27 April 2014

In a previous posts (see: www.baiman.blogspot.com ), I’ve claimed that the official returns for third party and independent candidates in the Run-Off Election and Primary for the 50th Congressional District in San Diego conducted on June 6 – the Busby / Bilbray race, are implausible.



Since these posts, readers with more detailed and accurate knowledge of California voting behavior and San Diego politics have raised a serious of explanations that I believe could serve as plausible explanations for the San Diego official returns.



These are as follows:



a) Independents in California don’t vote in Primaries.



Since writing the above, I've been informed by several people that poll workers in California, in violation of the law, often do not inform voters of the "decline to state" Primary voting option and that many (or most?) Independents don't request Primary ballots. This could, at least partially, explain the discrepancy in total vote count between the Run-Off and the Primary.



b) Republican and AIP Social Conservatives Voted for Griffith in the Run-Off.



Griffith was not just a “minuteman” candidate. He was also had "gays, guns, and abortion" appeal as a staunch Mormon Conservative, unlike Bilbray who was relatively liberal on social issues. Griffith got the endorsement of the "American Independent Party" (AIP), a hard right religious conservative third party, as well as the "Minutemen". Though he only got about 1,100 votes in the April Special Primary election and reportedly only spent about $2,000 of his own money on the June 6 Run-Off election, he may have picked up votes from socially conservative Republicans who supported Roach, a multimillionaire who barely lost to Bilbray in the April Primary. This all adds up to possibly a larger than normal third party vote for Griffith, most likely from disaffected Roach supporters (see: http://www.signonsandiego.com/
uniontrib/
20060529/news_1m29jenkins.html).



c) Third Parties always get large “None of the Above” (NOTA) votes shares in General Elections.



Libertarians who strongly object to my analysis claim that historically Libertarians and other third parties have always received many more votes in General elections than in Primaries and that these are mostly "none of the above" (NOTA) votes. Especially given a), it is plausible that many Independent voters who cast an NOTA vote for Clark in the Run-Off may not have bothered, who cared, to vote in the Libertarian primary.



Conclusion
I apologize to my readers for “jumping the gun” on this one! I should have waited to get the more detailed institutional information – before drawing conclusions purely based on aggregate numbers. However, I felt it was necessary to raise any questions immediately because of the short political timeline involved in requesting a recount.



This should not in any way effect the struggle for real election reform.



Without: a) real-time precinct-level data releases, b) routine random audits based on voter verified paper trails, ac) publicly funded exit-polls, and d) laws that allow citizens to legally challenge all election outcomes, it is going to be hard to trust “official results”, even if they look plausible.