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The South Carolina Primary and Voting Machine Fraud 467

Posted by kdawson
from the good-ol'-politics dept.
cSeattleGameboy writes "South Carolina sure knows how to pick 'em. Alvin Greene is a broke, unemployed guy who is facing a felony obscenity charge. He made no campaign appearances and raised no money, but he is the brand new Democratic Senate nominee from South Carolina. Tom Schaller at FiveThirtyEight.com does a detailed analysis of how a guy like this wins a primary race, and many of the signs point to voting machine fraud. There seem to have been irregularities on all sides. 'Dr. Mebane performed second-digit Benford's law tests on the precinct returns from the Senate race. ... If votes are added or subtracted from a candidate's total, possibly due to error or fraud, Mebane's test will detect a deviation from this distribution. Results... showed that Rawl's Election Day vote totals depart from the expected distribution at 90% confidence. In other words, the observed vote pattern for Rawl could be expected to occur only about 10% of the time by chance. ... An unusual, non-random pattern in the precinct-level results suggests tampering, or at least machine malfunction, perhaps at the highest level. And Mebane is perhaps the leading expert on this very subject. Along with the anomalies between absentee ballot v. election day ballots..., something smells here.' Techdirt.com points out that South Carolina uses ES&S voting machines, which have had strings of problems before; and they have no audit trail."
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The South Carolina Primary and Voting Machine Fraud

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  • He Won! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:38AM (#32575170) Homepage
    This is all a bunch af HOOEY to justify tossing out a legit candidate that none of the BIG MONEY wanted. Too bad, so sad, HE WON!
    • Re:He Won! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:42AM (#32575188)
      The problem I see with this being some kind of fraud - is what kind of idiot would choose, as their puppet, this person. There must be hundreds of people who, in return for a hefty sum, would do your bidding, all while looking a whole lot more respectable. This looks to me more like a case of people voting for the 'other guy' without actually knowing who the other guy is.
      • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:57AM (#32575252)

        The problem I see with this being some kind of fraud - is what kind of idiot would choose, as their puppet, this person.

        The kind of "idiot" who wants a Democratic candidate that's sure to lose. The people who are alleging fraud are claiming that this is a scheme to ensure that the Republican incumbent is re-elected.

        • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:04AM (#32575274)
          The people who are alleging fraud are claiming that this is a scheme to ensure that the Republican incumbent is re-elected.

          It would be a silly scheme though considering that this is a safe Republican seat anyway. Ok if we are going to be throwing conspiracy theories around, how do you know that this is not a scheme by the Democrats to create a scandal that they could blame on the Republicans?
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Berkyjay (1225604)
            No matter how you want to look at it, this whole mess is very very irregular and makes no sense at all. It smells of fraud and if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck.......chances are that it's a duck. I also wouldn't put it passed the Republican party in SC to want to insure that DeMint beats down a black Democratic candidate by a very large margin. That would give him plenty of angles to spin this as an anti-Obama victory.
            • Nothing to see here, this seems just like any of the projects that seem to go ahead at my work, so move along, nothing to see. No rubber-necking please.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Moryath (553296)

              I also wouldn't put it passed the Republican party in SC to want to insure that DeMint beats down a black Democratic candidate by a very large margin. That would give him plenty of angles to spin this as an anti-Obama victory.

              You're insane, you know that? The Republicans spin the loss of a black Democrat candidate as an "anti-Obama victory", and all it does is charge up the racist black vote that turned up for Obama last time around based on nothing but skin color.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by AK Marc (707885)
            Because if the scandal issue would have worked, there would have been a revolt in 2000 and 2004.
          • It would be a silly scheme though considering that this is a safe Republican seat anyway.

            It would indeed be a silly scheme, which is how you know it came from South Carolina politics.

            Ok if we are going to be throwing conspiracy theories around, how do you know that this is not a scheme by the Democrats to create a scandal that they could blame on the Republicans?

            That would be completely ineffective and stupid plan: without a smoking gun, there's no way this would overturn the coming election. Which, now that I think about it, kind of adds credibility to your conspiracy theory.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ultranova (717540)

            It would be a silly scheme though considering that this is a safe Republican seat anyway.

            Maybe they wanted to make sure anyway, seeing how it's the middle of a huge recession and all.

          • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by selven (1556643) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @05:30AM (#32575990)

            What if it's actually the Republicans making a scheme to make us think that it's the Democrats trying to make us think it's the Republicans trying to make us think it's the Democrat candidate?

          • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Kierthos (225954) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @06:45AM (#32576264) Homepage

            Safe Republican seat? Yes and no.

            He won his seat in 2004 by around 9%.

            Back in December of 2009, he had a 9% lead against a generic Democrat. That's not a huge lead against a completely unnamed opponent. AND there a lot of people here in South Carolina who really like this whole "anti-incumbent" trend. (Enough to make a difference? Probably not. But enough to scare DeMint a bit.)

            Alvin Greene ran no advertisements. He didn't attend the Democratic Party Convention in South Carolina. He had practically no name recognition when compared to his opponent, Vic Rawl, who at least was a state legislator. He was able to pay the filing fee for running for the Democratic primary with a personal check (the filing fee is over 10 grand), but he's poor enough to qualify for a public defender for the felony obscenity charge against him. (Also, please note, that the law being used against him is one that is generally only used for people who show bestiality, extremely violent porn, etc., not the simple hetero porn that Greene allegedly showed someone. So that too comes across as a bit hinky.)

            According to the FEC, at least through May 19, DeMint had around $3.5 million in cash on hand for this election cycle. Greene has $0.

            Now, as to your last question, could this be the Democrats up to something instead of the Republicans up to something? I don't know. But the whole damn thing smells to high heaven.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Mitreya (579078)
              (Also, please note, that the law being used against him is one that is generally only used for people who show bestiality, extremely violent porn, etc., not the simple hetero porn that Greene allegedly showed someone

              With all due respect - what the f@@k are you talking about? I don't know where to begin... "law that is generally only used for people"? Because no one has ever abused a good-intentioned law far beyond the scope it was intended? I am a little to lazy to look things up, but check "war on dru

            • It seems quite undemocratic that the fee is so high that you'd *have* to have external support just to throw your name into a hat.

          • Re:He Won! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @07:08AM (#32576394)

            It would be a silly scheme though considering that this is a safe Republican seat anyway.

            You don't practice and hone your skills on the important 50:50 battles, you practice and hone your skills on the pointless irrelevant battles. Since this is an irrelevant battle, it doesn't matter so much whom is to blame for this individual irrelevant battle, so much as it matters that someone out there is preparing for the big one...

          • by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:00AM (#32576824)
            His name was the first one on the ballot. Many people just pick the top one. No scandal, human nature, get over it.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              In a PRIMARY, you generally have people who actually care about the outcome going out to vote. The people who would just pick the first person on the list are the ones who stay home and don't vote at all in the primary.

          • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MontyApollo (849862) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:31AM (#32577224)

            It was a silly scheme, but from what I have read this is business as usual in SC politics. Republican operatives sometimes pay entry fees for black candidates just to "stir the pot" of racial division among the Democrats during the primaries so that blacks will be less likely to vote in the general election.

            I have also read that this is often not much more than a practical joke, especially in this case when the candidate did nothing but pay the entry fee and did not even have campaign signs up in his own yard. I think the Republicans really don't want these candidates to win because it would bring national attention to the way SC politics work, and they were probably just as shocked that Greene won as everybody else was.

          • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:12AM (#32577754)

            Back in 1990, Rod Shealy [wikipedia.org] used this exact same tactic in a Lt. Governor race in SC. He recruited a homeless black guy with a criminal conviction in an attempt to take out the Democratic frontrunner, so his sister (a Republican) could win. It was a crass attempt to play on the racial prejudices of SC (both for blacks in the Democratic Party and against blacks among the general populace) to get his sister elected. He almost succeeded to. And he is still working in SC Republican politics (most recently in the Bauer gubernatorial campaign).

            All of you who are saying this is a preposterous idea have obviously never been involved in SC politics. This isn't even a particularly nasty tactic by SC standards.

            • by Shotgun (30919) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:17AM (#32578762)

              So, you're saying that Democrats in SC are so racists that their whole party platform can be brought down by having someone running that is ostensibly on the same side but of a different heritage?

              Damn. Just, damn.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by DavidTC (10147)

                Well, no, it didn't work. Read the post.

