Can you still hear the cheese screaming, Clar-iiiiiice?
Michelle Malkin points out a story that I had missed in neighboring Wisconsin, one that calls into question the veracity of its presidential-election results. Wisconsin wound up going for John Kerry by 11,300 votes in what came as a mild surprise to most observers in the Upper Midwest (via Stranded On Blue Islands). Al Gore had carried the state by a shade over 5,000 votes in 2000, and most pollsters had the race a dead heat or George Bush pulling slightly ahead in 2004. Instead, Kerry took Wisconsin by doubling Gore’s margin.
How did that happen? Well, in one county — Milwaukee, a traditional Democratic stronghold — turnout increased by just under 49,000 votes, or about 10%, outstripping the nationwide increase of 6.4%. The new votes broke about 60/40 Kerry, about the trend of the county in both elections, adding a 9,000-vote margin to Milwaukee over Gore in the last election.
But here’s where the Silence Of The Cheese gets … well, stickier. According to state records, 83,000 people executed a same-day registration for Milwuakee County, which is more than 20% of all voting-age residents in the county. Now, Wisconsinites may procrastinate a bit, but in order to believe that number, you’d have to expect that 20% of the county had moved or became newly eligible within the past two years (after the previous national cycle). Not only that, but the state now reports that 10,000 of those registrations cannot be verified, a whopping 12% of all same-day registrations and almost the entire margin of victory for Kerry for the entire state.
Two more interesting statistics show up as well. In 2000, the US Census Bureau showed that Milwaukee County had 425,990 residents 18 years of age and older (incorrect — see below), yet the 2000 election had 433,537 voters casting ballots. In order for that to be correct, the census had to miss 2% of Milwaukee’s 18+ population — and no felons had to live in Milwaukee County, nor any resident aliens, illegal aliens, or any other adult ineligible to vote. And that’s just 2000. In 2004, again, the voters increased by 11% on top of what was already a 102% turnout for the previous presidential election.
But hey, let’s be fair about this. Maybe those statistics are in error and Milwaukee has always turned out big in elections, although 113% does seem a bit high, even for civic-minded Wisconsin. Take a look at 1996, when Bill Clinton coasted to re-election over Bob Dole. Milwaukee was no exception either; Clinton topped Dole by a shade over 97,000 votes. The difference is that Milwaukee only cast 365,387 votes for president that year (page 52), or about an 86% turnout. That’s 68,000 less than 2000 and a whopping 117,000 less than 2004.
Did Milwaukee grow that much? Or has Mayor Daley been resurrected in Milwaukee?
Despite being the fastest-growing metropolis for likely voters in the nation and despite its razor-thin margin for John Kerry, the Wisconsin voting irregularities have yet to grab the attention of the national media. Instead of long lines due to the miscalculations of Democratic Party election officials in Ohio who were too cheap to buy enough voting machines, we appear to have endemic voter fraud in Wisconsin’s largest county, large enough to have returned fraudulent Electoral College results in two succeeding presidential elections. And yet Barbara Boxer has shed no tears on the Senate floor for Wisconsin voters; John Kerry has not pontificated in stentorian tones about Wisconsin disenfranchisement on Martin Luther King Day. The New York Times has not called for a federal investigation into Milwaukee’s double-plus-good turnout the past two presidential elections. CBS News has not delivered a breathless report on it for 60 Minutes Wednesday. In fact, from what I can find, not one national news outlet has given any attention to the facts above. Not one.
Why? Why does the Silence Of The Cheese continue to deafen our national media? If they have their way, Clarice Starling wouldn’t come within 500 miles of Milwaukee but instead would chase down red herrings in Cleveland, Ohio. It almost convinces me that political bias plays a role in mainstream media coverage. Good think Dick Thornburgh told me otherwise.
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UPDATE II: I misread the data from Stranded On Blue Islands. The correct number for Milwaukee County adults in 2000 was significantly higher — 692,339. SOBI referenced data for Milwaukee City, while I compared that to county returns. That moves the 1996 turnout to 57% of all adults (not registered voters!), 2000 to 62.5%, and 2004 to 69.7%, although the raw voter totals remain correct in my post above. My apologies; I should have confirmed that data first as it does materially affect the analysis.
However, the growth rate for Milwaukee County is almost a 20% increase in voters over an eight-year period. Does that sound like Milwaukee has grown that fast? Especially when the Census Bureau shows a net decrease in population for Milwaukee of 36,000 by 2003 (estimated)? That includes a net decrease in adults of 29,000…
UPDATE III: I’ve been asked why I didn’t just rewrite this post with the correct data. Well, I assume that some people might be able to find the original post through RSS feeds, so that would look rather dishonest — and besides, I screwed up, and I don’t have an issue with admitting it. The new data changes this from a slam dunk to a more complicated story. I’ve taken a fresh look at the correct demographic data in this new post, and I hope you check it out.