Why Polls Can’t Be Trusted

Republicans in Georgia have been giddy as a kid on Christmas morning over recent reports that John McCain holds a sizeable advantage over Barack Obama in Georgia.

However; apparantly what 11Alive called a 16 point McCain advantage on Thursday morning, Insider Advantage says was down to an 8 point margin by Thursday night.

So in the end what we’ve learned is that what will happen in Georgia will remain a mystery until all the votes are counted, or at least until Karen Handle claims all the votes have been counted, because if you vote on Election Day in Georgia you’ll have no proof that you actually voted… well, besides that little sticker – which I don’t believe holds up in a court of law.

H/T: Political Insider


  1. Doug Deal says:

    You convinced me Trevor. Tell Obama to spend spend spend down here, Georgia is back on the the table!

    I say $20-$30 million will be enough to take a strong second place.

  2. bowersville says:

    It’s all about race.

    White Georgians are supporting McCain/Palin 3-1 and black Georgians are supporting Obama/Biden 23-1.

    But how can it be 23-1 when it’s the white Georgians that are racist?

  3. John Konop says:


    For you to call out the GOP on playing the race card after what Hillary did in your own party is hypocritical. Also the surge in McCain support came from the base mainly religious right Republicans and people not trusting McCain in his party. The polls show the sudden surge for Obama came from Hillary supporters not happy with Palin on issues like abortion who switch back to Obama.

    If Obama does not win at this point it would be voters from your own party who could not vote for a black guy. Is that not Irony?

  4. NonPartisanGA says:


    Can you explain to the rest of us slow folks how before electronic voting when you cast a paper or optical scan ballot you had proof of how you voted?

    The truth is you did not then either and just had the very same I voter sticker to give to your kid.

    Folks with tinfoil hats complain about how electronic voting is not perfect as though paper ballots were.

    Ask the folks in Florida about the 2000 Presidential Election about pre-electronic voting….

    Anyone who really thinks objectively knows better. LOL

  5. Can you explain to the rest of us slow folks how before electronic voting when you cast a paper or optical scan ballot you had proof of how you voted?

    You are kidding, right?

    You answered your own question. The “folks in Florida” actually had something to count and/or re-count. Their main problem was discerning between a vote and a no-vote, thus the hanging chad problem. But there wasn’t the issue of whether the vote was for one candidate or the other. And that is the issue. Electronic voting only puts out a total. A total that there is no way to verify by counting the individual votes cast. One can only re-print the total again.

    Older paper ballots, you X’d or colored in a circle on an individual ballot. There again, they(the individual ballots) could be re-counted.

    I’m not against electronic voting. Most just want individual receipts that they can place in a ballot box so that the voting machine totals can be verified. Or in the case of a close race they can be counted individually.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    I make my living programming computers, but I was against electronic voting when it was proposed, when it suddenly became the big issue after the 2000 elections and still today.

    A forensic paper trail is an absolute must. Electronic data bits can be altered at will and there is no trace of what once existed. Why does anyone think that this is a good idea?

  7. NonPartisanGA says:


    Read carefully…AGAIN

    The operative statement was “you’ll have no proof that you actually voted”; as he said in other other words the voter walks away now with nothing to prove his vote but a sticker.

    In Florida the voter walked away with nothing but a sticker either, they did not have a ballot or receipt in their hand.

    Once that paper ballot is placed in the the paper ballot box, how did you as a voter know it was counted? The answer is you did not! You did not have an individual receipt then or now.

    With electronic voting systems in Georgia there are paper tape created by each machine for recounting and the the votes on each machine are stored on multiple electronic media that can be recounted.

    Let’s take this a step further, even with your individual receipt, what would you do with it in the case of a recount. Would you try to get EVEERONE to come back with their receipts to the polls to have them recounted?

    If folks can counterfeit money, they could counterfeit a receipt.

    How would the poll worker know the receipt was real dude?

    As I said before the voter walks away with nothing in their hand that would be used to recount election, however even with electronic voting in Georgia there is indeed a means of doing a recount.

    My statement stands as correct Daniel N…..

  8. NonPartisanGA says:

    D Squared,

    Boxes of paper ballot can disappear at will without any trace.

    How do you count a paper ballot that is no longer there?

    Where is the audit trail for a box of ballots hidden in the trunk of an incumbent sheriff’s patrol car?

    Why does everyone expect perfection when we never had it before?

  9. Doug Deal says:

    You are the one expecting perfection, reference your statement on paper ballots. Paper ballots can be destroy, but so can flash memory. That is not where the difference lies.

    In a recount paper ballots actually have a physical presence that can be verified by human eyeballs, fingerprinted, examined, held up to the light, touched, tasted and molested. Data bits, on the other hand, are nothing but virtuall representations that can be altered in undetectable ways.

  10. bowersville says:

    Doug, I am not speaking for NPG, but NPG is stating a fact of the past about paper ballots in the trunk.

    Every one recalls the fiasco of the dip sh#ts in Florida giving the eyeball to the paper ballots.

