Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Comrades, I beg of you, do not resort to compulsory taxation. There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”     Robert A. Heinlein,    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

November 14, 2008

An apology concerning a falsehood I have been promoting

by tarran

For years now, I have been under the impression that in an election, undervotes (ballots where there aren’t votes for all the races) aren’t counted.  I read this years ago in a source that I considered reliable at the times.  Truth be told, I can’t even remember where I read it, only that I considered the source reliable at the time.

I have asserted this impression as truth on numerous occasions over the past few years.  Recently I sat down to analyze the recent election and discovered that I was wrong.  To my horror, I discovered that undervotes are routinely counted in nearly every precinct in the U.S.  In fact, I can’t find a single precinct where they are not counted!  Nor can I find any article online (other than one containing my comments) that makes that assertion.  Somehow, I got it wrong.  Very wrong.

I want to apologize to our readers for making this false claim.  In my defense, I sincerely believed it to be true when I made it.  Nevertheless, you all deserve better than this, and I will endevour never to make such a mistake again.

Thank you for your patience.

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5 Comments

  1. Tarran:

    I have to give you props for how you chose to handle this. All of us who write for The Liberty Papers have our opinions but I think that all of us try to be factual. I am also quite certain that at one time or another we all have been wrong on the facts of an issue (I know I certainly have); anyone who writes anything of consequence will eventually be wrong. The best way to handle presenting false information is to handle it exactly how you have here. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who can admit to being wrong.

    This is more than what I can say about much of the MSM. Last week an ‘anonymous source’ who was ‘a McCain campaign aide’ told Fox News that Sarah Palin thought that Africa was a country rather than a continent and could not identify the member countries in NAFTA. The rest of the MSM took this story and ran with it.

    Since that time, not only has Palin herself denied it, Gretta Van Susteren (also of Fox News) reported that she talked to another ‘anonymous’ McCain staffer (not a Palin staffer) who claimed to be there when Palin was being briefed about these issues. According to this staffer, not only did Palin know that Africa was a continent but she also expressed in detail her concerns about Darfur and other issues of importance in the region.

    Since neither of these staffers have been interviewed on record (at least to my knowledge), I am willing to give Palin the benefit of the doubt. She may not be the most knowledgeable person on world affairs but I think that it’s safe to say that she knows that much and I seriously doubt that she didn’t know which countries are part of NAFTA (especially since her state shares a border with one of the member countries, as governor she would have to know *something* about NAFTA). McCain’s campaign manager has since been interviewed on the record about rumors surrounding the McCain campaign in an attempt to set the record straight.

    My point is, I bet that many of the other news outlets and blogs which ran with this story will not go back and try to make any corrections. The ones which have gone back to point this out I have a great deal more respect for.

    With regard to your post, I have taken a look at my county’s election page. I found that the further down the ballot you look the more under votes you will find. I doubt seriously that all the ballots which had no votes for the retention of judges, District Attorney, Colorado University Board of Regents, RTD Board, etc. were all tossed out for the remaining offices and/or ballot measures. If this were the case, perhaps the majority of ballots would be thrown out.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — November 14, 2008 @ 5:17 pm
  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

    Look at Dan Rather, he still hasn’t had the balls to admit he was wrong. Kudos to you.

    Comment by Aimee — November 14, 2008 @ 6:06 pm
  3. tarran, look at it this way. If nothing else you probably inspired a few more “None of the Above” votes, which is always a good thing.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — November 14, 2008 @ 7:20 pm
  4. I find myself measuring one erroneous assertion against a clear retraction and several literate and informative posts. No contest.

    And thanks for additional information.

    Comment by Akston — November 15, 2008 @ 1:50 am
  5. tarran,

    Thanks for the correction. I normally consider your posts very well-researched, and thus was surprised when I heard you assert that undervotes were not counted, as it didn’t seem to make sense. Not because I thought you were wrong, but because I assumed you must be right — and it seemed more likely that you were right and that government was again not making sense!

    So thanks for clearing it up… It will ensure that if I do choose to vote again, I may feel a lot more comfortable turning in an incomplete ballot.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — November 15, 2008 @ 11:05 am

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