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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

No Large-Scale Vote Fraud Say Berkeley Economists

According to Berkeley Economists David Card and Enrico Moretti, it doesn't look like there was systematic fraud associated with electronic voting. An earlier analysis (by a team of Berkeley sociologists) had found that in Florida, Bush improved on his 2000 vote share more in counties that used touch screen voting. [sociologists' study here]

Card and Moretti used similar techniques to examine voting in all U.S. counties. Holding constant past election outcomes, they also found that Bush improved his vote share in counties with electronic voting, by about a fifth of a percentage point on average. But this effect is mainly found in states where you wouldn't expect to find fraud. Electronic voting seems to have helped Bush in states with Democratic elected officials; it doesn't seem to have helped much in swing states. [free copy of the paper here]

As Card and Moretti emphasize, this doesn't prove that Bush didn't steal a few counties here and there, say in Ohio and Florida, but it does seem to rule out widespread fraud based on electronic voting. Personally, I'm inclined to believe it because Card and Moretti are such prominent researchers (Card is a winner of the prestigious Clark Medal), because they're hardly Bush supporters, and because I think they're honest.

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