Exit Poll Versus Reported Vote Count
By Theodore de Macedo Soares
The 2020 Vermont Democratic Party presidential primary was held on March 3, 2020. Election results from the computerized vote counts differed significantly from the results projected by the exit poll conducted by Edison Research and published by CNN at poll’s closing. In candidate Sanders’ home state, the combined disparities between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Biden at 10.8% exhibited the largest disparity of the 14 primary states that voted to date and for which an exit poll was conducted.
In this Vermont election candidate Sanders saw the largest discrepancy between the exit poll and computer vote counts. His projected vote proportion fell 6.3% in the vote counts—an 11% reduction of his exit poll share. Biden with an exit poll share of 17% and in danger of receiving 0 delegates (if his vote count fell below 15%) outperformed his exit poll share by 4.5% in the vote counts—a 26.1% increase of his exit poll share. The combined discrepancies between the exit poll and the vote count for candidates Sanders and Biden at 10.8% was double the 5.4% margin of error (95% CI) for the exit poll difference between the two. See table below.
The United States remains one of the
few major democracies in the world that continue to allow computerized vote
counting—not observable by the public—to determine the results of its
Countries such as Germany,[ii]
Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and many other countries
protect the integrity and trust of their elections with publicly observable
hand-counting of paper ballots.[v]
 Exit poll (EP) downloaded from CNN’s website by TDMS on election night, March 3, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET. Candidates’ exit poll percentage/proportion derived from the gender category. Number of EP respondents: 781. As this first published exit poll was subsequently adjusted towards conformity with the final computerized vote count, the currently published exit poll differs from the exit poll used here and available through the link below.
 Candidates’ percentage/proportion of the total computer-generated vote counts derived from reported counts (100% reporting) updated on March 7, 2020 and published by The New York Times. Total number of voters: 157,707
 The difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate (subtracting values in column two from the values in column three). A positive value indicates the candidate did better and received a greater share of the total reported count than projected by the exit poll. For example, as candidate Sanders, reported percentage/proportion of the total vote decreased by 6.3% compared to his exit poll share this value is negative.
 This column shows the percentage increase or decrease from the candidate’s exit poll projection (difference in table column four divided by exit poll proportion in column two). Shown, to simplify the table, only for candidates with greater than 4% share in the exit poll.
 This column presents a distinct Margin of Error (MOE) for the exit poll (EP) differences between candidate Biden versus each of the other candidate’s EP results. This MOE, for example, between Biden and Sanders is 5.4%. For simplicity MOE only shown for candidates with greater than 4% share in the EP. As this election involves multiple candidates the common method of ascertaining an MOE of the poll and then doubling it to see if the difference between two candidates is significant is replaced by a more appropriate method that directly calculates a distinct MOE for the difference between any two paired candidates. MOE calculated at 95% CI according to multinomial formula in: Franklin, C. The ‘Margin of Error’ for Differences in Polls. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. October 2002, revised February 2007. Available at: https://abcnews.go.com/images/PollingUnit/MOEFranklin.pdf
 The discrepancies between the exit poll and the reported computer-generated vote counts comparing candidate Biden with each of the other candidates (subtracting each candidate’s difference between exit poll and computer count from Biden’s difference of 4.5%. If the MOE is greater than the discrepancy the discrepancy is not significant as it can be explained by the MOE. Conversely if the MOE is smaller then it cannot explain the discrepancy and another explanation is required. As shown in the table the combined discrepancies between Biden and Sanders at 10.8%, doubling the MOE and thus highly significant, cannot be explained by their MOE. Another explanation is required.
[i] Fittingly, according to a recent Gallup World Poll, only 40% of Americans say they are confident in the honesty of U.S. elections. Finland and Norway with 89% of their citizens expressing confidence in the honesty of their elections along with the citizens of 25 other countries have greater confidence in their elections than do Americans.
[ii] In 2009 the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that every important aspect of an election must be observable by the public and thus “meet the constitutional requirements of the principle of the public nature of elections.” The Court explicitly ruled that no amount of voting machine testing, security requirements, and licensing procedures can compensate for this constitutional requirement. With this ruling, Germany abandoned inherently unobservable computerized vote counting and reverted to the hand-counting of every ballot in the precincts in which they were cast and in the plain view of the public.
The court also noted that while vote fraud with hand-counted ballots would be easy to detect, “programming errors in the software or deliberate electoral fraud committed by manipulating the software of electronic voting machines can be recognized only with difficulty.”
[iii] During the 2007 presidential election, eighty-three municipalities (France has 36,569 municipalities) were allowed to use voting machines. Due to security concerns and the inability of voters to determine if their votes are counted correctly a moratorium, that remains today, prevents additional municipalities from introducing voting machines. In the 2012 elections only 64 municipalities continued their use. The French government desires a total ban on their use.
