I won't call this a formal retraction, since I never made any direct claims, but I wish to apologize for alarming or misleading anyone by distributing allegations of vote fraud which seemed credible on the face of them but which now appear much less credible in the face of subsequent information.
I recently sent out a pair of emails strongly suggesting that the presidential election may have been stolen. Most notably, these messages reported a discrepancy between exit poll numbers which suggested John Kerry winning the election, and the actual vote totals which went for Bush. Also noted was a correlation between counties in Florida using optical scan voting machines and Bush vote totals that often far exceeded the number of registered Republicans. The main explanation advanced was the possibility that computers used to tally the votes were hacked or tampered with -- something that Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org apparently showed could easily be done with PCs running Windows.
While I still lack confidence in the integrity of voting in U.S. elections and feel that major reforms are desperately needed to make the process more transparent and enable each vote to be audited via a verifiable paper trail, I no longer believe it reasonable to conclude from the evidence described above that the election was stolen for President Bush. I have seen several messages that raised reasonable doubts about the various vote fraud theories, but these two published articles from the New York Times and Wired Magazine seem to collectively refute most of the allegations:
It has also been pointed out that exit polls did not include early and absentee voters, two groups which were substantially larger this year than in past elections. My impression has been that absentee voters have historically leaned conservative compared to voters in general, and this may also be true of early voters. This provides a reasonable explanation, in my opinion, for the failure of exit polls to accurately reflect the outcome of the election.
So while significant problems with the election system remain, I am relieved that the charges of the election having been stolen on a massive scale currently appear unfounded.
Yours in liberty,
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