January 23rd, 2004

Surprised by the Iowa primaries?

Incidentally, all but two counties in the Iowa caucuses used direct-recording electronic vote machines. This means, that if the results in Iowa were surprising to you, there are no ballots in existence to double-check, and you're not allowed to examine the machines directly. This puts an enormous amount of power in the hands of the voting machine manufacturers, since a swing of less than 10 percent in the caucus results has been sufficient to transform Dean into "former front-runner". The daily poll results in New Hampshire have been most enlightening, as Dean's lead there has vanished overnight as Kerry's upset became the front-page news story nationwide. [It shouldn't be surprising that the press has a strong influence on voters, but as Americans we still pretend that we make voting choices based on fundamentals, not merely the fact that some guy did well in some other state.]