Fixating on free and fair again

Research on the results of the 2004 US presidential election continues to suggest reasons to be skeptical about the reported results. Mr Bush made radical changes in foreign and domestic policy after being appointed president in a judicial coup in 2000, and now is claiming a mandate based on electoral victory. Though for the most part he seems to have limited his exercise of his expanded power to a campaign to place incompetent sycophants into high positions, there is a whole agenda of appalling initiatives he could take on – war against Iran? an amendment to enshrine discrimination in the US Constitution? a move to revive obligatory military service?

Considering what this far right administration is likely to try, it seems fair to point out that we still do not have an answer to the question: were they elected? A couple of recent studies say maybe not.

Stephen Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania examines the discrepancies between exit poll results and reported election returns in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, and finds the probability of such large error occurring in the same direction simultaneously to be 1 in 250,000,000. That would be similar to the probability of a randomly chosen US citizen being named George Bush.

Michael Hout, Laura Mangels, Jennifer Carlson, and Rachel Best at the UC Berkeley Survey Research Center find that perhaps 130,000 “extra” votes for George Bush in Florida can be attributed to irregularities with electronic voting machines.

The question of the legitimacy of Mr Bush’s administration is real. He is going to continue to claim to represent the United States. The claim needs to be investigated completely.

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