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Voter Integrity Group Urges Preservation of Unadjusted National Exit Poll

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Widespread Voting Problems in Early Voting Indicate that Independent Documentation May Be Needed to Audit Election

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Today, the national election integrity project TrueVote.US urged media outlets participating in the National Exit Poll to preserve the unadjusted poll results.  The group cited a range of problems in more than a dozen states during early voting that indicated a need for an independent record to compare to the vote count.  TrueVote.US urged that the unadjusted results be made public and, if adjustments are made that they be explained publicly.

Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International will again conduct a National Exit Poll for a media pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. The exit polls will involve polling tens of thousands of actual voters. It will remove sources of polling error and be extremely accurate.  In 2004 the unadjusted exit polls were "adjusted," i.e. changed so as to conform to the vote count assuming the count was correct and the exit poll was not.  Investigations into the election in Ohio later raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the actual vote in comparison to the unadjusted polls (which showed a Kerry victory).

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The records may be needed for an independent audit of the election results. TrueVote.US cited problems with touchscreen machines in five states "flipping" the vote, optical scan machines having problems reading ballots and the failure to count absentee and provisional ballots.  TrueVote.US issued a report last week on the diverse problems seen throughout the United States during early voting.  See True Vote Summarizes Problems in U.S. Election Thus Far: Unacceptable long lines, machine problems, registration and voter challenges and deception of voters, October 28, 2008,

"At this stage the election is pointing to a relatively easy electoral victory by Senator Barack Obama so perhaps there will be no problems.  If Senator John McCain were to score a surprise upset there would be great doubts as to the legitimacy of the result.  If the National Exit Poll was inconsistent with the vote count it would raise a primae facie case that the vote count is inaccurate," said Kevin Zeese, executive director of TrueVote.US.  The election integrity organization is a non-partisan group, in fact Zeese served as Ralph Nader's spokesperson and press secretary in 2004. "On the other hand, if the unadjusted exit poll showed a McCain victory the public would be more likely to respect the result and accept its integrity. The unadjusted exit poll would be a valuable tool in reviewing the vote count."

A recent CNN poll found that 42% of U.S. voters do not trust their vote will be counted accurately.  Thousands of voters have written media outlets urging them to preserve the unadjusted exit poll.  The letters came in response to a email sent by TrueVote.US to election integrity activists.  See

TrueVote.US noted that in questionable elections overseas exit polls have been the basis of democracy movements that reversed the election result.  For example the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine began when the official count differed markedly from exit poll results which gave Yushchenko up to an 11% lead, while official results gave the election win to Yanukovych by 3%.  

"TrueVote.US hopes for a vote count that can be trusted by Americans, but if there are questions the National Exit Poll will provide a unique tool that could confirm the vote count or raise doubts about it," said Zeese.  Zeese emphasized that errors could be due to software bugs or malicious software, "whether intentional or not errors in vote counts should be corrected," said Zeese.

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The alert sent by True Vote to election integrity advocates:


November 02, 2008

Please take action to urge the media to report the unadjusted exit polls for the 2008 election.

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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)

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