In today's Post-Gazette, columnist Jack Kelly writes about "Vote Fraud" and of course, fails to do enough homework to make the column align with reality. The P-G, again of course, fails to adequately fact-check him. The result is a another embarrassing Jack Kelly column on the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
We've seen this happen too many times. Too too many times.
But let's begin at the beginning:
If you Google “vote fraud,” you’ll find that most of the stories are about Democrats committing it, or denying it exists.This is where Ed started.
Fourteen percent of non-citizens in the United States in 2008 were registered to vote and about 6 percent voted indicates data collected by Harvard’s Cooperative Congressional Election Study, according to a study by Jesse Richman and David Earnest, professors at Old Dominion University.
Did you know there are issues with the Richman/Earnest study? Our story begins with this piece at the Washington Post. It's from before the election (October 24) and it begins with this:
Could control of the Senate in 2014 be decided by illegal votes cast by non-citizens? Some argue that incidents of voting by non-citizens are so rare as to be inconsequential, with efforts to block fraud a screen for an agenda to prevent poor and minority voters from exercising the franchise, while others define such incidents as a threat to democracy itself. Both sides depend more heavily on anecdotes than data.Yea, we saw how all those illegals tipped the balance of power in the Senate to the party that just doesn't like them very much. But what about that study?
In a forthcoming article in the journal Electoral Studies, we bring real data from big social science survey datasets to bear on the question of whether, to what extent, and for whom non-citizens vote in U.S. elections. Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote. But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.
Well on those same Washington Post webpages just three days later, there was this:
A recent Monkey Cage piece by political scientists Jesse Richman and David Earnest, which suggested that non-citizen voting could decide the 2014 Election, received considerable media attention over the weekend. In particular, columns such as Breitbart.com’s “Study: Voting by Non-Citizens Tips Balance for Democrats” and the National Review’s “Jaw-Dropping Study Claims Large Numbers of Non-Citizens Vote in U.S” cited results from the authors’ forthcoming Electoral Studies article to confirm conservatives’ worst fears about voter fraud in the United States.That was October 27. Didn't Jack know about any of this stuff? For example this info (from the "skepticism" link in the second paragraph) from the Early Voting Information Center:
A number of academics and commentators have already expressed skepticism about the paper’s assumptions and conclusions, though. In a series of tweets, New York Times columnist Nate Cohn focused his criticism on Richman et al’s use of Cooperative Congressional Election Study data to make inferences about the non-citizen voting population. That critique has some merit, too. The 2008 and 2010 CCES surveyed large opt-in Internet samples constructed by the polling firm YouGov to be nationally representative of the adult citizen population. Consequently, the assumption that non-citizens, who volunteered to take online surveys administered in English about American politics, would somehow be representative of the entire non-citizen population seems tenuous at best.
I discussed the Electoral Studies article that the Monkey Cage posting is based on at Early Voting.net, and expressed concerns then that the article made a number of very heroic assumptions to be able to claim that non-citizens were voting in significant numbers, and even more heroic assumptions to assume that these votes “created the filibuster proof majority in 2008,” as the authors claim.Then there's this fact-checking piece at the Reno Gazette-Journal which rates it a 4 out of 10:
This is a great example of how science works. Someone does a study and it sparks conversation and likely more research. Even if the Richman-Earnest study fails to withstand academic scrutiny, that doesn't mean they're bad people or this study was bad. In fact, it very well could be an extremely valuable step in leading to future research that better informs policies on voter ID laws, voter fraud and the inclusion of noncitizens in the voting process (some countries allow legal nonresidents to vote).So the authors of the study Jack's relying on admit the data's "not ideal"??
Regardless, at this point in time, it's a lone study on a controversial subject with data that even the authors admit is not ideal. It's fodder for discussion but not for fears of election fraud.
Yeppers. In fact they agree with the 4 out of 10 score:
Science is a process of finding, validation, replication and rebuttal. We are at the very beginning of the process. Colleagues have raised reasonable questions about the data we used--problems that we acknowledge in both the study and the Monkey Cage. It will take some time and additional research to increase confidence in our findings."This was October 30 - two and a half weeks ago.
And yet Jack Kelly's using it as "settled science" in order to prove that there's voter fraud.
Didn't he know that there were questions about the study he was using? If he did, then how does he explain using it anyway? And if he didn't then why the heck not??
And as always: Doesn't anyone fact-check Jack Kelly at the P-G?
If they are, they're doing a lousy job. If they're not, then WHY THE HECK NOT?