The Rhyme and Reason of Negative Ballots?

This is the second installment of a five part series on the upcoming 2024 U.S. elections. See here for Part 1.

Those who dig into the election voting process will eventually come across the name: Edison ResearchWho are they? Essentially what they do is act as a third-party, vote-reporting firm. Basically, they get ballot results from each state, and then pass these on to media sources like the NY Times, TV networks, etc.

Why are they in the loop? Consider the situation from the media’s perspective. On election night (etc.) to get Presidential election results (for example), they would have to be in almost constant contact with 50 states. Conversely, each of the election departments of 50 states would have to be in contact with numerous major media players. That would be a logistical nightmare, to say the least.

Edison steps in to be the middle man person to solve this problem. Now the NY Times, Fox, etc. get the election data for the entire country from just one source: Edison.

Fine, but what (if any) role does Edison play in any ballot shenanigans?

Generally speaking, to see Edison data, you have to be a paid subscriber — as they are a business, providing a service. They report (on Excel type documents), minute-by-minute ballot tallies, from each state. For example, for the 2020 Presidential election, there were some 21,000 line items (data points) that they passed onto customers.

One very suspicious matter is that some of these ballot tally line items are a negative number! For example, Edison might have reported at 11:30 PM on November 3rd, 2020, that there were -21,555 votes for Trump, in Nevada.

How can the number of new ballots at a certain time, from a state, for a specific candidate, be negative? Remember that this is not Edison’s number, but is rather what some particular state submitted to them for that time period and candidate. In other words, it is not likely that Edison has anything to do with the fact that there are negative ballot numbers. As the saying goes, don’t shoot the messenger.

So if we go back one step prior, to the submitting state, what is their explanation for giving Edison a negative number for a certain time period and candidate? Their stock answer is “a correction was being made.” (This could be legitimate, maybe due to something like a precinct’s tallies being mistakenly counted twice, earlier on.)

On the surface, this might seem plausible — but who is checking to see that no abuses are happening here? From what I know, almost no one.

Before we get excited about this, how many ballots are we talking about? If you carefully read this Report, two things jump out about the 2020 Presidential election ballot tabulationsa) there were over a thousand different reports of negative ballots, and b) the total number of negative ballots amounted to almost Four Million !!!

As bad as that is, the situation may be much worse. I say that because if bad actors were so bold to flag adjustments as negative numbers, then it is likely that some “corrections” are hidden in positive numbers. For example, if 50,000 ballots were about to be sent for Candidate A, they could subtract out a “correction” of 30,000, so that the reported amount is plus 20,000 — and no one would be the wiser.

In any case, these 4± MILLION “corrections” are not trivial amounts. That means that it’s all the more important that there is transparency here. Since Edison is simply a middle person, it is not reasonable to hold them accountable for these adjustments.

On the other hand, the submitting state should have accounting quality records — available for public inspection — that explain each and every correction and/or negative ballot that they submit to Edison (or otherwise report).

How can this be fixed? IMO this is a relatively rare situation where the Federal government should be involved. Even though the Constitution says that the States have primary responsibility for elections, this is an accounting issue (not an election matter). Further, it makes sense that all states abide by the same accounting standard.

The House Republicans have recently put forward a national election bill called the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act. IMO this is the type of provision that should be added to it.

Here are my suggested words: “Any time a State publicly reports a Federal ballot tally that includes a correction of over 100 ballots, the State must have a full accounting for such an adjustment. These records must be available for public inspection, and must be maintained for at least two (2) years from the time of origination.”

Note that I put in an arbitrary minimum (100) to trigger this requirement, as it does not seem reasonable for the State to have to maintain records for a 5-ballot error, etc. I’m sure that some legal experts can fine-tune my draft words.

How important is this? IMO very. Bad actors are carefully looking for weak links in our election process, to be able to take advantage of them. That there is no national requirement for transparent change records for some 4± MILLION ballots is totally unacceptable.

Note that this issue is separate from large, unexpected ballot spikes. See my team’s Report on that matter. The bottom line is that 2020 Presidential ballot spikes totaled over three million — all in favor of one candidate!… These may all be legit, but they are statistically improbable. Again, top-notch accounting documentation is needed to assure the public that everything is on the up and up.

Maintaining such records is a normal practice for a business adhering to high-quality accounting standards. That is a good way to look at what needs to be done regarding our election system: from real audits to accurate record keepingit needs to be made more business-like. Right now it’s like we are running a billion-dollar enterprise and keeping records on index cards, hidden in an unlocked desk drawer.

Little wonder that nefarious actors are in a feeding frenzy.

©2024. John Droz, Jr.. All rights reserved.