UC Berkeley Research Team Sounds 'Smoke Alarm' for Florida E-Vote Count

Statistical Analysis - the Sole Method for Tracking E-Voting - Shows

Irregularities May Have Awarded 130,000 - 260,000 or More Excess Votes to Bush

in Florida

Research Team Calls for Investigation

Nov 18, 2004, 00:00 ET from UC Berkeley

    BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the University of
 California's Berkeley Quantitative Methods Research Team released a
 statistical study - the sole method available to monitor the accuracy of e-
 voting - reporting irregularities associated with electronic voting machines
 may have awarded 130,000-260,000 or more excess votes to President George W.
 Bush in Florida in the 2004 presidential election. The study shows an
 unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in counties where
 electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting
 methods - what the team says can be deemed a "smoke alarm." Discrepancies this
 large or larger rarely arise by chance - the probability is less than 0.1
 percent. The research team formally disclosed results of the study at a press
 conference today at the UC Berkeley Survey Research Center, where they called
 on Florida voting officials to investigate.
     The three counties where the voting anomalies were most prevalent were
 also the most heavily Democratic: Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade,
 respectively.   Statistical patterns in counties that did not have e-touch
 voting machines predict a 28,000 vote decrease in President Bush's support in
 Broward County; machines tallied an increase of 51,000 votes - a net gain of
 81,000 for the incumbent. President Bush should have lost 8,900 votes in Palm
 Beach County, but instead gained 41,000 - a difference of 49,900. He should
 have gained only 18,400 votes in Miami-Dade County but saw a gain of 37,000 -
 a difference of 19,300 votes.
     "For the sake of all future elections involving electronic voting -
 someone must investigate and explain the statistical anomalies in Florida,"
 says Professor Michael Hout.  "We're calling on voting officials in Florida to
 take action."
     The research team is comprised of doctoral students and faculty in the UC
 Berkeley sociology department, and led by Sociology Professor Michael Hout, a
 nationally-known expert on statistical methods and a member of the National
 Academy of Sciences and the UC Berkeley Survey Research Center.
     For its research, the team used multiple-regression analysis, a
 statistical method widely used in the social and physical sciences to
 distinguish the individual effects of many variables on quantitative outcomes
 like vote totals.   This multiple-regression analysis takes into account of
 the following variables by county:
     * number of voters
     * median income
     * Hispanic/Latino population
     * change in voter turnout between 2000 and 2004
     * support for Senator Dole in the 1996 election
     * support for President Bush in the 2000 election.
     * use of electronic voting or paper ballots
     "No matter how many factors and variables we took into consideration, the
 significant correlation in the votes for President Bush and electronic voting
 cannot be explained," said Hout.  "The study shows, that a county's use of
 electronic voting resulted in a disproportionate increase in votes for
 President Bush. There is just a trivial probability of evidence like this
 appearing in a population where the true difference is zero - less than once
 in a thousand chances."
     The data used in this study came from public sources including CNN.com,
 the 2000 US Census, and the Verified Voting Foundation.  For a copy of the
 working paper, raw data and other information used in the study can be found
 at:  http://ucdata.berkeley.edu .

SOURCE UC Berkeley