Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Zogby Results Published; Eureka Times-Standard Reports Without Verifying, Again

As previously reported here at We Do Not Consent, internationally recognized opinion polling company Zogby was commissioned by election protection attorney Paul Lehto to gauge views on election conditions in America. Zogby was originally scheduled to release the survey results yesterday but has finally done so within the past few minutes:

Released: August 23, 2006

Americans Concerned About Election Transparency and Security

New poll shows more than 60% have heard news reports of flaws in new electronic voting equipment

A majority of Americans – 61% – are aware of news reports of flaws in electronic voting machines and want members of the general public to be able to watch votes be counted following an election, a new Zogby International poll shows.

The telephone survey of 1,018 likely voters was conducted Aug. 11–15, 2006. It carries a margin of error of +/– 3.1 percentage points.

Asked whether Americans have the right to view and obtain information about how elections officials count votes, 92% of respondents concurred

“The 92% support for the public’s right to view vote counting and obtain information about it is a very strong political value of transparency and against secret vote counting outside the observation of the public,” said Paul Lehto, a lawyer and sponsor of the survey. “To put this figure in context, support for election transparency exceeds the support for tax cuts, exceeds the approval of Pres. Bush immediately after 9-11, and virtually all other political values being measured.” Mr. Lehto is counsel in the 50th Congressional District election contest in California.

Most of those surveyed – 80% – said they want votes to be counted in front of observers representing the public, and that elections officials should not rely solely on the proprietary software that operates electronic voting machines that are presently being installed all over the United States. In some models, the electronic machines tabulate votes cast on that machine and saves them to a computer memory card. Results from those cards are then added together to obtain results of an election.

For a complete methodological statement on this poll, please go to:


Update: See Zogby's actual cross-tabbed data HERE (.pdf).

Zogby did not exactly go with the same lede that we might have hoped for but this is still a huge story with enormous implications and it can be cited with the utmost of credibility.

Now, for some irony. As is well documented here at WDNC and elsewhere, I've been working to keep the media from reporting what they can't prove and haven't independently verified. On Monday, the Voter Confidence Committee issued a press release announcing the impending Zogby release on Tuesday. But because the Eureka Times-Standard simply excerpted the VCC press release, today they published (archive) our inadvertent and unintentional error about the Zogby release date.

If the T-S had verified the information we provided, this wouldn't have happened. That was as simple as asking me to provide the official numbers, or just looking on the Zogby website. Although I did not do anything wrong or misleading here, and there really is no harm and no foul, the T-S should have waited until tomorrow to run the story so they could confirm what the VCC said in the press release. It cannot pass without comment that the Times-Standard is as willing to take my word about an upcoming multi-national corporate announcement as it is to print unverified election results provided by the very government whose control of power is at stake by these results. Add another topic to the list for the media accountability forums.


Posted by Dave Berman - 9:19 AM | Permalink
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