                Republicans have a theory that black people vote for black Democrats over white Democrats, no matter how incompetent they are, or how much they are 'real' Democrats. Ergo, they think if they run incompetent black people as Democrats, they will split the vote. Or at the very least, have some black people, disgusted at the primary outcome, not vote in the general election.

                They also think the same thing about women. (Re: Sarah Palin and the whole PUMA thing they invent

        • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:44AM (#32575628)

          The people who are alleging fraud are claiming that this is a scheme to ensure that the Republican incumbent is re-elected.

          That makes no sense. Even the left-leaning fivethirtyeight blog [fivethirtyeight.com] listed the South Carolina Senate seat as safely Republican back in late April, with a 95+% chance to be won by the Republican candidate.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DavidTC (10147)

            It's not a scheme to get anyone elected, it's a scheme to screw with the Democrats by introducing racial divisiveness. Republicans appear to believe that the entire left operates on identity politics. (Vote down a woman for president? We'll collect the female vote by having one as a VP! That's not why people were for Hillary, you asshats.)

            In South Carolina, as is pointed out,t he scheme is usually done by throwing a clearly unqualified black guy in the Democratic primary when there's no serious black candi

        • so what would they have to gain by doing this?

      • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by laughingcoyote (762272) <barghesthowl.excite@com> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:49AM (#32575640) Journal

        According to TFA, these voting machines have a large number of problems and no audit trail. Who's to say this wasn't just a fuckup, rather than deliberate malice on anyone's part?

        If this shows anything, though, it's the need for a non-electronic audit trail. I've often had people find it odd, given that I'm a programmer, that I'm so against purely electronic voting. I don't find it odd-I know exactly how easy it is to manipulate data on a large scale, even data that's supposedly secure and tamper-resistant. It's a whole lot harder to tamper with thousands or millions of paper ballots than it is to tamper with thousands or millions of electronic records.

        That doesn't mean electronics have no place. An electronically generated human-readable ballot would be fine. In that case, the speed and reduced human error of electronic voting could be realized, but the voter would still have the ability to verify their choices after printing, and if wrong, go to an election judge, say "I didn't intend to vote this way", and have their ballot scrapped and recast. Backup paper systems should always be available at every precinct in case of a total failure of the machines, electrical failure, or just people who are not comfortable using them.

        Having that type of mechanism in place would prevent exactly this type of scenario. It would allow for the result either to be overturned, or to say with certainty that, while unlikely, it is indeed the outcome.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ShakaUVM (157947)

          >>If this shows anything, though, it's the need for a non-electronic audit trail. I've often had people find it odd, given that I'm a programmer, that I'm so against purely electronic voting.

          Indeed. In fact, it has been demonstrated to be so easy to own some of the electronic voting machines (many years back) that the fact that people are still using these atroicities is a disgrace. My county (San Diego County) scrapped the electronic voting machines, or at least it looks that way. They weren't in exi

        • Re:He Won! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DavidTC (10147) <.slas45dxsvadiv. ... . .neverbox.com.> on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:06AM (#32578582) Homepage

          I've often had people find it odd, given that I'm a programmer, that I'm so against purely electronic voting.

          It is amazing how often people find that odd. But don't just tell them you're against it...tell them pretty much the entire industry is against them, because computers do exactly what you tell them to do, including lie, and then they can lie about being told to lie.

          People need to hear this more from people they regard as knowledgeable about computers. Over and over. Computers lie if told to do so. This is not detectable because they'll just lie about their lying to the people checking them.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      The election of Greene is quite plausible.
      All it would take is word of mouth among kinfolk, in churches, and other offline channels.

      Voting is along racial lines (reasonable given history!) and actual qualification has never been relevant to either side. It's about race and
      affirmation.

      I live in SC and find this hilarious. Folks might as well vote for their homeboy. He can hardly do worse that what they have.

