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Straight scoop on tons of races up for grabs in Tuesday election

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Don't believe what you hear right now on who will control congress, because it is still very much up in the air. Not only do we not have any idea how the computer programming really affects vote counts with many different locations, vendors and IT guys, but going by the polls alone there are really a TON of very close races.

Crystal ball-gazers of all types have weighed in on their predictions for the Nov. 2 election. Here are some of their opinions on what you'll see Tuesday:

- Rob Richie of Fairvote suggests that the media is getting overhyped about the prospect of a high profile recount this year, but says "the Alaska U.S. Senate race on particular could be a wild one, given the Murkowski write-in candidacy"

- In Connecticut, the CT Capitol Report says Democratic U.S. Representatives Jim Himes and Chris Murphy trail their Republican opponents, Dan Debicella and Sam Caligiuri, but each race is within 2 percent and is expected to be a horse race. Another poll by the Merriman River Group puts Caligiuri ahead by seven percent.

From Black Box Voting - our own analysis of voting equipment software, absentee and early voting rates, and the audit logs showing cheat peaks at results make us wonder why any candidate really invests in or cares about polls, other than as a mechanism to set up public expectations.

The number of voters polled in the two Connecticut surveys above were just 571 and 911, respectively. The number of votes available for cheat peeks in Shelby County Tennessee was 92,000 in August, and Los Angeles County will have early counting of approximately 1 million votes this election. Now, the cheat peeks show you ACTUAL votes, whereas the polls are just telephone surveys of people who you may or may not have selected right, who may or may not be telling you the truth.


But let's go on. Also in Connecticut, the Rose Report Election Guide - http://rosereport.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/rose_inst_nov_2010_election_gui de.pdf - reports the Blumenthal/McMahon race for the US Senate to be close, and the Malloy/Foley race for governor to be a tossup.

- In New York, a poll taken by Iona College in the 19th Congressional District race shows incumbent Democratic Congressman John Hall and Dr. Nan Hayworth in a dead heat. In fact, New York has EIGHT US House districts in play right now: 1st District, Bishop vs. Altschuler, too close to call. 13th, McMahon vs. Grimm, tight but leaning Dem. 20th, Murphy vs. Gibson, anyone's game. 22nd, Hinchey vs. Phillips, leaning to incumbent Hinchey (Dem) but he's not in the clear. 23rd, Owens vs. Doheny, too close to call. 24th, Arcuri vs. Hanna, too close to call. 25th, Maffei vs. Beurkle, leaning Dem but could go either way.

- In Minnesota, a new SurveyUSA poll conducted for KSTP-TV in Minneapolis shows incumbent Jim Oberstar (8th Congressional District) in the "tightest fight of his career", running even with Republican challenger Chip Cravaack.

The Rose Report Election Guide points to Minnesota's 1st Congressional District race between Tim Walz and Randy Demmer as a squeaker, and agrees that the Oberstar/Cravaack race will be tight.

- In California, a SurveyUSA poll says the Prop 19 marijuana initiative is in trouble but who knows; even the SurveyUSA numbers seem to be bouncing all over the place. The same survey reports Republican US Senate candidate Carly Fiorina to be dropping like a stone in her bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer.

- Karl Rove reportedly invested a million dollars in defeating Attorney General candidate Kamala Harris. Indirect bankrollers are reported to include oil companies and opponents to California's tough stance on environmental issues.

The Rose Report Election Guide delves into Calif. state races, citing the 12th District State Senate race as up for grabs, and the 5th, 10th, 15th, 30th, 35th, and 68th assembly districts as mighty tight.

It's picks for could-go-either-way in the US House are Calif. US House districts 3, 11, 18, 20 and 47, and it still rates the Boxer-Fiorina US Senate race as very close. It also puts the Calif. governor race between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown as a toss-up, though the SurveyUSA report has that one with an 8 point margin for Brown.

- Missouri, according to a comparison of its Secretary of State voter statistics with its US Census statistics, shows fifteen counties with more than 100 percent voter registration:
Reynolds County, 125.8 percent
Putnam County, 109.9 percent
Butler County, 104.3 percent
Gentry County, 103.9 percent
Mercer County, 103.6 percent
Shelby County, 103.2 percent
Schuyler County, 101.6 percent
Carter County, 101.5 percent
Worth County, 101.4 percent
Ozark County, 100.8 percent
Dade County, 100.7 percent
Holt County, 100.6 percent
Pemiscot County, 100.6 percent
Howard County, 100.4 percent
Ralls County, 100.1 percent

(BBV comment: Have the 2010 Census numbers even been released yet? If not, wouldn't this data be comparing 2010 voter numbers with decade-old census stats?) You can take a closer look at the statistical assumptions for the above numbers here:
http://missouri.watchdog.org/5822/fifteen-missouri-counties-have-more-voters-tha n-census-population/?utm_source=MO_Subscriptions&utm_campaign=5210b86f7d-More_vo ters_thab_census_population_in_Missouri&utm_medium=email

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http://www.blackboxvoting.org

Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
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