Talk:2004 United States election voting controversies

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Vote to Delete[edit]

President Obama said that electoral fraud does not happen in the United States; therefore, I move to remove this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.171.249.144 (talk) 19:53, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

Lead Paragraph[edit]

Over the past week I've made some edits to trim down the lead paragraph, which I believed was overloaded. Initial edits pertained to removing what was basically a redundant copy of the table of contents, which appears to be have been accepted. A recent edit was to trim what I believed was unnecessary content for the lead paragraph. I thought it gave too much weight to a single controversy when the article's topic is about the multiple controversies during the election. I made an alternate edit which tries to include some of the removed material and relate it to the entire topic. --Amwestover (talk|contrib) 04:45, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Please don't assume that something was "accepted" simply on the basis of silence. I believe the old version of the introductory section was better. The narrative format is more accessible in many ways, so narrative content shouldn't be removed just because it could be inferred from a scrutiny of the table of contents. I'm not going over all the details, but I remember noticing that one of your edits removed the reference to the Republican baloney about false voter registration by ACORN -- it was baloney but it was notable baloney so it should be mentioned up top. JamesMLane t c 06:35, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you should take a look at WP:LEAD which provides a guideline for how to structure lead sections. And you should review the edit history. Before today, my only changes to the lead were an inline fact tag and this edit which removed material which was basically a copy of the table of contents and did not follow lead section style guidelines. I'm not sure what "baloney" you're referring too, but it should probably be in another section for organizational purposes since this thread is intended to discuss the lead paragraph. --Amwestover (talk|contrib) 07:26, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you should take a look at your own edits. I was referring to this edit by which, in a ddition to adding a fact tag, you removed the words "(and no one else)". That phrase was a reference to Republican charges about people voting who weren't entitled to. I consider the Republican position to be baloney but it is, quite properly, discussed in the article and should be mentioned in the introductory section. Also, as I have stated, I don't agree with removing material on the basis that the information could be gleaned from the table of contents; the text should stand on its own as a summary of the article. The previous version did a better job of helping the reader decide whether to continue reading the entire article. JamesMLane t c 08:04, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, so that's a reference to ACORN registering Donald Duck as a Democrat, stuff like that. I was a little confused what that was referring to, and it was stuck in there kinda awkwardly. Characterize it as "baloney" all you want, but many of their employees and volunteers have been investigated and indicted over the years for fraud and forgery including 2004 -- they're a very shady organization to say the least. Anyway, I'll rework that into the lead, but I'll try to do it less awkwardly since it originally seemed like it was shoehorned in there to me.
As for the redundant outline before the table of contents, please familiarize yourself with WP:LEAD. There are style guidelines for lead sections in order to maintain consistency across all the articles on Wikipedia. An outline format is generally not a suggested approach for the lead; summaries are preferred. --Amwestover (talk|contrib) 16:47, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikilinks[edit]

I've noticed that in a couple places in the article, technical terms are defined and explained. This reads like a term paper and doesn't appear encyclopedic. Linking style guidelines state that technical terms should be linked if there is an article. This is more valuable to the reader so that the article stays on topic and so that the readers can get more information about the technical term than we'd be able to provide inline in the article itself.

One particular example of this is the edit I made to the provisional ballots section, which appears to require some explanation. Instead of taking a whole paragraph to explain the term, a Wikilink is provided in the first sentence of the section so the reader may find out more about provisional ballots if needed or desired. --Amwestover (talk|contrib) 17:10, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

