Wednesday, November 23, 2016

VERY Bad Math

If you think the 2016 election is over, you may be sadly mistaken.  Social media is ablaze with screenshots of results from Outagamie County showing that there were more votes for President reported on election night than there were actual ballots cast.  In Grand Chute there was a discrepancy of 12-hundred--while in Hortonville, the "overage" was more than 400.  "Russians hacked the voting machines in Wisconsin!" was the usual response.  I spoke with Outagamie County Clerk Lori O'Bright about it Tuesday morning and she blamed the discrepancies on "reporting errors" or "bad math" from the polling places provided by "tired" election inspectors.  I expected that the number of ballots cast would be adjusted up to match the actual candidate vote totals reported on Election Night.

But then the official numbers as tabulated by the Board of Canvass came out yesterday afternoon and they show that in Grand Chute, Hortonville and the couple of other municipalities with "reporting errors", every single "extra vote" came off of Donald Trump's numbers.  The Hillary Clinton results were virtually unchanged--but Trump lost a total of more than 16-hundred votes in the "final" Outagamie County results.  That's some REALLY bad math! 

And now that will really fuel the "election was rigged" firestorm.  I'm already seeing extrapolations that argue you could apply the Outagamie County results to all 72-counties in Wisconsin--and Hillary Clinton would have won by 50-thousand votes--instead of losing by 27-thousand.  I also expect plenty of scrutiny to be placed on those election inspectors that phoned in the results--because the way we cover elections now, early unofficial results are used to call winners--sometimes with less than half the precincts reporting.  And once a state is called, everyone's attention moves somewhere else.  There isn't much focus on any changes that are made to the "official" vote certified by the Board of Canvass a couple of weeks later--after the "winner" is already hiring staff and cabinet members.

The Clinton Campaign is being urged to demand a recount in Wisconsin--and there is an on-line petition to have the Department of Justice (while it is still headed up by President Obama appointees) to conduct an audit of election results and procedures in several battleground states that Clinton lost unexpectedly.  The good thing that will likely prevent Wisconsin from the international mockery and outrage that Florida received in 2000 is that flipping our 10 Electoral College votes won't be enough to keep Donald Trump from still claiming victory (unless the Feds nullify the results in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well). 

By the way, I'd suggest not bringing this up at the Thanksgiving dinner table tomorrow--until after the pumpkin pie.

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