  • Checksum failures... (Score:3, Informative)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:39AM (#32575176)
    You know an election has gone seriously wrong when the total number of votes reported in the Republican primary is not equal to the total voter Republican turnout in the same area.
    • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:12AM (#32575522)
      Voters in S.C. are allowed to vote for the Democratic or Republican primary regardless of party affiliation. One of the theories was that Republicans crossed and voted in the Democrat primary to try to shaft them with a bad candidate. But if you look at the election results [enr-scvotes.org], you'll see that 424,893 people voted for the Republican primary while 197,380 voted for the Democrat primary. The electorate there is so strongly Republican that if 30k Republicans crossed over to give Greene his minimum 100k vs 70k margin of victory, the Democrats are looking at having to overcome a 2.7:1 margin of voter registrations against them to win, instead of "merely" 2.1:1. If you assume Greene is a nobody and should've gotten 10k votes max, then that means over half the people who voted in the Democrat primary were Republicans, and so the Democrats would need to overcome a 6.4:1 margin to win.

      All in all, none of this makes any sense. There's no motive on either side. Why would Republicans poison a Democrat primary for a safely Republican seat? Why would Democrats not want to put forth the best candidate? Something does smell, but the most plausible explanation is simple voting machine tallying error with no nefarious purpose behind it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Rhinobird (151521)

        What's that old saying?...Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

        Yeah, I think that sums it up pretty good.

  • Donkey vote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:43AM (#32575198) Homepage Journal

    Was he listed under "A" or "G"? Were the other candidates listed around "Z", "Q" and "U"?

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:47AM (#32575210)

    Here's the problem... if this was a "dirty trick" by the Republican side.... why in this much of an already red district? This was a safe seat that's now in jeopardy if this scandal goes much further.

    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:02AM (#32575266)

      People do weird things some times. Why did Nixon commit felonies in the 1972 race against McGovern (and thereby destroy his Presidency) when it was obvious to almost everyone that McGovern had no chance of winning anyways?

      • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:40AM (#32575434)
        What are you talking about? Nixon committed no crimes at all related to the election. Some of his subordinates who were so used to committing felonies on a daily basis did it without his knowledge. What he did that was a felony was to hear their confession and then, rather than turning them in for their felonies, violated a large number of laws to cover up the stupid acts. I would bet that if G. Gordon Liddy had asked first, Nixon would have told him to not do it. It was senseless, but Liddy is a "patriot" in that anyone that he thinks will do something that is bad for the US deserves death, or at least a listening device so he can spy on them.
  • 10% chance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s-whs (959229) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:48AM (#32575216)

    In other words, the observed vote pattern for Rawl could be expected to occur only about 10% of the time by chance.

    In other words, the observed vote pattern is something you will expect to see a lot when checking various machines and various elections over time.

    An unusual, non-random pattern in the precinct-level results suggests tampering, or at least machine malfunction, perhaps at the highest level.

    A 10% chance of a pattern in no way suggests any tampering. Perhaps together with other evidence it is a tiny indicator. It's hard to take any article seriously that doesn't examine the facts properly. Now if the chance was one in a million it might suggest tampering, but one in 10? I'll put it bluntly: Give me a fooking break

    • Re:10% chance? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by debatem1 (1087307) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:32AM (#32575418)
      The Mebane test used does not compare good elections to bad elections, but rather an arbitrary set of measurements whose logarithms are uniformly distributed vs known tampered data. Significance at 10% is very significant for an election as closely monitored as first world elections are- in the original paper Mebane only got 5% in an election that was subject to extreme voter intimidation. Combining that with the enormous deviation between absentee/provisional ballots and election day results, I suspect that Nate Silver is on firm ground here when he says that something smells.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Timmmm (636430)

        Significance at 10% is very significant for an election as closely monitored as first world elections are

        No it isn't. If you test 10 elections you would expect one of those to fail this test *even if they are all 'good' elections*. There are more than 10 primaries aren't there? Nothing can be concluded from this result in isolation, however when taken with other *independent* evidence it can strengthen the whole case.

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "In other words, the observed vote pattern is something you will expect to see a lot when checking various machines and various elections over time."

      Problem: They are NOT "checking various machines and various elections over time". They are only checking this one, right now. In other words: Clue #1 was whatever caused anyone to investigate the fishiness of this election in the first place and decide to run this test. Clue #2 was this test then indeed coming back positive for non-randomness at the 90% confid

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        ...you'd need some pretty pliable sheep to believe that one.

        Welcome to America 2.0, the result of 100 years of dumbing-down the populace.

        Strat

  • Poor research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @01:49AM (#32575220)

    The P value of this test is 0.1, pretty much all research I read demands a P value of 0.05 to justify a hypothesis. How many elections are there in the USA every year? By this standard even if all of them were not tampered with and totally legitimate 1/10th of them would be found to have been tampered with. That's a large percentage of false positives for such a serious accusation.

