Saturday, June 03, 2006
RFK Mistake Is Slanted By Blog
RFK Jr. seems to have made one glaring mistake in his Rolling Stone article, Was the 2004 election stolen?, as noted by the right leaning blog Outside the Beltway, as linked at another post by Tristero at Digby's Hullabaloo, and as fact-checked by me:
Actually, it’s an outright lie to say that “Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote.” Using Kennedy’s own source, here’s the truth:...
[NOTE: O.T.B. has a graphic taken from the Overseas Vote Foundation report that's included in this portion of the post]
So, only 9% didn’t receive a ballot and 5% received their ballot after the election. That’s 14%. That’s bad but the reasons are manifold. First, quite a few of these people were either not registered to vote in the locality they requested an absentee ballot from, sent their request in too late, or forgot to send it and thought they had. Second, several states were unable to print and send ballots until very late in the process because of various lawsuits–many filed by Democrats–about ballot inclusion.
One gets up to a whopping 43%, though, if one adds in those 29% of overseas voters who received their ballots in the two weeks before the election. But why exclude them? All that’s required is that they be POSTMARKED by election day, not that they ARRIVE then.
First off...anyone who's calling RFK's entire report bullshit because of a few errors or so by linking to Outside The Beltway should do their homework first (NOTE: I'm not calling out Tristero directly on that...because he's not calling bullshit on the entire report like some others are just that "either a substantive counter-response or an admission of error on Kennedy's part really is appropriate"). Because although RFK Jr. and Rolling Stone may have made some almost inexcusable mistakes in regards to fact-checking and editing, this right wing blog seems to be deliberately leaving out key information in their take-down.
O.T.B. conveniently leaves out something from page 11 of the report by the Overseas Vote Foundation. Um. That would be the conclusion:
Given the realities of international and domestic postal systems, the real risk of disenfranchisement for these voters lay somewhere between 19% and 43%.
O.T.B. also conveniently leaves out something from the DoD press conference that Kerry cited for the 6,000,000 figure:
And then we have our Absentee Voting Week, which is -- we've selected October 11th to 15th. And what we're telling folks there is, you should vote during that week. That's the week you should send your ballot in if you have not already done so.
Now, this is sort of like the Christmas mailing season. We're going to tell them some dates by which they should mail that ballot in, and if they do, even from the remotest part of the world to the remotest part of the United States, the ballot materials should get back to the local voting official in sufficient time to be counted in the November 2nd election. People can vote after that. They can send in their ballots up until the day of the election, but they risk, because of the transit time, not having that vote counted. And so we're urging them during the week of October 11 to 15 to cast your ballot by absentee.
I could get all technical and add that ballots that arrive after election day even if postmarked before aren't counted anyway because unless the count is close they're not ever looked at...but enough already.
The O.V.F. report also puts the number of overseas voters at 4 million, so since RFK is including all 6 million in that part of his article then he would have to take the (what should be) as high as 43% figure down even further or change the total period.
It is entirely possible that there is a report somewhere that shows the number of overseas military voters who also didn't get their ballots in time...and if that's the case that might be where RFK got his 50% figure from...and the only mistake Rolling Stone made was not to note that and include it in their sources (hell...it's entirely possible that the 50% figure is too low).
I haven't had time to fact check O.T.B.'s other points or those singled out in a Salon article written by Farhad Manjoo, also linked to at Hullabaloo (and approvingly by some other RFK-bashing liberal bloggers) but I'll try to get to it shortly (unless Brad beats me to it). But here's a link to a transcript of a debate between longtime election-critic-critic Manjoo and Greg Palast shortly after the election in November of 2004 where they argued about who really won Ohio. Also, I haven't had a chance to fully dissect this top-rated Daily Kos diary yet by first-time diarist Malcolm but it's called "A Semi-Comprehensive Quizzing of Manjoo's Rebuttal of RFK Jr." and it's worth taking a look at. Avedon at The Sideshow also takes a look at Manjoo and calls the title of his article ("Was the 2004 election stolen? No") dishonest.