author of "The Control Room: How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections."
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESS BIAS, FAKE NEWS, DISHONEST JOURNALISM
Sunday 26 - 17:52by JOHN CHUCKMAN
TWO STATES OR ONE STATE? THE STARK REALITY IS THAT BOTH SOLUTIONS ARE IMPOSSIBL
Wednesday 22 - 18:16by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Open Letter to Australian MPs re Apartheid Israel PM Netanyahu’s Australia visit
Tuesday 21 - 00:18by Dr Gideon Polya
How Eric Arnoux and Fabrice Molinaro target the First Ammendment
Thursday 9 - 18:40by Billy1975
THE CHANCE FOR GREATNESS, BUT IT IS SO EASILY LOST
Saturday 28 - 20:19by JOHN CHUCKMAN
TRUMP: AMERICA’S HITLER
Saturday 28 - 04:07by David R. Hoffman
LUNATIC EXCESSES IN THE WASHINGTON MARCH - WHILE IGNORING MASS MURDER
Monday 23 - 19:19by JOHN CHUCKMAN
JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SO-CALLED DOSSIER
Monday 16 - 15:08by JOHN CHUCKMAN
The Rotten Apple in The Prince’s Crown
Friday 13 - 18:44by RegisFranck
Christophe Mazurier takes part in the Hero World Challenge
Friday 13 - 11:43
OF WIZARDS AND WASHINGTON AND THE DREARY, UNRELENTING REALITY OF AMERICAN POLITI
Thursday 12 - 15:01by JOHN CHUCKMAN
A DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
Monday 9 - 06:23by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Judah Ben Hur, Amb. Republican Candidate for President 2020
Sunday 8 - 15:00by Judah Ben Hur, Amb. Republican Candidate for President 2020
DARK DAY DEMOCRACY: THE ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT
Saturday 7 - 21:41by JACK RANDOM
President Donald Trump and Ambassador Judah Ben Hur
Saturday 7 - 15:04by President Donald Trump and Ambassador Judah Ben Hur
THE INSANE CIRCUS NOW GOING ON IN WASHINGTON – A SAD PARODY OF JOSEPH MCCARTHY
Friday 6 - 17:15by JOHN CHUCKMAN
The New Cultural Frontier as shown by Christophe Mazurier
Tuesday 27 - 14:29
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 – Beginning Of The End For Apartheid Israel?
Monday 26 - 23:37by Dr Gideon Polya
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT...A CONTEMPORARY CHRISTMAS TALE
Saturday 24 - 18:00by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Judicially arraign, try and punish climate criminals for 10 million deaths pa
Thursday 22 - 20:02by Dr Gideon Polya
Australia: the social cost of a cashless economy
Thursday 8 - 18:25by Sarah Jenkins
THE PROFOUND DISAPPOINTMENT OF ANGELA MERKEL
Monday 5 - 17:24by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Modern slaves rebel in rural South Africa and win!
Sunday 27 - 19:18by md
Arrivederci Fidel !!! Hasta la victoria siempre companero !!! (video)
Saturday 26 - 10:48by Roberto Ferrario
INDIANA: STATE OF SADISTIC COWARDICE
Tuesday 22 - 21:26by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Pro-Zionist Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Apartheid Israel’s Palestinian Genocide
Thursday 17 - 00:28by Dr Gideon Polya
Now We Can Finally Get to Work
Sunday 13 - 21:09by David Swanson
AMERICA’S DESCENT INTO FASCISM
Thursday 10 - 23:40by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS ELECTION?
Thursday 10 - 21:28by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Yves Bouvier case shows risks of media abuse
Sunday 6 - 19:56by Bob Boulder
Humane Green Party Dr Jill Stein versus serial war criminal Hillary Clinton
Friday 4 - 21:00by Gideon Polya
Public Apology to Women of the World from The American Republic (Hypatia of Alex
Monday 31 - 15:21by Willam Morgan
YES, THERE WILL BE ELECTION FRAUD, AND ON A GRAND SCALE
Sunday 23 - 18:32by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Hillary Clinton will be first female President 2017
Monday 10 - 17:21by Willam Morgan
Police Shootings: Law, Policy, and Accountability
Thursday 6 - 14:22by William John Cox
AMERICA DESERVES BETTER, BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE WORLD DESERVES BETTER
Thursday 29 - 18:02by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Back to School for Fascist Dupont-Aignan
Thursday 15 - 11:32by Nouveau Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes
The Presidency: Character Matters
Friday 9 - 15:06by William John Cox
WHY HILLARY IS THE PERFECT PERSON TO SECURE OBAMA’S LEGACY
Tuesday 30 - 18:08by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Remake of Ben Hur in 2020 planned by new motion picture studio
Friday 26 - 15:50by Wallace