Green Room

The myth of 141% turnout in St. Lucie County, Florida

posted at 11:36 am on November 13, 2012 by

Evidently this is still circulating on Twitter vis-a-vis the Allen West recount, so here’s Twitchy with a PSA:

Voter turnout in St. Lucie County, Fla., was not 141 percent. The confusion arose because uninformed people mistakenly conflated the number of “cards cast” (the number of ballot pages submitted by voters) with the number of voters. Since most voters submitted two ballot pages, voter turnout in in St. Lucie County was roughly half the number of cards cast. Thus, turnout was roughly 70-71 percent, not 141 percent.

The best summary of what’s happening with the recount that I’ve seen is this Shark Tank post, which is, alas, a few days old. At the time Javier Manjarres wrote it, West was down by roughly 2,400 votes. Since then, the county’s recounted ballots from voting machines that had memory card problems on election day and the deficit has dropped to 1,900 votes. The local supervisor of elections is holding a presser today to answer questions about her recount method, specifically with respect to early voting.

Next stop for West if the recount doesn’t go his way: Georgia?

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Since most voters submitted two ballot pages, voter turnout in in St. Lucie County was roughly half the number of cards cast. Thus, turnout was roughly 70-71 percent, not 141 percent.

Or maybe some people voted more than once?

rich801 on November 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Nope. Texas extended an invitation to West LONG before Georgia. We have a history of KEEPING conservatives in office.

michaelo on November 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

AP, you should know that facts are usless when people are outraged. Outrage is more truthful than fact.

AngusMc on November 13, 2012 at 11:51 AM

From Fox news, Nov. 11

The official notice of the recount stated all early votes would be included, but officials then decided to feed only three days of ballots into scanners.

Here is my understanding:

From that limited recount of approx. 16,000 early votes, West GAINED 500 votes. There were a total of approx. 37,000 early votes cast.

IF West were to gain another 500 votes from full early vote recounts, I think that puts him within the margin of error and they can do a full recount of all votes cast.

Mitsouko on November 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Memory card problems? The cards couldn’t remember who the vote was cast for, is that now the problem? This is getting to be worse than the generals affairs.

Kissmygrits on November 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

If you think about Obama’s buying of votes as voter suppression you wouldn’t be wrong. Every vote bought cancels out not only the other guy’s vote but suppresses the true intent of he whose vote was bought. For all their hollering about voting suppression, no one saw the crime taking place in plain sight. Clever.

LizardLips on November 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Chicago thugs would never do anything illegal would they..? Especially in the district of Congressman West…they love him don’t they?

d1carter on November 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Same story with the Boston precincts. Several Republicans have been reporting results as if “card count” equals number of voters. It doesn’t. Many places have multiple cards per ballot.

crosspatch on November 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

I love Col. West but he should have never run that ad about his opponent’s mistake when he was 19. Bad move.

Cindy Munford on November 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I love Col. West but he should have never run that ad about his opponent’s mistake when he was 19. Bad move.

Cindy Munford on November 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Yeah, West made several easily avoidable mistakes that hurt him. West also cut an ad that said his opponent was lying about being a Certified Public Accountant. Then his opponent produced his CPA license and embarrassed West.

AngusMc on November 13, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I wonder what the vote count vs number of registered voters is in the PA districts where Obams got fully 100% of all votes.

If you’re going to commit election fraud, at least try to make it believable…

sultanp on November 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Obams = Obama

(fat fingers…)

sultanp on November 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I wonder what the vote count vs number of registered voters is in the PA districts where Obams got fully 100% of all votes.

If you’re going to commit election fraud, at least try to make it believable…

sultanp on November 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Why? Impunity breeds contempt.

Archivarix on November 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I wonder what the vote count vs number of registered voters is in the PA districts where Obams got fully 100% of all votes.