[iv] In Canada, the results of federal elections are determined exclusively by hand-counted paper ballots. Some provinces have adopted voting machines for local elections. See here, here and here.
[v] The United States’ long ballots–containing federal, state, and local races–are commonly cited as being unwieldy for hand-counting. The use of Sweden’s method of providing different colored paper ballots for federal, state, and local races that are then sorted prior to hand-counting addresses this objection and allows for at least the hand-counting of federal elections with only three races per ballot.
Vermont 2020 Democratic Party Primary Exit Poll. Published by CNN at poll’s closing on election night.
Comments made on this or related pages that may be helpful to the reader (comments made on another page will open a new tab):
Why the exit polls accessible today differ from the exit poll used here.
Explanation of the method used to calculate the margin of error appropriate for an election with multiple candidates.
On errors in the conduct of an exit poll as the source of the disparities between the exit polls and the unobservable computer counts
I think we need to get this Vermont Report to the local media in Vermont! Who can help do that?
I don’t live far from Brattleboro, but I think we should focus on social media. This has to happen fast, local media is slower on the uptake and usually owned by a larger company. I sent this information to Graham Elwood, the polling from Texas, and he mentioned it on the live show! There are alot of people in online media who are pro-Bernie. They can help.
Sounds great Nick. Can you keep sending this out to podcast shows? If they do discuss this on their shows, try to get them to put links back to Ted’s reports so they can get more info. I’ve been trying to get The Humanist Report and the Tim Black Show to cover this. Maybe you could reach out to. If they hear from more people, I think they will. Both are Bernie supporters and I know that Mike (The Humanist Report) covered this topic in 2016. I also sent to a bunch of local media in one state today. We’ll see if they pick it up at all. It sounds like Lee Camp at Redacted Tonight is planning to cover this next week! I think he has a special talent for making things more simple to understand. Another idea is to get organizations with big email lists to send it out. If we could get even a few with big lists to blast a message about this with a link back for more detail, that would reach a lot of people in a hurry. If anyone has a personal connection to a group that might do this, by all means pitch the idea to them and tell them why it’s so important.
So Vermont was the worst theft yet for the Biden and Bloomberg campaigns. Speed in transmitting information to masses is essential here and now, March 9. If Biden ‘wins’ big in Michigan, Idaho, … tomorrow, March 10, as MSM polls predict, the Sanders’ campaign is finished as a hope. My further feeling is that a Biden nomination is meant to assure re-selection of Trump–if the massed of people who are being victimized by this bad theater put up with it. Let’s go! And thank you, Ted, Cindy, Nick, …
I totally agree Don Paul — HOW FAST we get this out and HOW MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT NOW — RIGHT NOW — is the key factor here to deterring and convincing the campaigns/candidates to speak out. Can you and others pitch in? Anyone have a connection to AOC or someone with that prominence? Group with a major megaphone? I had a “crazy” idea back in 2016 that may not be so crazy… what do people think about flying plane banners at rush hour and other places people are gathered? We need some way to bypass the corporate national media because they’re not going to cover this and I’m all for social media but there’s a limit to who we can reach there. I not only think Bernie should be all over this — so should Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang (I sent him a PM on this but I think we should do a lot more… this is right up his alley… he’s a math/tech guy… he’ll get that part immediately).
And once again the coward Bernie Sanders won’t demand a recount and the criminals will remain at large.
Jimbo, I can commiserate… had the same feelings in 2016 for a while… but right now, we’ve got to do way more than complain… we must take action. This an urgent five, no 5000, alarm fire!
Then explain why he mentions “exit polls” specifically at the 2 minute mark in his last speech from Vermont.
I’ve been thinking about how to get the word out fast and how to have the biggest impact…. I think we need to contact the Michigan offices of Rashida Tlaib immediately, plus her congressional office… and the Washington offices of Pramila Jayapal immediately, plus her congressional office. I also think we need to work on getting one or more of the super celebrities endorsing Bernie Sanders to speak out now….. actors/actresses/musicians/athletes/etc… the bigger the name the better and especially those who have been on the trail with him/performed at his rallies. I’ve been tweeting at Michael Moore for a while now but we need to contact them all and not just by social media. Politicians will be much more reticent to speak out than celebrities I think and celebrities can garner massive attention with one tweet and or one press conference… plus that would FORCE the corporate media to cover it, even if negatively. I’m going to ask here for help…. and lots of help!!! Can you help? Anyone have a connection to any of these people? It would even be good if people could show up in person at these offices and rallies with signs and try to talk to people in person.
[…] always advantageous to the favoured “establishment” candidate, repeats across Vermont (+26% for Biden), Massachusetts( +16% for Biden) South Carolina (+8.5% for Biden) and New Hampshire […]
This is a good article and worth reading and sharing on social media.
