Sunday, April 08, 2007

Enigma: JAIL 4 Judges

Something to ponder.

Last year in South Dakota there was an Amendment on the ballot, Amendment E, better known as JAIL 4 Judges a judicial accountability act. This ballot went down in flames: 89% to 11%. On its face it would simply appear that the populace was just dead set against it. But was that really the case?

Amendment E made the ballot with some 46,800 signatures, or a little over 6% of the population and almost 10% of the registered voters. Now as one who has done some petitioning I know that there are many people who support your initiative that will simply not sign the petition for various reasons, time being the biggest stated reason. So if a petition can get 10% of the registered voters that means it has greater support than simply those who sign it. This would indicate a higher support than shown in the official poll results that show that only 35,640 voted for E despite that number being over 10,000 less than signed the original petition.

To add to the mystery, Zogby was commisioned to perform a poll on this issue. Zogby is a highly respected polling company used in every election and their accuracy is quite high. Zogby polled and found 67% in favor of the Amendment. Whats more, the SD Sate Bar performed their own poll and found 3 to 1 in favor of the Amendment. Somehow the results went from 67-75% in favor to 90% against.

As I see it one of two things happened here. Either a highly (and improbably) succesful campaign by the No-on-E groups or vote fraud occured.

registered voters 502,261
total votes 330,387