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May 02, 2005
WA Governor's Race: My statistical arguments
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

I produced and sent a letter with statistical arguments to a couple of local conservative attorneys at the outset of the election contest here in Washington state. The consensus at the time was that it would be too time impactful to get this information in front of the GOP legal team. Now that the judge has approved at least an evaluation of statistical information - I've sent my argument along to Chairman Vance and the Rossi campaign. Here it is:


This is the probability distribution for the number of new Gregoire votes (and conversely the number of Rossi votes since we have a total) in the machine recount in King County. 593 new votes were reported for Gregoire. The probability of finding 593 or more votes for Gregoire is 0.67% (assuming a random distribution).


This is the probability distribution for the number of new Gregoire votes (and conversely the number of Rossi votes since we have a total) in the manual recount for King County. 358 new votes were reported for Gregoire. The probability of finding 358 or more votes for Gregoire is 0.0164% (assuming a random distribution).

Since both of these ‘events’ involve the same process (i.e. extracting a random sample from the total sea of ballots) the machine recount and the manual recount can be viewed statistically as a sequence and a probability can be easily calculated for the probability of that sequence. The odds against the sequence of 1) Extracting 593 or more ballots randomly from the sea of ballots in King County for Gregoire, followed by 2) Extracting 358 or more ballots randomly from the sea of ballots in King County for Gregoire is 898,272 to 1. Meaning that we would need to conduct almost 900,000 sequence trials (significantly more than the total number of ballots cast!) to have one instance where this sequence occurred. (It is important to include the or more calculation to maximize the benefit of the doubt for Gregoire – not including that makes them hit an ‘exact’ number which is not the point.)

Conversely, the likelihood that the number of new votes for Gregoire during the machines recount would be, for example, 528 votes or less is 3.74% (and we will count 528 or less more than we would count any individual number of votes in the distribution range) and that in the subsequent manual recount the likelihood that the number of new votes for Gregoire would be 294 or less is 2.46% (which we will count almost as often as we will count any individual number of votes in the distribution range).  This provides a sequential likelihood of 0.092% or about 1089 to one. These numbers would change the result of the election. Assuming random samples of ballots it is 825 times more likely that one of these sequences would occur than the actual reported Gregoire votes.

[I am assuming that the above is written in sufficient detail to expose all formulae and calculations sufficient to proof it by a 3rd party.]

Argument 1 –

Exhibit 1: Affidavit of statistics professor that our formulae, calculations, and charts are correct.

We argue that the added votes from King County must have been – or rather are required to be - a random sample from the entire sea of ballots for King County – they could not have any particular characteristics that were different from the sea in total – the Democrats and election officials do not contend that they happened to find ‘Gregoire rich’ new ballots by some method. They were from across precincts, etc. Anticipate any counter arguments of any ‘specialization’ of this group of ballots – if they assert such a thing that is fraud evidence in itself.

We argue that the probability of the actual number of ballots reported for Gregoire from a random sample for both the machine recount and the manual recount is so improbable that the only conclusion that the court can make is that human intention/intervention must have occurred – since a random sample could not reasonably produced such results. The fact that the number of trials to achieve what was reported exceeds the total number of votes cast is convincing evidence that this could not happen by chance. Human intervention can be accounted for by the ballot enhancement process and the Dem weighted canvassing board – whether outright intentional fraud or not is unnecessary to prove – there is probability and mechanism aplenty – we need only show that this is ‘abuse of discretion’ I think.

The electorate is damaged by what occurred because individuals acting on their own behalf or the behalf of the Democratic Party were able, in effect, to cast more than one vote and thus subvert the election and subvert the equal protection clause.

Argument 2 –

Exhibit 1: Affidavit of statistics professor that our formulae and calculations are correct.

Exhibit 2: Affidavit of 3rd party firm or computing consultant that our simulation is correct – perhaps get them to run trials.

Exhibit 3: Results of simulation of sequences of machine and manual recounts showing our predicted results.

(We have a demonstrative simulation (I am making one) that experimentally runs the probability trials against the simulated sea of ballots. From this we will construct reporting that will show the results of the random selection of ballots from the sea of ballots for both machine and manual recounts – and the trial sequences of one following the other.)

We argue that in a random sampling of ballots sequence in the machine recount and manual recount – repeated sequentially - would result in a change in the outcome of the election approximately 825 times before the results that were reported by King County for Gregoire.

We argue that the court must conclude that the election was so probably influenced by human decision that the outcome of the election is in doubt for this reason alone and must be set aside.

Anticipate the argument that it is more likely that random samples would not change the outcome of the election – basically that they are expecting us to buy an almost impossible result on the one hand but want to argue the opposite point against our reasoning.

Case Law:

We must hit this very hard. The key issue is that there is an incredible amount of case law where the court (or jury) takes probability into account to render a judgment or conviction/acquittal. Probability evidence includes: bullet trajectories/origin, likelihood of crime committed in a certain area, commercial accountability for accidents, likelihood of monopoly, Medicare overpayments, sales and use tax audits, and (most famous) DNA/blood testing.

A few: - General statistical evidence site with references. - FL Supremes ruled that Gore had to provide a ‘reasonable probability’ that the election results could change – and had not done so. We assert that a probability that is 825 times more likely than the probability of the reported events is ‘reasonable’. - A variety of election contest points – one probability of 6 in 1,000 is described as ‘virtually impossible’ – what does that make 1 in 900,000? (News item: (99.3% blood test accuracy sufficient for paternity - .7% doubt is 6,284 times the odds of the new Gregoire votes in the two counts!) (improbable necessity for taking the 5th Amendment) (improbable that ‘church’ and ‘religion’ were synonyms in prayer case – how improbable?)

These case law items are just a start - but show a long term legal precedent for using statistical analysis for reaching legal judgment in a variety of court cases - including elections.

I have offered my services to the GOP legal team and the Rossi campaign in support of statistical arguments like this.

One of my favorite conservative heavy lifters Michelle Malkin has never let up on keeping the world informed about this entire saga. Thanks Michelle!

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» Washington Governor's Race Not Quite Dead Yet from Ace of Spades HQ
The judge has agreed to at least evaluate the statistical evidence that all those "votes" suddenly discovered in King County were, in technical statistical jargon, "hinky as all get out." And Pull on Superman's Cape has been doing his own... [Read More]

TrackPulled on May 3, 2005 9:15:47 AM

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Sounds like a job for a forensic accountant. Much of what you present is applicable here in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee investigation has gone underground and Racine is on hold for a while. We expect to get active again and soon.


Emcee: Ron, hopefully we've got some of those 'forensic accountant' types on the GOP legal team. This judge has provided a great opening and I hope they'll take advantage of it. Thanks for your continued great work!

Posted by: Ron LaCanne at May 2, 2005 8:01:12 PM

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