    Basically, bullshit, either do better research to get a lower P value or stop drawing such spurious conclusions.

    • Re:Poor research (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goodmanj (234846) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:30AM (#32575398)

      If you're picking unremarkable campaigns at random out of a hat, then yes, this result signifies nothing.

      But if you're interested in one *particular* campaign, because that campaign has other irregularities which indicate possible fraud, then a statistical test with a 10% P-value is worthy of note.

      To put it another way: if the guy next to you at the blackjack table gets two blackjacks in a row, you shouldn't be alarmed, that happens all the time. But if the guy is also winking at the dealer and has a suspicious bulge in his sleeve, it's time to find another table.

      • So besides the way the voters voted, what are the "other irregularities," and what is the probability of identifying them in any given election provided a bunch of people did like the outcome and have sat down to find anything that can be considered irregular?
    • by Geof (153857) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:03AM (#32575496) Homepage

      Would you say to meteorologist that 9 out of 10 of hurricanes like this one were destructive, "That's meaningless unless it's 19 out of 20"?

      The threshold for statistical significance is an arbitrary convention, not some ironclad law that lets you ignore evidence. As a guideline it is more appropriate in some circumstances than in others. Something does not stop being evidence simply because it does not reach that threshold. I read scholarly papers all the time that say "while X does not achieve the threshold of significance, it is suggestive and worthy of more research." When there is other evidence to support it, such a result can be valuable. And there is such evidence: this calculation was done precisely because the election looks fishy.

      You have it exactly wrong when you say "that's a large percentage of false positives for such a serious accusation." The election process is not innocent until proven guilty. We apply the presumption of innocence to human beings. An election is treated in the opposite way. It is not enough for it to be fair: it must be seen to be fair. It must be must be demonstrably legitimate. We do not let suspicious elections slide simply because the accusation is "serious." On the contrary, that is why we investigate them. This needs to be investigated precisely because of its seriousness.

      • Would you say to meteorologist that 9 out of 10 of hurricanes like this one were destructive

        Depends. I could walk around and see how much mess they made.

        But in the voting situation you're trying to make inferences from a hidden process; you didn't actually catch anyone stuffing ballot boxes.

      • You have it exactly wrong when you say "that's a large percentage of false positives for such a serious accusation." The election process is not innocent until proven guilty. We apply the presumption of innocence to human beings. An election is treated in the opposite way. It is not enough for it to be fair: it must be seen to be fair. It must be must be demonstrably legitimate. We do not let suspicious elections slide simply because the accusation is "serious." On the contrary, that is why we investigate t

  • by Anonymous Coward

    South Carolina voter registration is close to 50% AA according to NPR. Greene is black. Greene had the first position on the ballot. Rawl did not raise money or campaign. Rawl did not do basic opposition research to find out Greene's shortcomings before the election. It sounds like Rawl should have lost because he is a terrible candidate and basically assumed he would just win because he was the "establishment candidate". In case people have not noticed the "establishment candidates" haven't been doing

  • No (Score:2, Informative)

    by TranceThrust (1391831)
    depart from the expected distribution at 90% confidence. In other words, the observed vote pattern for Rawl could be expected to occur only about 10% of the time by chance.

    Just no. There's 10 percent chance of a type 1 error, assuming the null hypothesis (no cheating) is true.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ya'll racists can't accept that Mr. Greene, a popular African-American, won the election fair and square so you guys undermine the integrity of our very system that is so great so you can throw out the will of the voters that elected him.

    Why don't you guys put on the white robes, toss the bed sheet on the horse and chase this guy out of town you bunch of racists!

