Undervote comparisons of DRE/2004 election results and paper ballot/2006 election results

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Feb 26 2007 - 13:06:45 CST

Here's some compelling evidence that paper ballots are cogatively more accessible to voters than DRE. If you accept the analysis, and realize that NM has had two presiential and one house race with outcomes separated by hundreds of votes with the losing party having strong holds in the areas of undervoting then the results have significant federal election consequences.

NM has been plagued by incidents of anomolous concentrated undervoting. Like Sarasota FL, these seem correlated with machine types and very concentrated in certain geographic locations (which in turn are correlated with ethicity and rural/urban settings). Also Like satasota it's been routinely blamed on people not really wanting to vote and suggestions that they were registering disappoval or indifference, and intentionally undervoting. But with no paper summary ballot one cannot actually tell.

A local resident here, theron Horton, noted that,
"In 2006, after the state changed to all optically scanned paper
ballots, the undervote rates for Governor in those same precincts
plummeted by 85% in Native American areas and by 69% in predominantly
Hispanic precincts.
In Anglo precincts, undervote rates of ballots cast on DREs were about
the same level as the rates for paper ballots — 2.22% and 1.75%

To me the thing that makes this outcome all the more remarkable is that the circumstances of the 2006 governor's race were such that the traditional "rationalizations" often proferred seem to be refuted. Namely, it is often supposed that spasms of undevoting occur either because it's a powerful incumbent and the outcome is a so predicatable that people don't bother to vote, or when people want to register disapproval for an incumbent when they don't like the alternative either. In this race we had Richardson who was obviously not going to lose, so there was no need to vote to assure his win. And his sacrificial opposition was a man who even if you did not like richarson, might be viewed by many groups as being not their cup of tea--his goal was to bloody future presidential canadidate richardson not to win. (And he promptly left state after his run) Thus it seems a clinical presciption for undervoting if we accept the past rationalization such as those offered in Sarasota FL.

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:25 2007

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