Emphasizing strongly, in response to a reporter's question, that he is "making no accusations" of impropriety on the part of US Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Democratic primary challenger Tim Canova nevertheless has said he would "support" a recount, full or partial, of the ballots in response to evidence found by two US statistics professors that the election may have been "manipulated." Canova mounted a strong challenge against Wasseman-Schultz in which official results show him losing by 13 points. The experts have questioned whether the result was "manipulated."
Canova, a Bernie Sanders protege, challenged Wasserman-Schultz in the Democratic primary this year for her seat representing the Florida 23rd Congressional District. Canova threw down the challenge after it was revealed by emails published by Wikileaks that, as head of the DNC, Wasserman-Schultz used her position to help Hillary Clinton win the nomination over Bernie Sanders.
[Canova, Full Press Conference, National Press Club, October 20, 2016]
Both Broward and Miami-Dade counties utilize vote-scanning machines which automatically take a digital image of each ballot which is fed into the machine, and stores it in a single "zipped" file for each precinct. The zipped files of ballot images could theoretically be requested from the county election offices and counted, without cost to the county or risk to the integrity of the ballots, by any citizen. An Arizona court ruled two weeks ago that such images were part of the "public record."
In a press conference at the National Press Club last Thursday, Canova and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist Lulu Fries'dat explained the findings of a team of statisticians, who found that Canova did markedly better in districts in Florida where the ballots were hand-counted versus the districts where they are counted by machine. The team concluded that the vote count may have been manipulated, and that a full or partial recount was in order.
At Fries'dat's website Holler Back, the team concluded:
“We have to find a way to find out if they were manipulated, and that requires a recount, of at least a sample of locations.”
The technical portion of the press conference was delivered largely by Lulu Fries'dat.
Fries'dat dove into somewhat nuanced details of the mathematics involved in the findings, which were a corroboration of experts which included Elizabeth Clarkson, professor of statistics at Wichita State University in Kansas and Fritz Scheuren, on the statistics faculty at George Washington University. Dr. Scheuren previously served as the 100th president of the American Statistical Association.
At a national integrity conference in Richmond, California this month, activists announced that they had found a feature in nearly half of US voting systems which automatically created a ballot image. The activists, under the umbrella name the California Election Integrity Coalition, are urging citizens to contact election commissioners, especially in certain states, and to request the ballot images from past and upcoming elections. These states are Penn., Florida, Georgia,
Colorado, Iowa, Michigan NV, NC, Virginia, NY, Ohio, AL, WV, MS, TX, WI, CT.
The images are stored for each precinct in a "zipped" file, and transfered onto a thumb drive, a CD, or linked as a download.
The object would be to involve the citizenry more closely in the monitoring and verification of its election processes, in order to build trust in the election process.
About 40% of election jurisdictions use a vote tabulating machine which automatically generates a digitized image of all the ballots fed into the machine. These include Broward County and Miami-Dade County. The 23rd congressional district in Florida incorporates parts of both. The Broward County elections office is led by Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Calhoun Snipes. In Miami-Dade, the head elections official is Supervisor Christina White.
In related news, an Arizona court ruled earlier this month that ballot images are part of the public record.
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