So, we’ve been discussing this issue via FB with the VT AG. Please comment on his latest response:
“I really don’t want to belabor this BUT… If you go to the Official Results page, you can scroll down through the results for ALL towns – including hand count towns (generally any town less than 1000 voters) and you will see that these #s are consistent throughout VT. As for the drop off from 2016, I would suggest that it was a”new” thing for Bernie in the Presidential race AND a large # of anti-Hilary votes which drove Bernie’s #s up. The results do not appear to be out of the ordinary.Again, Bernie won by more than 2 to 1.”
Do you see any obvious differences in the percentages between hand-counted precincts and machine counted? Worthy of more scientific analysis? Please also post the link to the page.
Keep in mind too there can be chain of custody issues even with hand-counted areas.
That the hand-counted towns ‘show the same results’ as the machine counted means nothing… except another layer of the investigation needed.
Nobody complained about a discrepancy between more and less rural towns.
In the end, for the State of Vermont Biden had 26 percent more votes than the EPs showed he had.
10,000 Vermonters who voted for Bernie had their votes switched.
Please, who is the AG with whom you have contact?
The author has donated to Sanders for years. Bias at play here? And apparently is finding discovering that Bernie is getting screwed in primary after primary. What are the chances? Lol.
You are spamming all my posts with untruth. Once more and you will be banned from this site,
I don’t get the Lol part.
I have also donated to Sanders for many years – still have my Bernie-88 Bumper Sticker.
I am also finding that Bernie has gotten screwed in primary after primary. I watched it in real time…. but that’s just anecdotal.
I am also finding that my former brothers and sisters in Vermont are unwilling to speak up for themselves despite their democracy being blatantly stolen.
By whom? For What?
Why is that OK ?
Martyred to the mind-arresting Drumpf Derangement Syndrome (DDS)
But it’s just not that funny.
This creep on facebook keeps trying to misdirect people with the following assertion. Can you address this specifically to provide the necessary info to shut him down? I’m out of my wheelhouse on the subject.
“Please know the numbers you posted above are wildly inaccurate and misleading.
The numbers cited in your post are not the differences in percentage of votes for each state. Not even close. Check the guys research and you’ll see those numbers are much lower. These are some weird “percent change” numbers he basically invented (because measuring % change that way is not how you do it when you have a total/max of 100). I’ll give you an example. If the exit polls say 40% but the candidate gets 44%, that exit poll was off by 4%. But the pseudo math used above is based on percent change. He says 4% is a 10% increase from 40% so it’s a discrepancy of 10%. Yeah, no. That’s not how you calculate percent discrepancies with polling or voting when there is a total of 100%. This guys methodology (and data sources) has a lot of flaws.”
On which FB site(s)?
Hey Theodore – can you post/provide the exit poll data for all the other states that have voted? Seems important to make sure that you aren’t just cherry picking outlier states (I.e. if other state exit polls lean the other way but aren’t being highlighted if they don’t fit the narrative).
Thanks in advance.
Theodore, I’m the “creep” who posted that on Facebook. Not sure why making sure people are reading the right calculations in exit poll research makes me a creep, but whatever.
Anyways, it was in a response to a post saying the following:
“According to the UN, exit poll discrepancies exceeding 4% signify election fraud.
Here’s what we’ve got so far:
CA: Bernie -11.1%, Biden +15.3%
TX: Bernie -11.8%, Biden +1%
MA: Bernie -12.4%, Biden +16.2%
SC: Bernie -6.6%, Biden +8.3%
VT: Bernie -11, Biden +26.1%
They are posting your percent change aka disparity numbers, but everyone is interpreting it as the difference between the exit poll proportion and reported vote proportion for each candidate so they are reading the exit poll differences as far more extreme then they are in reality.
Lee Camp certainly has a way of driving the point home! This one is so well done, maybe we put part of it in a commercial!
Please don’t let them get away with this again! If it was anyone else the media would demand a recount and oversight.
[…] the results in Vermont demonstrate yet again how easy it is to commit fraud with digital voting. According to exit polls, Sanders had a firm command of 57% of the vote in his home state, while Biden had 17%. Biden was […]
I have an honest question: isn’t vermont a ‘paper ballot’ state? In what form does the computerized voting take place? Thanks in advance for anyone that clarify this for me. Cheers!
The overwhelming number of ballots in VT are counted by computerized scanners of the paper ballot. Only a few very small towns hand-count the paper ballots.
Thanks. So the implication is that the scanning software and/or reporting software of said scans is compromised in some fashion? But how and by who?
[…] state Sanders won comfortably… but let’s see what TDMS has to say about the […]