    If memory serves me right, it was LBJ and Huey P Long that learned the benefits of stuffing the ballot box.

    Now it’s data bits, and who has the advantage? The young Progressives.

    I don’t know the answer, but paper ain’t it.

  11. NonPartisanGA says:

    Last try Doug Ref: “Paper ballots can be destroy, but so can flash memory. That is not where the difference lies.”

    There is a paper log tape (PAPER) produced with all of the votes that can be manually tabulated even it the bits go bye bye.

    Do you understand now?

  12. Doug Deal says:


    I have never heard of a paper log tape produced on the machine. Post a reference to that, and I will lose my objection, but I am 90% certain that there isn’t one, since that is the reason that I did not support them originally.

    Further the log would have to be generated at the voting machine and not at the counting machine.

  13. kcordell says:

    Originally we were promised paper receits on the new machines but, after we spent a billion dollars, what’s her name, Cox, claimed that she never said that. I didn’t mind the optical scan machines we had before.

  14. NonPartisanGA says:

    The current voting system in GA has receipts for recounts, but not receipts for voters. Most of you are getting confused about the difference.

    As I said before neither the previous system nor the current system provided the voter evidence of how they voted. Even the paper ballot they punched that went in the box has no personally identifiable information enabling you to know even with an audit how your vote was recorded.

    No one in any local is allowed to handle ballots except election officials…period.

    One document talking about the audit trail of a precincts results on paper is here: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/sysexam/0106_js.pdf

    To replace the system in Georgia with one that would provide voters receipts would cost as much as $50 million.

    More importantly GA law requires voting systems to be Federally Certified. This process takes 18-24 months to certify and then as much as another year to roll out to 159 counties.

    There is a good chance that the Federal Government will mandate a national standard voting system.

    So those that want a paper receipt are asking Georgia now in a budget crisis to spend $50 million on a new voting system that might take three years to implement and then have to be replaced after a few years of use?

    By the way Doug if folks really want to claim these machines are fixed, as you know as an IT professional just because the machine prints a piece of paper – this $50 million dollar receipt folks want, that does not prove how your vote was recorded if we don’t really trust the machines.

  15. Doug Deal says:

    I do not care if a voter leaves with a reciept in hand. But the votes need to have another method of validation against what is recorded in memory. Otherwise, there is no way to know if the results were not just created out of whole cloth.

    All the machines would have to do is have a printer that prints a confirmation of the votes cast that a voter can look at and verify against the screen. When they hit okay, simply have advance into a mini lockbox attached to the voting machine.

    Anything printed that the voter does not see is not a significant safeguard against electronic voter fraud, or accounting for lost votes in the case of a wiped memory card.

  16. NonPartisanGA says:


    It is not simple….3-4 years implementation time with Federal Certification, $50,000,000.00 for a useful life of a few years – that’s a tough sell, but if anyone can do it you can.

    It is time for you to start lobbying with your State Legislator, maybe have your representative can pre-file something now.

    For the record this is not something Karen Handel could do without the support of the legislature and THE MONEY even if we agree it make sense..

    Word is the SOS budget got cut just like every other Georgia Agency based upon the Governor’s directive.

    We can talk the idealism all we want, but they will first ask you to SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!

  17. Doug Deal says:


    Holding elections is actually one of the powers that government’s legitimately have. We willing spend millions on idiotic GoFish programs, but I find it interesting when something the government should be doing is criticized because it would cost a fraction of the money wasted on so many other programs.

  18. Doug Deal says:


    I was not doing a direct comparison of one VALID function of government versus one IDIOTIC programs. I was comparing the money that you think is unwise to spend for one VALID program against the untold millions spent on IDIOTIC programs year after year.

    I was stating my dislike of the current Georgia electronic voting systems. It does not mean that I believe that the issue should be compounded by spending more money on it with a definite plan. Honestly, they should not have messed with the original optical scan ballots, which is by far the best method for maintaining forensic ballots as well as speedy-enough automated counting.

    You seem entirely too much invested in this, how much Diebold stock do you own?

  19. NonPartisanGA says:

    Mr. Deal,

    Ahhh sticks and stones……

    For the record I have no stock or any financial interest in Diebold. I am just persistent in getting in the truth out on issues I have invested the time to research.

    I have no qualms about paper receipts for voters and when the replacement system is implemented I agree that should be a requirement.

    You could revert back to original optical scan ballots you prefer, but that won’t get voters a receipt they can take home either.

  20. Doug Deal says:


    A receipt that a voter takes home is not exactly something I think matters in any way. In fact, it may violate the principle of the secret ballot, as what is to stop employers or union bosses from checking it later. If it doesn’t have votes listed on it, then it is no different than an I Voted sticker.

    The importance of the receipt is for a reliable validation of the count. That is a receipt that stays with the ballot box that is generated and validated by the voter for auditing and recount purposes.

  21. Howard Roark says:

    We did some polling for local races in our area. The sample size was large. Our last question was McCain or Obama for president. The results were McCain 69.5%, Obama 17.5%, undecided 13%.

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