If you’re going to commit election fraud, at least try to make it believable…

sultanp on November 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Take off the tinfoil hat, my friends. The results in these precincts are consistent with their demographics and the results in previous elections, when McCain and Bush were similarly crushed.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57548626/romney-earned-zero-votes-in-some-urban-precincts/

cam2 on November 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I love Col. West but he should have never run that ad about his opponent’s mistake when he was 19. Bad move.

Cindy Munford on November 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. Evidently you missed the ad, by his opponent, where West was beating up white women. West’s ad was fantastic–showed where West’s decision making was at–compared to his opponent–when they were 19…

lovingmyUSA on November 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Yeah, West made several easily avoidable mistakes that hurt him. West also cut an ad that said his opponent was lying about being a Certified Public Accountant. Then his opponent produced his CPA license and embarrassed West.

Yeah, I love his politics and his grasp of history and his oratory skills but he’s still pretty “green” as a politician.

crosspatch on November 13, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Chicago thugs would never do anything illegal would they..? Especially in the district of Congressman West…they love him don’t they?

d1carter on November 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Well we know they certainly wouldn’t do anything to hold down a black man would they, especially since he’s waaayyy more than 50% black.

Nutstuyu on November 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

People don’t have faith in missing, wrong, altered, monkeyed with Memory Cards. There should be no piece called a missing Memory card, it is too much like a hanging chad.

Fleuries on November 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Take off the tinfoil hat, my friends. The results in these precincts are consistent with their demographics and the results in previous elections, when McCain and Bush were similarly crushed.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57548626/romney-earned-zero-votes-in-some-urban-precincts/

cam2 on November 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

OR they are just really really good at it by now. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

landowner on November 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Someone else needs to perform a recount in this congressional district. Clearly, moving 500 votes on just a cursory glance shows gross incompetance on the part of the people performing the counting.

Freddy on November 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Here’s the source of the confusion: St. Lucie County used the term “% Turnout” to represent the ratio of ballot cards cast to the total number of registered voters. So the published GEMS documentation actually states that Turnout percentage is greater than 100%.

Twitchy, while essentially correct, fails to mention this, and in that failure, perpetuates the myth that crackpot sour-grape Republicans came up with this on their own.

As for Allen West’s suit, St. Lucie County changed some 4400 votes from his column to that of his opponent. They agreed to reveal records for the dates the change took place, and then refused to do so. Now they say they won’t reveal those records until the day before the certification, November 19. He is exactly right to withhold his concession until that change is explained.

applebutter on November 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

This may be in Florida, but California as of 11/10/12 hadn’t processed over 3 million mail-in and provisional ballots.

Patriot Vet on November 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM

applebutter on November 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

I absolutely agree. I’ve gone back and looked at the report.

This is the explanation I’ve read of the terms card and ballot. There were two cards and both were two-sided, giving 4 pages. Together, both cards constituted one ballot, but some people evidently only turned in one card.

Putting aside whether or not the votes have been handled and counted correctly, the problem, as I see it, is the way the votes were reported. On the first couple of pages under the broad heading of TURN OUT there were three columns titled,
Reg. Voters, Cards Cast, % Turnout.

http://www.slcelections.com/Pdf%20Docs/2012%20General/rescan/GEMS%20SOVC%20REPORT.pdf

From looking at the % turnout, it appears those numbers were obtained using the Reg. Voters numbers and Cards Cast. That’s mixing apples, oranges and peaches together and calling them kumquats.

% turnout, to my way of thinking, would be obtained by using the number of registered voters and the number of voters who actually turned out to vote. Since two cards = one ballot, the number of cards cast would be at most equal to twice the number of voters who actually turned out.

When I looked at this last week, I looked at the first two pages and didn’t wade through the other 168. I did look at the Shark Tank explanation and it didn’t discuss this odd way of reporting on the pdf.

Remember also that this supervisor of elections said someone had found a box of ballots in a library. IMHO, at the very least, the woman is incompetent and doesn’t understand math.

INC on November 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM