Exit Pollsters In Swing States Seek Volunteers
An independent effort led by noted academics is planning exit polls in Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania to verify the official vote count.
Editor's note: this effort is seeking volunteers to help with polling voters on November 4.
Most of you reading this message are well aware of precipitous trends in America, and also that a key reason for why we're on the edge is the corruption of our electoral processes. But most Americans, and even many of you, still have no idea of the extent to which they are corrupted. Despite rude awakenings in several recent Novembers, the relentless fictions propounded by both major political parties, the media and other purported guardians of the system has lulled America back to into a stupor. As a nation, we continue to view the spectacle of electoral politics from the grandstands where we cheer, root or boo while gorging on nutritionless calories. If all goes according to plan, we'll enjoy the show and then go to sleep entertained and addle-brained assuming all is, if not well, then at least as it must be.
But although the system is corrupt on every flank, an overwhelming majority of Americans still believe deeply in democracy and understand how election integrity underpins our rights and our future. By exposing corrupted processes and participating politically as opposed to simply spectating, we may yet assert influence and gain some control over the destiny of our country. Indeed, despite a battle of no money versus billions, we are making a difference. The term "election integrity" has entered the lexicon. Since December 2004, hundreds of groups loosely known as the election integrity movement have formed. We likely had a material impact in 2006 when, for the first time in many election cycles, fraud may well have been restrained. In states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California where our groups have been most active - egregious past results have not been repeated and/or proponents of election reform have won.
EVEPs hold perhaps the greatest promise for impact of any technique. The Bush administration has testified that they helped fund exit polls abroad because it is one of the only ways to expose large-scale fraud. Indeed, discrepancies between exit polls and the official results have been used to successfully overturn election results in Serbia, Peru, the Republic of Georgia and, in November 2004, Ukraine.
In contrast to overseas exit polls, the (NEP) media exit poll does not report actual survey results, but rather disingenuously legitimizes official numbers, massaging or torturing their own data as necessary to bring them in line. In 2004, we knew of the seven percentage point national discrepancy between how people said they voted and official numbers (11 percentage points in Ohio) only because of a technical glitch that prevented NEP from "correcting" results on election night. Such a mistake won't happen again as those with access to the data are to be - no joke! -quarantined without electronic or phone communication and subsequently sworn to secrecy.
EI, EDA and The Warren Poll are committed to complete transparency in our exit polls, with all methods and data fully shared. We conducted our first EVEP in two Pennsylvania congressional districts during the 2006 general election -- the U.S.'s . In this spring's Kentucky Democratic primary we tested and codified our procedures.
Steven Freeman is on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Organizational Dynamics, where he teaches research methods and survey design (a domain that includes polling). He is co-author, with Joel Bleifuss, of Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen: Exit Polls, Election Fraud and the Official Count, from Seven Stories Press (2006).