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The mysterious disappearing candidate in Florida

By       Message Bev Harris       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 11/25/08

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A volunteer named John Howard showed us all how to automate the collection of "time slice" data on Election Night. This information is in the Black Box Voting Tool Kit 2008, pp 47-51. I have been analyzing some of this time slice data and will be releasing a few reports with my observations. Here's a spreadsheet that shows just how useful the time slice information can be:

(375 KB)

The black type is original data. The purple is calculations on the accumulated totals, showing undervotes etc. The green is calculations which split out the data to show what happened in each time segment.

Now, what's entertaining about the spreadsheet I've linked above (which is for Broward County, State House Dist 112) is this: It shows 28 time slices, beginning just after the polls close and continuing until Nov. 15. Votes are flowing in, for two candidates -- Rivera and Gaffney -- and write-ins. It shows which votes are Election Day, Early, and Absentee, by precinct, and what time each set is uploaded, as well as the vote totals per candidate, vote category, precinct, and upload time.

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Notice something very interesting: On Nov. 7 as of 2:47 in the afternoon, all the votes for all candidates disappear. Huh?

Then on Nov. 7 as of 3:09 in the afternoon, the votes reappear, but candidate Gaffney's votes are missing.


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Gaffney the disappearing candidate actually won by a landslide in Broward, which you can tell by viewing the time slices as the votes flow in. Apparently Gaffney actually lost when all counties she ran in were combined, but in Broward, she certainly won.

It gets more interesting. Gaffney withdrew from the race just 24 hours before the election. But according to Marc Caputo, a blogger at the Miami Herald site, the papers for Gaffney's candidacy were submitted by one of her opponent Rivera's people; While Rivera put a couple hundred thousand dollars into the race, the mysterious Gaffney put in just two thousand dollars, loaned by herself. She was never seen and never answered the phone. Some bloggers are speculating that Gaffney is not even a real name.


So could this be? Could a candidate in Florida create his own opposition, then pull his opponent off the ballot just before the election? And who is this mystery candidate who withdrew but won the race in Broward County?

Gaffney was registered as a Republican, but switched to the Democratic Party shortly before papers were filed to run for office.

Bev Harris
Founder - Black Box Voting

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* * * * *

Government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. We insist on remaining informed so that we may retain control over the instruments of government we have created.


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

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