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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

November 22, 1960: Election Judges in Illinois to be Called to Account for Voting Irregularities, Election Night TV Reporting Called 'Nonsense'

In Chicago the city's canvassing board ordered 460 election judges to appear for questioning about alleged errors in counting votes in the presidential election. The board consists of three election commissioners, the county judge and the city's corporation counsel. Republican leaders in the state are trying to overturn the election results, which gave Illinois' electoral votes to Sen. Kennedy. The election judges are to be given citations beginning on the 24th. They will have to explain contradictions in voting machine numbers with what they reported election night.

An Article prepared for publication tomorrow in the Chicago Daily Tribune says, "The Republicans contend the 'errors' they have discovered bolster their claims that the Democrats stole Illinois' 27 electoral votes from Vice President Nixon ..."

In an editorial prepared for publication tomorrow, the Tribune's editors write, "The transfer of California to the Nixon column provides another reminder of how close the election was. Kennedy was the popular choice by fewer than 200,000 votes and at this writing he has only 31 more votes in the electoral college than he needs to be declared the winner.

"That isn't the way the story was told to the American people by the radio and television chains on election night. By 11 o'clock or thereabouts they were confident of the result. Kennedy was holding a lead of 2,000,000 popular votes and was even farther ahead in the electoral lineup.

"The broadcasters were especially pleased with the work of their computing machines. One pundit reported periodically how wonderful his apparatus had served the nation, for from the very beginning it had forecast a division of about 52-48 and this division was holding true hour after hour. The inference was that these percentages would hold true when all the ballots had been counted. At one point early in the evening, we were told that the odds favoring Kennedy were 200 to 1.

"This was nonsense and should have been recognized as such by every intelligent listener. If, as the raw returns poured in, it had been possible to tell the machine not only what county the figures were from, but what part of what township in what county, a computing machine might have made a rapid projection of the significance of the counted vote. But that isn't the way returns come in. They are mixed into an aggregate by the time the machine gets them and they are therefore almost meaningless for purposes of prediction. ...

"We have no doubt that the electronic calculators can have a value in predicting final election results when returns are far from complete, but it is obvious that the present use of the machines is little better than silly.

"It's odd how easily people can be taken in by what they see and hear on television. No on in his right mind should have been fooled by the quiz shows that were eventually exposed as frauds, but pretty nearly everybody was fooled. We all know smart people, with encyclopedic minds, but none of us has ever known a memory that can reproduce, on demand, with only the slightest hesitation, the contents of the almanac and a detailed history of the world.

"We live and learn; or do we?"

The UN today approved the US-backed candidate for Congo representative. The US and other Western Powers joined with most of the African members of the French Community in backing a delegation headed by President Joseph Kasavubu. The Soviet bloc, Ghana, Guinea, India and other African and Asian countries backed Patrice Lumumba. Kasavuba deposed Lumumba as premier last September. This will make it hard to Lumumba to regain power.

In Cuba the government disputed reports that the Soviet Union had urged moderation on Castro's dealings with the US. The government also denied that the Kremlin had told Cuba to stop "rattling Soviet rockets."