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By Sharon Becker, as told to David Podvin

In February of this year, I personally witnessed Al Gore pick up almost enough votes in the Consortium ballot study, in my county alone, to win the state of Florida and the presidency.

As the newly elected chair of the Polk County, Florida, Democratic Executive Committee, I went to our local Supervisor of Elections building to observe the ballot study being conducted by the National Opinion Research Center for the media Consortium.

In the coding room, there were four people seated at a long table who were examining the ballots. Surrounding them were four Republican observers. I was the only Democrat present. The other people in the room were a representative from the University of Chicago and an employee of the local election supervisor.

In our primarily Republican County, the voting equipment is of the optical scanning variety. Voters use pencils to fill in little bubbles that are then read by the machines.

From my position in the room, I was able to observe the process during which the “overvotes” were counted. These were ballots in which the citizen voted more than once in the same race.

According to Florida law, such ballots must count if the intent of the voter is clear.

There were two primary reasons that ballots were designated as “overvotes”. First, the ballot design in our county had Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman’s name immediately above the word “Libertarian”. It was sufficiently confusing that some voters put pencil marks next to both “Lieberman” and “Libertarian”.

At the bottom of the ballot, there was a section that read, “Write In The Name Of Your Candidate”. It did not mention that a voter should write in a name only if they had not previously selected a candidate.

Outrageously, in GOP controlled Polk County, the election supervisor had ruled that ballots containing a filled bubble for Gore and the written name of Gore did not indicate whom the voter wanted for president.

Watching as six hundred ninety one “overvotes” were reviewed, I saw the coders establish that far more of them were for Al Gore than for George W. Bush. This provided the vice president with almost enough votes in our one county to offset the official 571 vote lead statewide lead for Bush.

NOTE: MakeThemAccountable has spoken with observers, coders, and supervisors throughout Florida, in both Democratic and Republican counties. Their accounts are all similar to that of Ms. Becker – during the ballot study, they observed an overwhelming trend for Al Gore. She is the latest eyewitness to refute the Consortium’s absurd claim that no one could possibly know who was doing well in the ballot study because the ballots have yet to be tabulated.

Participants in the study are reluctant to come forward now, because to do so would violate their confidentiality agreement with the NORC. They are waiting to see what the Consortium does with the ballot study. Some of them have told MakeThemAccountable that, if the Consortium continues with its pattern of concealment and deception, they will view that as a breach of their agreement and are prepared to come forward with first hand knowledge of the truth that Al Gore decisively won the state of Florida.

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Last changed: December 13, 2009