Friday, November 23, 2012

"Humble Pie" for Thanksgiving

My Nov 21 post (E-Mail to FL Gov Rick Scott) included the following statement: “I am very ANGRY about Stolen Election 2012, especially in St. Lucie County, where reportedly there were 175,574 registered eligible voters but 247,713 votes cast. That's a 141% turnout. Furthermore, the Golden Gate Precinct #93, a mobile home park on the border with St. Lucie and Martin counties, reportedly had at least 900 votes cast but had only SEVEN people registered to vote!”

On Nov 22, Thanksgiving Day, I ate a sliver of “Humble Pie.” It seems that I failed to do something that I regularly preached to my graduate students (master’s and doctoral) when I taught academic writing classes in Taiwan: “Cite your sources!”

OK, here are my sources for the above-quoted statement concerning election results in St. Lucie County, Florida: an article by SUZANNE EOVALDI posted at and, also citing It should be noted that Ms. Eovaldi had boots-on-the- ground during the partial recount in St. Lucie County.  

Before shooting off an email to Gov Scott’s office, I SHOULD have viewed at least a portion of this 170-page PDF:, “Statement of Votes Cast, ST. LUCIE COUNTY, 2012  General Election, November 6, 2012, SOVC For Jurisdiction Wide, All Counters, All Races, UNOFFICIAL RESULTS WITH PROVISIONALS.” In this document the data from each precinct is reported in three columns, headed “Reg. Voters, Cards Cast, % Turnout,” respectively. The oddest feature of the third column is that all percentages exceed 100%.

My initial thoughts in response to viewing the first two pages of that PDF were twofold: (1) that I would like to wait and see how the Governor’s Office responds to my email; (2) that the tabulating software SHOULD have listed the number of Ballots Cast,” which should agree with the number of voters who actually voted, instead of the number of Cards Cast.” Admittedly, I suspect that the misleading language might have been intentional, but of course this suspicion would be difficult or impossible to prove.

My pre-email research SHOULD have also included the Watchdog Wire–Florida website.
That site, noting that recent comments had questioned the meaning of “cards” and “ballots,” stated in a Nov 11, 2012 update:

According to Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, “Cards are pages, ballots are the full ballot consisting of both pages.”

The 2012 Presidential Ballot in Florida consisted of two pages. Both pages were two sided giving voters the opportunity to vote for candidates for public office on page 1 and 11 Constitutional ballot initiatives on page 2. The issue being correctly discussed is: Does each ballot consist of two cards? If yes, then there would be two times the number of cards as votes cast or in the case of St. Lucie County 175,554 times 2 there would be an expected 351,108 cards (two page ballots) cast.

However, according to the SOE there were 247,713 or 141.10% of cards cast. A valid question is what happened to the other 58.9% of cards cast? The SOE will be recounting ballots on November 13th and is required to submit her certification of the election on November 15th. We will update this post then with the final results.

Finally (Do I dare use such a word?) it should be noted that, in my Nov 21 post, I used the word “reportedly” twice, but without citing the source(s). That qualifier is a journalistic word for implying tentativeness, an important term in “hedging” jargon—or in more informal terms—“keeping one’s derrière covered.”

Cheryl J. Rutledge, Ph.D.
Musician, Educator, Editor

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