When the Carpet Doesn’t Match the Drapes

Warning: this isn’t a McCutcheon reaction (though I’ve got one of those).

The National Review Online has today’s latest entry into the litany of voter fraud reports in which the story doesn’t actually support the headline.

The headline says: “N.C. State Board Finds More than 35K Incidents of ‘Double Voting’ in 2012.”

The story reports that an attempt to match voter databases to each other revealed “more than 35K” entries for North Carolina voters who apparently share the same first name, last name, and date of birth with voters in other states.

In order to tell whether there’s any difference between the headline and the story, you need to know:

  • Whether there were any data entry errors by NC pollworkers, in noting the individuals who voted,
  • Whether there were any data entry errors by other states’ pollworkers, in noting the individuals who voted, and
  • Statistics.

Turns out that if you actually run the numbers, there are a lot of people who share the same name and birthdate.  Or, if you prefer anecdote to math, just ask Florida Governor Richard Scott.

I would be very interested indeed in how many of the alleged double voters — the people that the headline would have just libeled had they named names — are the results of mistakes or mistaken assumptions.  And I mean that.  I hope that there’s real follow-up.

If there is, I’m going to bet on the vast majority of allegedly fraudulent votes evaporating upon closer scrutiny.  Perhaps one day we’ll learn not to breathlessly credit the first results of a data-matching exercise.  Remember the reports of 900 dead voters in South Carolina?  How’d that turn out?

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