You're example doesn't match the claim. A more relevant style guide would be WP:OBVIOUS. I'm not against wikilinking, but you're arguing relevant content should be removed. If you can suggest alternate language that would be fine, but only a wikilink is not sufficient. The explanation is relevant to why there is a controversy. Futher 2004 was the first presidential election which provisional balloting was mandated and for many states the first time they were ever used. If anything the section should be expanded not erased. Please do not revert and erase relevant content.71.178.193.134 (talk) 21:50, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Stating the obvious is more along the lines of saying "The Dallas Cowboys are a franchise in the National Football League". This isn't really stating the obvious, it's basically defining the term. That'd be appropriate for the lead in the provisional ballots article, but it's redundant to do it again elsewhere such as here. That's why it's suggested that technical terms be wikilinked.
However, content specifically relevant to the 2004 election is appropriate. For instance, as you pointed out 2004 was the first election where they were mandated. I think that is pertinent information for this article that should be included. If there is sourced information confirming it, that's obviously even better. --Amwestover (talk|contrib) 06:05, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I apologize, but I fail to see nuance of your descriptions. Again, I'm fine with alternate language, I'm just saying something to give it context for readers is required. The biggest issue here is that provisional ballot isn't just a technical term. Its not something that most people familiar with elections commonly understand, even those with specific knowledge of the administration of elections in the US. Provisional ballots have different meaning in different states and a single meaning federally at the same time. Some states have used things they call provisional ballots for many years that bear no relation to wha the federal government calls provisional ballots and some states have been using something by a name other than provisional ballots that server the exact same purpose. When the Help America Vote Act became law the federal government began mandating provisional ballots, but only generally, allowing states to pick how they would be applied. This was a significant source of controversy in 2004. Again, I'm not saying all this info should be in this article, only that some context would be useful. Thanks. 71.178.193.134 (talk) 18:35, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Rolling Stone as a reliable source[edit]

In the ES to this edit, Bonewah asked, about Rolling Stone, "is RS really a reliable source for anything?" The question has been taken up at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Rolling Stone, NME, Popmatters and Metal-Observer. Most of the discussion concerns the troublesome problem of identifying music genres, but there doesn't seem to be any serious dispute that Rolling Stone is a reliable source. One editor commented, "RS is further a good candidate for a RS for almost any subject; their reporters have won accolades time and again for deeper journalistic endeavors." JamesMLane t c 04:20, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, if we need to identify a music genre, then Rolling Stone is the source to do it. Bonewah (talk) 16:25, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
And if we need to know a stock price, then we can turn to The Wall Street Journal. In each case, however, the publication can also be cited in broader subject areas. JamesMLane t c 17:51, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Man. I'm totally rewriting some articles sourced to Hunter S. Thompson then.
In all seriousness, RS s a tough case - they've printed some good stuff, but they've also printed some seriously discredited stuff. I think it's fairly case-by-case. Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:56, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Whitewash[edit]

I used to be a relatively active editor on this article since the 2004 election, but left in September of 2006 in utter disgust at the relentless attempts at POV pushing and deletion of this and related articles by certain editors that will remain nameless. Since then other dedicated editors have also left and (sadly and predictably) the content of this article has been decimated, and the related articles are being deleted to give the appearance that nothing much of consequence was controversial about the 2004 election.

I encourage any researchers looking for a broader perspective to look at earlier versions of this and related articles. For example, here is what this article looked like in September of 2006 (though even then much important history had been deleted from this article). Back then this article had 134 references, now there are 63. This article has gone from about 85,000 characters to about 32,000 (from about 8,000 to 4,000 words), and (from what I understand) the related articles are being deleted.

Of course, the deletionists and POV pushers will claim this has all been done in the name of being concise and removing unsourced or badly sourced statements. This has been their line all along. And, unfortunately, they have largely prevailed do to lack of opposition and due to support for their agenda from more powerful Wikipedians.

This has resulted in a narrow, mostly whitewashed version of what happened in 2004. I salute those of you still fighting to keep this article alive, but warn researchers that what you're getting here is not nearly the full story but the result of much revisionism. -- noosphere 23:26, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

"this has all been done in the name of being concise and removing unsourced or badly sourced statements." I can only speak for myself here, but, yes, i edit in an effort to removed unsourced claims, its called verifiability, its non-negotiable, and im not going to apologize for it. Bonewah (talk) 18:02, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't expect apologies or admissions of guilt from people who participate in the whitewash (though I'm not accusing you or any other editor in particular). They will staunchly claim they are adhering to Wikipedia's policies. However, the fact that this kind of whitewashing occurs is ample proof of the inadequacy of Wikipedia policy and procedure to keep dedicated POV pushers from significantly distorting the content of controversial articles such as this one. If further proof is required it can be seen in the editing history of this and related articles, as well as the numerous attempts to delete them. -- noosphere 19:10, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Your POV is noted, you're not the only one on here though. Soxwon (talk) 19:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
If your here to correct some grave injustice that you perceive to have occurred vis-a-vie this article, then feel free to participate in the editorial process, otherwise, there is nothing anyone here can do for you except note your complaints and move on. Bonewah (talk) 20:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I had not visited this article in some time and have some comments. First, is there a Wikipedia policy that "articles should not be too long?" Because while I respect the cost of electronic storage, it is NOT appropriate to use the reasons employed in limiting length of articles in paper encyclopedias. Writing styles accommodate long articles, if properly used.

