Editorial: Conversation with a defeated(?) candidate

Editor’s note: Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 68th District, Carroll Brumfield, lost the election to incumbent Republican Dave Winters in 2004. Naturally, he wanted to look at the election results. He alleges he still hasn’t received all the results he asked for from the office of Winnebago County Clerk Dave Johnson. So he stopped by The Rock River Times to share what he has analyzed from what he did get from the county and what he was able to pull off the Rockford Board of Elections’ Web site. This is that conversation.

TRRT: Why do you want to look at the results of your race?

Brumfield: From the start of the vote count, things didn’t make sense. At 9 o’clock, we had final vote counts for most of the races. We knew who was going to be the county board chairman, etc. But the 68th legislative district didn’t have final returns until 11 o’clock. It just seems strange that all the precincts had reported in except for one race. How did they have 100 percent count on the county board chairman’s race and not have a 100 percent count on just one race? It doesn’t make sense because they were using the Diebold vote scanners, and all votes are tabulated at once.

TRRT: You are not the first to question the results of Diebold machines. We have reported extensively on it. What else did you find unusual?

Brumfield: So the next thing that didn’t seem to make sense, from the moment the first precinct reported in the first results came in at 40 percent for me and 60 percent for my opponent. Within 1 percentage point plus or minus, the votes did not change all night. For the other races, the fluctuation was all over the place every 10 minutes. As all the other precinct races reported in, the count would go up or down. Those were real numbers, my race didn’t do that.

I’m a certified quality engineer, with more than a passing experience with statistics. Statistics are the basis for all processes in quality engineering and industry in general.

Specifically, when I first called for results from the county clerk office, I experienced quite a bit of resistance.

“Why would you want those?” I was asked.

When we finally got the numbers faxed to us, we entered them into a spreadsheet, and we noticed that County District 7, in Rockford Township, Precinct 2, had a turnout of 106.85 percent of registered voters.

So that prompted us to look at the rest of the precincts in the county. What we noticed was extraordinarily high turnout in a huge number of the precincts, and they all went the other way. They all voted Republican for Dave Winters. And the numbers were in the high 60s to 70 percent turnout range. As opposed to the precincts I won in, they were all low turnouts—in the 40 and 50 percent turn-out range. I think there was one precinct I won in with a 59 percent turnout.

TRRT: What are you implying?

Brumfield: So we’re saying that it looks strange. It looks like someone manipulated the totals. We looked at the 2004 election, and we noticed a distinct pattern to the precincts.

What we noticed in comparing the local races to the Kerry-Bush race, we found with the exception of the Gorski-Christiansen race, the precincts where there were Bush haters voted for Kerry. But they voted Republican in the two races we looked at, where you think they’d voted Democrats. Even the blue collar wards. Those races were Gulbrantson-Gasparini and Brumfield-Winters. Gasparini won, and Winters won, even though these voters chose Kerry.

TRRT: That could be explained away by voter loyalty crossing party lines. What else was in the statistics?

Brumfield: The thing that was the tip-off was the visual on the spreadsheet. When you look at the highlighted results the pattern matches almost exactly for four races. The pattern looks like a mathematical program.

As far as any of the historical data we gathered, it came from the City of Rockford. You can pull it right off their Web site. As far as the County goes, we have to wait until after the election. They won’t give it to us now. You have to call, and they feed you data.

I spoke to another candidate who had run several years before in Machesney Park, and she reported that it was terrible weather and the polling place where she was a poll watcher, had very little turnout all day long. But when the results were tallied, they showed nearly 100 percent turnout in that precinct.

She concluded that the results in Winnebago County could be manipulated.

Editor’s note: In a Jan. 12-19, 2005, article, “Winnebago County voter registration rolls inflated,” The Rock River Times revealed that as many as 14,000 registered voters in Winnebago County needed to be purged from voter rolls. Why? Because registered voters in Winnebago County amounted to 108.2 percent of the census population. Yes, oddly, 8.2 more percent of voters exist than people living in Winnebago County.

From the March 30-April 5, 2005 issue

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