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Ear to the Ground

Typo Puts ‘Barack Osama’ on Ballot

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Posted on Oct 10, 2008
Barack Osama
Times Union / Michael P. Farrell

This ballot was sent to about 300 homes.

Election officials in Rensselaer County, N.Y., are caught in the middle of a national embarrassment after a “typo” on 300 absentee ballots listed the Democratic candidate for president as “Barack Osama.” Both Democratic and Republican officials in “Renassliare County” swear the error was accidental.


The Times Union:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s last name is spelled “Osama” on hundreds of absentee ballots mailed out this week to voters in Rensselaer County.

The misspelling, which elections officials on both sides of the aisle insist was simply a typo, is causing embarrassment for the county.

‘‘No question this is an honest mistake innocently done,’’ said Edward McDonough, the Democratic commissioner. ‘‘We catch almost everything.’‘

‘‘This was a typo,’’ said Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee. ‘‘We have three different staff members who proof these things and somehow the typo got by us.’‘

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By John, October 30, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can the public find out who is responsible? Where is accountability these days? The tragedy here is that no one is going to be punished or held responsible for this action, even if it was negligence or incompetence.

America is no longer a free nation. It is run by corrupt individuals who will do anything to usurp more power.

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By C.P.T.L., October 11, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m no mathematician and my very simplistic methodology is certainly mathematically wrong, probably extremely wrong, but wrong in the proper direction. There clearly is significant numerical probability that the misspelling was purposeful, or, was a mistake then purposely allowed to pass by one or more who noticed it somewhere ‘downstream’ of the initial typing.

My guess is that a mathematician would conclude a far higher improbability of multiple honest errors.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, October 11, 2008 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Get everyone who’s hands and eyes ‘touched’ that Ballot and bring them up on election Fraud.
Enough of these BS excuses..If You are too stupid to Know Who the Pres Candidates are who are running You should Not have any type imput or control over the Ballot.
If you are so lazy or Ignorant to NOT check your work on such a nationally Important ConstitutionalLy mandated Right, then you should be held Legally responsible for your failure of Provide this Fundmental Duty to Your Country and Countrymen!
Ignorance Nor laziness is no excuse nor a valid Defense!
These Voter Oppression tactics, these intended misdirections and LIES must finally find their Way into Criminal Court!This country was founded on every citizens RIGHT to VOTE, These type of blatant methods of Undermining that BIRTHRIGHT is nothing Less then the MOST TREASONOUS ACT AGAINST AMERICA AND WHAT SHE STAND FOR!!!
No More Oops’, Not more ‘innocent’, No more Attacks against Our Democracy by Neo Cons and their Corp/Foreign Sponsors.
Like the Repug Chair in Macomb MI, should be facing charges of the High Crime of attempting to deceive and Intimidate Citizens from exercising their VERY BASIC Right to vote with His ‘Foreclosure = NO Vote’ Propaganda campaign!
Throw a few of these Subversives in Prison and Watch ‘Efficiency and accuracy ’ during election time go UP! You gotta put the blade to the rock to ‘Sharpen’ it every once in a while!

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By Folktruther, October 11, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

C.P.T.L. details why this could not be an honest mistake.  It is the kind of willful deceit and dirty tricks that the Gops do routinely.  But note how the mainstream media and Truthdig sanitize this ploy and raise and support the idea that this could have been an honest error.

This is what the mainstream progressives do routinely, attibuting dirty power ploys to inadvertence, mistakes and incompetence.  They do so to maintain the trust of the American people in the American power system.  With which they identify and and are part of the power structure.

The most effective form of deception of the Dem and progressive rank and file is acheived by their own leaders.  Like the Dems of the Gop district who maintained this was an honest error.

Unless the American progessive popultion can develop an honest, courageous and united leadership, they will continue to be neutralized by their own progressive and Dem leaders.

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By jobart, October 10, 2008 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Jan Kees, October 10 at 6:16 pm #
Where in the world is Rinse-liar County, NY?!
And why did they name it that?

FYI -
It’s near Albany, N.Y., spelled Rensselaer County, and home to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) which is a highly respected technical University. It produces some of the finest engineers in the country.

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By C.P.T.L., October 10, 2008 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A ‘typo’ is a typographical error which means the error happened by means of making a mistake typing on a keyboard. That it becomes published is lack of proof reading or a proof reading mistake.

That makes any published misspelling a double error.

In this case there are too many other letters more likely to have been mistakenly typed, letters in the vicinity of the letter ‘b,’ letters that would mistakenly create a nonsense word. Because it created a word with any meaning whatsoever when the immediate likely possibilities were nonsense: Ovama, Onama, Ohama, Ogama, Ofama, Ocama, Odama, Oxama, Ojama, or Omama:

That makes this error an occurrence more than three times removed from the possibility of true error.

Because it created a word with a very specific political meaning denigrating a political figure with the specific name of another figure:

It is more than four times likely not an error.

Having worked as a printer, I know printers look over what is coming off of their machine to see if it is printing clearly. Printers commonly catch mistakes, stop ‘the presses,’ and call the client to suggest the job be corrected.

That suggests this is five times an error.

Plus there is a history of folks mistaking the two names done innocently and done ‘accidentally a purpose’ reported in the news many times and made part of American consciousness.

That establishes this occurrence of misspelling as six times or more removed from sensibly being called a ‘typo.’

It is, on the facts, six times more likely to be purposeful than not.

Then we have the additional fact that there were ‘’three different staff members who proof these things,’’ which puts it:

nine-plus times WELL into the zone of a likely purposeful occurrence.

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By Jan Kees, October 10, 2008 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

Where in the world is Rinse-liar County, NY?!

And why did they name it that?

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By jobart, October 10, 2008 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It seems to be starting in earnest,another “theft” of the Executive. The larger the lead in the polls, the more difficult it becomes. But, perhaps, they have a contingency plan. A “real” potential scenario is a revolt of the populace causing an “emergency” condition, leading to the declaration of Martial Law. The 1st Battalion has been effectively deployed on October 1st. The following video is totally verifiable. From the declaration of the representative in California, to the information released in the Army Times. I’m not sure whether this post will be allowed by TD, but I’m posting it anyway.
http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/56749-naomi-wolf-give-me-liberty

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By Obama, October 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I bet money that this “typo” was paid by Bush Administration. Common! 3 people missed such thing ? Are they fired?

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By hippy pam, October 10, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Even I can see the repubs dirty political hands on this item….Doesn’t any one use the SPELL CHECK BEFORE PRINTING? or are these done by some of OUR FAILED HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS?....

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By bonjovifan, October 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Reprint the ballots and fire this jerk. Enough is enough.

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Allan Krueger's avatar

By Allan Krueger, October 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Hilarious! It’s a coincidence that the county clerk, Frank Merola, is a Republican! You don’t suppose this is a distraction in order to keep anyone from paying attention to the rampant election fraud on their storyboard for November?

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By Big B, October 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

the longer the poles show Barry below 50%, the more we should all worry. We are, after all, still within the margin of the infamous “Bradley Effect”.

The closer the poles stay, the more of a chance we have for some more election day “hijinks”.

Times have not changed much in 4 years, the repugs are still smarter than the dimmos, and still posess the “win at all cost” attitude. However, i fear that if some blatant election fraud takes place this year, it could cause the downfall of our(supposed) democracy.

But then again, we’re headed down that road anyway. Besides, Barry could wear a crown of thorns and drag a cross up the capitol steps, and still not be able to fix the mess we are in.

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By diamond, October 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

CNN’s Ohio exit polls broadcast just after midnight on election day in 2004 gave out these figures: Among women voters, Kerry won 53% of the vote compared with 47% for Bush. Among men voters, Kerry won 51% of the vote while Bush won 49%. So how did Kerry lose Ohio?  It’s really very simple. In America you can cast your vote but you have absolutely no guarantee that it will be counted.
In every election ballots cast are simply thrown away, and the votes thrown away run into the millions. They are called ‘spoiled’ votes, supposedly unreadable and therefore invalid. They are just not counted.

Some of the facts on the 2000 and 2004 election are really quite shocking and incredible. For example:
In Bernalillo County, Albuquerque, Precinct 512, Bush received 206 votes even though only 166 votes were cast.
Bush also won Precinct 558 where 178 absentee voters cast 319 votes.
All of them for Bush.
For Kerry, strangely, the reverse was true. In Precinct 46 the gremlins had been busy. Of 207 ballots cast, 114 had no vote recorded for President. Precinct 46 is a Democrat stronghold.
The number of dead people who voted in New Mexico was 2,087.
This was half of Bush’s winning margin.
In Duval County, Florida there were 27,000 ruined ballots and 11,000 of that total came from just five precincts. They were, of course, all black precincts.
In Gadsen, the blackest and poorest of Florida’s sixty seven counties 1 in 12 votes was ‘spoiled’. Gadsen used optical scanners to read the paper ballots. Any stray mark whatsoever meant the vote was discarded. Yet in uppercrust Tallahassee right next door they used paper ballots in the 2000 election and didn’t lose a single vote.
Computer touch screens produce unrecorded votes at a rate 600% higher than paper ballots with ‘try it again’ scanners. Computer touch screens cost 400% more than the paper and scanner combo.

Considering all of this why do the Republicans swear by the failed system? A good example of the craziness that flourishes in America’s electoral system is the behaviour of Jeb Bush, George’s brother, of course, and Governor of Florida in 2000. After the sensationally controversial Presidential election of 2000, Jeb appointed a ‘Select Task Force on Elections Procedures’. Having conducted their enquiry, these experts called for the introduction of paper ballots statewide. Jeb Bush overruled them. The fact is, you can’t re-count a computer vote, something the Bush family seems to find most attractive. It’s not hard to see why. Florida’s statutory right to a recount in close races was solved by Jeb Bush’s right hand woman, Glenda Hood. She issued a decree simply voiding the right to recount ballots for counties with computer voting. A Leon County elections supervisor objected and was told by Ms. Hood that he ‘wasn’t a team player’. Perhaps not being a team player gave him the ability to predict with eerie accuracy how many ballots would be spoiled because of computer voting in the 2004 election. The number was 25,000 votes lost in computers in the counties where 53.6% of the state’s African Americans vote.

ACORN is trying to fix all of this and now the Republican party is trying to fix ACORN sending in the Keystone Cops and accusing ACORN of electoral fraud! Jesus wept! In one polling booth in 2004 John Kerry’s name wasn’t even on the polling tape as a candidate. Obama has at least got his name in there but there’s no way the mis-spelling was an accident. The Republicans play dirty and they feel justified in doing so. How else can they win? They have no policies suitable to the 21st century so they have to lie and cheat.

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