Secondly, in some cases lists are seemingly the only method to present certain information. If 1,000 documented events occur, but are "seemingly" (or "arguably") unrelated, but this long LIST of events leads to CONTROVERSY by its sheer size, what exactly is the justification for scrubbing the list?

Mydogtrouble (talk) 16:06, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

In response to the first, yes - WP:AS. In response to the second, yes, inasmuch as the compilation of that list constitutes a novel synthesis. Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:56, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Article size shouldn't be used as an excuse to suppress valid information. If an article gets too long, we spin off information into a daughter article while leaving behind a summary in the main article. See Wikipedia:Summary style. That was in fact the method of organization of our coverage of the 2004 election controversies until it was changed without consensus for such a change.
Compiling a list of reported events concerning the accuracy of the election results is no more a "novel synthesis" than is compiling the "___ in popular culture" lists that are found in many articles. JamesMLane t c 20:49, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Spinning off is, however, governed by notability policies. And that was always the root problem these articles ran into - there were no over-arching sources that established any notability or coherence for the overall topic. They were a bunch of events stitched together to create the appearance of a topic where no reliable sources supported the overall topic. Phil Sandifer (talk) 13:08, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
If you mean that no daughter article may be maintained unless it would independently survive the AfD notability test, then I strongly disagree. Some notable subjects have too much information available to be covered in one article of reasonable length. Wikipedia:Summary style provides for daughter articles in such circumstances. The only alternatives would be to lose the information entirely or to make the main article so large and unwieldy that readers would have trouble finding what they wanted. Sometimes the most efficient organization puts a lot of detail into a daughter article that most people wouldn't consider to be notable if it weren't really just a detached part of the main article.
Also, the goal of "over-arching sources that established any notability" is usually a pipe dream. People sometimes act as if the only way to show notability is to provide a quotation from a reputable source stating that the subject is notable. Obviously, that's not the standard. JamesMLane t c 00:51, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
The "spin-offs do not have to be independently notable" position has come up in other debates and been generally rejected. Phil Sandifer (talk) 21:36, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't spend much time on AfD, partly because I find the rampant deletionism too depressing, so I'd be interested if you could provide a link to some examples. I'd also be interested to know whether those maintaining this position favor the alternative of extremely long parent articles or the alternative of depriving our readers of encyclopedic, properly sourced information. JamesMLane t c 22:20, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Were we to direct this issue to AfD precedent, I would be forced to point out that it was AfD that finally forced the long overdue condensing of these articles. Phil Sandifer (talk) 22:33, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
In response to which, I in turn would point out that AfD didn't "force" anything except to the extent that it was closed in a manner that was manifestly not supported by a consensus of the Wikipedians responding. Start treating that as somehow governing any content issue and you'll prompt a DRV on it. Anyway, I certainly have no desire to see anything about this article decided per AfD precedent, given that, according to your report, AfD precedent includes violations of the guideline I cited. I'd just like to look at those precedents to see whether their results were overlong articles or suppressed information. JamesMLane t c 22:56, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Article size was just one of the many problems the deleted articles had. Undue weight, novel synthesis, neutrality, lack of reliable sources just to name a few. Even people who were arguing to keep the articles thought they were terrible. Bonewah (talk) 19:27, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Those are generally not criteria for deletion, even if the charges were accepted. They're criteria for improving the article. The articles were not perfect but our coverage of the issue was better before the improper closure of the AfD than after. Better yet, of course, would have been for people to do what's done in cases that aren't politically charged, namely to work on the articles to improve them. IIRC, one of the pro-deletion arguments was the assertion that some editors disagreed with the proposed changes, coupled with the novel contention that a situation of content disagreement justified deletion.
Of course, I don't expect you to agree with any of this (and you can ignore it without fearing that I'll take your silence as consent). I write only because I'm concerned about any implication that this fiasco is a done deal. I wish to make absolutely clear that the evisceration of our coverage of this issue was done by the closing admin in violation of Wikipedia policy, that a considerable amount of well-sourced information has been effectively expunged on ideological grounds, that this travesty is not precedent for anything, and that I still have it in mind to get around to restoring at least some of the data that Bush and his admirers would like to suppress. My guess is that, when some of the information is restored, someone (probably not you) will come along and say that the truncated state of the article has been enshrined by the passage of time and cannot now be changed absent universal agreement. Anyone who doesn't plan to make such a silly argument can freely disregard this comment. JamesMLane t c 22:01, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I think you and I have a differing view of what governs AfDs. Although you might be right that AfD rules do not govern content (i dont know, really), in my mind the policy that most applies is common sense. If the deleted articles were shit (and they very much were) then common sense says get rid of them and merge the good parts here. Which leads me to a point im sure ive made in the past, if there really is some well sourced, encyclopedic content that has not been merged, then spell it out here and we can get back to work editing. Bonewah (talk) 13:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
My common sense tells me to improve, not remove, such articles. What it comes down to is this statement of mine: "The articles were not perfect but our coverage of the issue was better before the improper closure of the AfD than after." You agree with the first part but disagree with the second. And, yes, you have previously invited me to attempt to edit to restore the information. I thought I had previously responded that I hope to do so, but given the intense opposition to including certain information, I can't hope to make any progress unless and until I have huge amounts of time to devote to the project. Trust me, it's on my to-do list. JamesMLane t c 20:21, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Then, as always, I wait for, with breathless anticipation, this unspecified encyclopedic, properly sourced information. Bonewah (talk) 20:30, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
The information is readily available to you. Where we differ is that you won't consider it "encyclopedic" unless it's from some unimpeachable source, like an article by Judith Miller in The New York Times, or maybe a broadcast on Fox News Channel. My guess is that you'll continue to insist on sourcing only to media outlets that exist solely to make a profit, a goal they accomplish by selling people crap they don't need. By contrast, I'm comfortable with a comparatively low-budget operation that has no goal but the truth. JamesMLane t c 22:13, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


