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The Ohio Secretary of State has finally published the precinct-level vote tallies and the results are chilling.  I have plotted the results between Obama/McCain and Obama/Romney with the precincts ordered from largest to smallest.  In the 2008 election McCain had a 51,000 vote lead over Obama (12% of the state vote coming from the 735 largest voting precincts in the state).  In 2012, for the 735 largest precincts, Obama and Romney were in a dead even tie.

The reason I wanted to do this is because of the allegations by the shadowy hacker group Anonymous that they had thwarted Karl Rove's attempts to steal the election by vote tampering.  Not to mention Karl Rove's incredulity at the election results.

I have been trying to understand these graphs, they look horrible, I can't figure it out.

The excel spreadsheets of precinct-level data can be found on the Ohio Secretary of State here:


The following are graphs produced from the precinct level vote totals.

these graphs show the total percent of the vote given to each candidate from largest to smallest precinct.  For example, in the following graph, the McCain lead (red) falls to Obama right about the 6000th largest precinct.

Note: click on graph to see a larger version

Instead of starting off 7 points behind in the largest precincts, in 2012 Barack Obama (blue) started with an extremely high point lead that lasted through the largest 600 precincts and through the entire tally, he was never more than 2 points behind Romney (Red).

The question I have after these two graphs are:

1.  what kind of precinct-level changes had to happen to shift the 1000 largest reporting precincts (about 18.5% of the total state vote) to swing over 7 points toward Obama in 2012?  

2.  If that kind of precinct level manipulation is untenable, is this an indication of vote switching that occurred in these larger precincts in 2008?

3.  Perhaps this is a strategy to push Democratically leaning voters to longer lines, more easily slowed down by voter ID laws?  

4.  Does anybody from Ohio know the answer to these questions?

I also did a zoom of the largest precincts reporting.  In these graphs the scale is percent of total vote reporting.  So the graph shows the results of 12% of the total Ohio electorate that voted in the very largest precincts in the state for both 2008 and 2012, notice the flabbergasting differences!

In the 2008 election, With 12% of the total votes cast from the largest precincts (about 667,000 total votes cast) John McCain (red) started off with a very strong positive vote lead margin of +51,474 votes over Obama.

If the Obama vote areas are the urban counties with the highest population density, how is it that the largest precincts all went to McCain so heavily in 2008?

In 2012 those votes from the largest precincts evaporated and went overwhelmingly to Obama.

So the question is, what the hell is going on here?  how the hell do you swing 51,474 votes away from the largest precincts legally?

Is this an indication of vote tampering of electronic voting machines (switching votes from the largest precincts)? or is it republican operatives changing the numbers and locations of precincts, moving massive amounts of machines and infrastructure into republican regions to facilitate their votes (and making democratic votes harder)?

can it be any thing else???

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republicans slammed Ohio in 2010 and gerrymandered (5+ / 0-)

    so the disparity should have gotten worse rather than better. The SOS in charge of voting was and is a republican lackey who does every thing he can to push the vote republican and against minority, urban, and yoinger voters. These are troubling figures which state authorities are sure to ignore

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 04:51:02 AM PST

    •  This is different than Gerrymandering (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, OHdog, FarWestGirl

      Gerrymandering arranges precincts into voting districts.

      This is a massive consolidation of Obama voters into large precincts, in the rural areas of Ohio.

      This would mean a total state-level transformation in ohio from previous years.  A majority of the population having to vote in a new location. . .is that what happened?

      and, if Obama voters live in high population density areas, why were the largest precincts weighed so heavily toward republican in 2008?  

      Either that or it is a clear indication of vote switching in larger precincts in 2008.

  •  Did 2010 reapportionment alter precinct boundaries (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, bear83, Wee Mama, FarWestGirl

    … or numbering? Could that have an effect?

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 04:54:03 AM PST

  •  Are you in touch with Bob Fitrakis? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, FarWestGirl

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 04:58:39 AM PST

  •  no doubt you did a lot of work on this but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, Wee Mama, New Minas

    wouldn't an analysis have to be same precinct in 2008 vs same precinct in 2012 - assuming precinct boundaries were not changed.  If some of the boundaries were changed (one doubts too many of the thousands of precincts would have had boundary changes in 4 years), then compare same precinct to same precinct - but note which ones had boundary changes and which did not.

    I agree with you that these results appear strange.

    Since some have theorized a conspiracy in 2004 to benefit the Bush reelection campaign, a comparison for precincts among all 3 elections could also be interesting.

    •  The precincts have different names, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      svboston, FarWestGirl

      a precinct map is not provided.  Gerrymandering is when you align precincts in groupings that favor the election of a state or federal candidate.  Precinct-level changes should not be happening to this degree,  It would take such a massive amount of transformation of the voting playing field in 2 years that it would throw everyone into shock.

      did the majority of Ohio have to go to a new polling place in 2012?  That is basically the only way this could happen by pushing together democrats into single polling places and taking large republican precincts and spreading them out.

      either that or a kind of electronic vote machine vote-flipping across precincts in 2008 and not in 2012.

      I find it incredulous that the larger precincts did not go for Obama in 2008, with his incredible momentum and the fact that democratic voters come from the urban areas (higher population density, higher lines).

