Monday, November 19, 2012

Vote Fraud Wasn't Why Romney Kept Getting Zero Votes

Mark Steyn is claiming that Romney got zero votes in many Chicago and Philadelphia precincts because of Democratic vote fraud attempts. If this were true, he'd have far better evidence than he has.

Zeroing out an opposing candidate's votes in a precinct would be the easiest kind of vote fraud strategy to catch. All you'd need is one voter in the precinct to stand up and say, "Hey, I voted for Romney! Why are there zero votes? What happened to my vote?" and then you'd have some evidence that vote fraud had happened. If unrelated people kept saying this across enough zero-vote districts, you'd have really good evidence that fraud had occurred, and the possibility of being exposed in this way gives vote fraudsters a strong disincentive to use tactics of this sort. Steyn has no evidence of any voters from the precincts saying this. But that doesn't stop him from accusing the Democrats of having "over-stolen" the election, and says that "By comparison with Canada, Australia, and most other free societies, the integrity of the American ballot is a joke, and ought to be a source of shame."

Moreover, Steyn commits a well-known statistical fallacy, but I'll leave the explanation to my departmental colleague John Holbo (who mentioned Steyn's post to me on the way to dinner tonight). 
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