Documented convictions for rigging recount in Ohio shall be included in the article soon.

Mydogtrouble (talk) 22:45, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Are you talking about this: ^ Kropko, M.R. (January 24, 2007), Election Staff Convicted in Recount Rig, Washington Post ? If so, it already is reference #62Bonewah (talk) 13:26, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Indeed it is referenced. Thank you for pointing this out. I suppose I will leave this remark as a caveat regarding leaping to unfounded conclusions prior to deep reading. One item that should be included is the unexplained malfunction of Diebold machines in Gaston County NC, in which case a Diebold technician was onsite, and the subsequent odd behavior and resignation of the elections supervisor and then the deliberate breaking and entering and destruction of the suspect machines prior to any forensic investigation. Where should one put that in the article?Mydogtrouble (talk) 16:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

It seems the discussion of the state of this article and the fate of its brethren comes up a few times a year, and we never get anywhere. A few people complain about how the old AFD was handled, and others respond by asking what quality material from those articles was lost, never receiving a terribly useful answer. James, above, points out that problematical articles should be improved, not removed, and to an extent he has a point, but there's more to it than that. First of all, these articles weren't problematic, they were downright terrible. Even many who wanted them kept agreed with that. Secondly, the redirects which resulted from the AFD were shortcuts to what was basically the same result as improvement. A step-by-step examination of the improvement process illustrates this:

  1. Remove all information that violates policies on verifiablity, POV, OR, etc. and that is irrelevant: this immediately gets the article down to about 20% of its size.
  2. Realize that we now have a relatively short article which is largely redundant with its parent article.
  3. Decide to merge and redirect, unless such a merger would make the parent article too long.
  4. Realize there is basically nothing to merge that is not already included in the target article.
  5. Redirect

So we end up with the same result whether we go with the improve model or the immediate redirect model. I am fully aware that some will take issue with a few conclusions drawn here, arguing that relevant, sourced information was removed. Meanwhile the rest of us still await any specifics of what this information is. A while back I took a crack at "improving" the Ohio article from its previous incarnation. You can see the result here, and I think it illustrates my point quite well. We have a short article, almost all of which is already included here. I am perfectly happy to see this article expanded to include whatever other quality information is out there, but it hasn't been forthcoming. I am glad at least Mydogtrouble has cited a specific incident, and if sourced I see no reason why this information should be excluded. However, it also may be that incident is more relevant to the Diebold article and the substantial controversy over those machines in general, not just in 2004. Since Kerry wasn't about to win North Carolina anyway, it isn't as relevant as the irregularities in Ohio, which could have swung the election.

