UPDATE BELOW --- READ THAT TOO!!! <thanks - the management>
Related Post-Election Analysis is Here
Since I am a resident of Virginia, which is inexplicably once again a 'battleground' state, I feel compelled to offer commentary on this election day. I should disclose that, knowing that I would by unavailable today, I performed my civic duty Saturday morning at the county headquarters building, thanks to the oddly named "in person absentee voting". There were no lines, and it took me all of 10 minutes. Most of that time was taken up by removing my bike from the rack on the back of the Jeep so I could get to the trunk where I keep my spare set of reading glasses which were required to fill out the absentee voter form once I got to the voting area.
There were four very bored looking poll workers and a supervisor, who seemed way too happy to see me. I got the feeling they had been sitting there for hours with nothing to do. While I was glad that I could zip in and zip out, I was a little dismayed that more of my fellow citizens weren't taking advantage of the easier voting. This was in sharp contrast to what I saw last election where the line at this very same absentee voting location stretched all through the lobby and out the door. On the other hand, I remember that a lot of those people looked like Obamabots, so perhaps it's a good thing they weren't there.
Now looked at from and old white bigot's viewpoint, the main race for Governor here should not be much of a contest. On one hand you have Cuccinelli, who, as Attorney General has solid conservative credentials on fighting Obamacare, immigration reform, and upholding the rights of of the state in the face of Federal overreach. On the other hand you have McAuliffe, a Cintonista transplant who is corrupt as the day is long and an admitted gun grabbing democrat. A clear choice, that most right thinking Virginians won't have to think very hard or long about.
And that really is the question here. How many right thinking Virginians are left, and will their votes count. Ok, that is really two questions, so i'll take them one at a time. First how many right thinking Virginians are left in the state. Now if you look at official demographics, you would say that the proportion of right leaning voters in the state really hasn't changed substantially from when conservatives swept into office back in 2010. However, with the lax enforcement of immigration laws, the population of illegal immigrants has virtually exploded in Virginia. When you factor this explosion against the federal enforced relaxing of voter ID requirements, you have to expect that a great number of those folks will do what they can to ensure a illegal immigrant opponent does not get the governor's seat. My proof? While, as noted above, the absentee voter location at the county complex located out by the semi-pro ball field was virtually deserted Saturday, the same cannot be said for the voting location at the county office building located in downtown Manassas, just a few blocks from the largest poor Hispanic enclave in northern Virginia. Notional, I know, but something worth thinking about.
Yes, I did say two questions there. The second and more infuriating issue is whether or not their votes will be counted. I have done some more than cursory investigation into the electronic voting process in Virginia, and there is much to be concerned about. The foreign origin of the voting machines, coupled with a lack of adequate testing and verification of the actual voting system, compounded by electronic security measures at the poll locations that are laughable, all indicates to me that if this system is not already compromised it would be truly miraculous. You want anecdotal evidence? I give you the fore mentioned polling location I visited at the county complex.
The location itself is in an exterior office, on a ground floor, facing the parking area. While the shades are down, a mere ten feet from the voting machines is a exterior glass window where anyone can walk up to and set up an attack laptop. But that would be largely unnecessary if an attacker managed to gain access to the voting room itself under the guise of some other legitimate purpose, like say voting, since the supervisor running the polling location did not ask to see my phone / android / etc. or instruct me to turn it off. Thus, getting a dork device within close physical proximity of a voting machine is virtually assured. This is a violation of very basic electronic security practices. Even if this were not a problem, then consider that the poll workers themselves were not practicing the most basic of electronic security measures. I observed that every one of them had a cell phone of an android / iphone class, though admittedly I could not tell if they were on. I did observe that one worker had a fully powered tablet inartfully hidden under the table where the machines used for poll check were located. While she may have just been playing "candy crush" or "angry birds", she just as easily have been dorking the PCs used to verify legitimate voters or the results of their votes. Finally, there were communication lines running from the check in tables to the voting machines themselves. While this may have been necessary, it would seem to me that in a secure system, the voting machines should be unconnected to any machine while actively used in the voting process.
How likely is it that voting in Virginia has been compromised? I intend to let the numbers speak for themselves. When the day is done, and all the votes are counted, I will do a numerical analysis of the numbers and publish the results here. Then I will let you judge for yourselves. I dearly hope that I am wrong. Stay tuned...
Well that went about how I expected. Any one else get that deja-vu feeling like we had in 2012? Yeah - me too. For those of you that weren't around for the previous incantation of this blog, you are in for either the most boring post in the world, or the most fascinating one, depending on your perspective and tolerance for painful math stuff. Due to the complexity (and since I have a real job where I have to make money and stuff), it will take a few days for me to pull it together. Here's a little preview...
Suppose for a minute that a thief breaks into your house while you are off on vacation. You know that they were there because, well, your stuff is all gone. The bad news is that there is not really much you can do now, but tally up your losses and file file your insurance claims. That being said, you would like to catch the bastards who did it - after all they took your stuff!
Now suppose this election is kinda like that. You know there was a break in because there is a corrupt monkey moving into the Governor's mansion. The question is was there a crime here, or are your fellow citizens really as stupid as they appear on paper? Well stealing an election is not like some guy jimmying a window and grabbing the silverware. The things they are stealing are votes. In the final analysis, votes are really just numbers. The neat thing about numbers is it's really hard to manipulate them without leaving a fingerprint of the operation you used to transform them to your will.
So, my thesis here is this. If some nefarious entity employed some devious means to thwart the will of the people of Virginia and manipulated the vote, then there should be fingerprints of that manipulation hiding in plain sight in the numbers. If those fingerprints are not there, then, as the title of the blog implies, I would have once again gone astray and wasted a few days of number crunching to no purpose other to discover that my fellow Virginians really are that stupid. Either way, I believe it is an exercise worth pursuing.
I am totally aware that if the results of my analysis reveals such fingerprints, then the end result will be no different. With the tiny influence of my blog, there really is not much I can do to change the system. I will cross that bridge if I get to it. So until then I invite you to relax and enjoy life. Do something that takes you away from the internet and politics for a while. Then when your ready, come back here and read through what I come up with. After that, we'll figure out what to do about it together.