    •  I live in Summit County OH, which includes Akron. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I f you look at the canvas results for 2008 vs. 2012, you will see dramatic cuts to numbers of precincts. In fact, the local Board of Elections, with approval of the Ohio Secretary of State, reduced the precincts after the 2012 primary (in March) and before the 2012 election. Even with month-long advanced voting, the lines were long on election day. The BoE increased the number of precincts after the 2012 general election due to complaints from voters. Even suburban Republican voters had a long wait.

      Bottom line: any precinct level analysis between 2008 and 2012 is thwarted by these changes. It also messes up precinct-level targeting by candidates.  

      •  yes, it's pretty dramatic (0+ / 0-)

        I had some time this afternoon to poke around in these data, and Summit leapt off the screen.

        In 2008, of the thousand largest precincts by votes cast, only 34 were in Summit County. In 2012, 169 were (and they were substantially more Democratic than the 34 had been). Hamilton and Montgomery Counties also had large increases.

        So, comparing the biggest precincts in 2008 and in 2012 is sort of like, I dunno, comparing the demographics of the top baseball teams in two different seasons without accounting for the fact that they're often different teams.

        By looking at the actual precinct lines (and block demographics), one might be able to do a halfway decent precinct-level analysis, but it would be quite a project.

        "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

        by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 03:34:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, then (0+ / 0-)

          that is a good explanation.

          However, for the shift to happen as it did in the curves (52,000 fewer republican votes in the largest 735 precincts) more would have to happen than consolidating democratic strongholds.  They would have to also increase the number of polling places among republican strongholds and remove them from the high precinct count.  

          The reason I say this is because the relatively low differential between candidates on these large precincts (with some exception).

          That would mean a massive shift in voting resources into republican strongholds and away from democratic ones.  Isn't that a partisan use of public funds and a federal crime?

  •  Strange is a good word. T&R because I (5+ / 0-)

    think this deserves multiple eyes, if only to try to figure out what's going on, whether in the state or in your analysis.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 05:14:11 AM PST

    •  been here, done this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, New Minas

      Here, here, and elsewhere.

      It's perhaps an interesting riddle, but considering that the precinct lines changed between elections — and that Obama performed close to polling averages in both elections (arguably better in 2008, but some of those pollsters were sketchy) — it isn't a priori likely to lead anywhere.

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 07:06:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the links (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I agree that it would take a hell of a lot more than what I have done here to prove some sort of culpability.  

        The thing is, in 2008 McCain maintained a solid lead over Obama among the cumulative vote of the 6000 largest precincts (roughly 1/2 of the total state precincts) .  That was how far the skew went in 2008.

        in 2012 this skew completely disappeared.

        1.  notice how smooth the transition from McCain to Obama is in the 2008 graph?

        2.  what kind of massive shift in voting resources would have to occur to make this happen physically?  

        2.b.  would this shift in voting resources go completely unchallenged legally?

        •  we seem to be speaking different languages (0+ / 0-)

          Below you write, "You just don't get these kinds of changes on the precinct level without some kind of massive tampering." Not only have you not been able to "prove" that, but you don't seem to have any basis for it whatsoever. In many cases they are different precincts; why shouldn't they have different vote distros?

          in 2012 this skew completely disappeared.
          That's only true if you define "skew" so as to make it true.
          1.  notice how smooth the transition from McCain to Obama is in the 2008 graph?
          The 2008 curves aren't much 'smoother' than the 2012 curves. I suspect basically your eye is focusing on different parts of the graphs.
          2.  what kind of massive shift in voting resources would have to occur to make this happen physically?  
          That question isn't well framed. Changing precinct lines, per se, doesn't require a massive shift in voting resources, although certainly resources could be shifted.

          "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

          by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 03:58:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Track the margins, not the percentages (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, FarWestGirl

    I think you're on a much more solid basis when you show the cumulative lead, rather than the percentages. Those are not as conclusive in the long run, and will fluctuate.

  •  Tampering with electronic voting machines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, FarWestGirl

    Remember how the Ohio Sec of State ordered an election eve reprogramming of the electronic machines?  The Republican companies did not program the voting machines to print a receipt for your vote, even though each and every machine has a little credit card - type printer built into it.  That's why a paper trail is so critically important.  
    Paper ballots and optical scanners should be mandatory in every federal election.  None of this electronic stuff or butterfly ballots like those used in Florida.
    Just a simple paper ballot with blackened circles, just like every optically-scanned college test form used all over the country.  Anything else contributes to election fraud.

    •  ? (0+ / 0-)
      The Republican companies did not program the voting machines to print a receipt for your vote, even though each and every machine has a little credit card - type printer built into it.
      Are you saying that every VVPAT printer in the state was turned off, but nobody reported it?

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 04:15:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Important diary. Voting rights are important. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, Errol, FarWestGirl

    Of course.
    They're important 2 ways. The obvious one, we don't want the gop stealing our democracy.
    It's also an issue which can help us increase turnout in 2014, as it did in 2012.
    It will be harder, being a midterm, but if people know their voting power is in danger of being stolen, they'll turn out.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 07:22:31 AM PST

  •  please keep on this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, FarWestGirl


  •  Contact the New York Times and US Atty OH.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, FarWestGirl

    ... if you have stumbled on what I think you have.... the Smoking Gun of electronic vote fraud ... this is extremely serious.

    Excellent analysis, yes more depth of investigation and analysis is needed, but I think you have truly found an unaccountable anomaly.

    Remember what Sherlock Holmes says ... there is no such thing as COINCIDENCE.

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