  • I don't know, to know all the crap the fellow in office is going to jail for ahead of time quite refreshing really. Saves a lot of drama later.
  • hey guys, Been stuck on Grepolis.net the past few months. Anyways I feel that daily voting can fix lots of this. I am wondering if an open source software system could be made. -anon voting while preventing double voters (craigslist email style, only system knows yer identity) -330 million Americans, 30 million Canadians, 60 million UK residents, all downvoting "RIAAtarded" laws no one wanted in the first place Hoping "iVote" will take the lead someday. If voting is so important every 5 years why do w
  • by dward90 (1813520) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @02:49AM (#32575464)
    It's worth noting that in some precincts, Mr. Greene received more votes than were cast. As in, he got 115% of the votes. In others, he won the election day votes by 20 points but lost the absentee votes by 60. There are major, major discrepancies in vote tallies in this election. You can quibble about confidence intervals and statistics all you want, but it won't change the fact that *something* went wrong here. While it's probably not malicious, it absolutely should be investigated.
    • by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:41AM (#32575614)

      It's worth noting that in some precincts, Mr. Greene received more votes than were cast. As in, he got 115% of the votes.

      I can't believe you're being so negative about such a high voter turnout.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>>>he won the election day votes by 20 points but lost the absentee votes by 60.

      From TFA:
      "The result in the Senate election is highly statistically significant: Rawl performs 11 percentage points better among absentee voters than he does among Election Day voters."

      In other words, not at all what you're talking about.

      While an 11 point swing is interesting, it's not the smoking gun that TFA makes it out to be - absentee ballots are not an independent sample of an electorate. They're well known to

  • Open Primary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jayveekay (735967) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:12AM (#32575524)

    South Carolina uses an open primary system where any registered voter can vote in the Democratic primary, not just registered Democratic Party members.

    Is it possible that thousands of Republicans decided to vote for Alvin Greene not because they want him to be their next Senator, but because he is such a hopeless candidate that he will be crushed by the Republican nominee?

    On the face of it, this open primary system seems open to abuse. If you vote for candidate A in the primary, and he wins the primary to move onto the general election ballot, shouldn't your vote be "locked in" to support him in the general election?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Solandri (704621)

      Is it possible that thousands of Republicans decided to vote for Alvin Greene not because they want him to be their next Senator, but because he is such a hopeless candidate that he will be crushed by the Republican nominee?

      Sorry to repost, but this seems a better place. If you look at the election results [enr-scvotes.org], you'll see that 424,893 people voted for the Republican primary while 197,380 voted for the Democrat primary. The electorate there is so strongly Republican that if 30k Republicans crossed over to giv

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
      That may seems so only on the first glance. In reality, the Republican candidate had a 19 point lead in the polls over the Democrat leading candidate (the guy who lost to Alvin Green): http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/sc/south_carolina_senate_demint_vs_rawl-1579.html [realclearpolitics.com] This is in a seat that has been comfortably Republican since the 70s. The Republicans had absolutely nothing to fear and no reason to risk a scandal. On top of that, the Republican primary was very heavily contested and it
    • Re:Open Primary (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cappp (1822388) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:57AM (#32575664)
      That point is actually made in the originally cited FiveThirtyEight post and then somewhat undermined.

      The Republican crossover theory debunked. In addition to many smart comments from 538 readers to the previous post on the SC race, I received an email from one particularly astute reader named Harrison Brown. Complete with an excel spreadsheet to back up his conclusions, Brown basically argues that there's neither any logic to, nor statistical evidence to support, the idea of Republicans crossing over to infiltrate the Democratic primary. Here are the key sections from his email to me, verbatim:

      1. Suppose people were being brought into the Democratic-primary voting pool (from unregistered voters, the Republican faithful, or wherever) for the sole purpose of voting for Greene. Imagine a variable encapsulating the proportion of primary voters in each county who are Greene partisans; this (hidden) variable ought to be strongly positively correlated with both Greene's final results and with the participation rate in each county. In particular, this implies that Greene's vote share and the participation rate, both of which we can measure, would be correlated. But this is not the case -- under either linear or rank correlation! The R-squared and rho-squared are both effectively 0.
      2. Even if that effect didn't show up, there should still be other signs. For instance, we can see if there are any counties where turnout for the Democratic primary exceeded the number of votes Barack Obama received in 2008; those would be prime suspects for Republican influence. And, in fact, there are three such counties: Hampton, Lee, and Union. But these are all fairly small counties where McCain/Palin received under 30% of the vote -- hardly Republican-dominated...
      A more robust analysis of turnout levels reveals similar patterns. Although I didn't collect data for Republican voters (except for the McCain vote share), I came up with a rough estimate of GOP voters in 2008 by assuming the two-party share was 100% in each county. Running a linear regression to predict the number of Democratic primary voters from the number of votes Obama and McCain received, we find that the McCain raw vote total is statistically significant--but it has a negative coefficient. If anything, this points to voter suppression (no real surprises) rather than ballot box stuffing.
      3. Finally, there's the simple question of where the Republican voters would have come from! From eyeballing the GOP primary totals, it seems like turnout in that elections was almost ludicrously high, which seems more-or-less corroborated by what Google's told me. But barring widespread voter fraud and/or corruption by local election officials, high turnout in the GOP primary should be incompatible with infiltration into the Democratic primary.
      In conclusion, while the voting patterns in the D-Senate primary are strange and may not be totally legitimate, they don't bear the expected hallmarks that would arise in the case of a Republican plant.