(Except that exit polls showed Bush 50.4% Kerry 49.2% ) Mydogtrouble (talk) 19:31, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

I also think we have to keep in mind what is relevant and what is just standard errors. Any time you try to corral 100 million people into voting booths in a 12 hour period you get screw ups here and there. Some of the problems in Ohio and such are clearly relevant; 15 ballots going missing in Crapville West, Alabama is not. If this article starts becoming a coatrack on which to hang every single minor incident that may have occurred throughout the country we are probably going to have a problem. If we can have reliably sourced facts on substantial problems and irregularities added to the article I think things can run smoothly. -R. fiend (talk) 14:49, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Diebold, North Carolina, etc[edit]

I did a little digging and, as far as North Carolina is concerned, i found this and this for starters. Based on what ive read, there is not enough here to warrant inclusion in this article, in my opinion. The reason for this is, as R. fiend stated above, that i don't want to see this article become a dumping ground for every little thing that went wrong in 2004. Frankly, we wouldn't be doing our readers any favors if we indiscriminately list everything that happened, no one would read it all and more important information would be lost in a sea of minutiae. Having said all that, I do think that the voting machine section could stand some beefing up, both in terms of voting machine concerns generally and Diebold specifically. On that note, id like to throw out this link to start us out. I strongly agree with R. fiend's sentiment above that Mydogtrouble's focus on the actual article is commendable, so lets take that useful energy and put it into making this article better. Bonewah (talk) 19:42, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Omitted matters[edit]

There is no mention here of Stephen Spoonamore, Mike Connell, and the associated computer election fraud. Perhaps someone who knows more about this matter could add to the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.201.169.151 (talk) 07:45, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Some possible exit polling links[edit]

Perhaps some of the following links could be added to the exit polling section.
Beyond Exit Poll Fundamentalism: Surveying the 2004 Election Debate
Controversies in Exit Polling: Implementing a Racially Stratified Homogenous Precinct Approach
non-archive.org copy of a link we have
nate silver, 538
Long Lines, Voting Machine Availability, and Turnout: The Case of Franklin County, Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election
Does Voting Technology Affect Election Outcomes? Touch-screen Voting and the 2004 Presidential Election
Why use an open source e-voting system?
Voter Disenfranchisement and Policy toward Election Reforms
Voting technologies and residual ballots in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections
These are pulled from various deletion discussions and should be considered for inclusion (thanks, Protonk), I havent had a chance to review them, and, in the case of the scholarly journals, a number of them require subscriptions or are behind a paywall, but still, better to have all these links in one place, then to have to hunt them down. Bonewah (talk) 00:58, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

  • If anyone wants to read the ones behind a paywall leave me a message on my talk page and I can get a copy if it is available electronically. Protonk (talk) 19:27, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
PBS interview with MITOFSKY Bonewah (talk) 21:32, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

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GovTech and SmarTech involvement in Ohio results[edit]

I'm surprised that this article has no mention of the controversy surrounding the alleged rerouting of Ohio election results through the servers of SmarTech, the same company that hosted gwb43.com. For those not familiar with this, see this recent article in The Free Press, which mentions a recent court filing. Dotyoyo (talk) 18:02, 6 September 2011 (UTC)


'Accused'[edit]

Several of the citations have accusations which aren't actually supported by, well, anything other than accusations. What use does it do to repeat accusations which were investigated - or even in the citations - did not actually assert any wrongdoing upon the part of those named? 76.21.107.221 (talk) 04:47, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

ACORN[edit]

In the interest of honesty and objectivity, it's worth noting that ACORN was the one that brought the only verified, real instances of voter registration fraud by some of their employees to the attention of authorities. They were not "exposed". Those allegations that were made originally by outsiders turned out to be unfounded or outright fabricated when investigated by authorities. ACORN self-policed and there was little or no connection between partisanship and the fraud that occurred. That was not the case in any of the instances with Diebold or any of the GOP-connected registration, vote, and counting frauds. There is an attempt to show equivalency between ACORN, a non-partisan non-profit organization that had no systemic instances of partisan fraud, and what the evidence repeatedly showed was an organized and concerted effort to commit fraud from right-connected individuals and organizations during the 2004 election for the express purpose of manipulating election results. 71.65.115.103 (talk) 21:28, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Arbitration Motion[edit]

The Arbitration Committee are reviewing the discretionary sanctions topic areas with a view to remove overlapping authorisations, the proposed changes will affect this topic area. Details of the proposal are at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Motions#Motion: Overlap of Sanctions where your comments are invited. For the Arbitration Committee, Liz Read! Talk! 21:34, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

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