Florida E-Vote Study Debunked

The Florida e-vote study released a few weeks ago by a UC Berkeley professor (and one we were immediately suspicious of) was a crock, according to peer review.

The recent working paper by Hout, Mangels, Carlson and Best (“HMCB“) concludes that “electronic voting raised President Bush’s advantage from the tiny edge he held in 2000 to a clearer margin of victory in 2004.” In particular, the paper’s authors allege that Bush received somewhere between 130,000 and 260,000 “excess votes” that were not actually cast. We are suspicious of persons who call press conferences to release “results” that have not been peer reviewed. As professors who teach statistics and econometrics to undergraduate and graduate students, we are always on the lookout for good examples of “what not to do” so that we may better instruct our students in the responsible use of statistics. Therefore we have examined the HMCB study with a critical eye. We conclude that the study is entirely without merit and its “results” are meaningless.

They really slice and dice the HMCB methods and conclusions, and it’s good read as well. You can read their report [PDF], and more from the authors at Wired.

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  • Ha! This is exactly what I said when the study came out. They never calculated a change in Bush’s support.