      With all that now added to the record, so to speak, how does the matter now stand?

      Well, I think it's safe to say that the third possibility I raised in the previous post--GOP cross-primary infiltration--can be eliminated. There doesn't seem to be any direct or circumstantial evidence for that, and there were sufficient motives to participate in the very contentious GOP gubernatorial primary (especially with Nikki Haley running). So we can almost certainly eliminate the idea that there was a coordinated GOP effort to get Republican and/or conservative voters to pick up Democratic ballots with the intent of selecting Greene as DeMint's general election opponent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomhath (637240)

      Mod parent up, all signs point to this; both parties play this game every election. Heck, a good percentage of Hillary's support in 2008 [boston.com] was from Republicans voting against Obama. Democrats play the same game (remember the South Carolina Bush vs McCain primary in 2000?).

      But why pull this trick in SC when the Republican seat is safe? Simple, neither side would ever pass up an opportunity to embarrass the other.

  • Not "Fraud" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:14AM (#32575534)

    Fraud would be if the candidate or someone on their behalf tampered with the results or the machines to get them elected. If the voting machines are defective and produce a illegitimate outcome then it's something else. Not to mention beating 1 in 10 odds isn't that suspicious.

    • Re: Not "Fraud" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622)

      Fraud would be if the candidate or someone on their behalf tampered with the results or the machines to get them elected. If the voting machines are defective and produce a illegitimate outcome then it's something else.

      Yeah... it's fraud on the part of the people who make the machines.

  • Funny (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:15AM (#32575538)
    It's funny that everyone is up in arms about a nobody winning this race. If there's fraud, may it be found and dealt with (not fabricated). But couple this with Bob Ethridge's behavior http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2010/06/rs-_etheridge.html [washingtonpost.com] and the arrogance of the professional politician is revealed, it would seem. I recall some local podcasters being called to a "meeting" to discuss new media with some journalists from our local newspaper (a major city newspaper, mind you). Essentially they were sat down and told who the real journalists were. Arrogance generally reveals more stupidity than mastery.
  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @04:32AM (#32575786) Homepage Journal

    Alvin Greene is a broke, unemployed guy who is facing a felony obscenity charge.

    So not really any different from the typical politician.

    Apart from being broke, but I'm sure that'll fix itself soon enough.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      So not really any different from the typical politician.

      Typical politicians don't get charged. Everyone might be equal before law, but the pigs are more equal than others.

      Apart from being broke, but I'm sure that'll fix itself soon enough.

      Well, the first use for money would be some actor lessons [youtube.com].

  • Hey Mr Foreigner, let us free you from evil by invading your country and giving you democracy! Oh yes, it's great - look how well it works in our world! Oh, hang on...
  • Snow Job (Score:5, Informative)

    by mgbastard (612419) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @05:11AM (#32575912)
    Stop the snow job. He's a military intelligence vet and a man with a Poly Sci degree. So what if he's unemployed after he leaves the service? It's tough out there. The ABC interview was a butchering.
  • Hanlon's Razor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:46AM (#32577450) Journal

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    The ballot entries were listed in alphabetical order. Green comes before Rawls. Both were relatively unknown quantities. People are stupid.

    I think, as I heard someone on NPR say this morning, people just choose the first guy on the list.

  • by daemonenwind (178848) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @03:03PM (#32582738)

    Seems like we only hear about election fraud when the Democrat National Committee gets a result they don't like.

    But in this current political climate, what's so hard to believe about an unknown outsider at the top of the ballot winning?

    The only ones who can't believe it are the ones heavily invested in forcing the outcome to what we're led to believe is the "predictable" outcome.

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