Friday, February 5, 2016

Last Call For Recounting A Story

Given Iowa's first-in-the-nation status in election years, the state's Democratic party is hustling to address any issues of impropriety in this week's caucus results, and that means recounts.

Iowa Democratic Party officials are reviewing results from the Iowa caucuses and making updates where discrepancies have been found.

Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire the day after Monday's caucuses said no review would be conducted, and that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory over Bernie Sanders was final.

But as errors are being discovered, the final tally is being changed, party officials confirmed to the Des Moines Register on Friday.

"Both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have flagged a very small number of concerns for us, and we are looking at them all on a case-by-case basis," Iowa Democratic Party spokesman Sam Lau told the Register.

The latest development follows widespread questions among Iowa Democrats and national media about the accuracy of the counts reported on caucus night, which saw the second-highest number of participants and closest result in Democrats' caucus history.

The Register, too, has received numerous reports that the results announced at precincts Monday night don't match what the Iowa Democratic Party has posted on its official results website.

Just one example: Grinnell precinct No. 1.

At least three caucusgoers there (including Dan McCue and Zack Stewart) and the Grinnell College newspaper reported that Sanders won 19 county delegates and Clinton 7, but party officials said the final tally was Sanders 18 and Clinton 8.

“19-7 is right,” Pablo Silva, a Grinnell College professor who was precinct secretary, told the Register Friday. “It is complicated, but the issue comes down to a problem with the math that can be complicated in large precincts. Short version: On Monday night, the IDP felt we had not done it right, and they attempted to correct what they saw as errors. We’ve been in touch since then. They are acknowledging our results, but, as I write, will wait on the arrival of our paperwork.”

Lau confirmed those details.

I don't see this as a massive problem yet, but given how close the Iowa race was on Monday, you'd be forgiven for thinking Team Bernie would make a mountain out of a molehill here.  Yes, there are always going to be a few discrepancies in any election, and that's why official results are always finalized after a few days or weeks at any level.

So far, this is well short of any grand conspiracy level stuff, as everyone involved is cooperating and clearly all parties here benefit from doing so in an open and transparent manner.

Will things change enough to affect the final tally of delegates?  Of course not.

We'll see where the final numbers end up, however.

Voter Suppression Laws Are Working As Intended

We know that the point of Republican Voter ID laws are to suppress the votes of Democrats and that of Hispanic and black voters in particular, but now that these laws have been around for a few years, we have evidence of just how much suppression is happening.

The findings are notable because they're some of the first using data in elections that took place after some states implemented photo ID requirements to vote. Previous studies on the effects of these laws showed mixed results. A 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office examined 10 of these studies. Five showed no significant effect of voter ID laws on turnout, four found a significant decrease in turnout, and one found, paradoxically, that the laws increased turnout.
But each of these 10 studies was of general elections that took place before 2008. Most of the strictest ID laws were passed after that, so the ability of earlier research to gauge the impact of these laws is extremely limited. 
That's what makes the current research so important. The study's authors controlled for a wide variety of factors known to affect voter turnout -- age, education, income, marital status, etc. 
They also controlled for other state laws that affect participation, like early voting. And they considered less-tangible aspects that influence turnout, like the competitiveness of races and whether the election was held during a presidential contest year or an off-year. 
After controlling for all these factors, they found "substantial drops in turnout for minorities under strict voter ID laws." Their analysis suggests that turnout for Latino voters was suppressed by 10.8 points in states with strict photo ID laws, compared to states without them. For multiracial Americans, the drop was 12.8 points. 
The laws also increased the participation gap between whites and non-whites. "For Latinos in the general election, the predicted gap from whites doubled from 5.3 points in states without strict photo ID laws to 11.9 in states with strict photo ID laws," the study found. For black voters in the primaries, the strict photo ID laws caused the gap with white voters to almost double to 8.5 points. 
The net effect of all this? "Democratic turnout drops by an estimated 7.7 percentage points in general elections when strict photo identification laws are in place." Democrats weren't the only ones affected, either. The data showed that Republican turnout was depressed by 4.6 percentage points too.

This makes sense, as Voter ID requirements are a poll tax, affecting those who don't have transportation, time, money, or the ability to produce the necessary documents in order to get a valid form of identification.  Yes, poor Republican voters were going to be disenfranchised too under these laws...but not nearly as many Democrats and especially black and Latino Democrats.

And I'm betting Republicans are more than happy to lose 4.6% of their voters in order to cost Democrats 7.7% of theirs.  This was the point all along, and both parties know it.

Congress, Now With One-Hearing Martinizing

Really is hard to figure out who is more repugnant: former pharma-bro CEO Martin Shkreli for making millions off profiting from jacking up the price of meds, or, well, your average member of Congress for jacking off Wall Street and the rest of corporate America.

The so-called "bad boy of pharma" Martin Shkrelislammed members of Congress on Twitter following his hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

"Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government," Shkreli Tweeted. 
Shkreli, who giggled throughout the hearing, pled the fifth
Following the hearing, Shkreli's attorney Ben Brafman said that his client was nervous and didn't mean any disrespect
Shkreli, the now-former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, became infamous after he raised the price of a drug used to treat parasitic infections from $13.50 to $750 per pill. 
In December, Shkreli was arrested on securities fraud relating to a hedge fund he previously ran.

If there are somehow more odious people in America than Martin Shkreli who deserve to have their genitals flambeed and then tossed to rabid wombats, they pretty much have to be politicians in Congress (and/or those running for President in 2016).

I really don't know who to root for here (the asshole making the cash off sick people having to pay $750 a pill to live, or the imbeciles in Congress screwing us over in every other conceivable way besides the $750 a pill thing) other than a somehow very specifically localized meteor strike.

On one hand, Shkreli is not wrong about lawmakers largely being imbeciles, but then again we're the imbeciles who elect them either by choice or indifference. On the other hand, hey, look, Congress found someone even more hated than they are and are actually trying to get answers that the American people deserve.

Still rooting for the meteor though.


Related Posts with Thumbnails