Perhaps one of the oddest moments of all during last night's live election coverage was what happened to Karl Rove on Fox Network News.
With Florida still too close to call and hundreds of thousands of votes still out in Ohio (including a large hunk of votes in Romney strongholds), and with a spread of about 100,000 votes separating the candidates in Ohio, Fox called Ohio for Obama. Karl Rove arranged to come on the Fox network to voice his rebuttal.
Now, whatever you think of Rove, I think most of us agree that he's a numbers guy. His numbers didn't support the calling of the state of Ohio at that point in time. When he explained his reasoning, the Fox anchor quickly shut him down. "It's a science" he was told.
Based not on actual votes, but on projections from a single private entity, the National Election Pool (NEP), we were all told what the election results were going to be. When Rove pulled out his notes and calculations, he was basically told "Shut up, this is a science."
But is that what your vote really is? A science project, to be viewed only by experts inside a nesting set of black boxes, completely out of public view?
If we are to have real self-governance, we need to be able to authenticate each essential step in our own elections -- without need for special expertise to explain to us what the result is. What more centralized, privatized form of declaring a result is there than to commission the NEP to provide a single set of statistics to ALL of the TV networks for a declaration of results without human eyes ever looking at a single ballot.
The media called the election in Tennessee just 11 minutes after the polls closed and by the way, exit polls had already been cancelled in Tennessee because, it was explained, everyone already knew who the winner was going to be so why bother with the expense. Even the voting machines, opaque and controlled by whatever their programmers put into them, had not yet issued results printouts. Is this the new, NEW method for pretending at democracy?
Washington State, where I live, is a forced absentee state, where 100% of the votes are now absentee ballots, which must be postmarked on Election Day. I placed my ballot in the post office at 2 pm. There are no exit polls, because there are no polling places. Apparently a few phone calls now substitute for actual exit polling (to people with land lines? That's an increasingly elderly demographic). Perhaps 40% of all ballots in Washington have not even been counted yet, but we've been told the results.
In California, typically 25% of the votes are counted after Election Day, yet results have been announced. That's a million uncounted ballots in Los Angeles alone. We have no clue what is on those ballots but we've been told not to worry about it. The stats guys have issued their verdict.
Forget voting machines, programmed by insiders to do whatever they do. Let's just skip counting the votes altogether and use statistics.
Creepy little way to run an election, if you ask me. More
At least Darth Soetoro looks Presidential...