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More in the same vein: Steven J. Miller, PhD Yale in mathematics, renounces his “study” of a biased sample of those who didn’t return absentee ballots.

2020-11-24
Moro Rock (my own photo)

Steven J. Miller, an assistant professor of mathematics at Williams College, was given a data set of phone calls to Pennsylvania Republicans who requested absentee ballots but apparently didn’t return them by a Mr. Braynard. This was in search of suspected voter fraud that would justify throwing out the results of the election in Pennsylvania, which was recently certified as having been won by Joe Biden.

The resulting “declaration” was written up on a conservative news site called “Just the News” with the headline,

“In sworn statement, prominent mathematician flags up to 100,000 Pennsylvania ballots”

Federal Elections Commission Chairman Trey Trainor says new analysis by professor Steven Miller “adds to the conclusions that some level of voter fraud took place in this year’s election.”

This Steven J. Miller has now “disavowed” the analysis he made of the data set he was given. This disavowal was written up in a local newspaper, The Berkshire Eagle, with the headline:

Williams prof disavows own finding of mishandled GOP ballots.

The article includes the following text, which makes Steven J. Miller look a bit naive about the data set he was given:

“Richard De Veaux, vice president of the American Statistical Association and a colleague of Miller’s in the Williams College Department of Mathematics and Statistics, called the estimates “completely without merit” and agreed that Miller erred in publishing his results without addressing issues in the underlying data.

“To apply naïve statistical formulas to biased data and publish this is both irresponsible and unethical,” De Veaux wrote in a statement to The Eagle. “It is the statistician’s responsibility to verify the data, or to provide disclaimers if that can’t be done.”

Carina Curto, a professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, said Miller’s numbers “are almost surely wrong” because they rest on the key assumption that the people who answered the phone are actually a representative sample of all the Pennsylvania Republican voters who requested but did not return a ballot.

“This small sample from the phone survey almost surely has large sampling biases and systematic errors,” said Curto. “There is absolutely no reason to believe it is representative of the larger population.”

Lior Pachter, a computational biologist at the California Institute of Technology, said that simple issues – such as incorrect phone numbers – could have accounted for some of the concerning patterns that Miller saw.

“There’s no guarantee that the people they talked to were the actual people they meant to call,” he said.

He criticized Braynard’s group for not putting the same questions to Pennsylvania Democrats as a control group. More than 230,000 Democrats in the state did not return mail-in ballots that they had requested, according to the U.S Elections Project.”

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/williams-prof-disavows-own-finding-of-mishandled-gop-ballots/article_9cfd4228-2e03-11eb-b2ac-bb9c8b2bfa7f.html

What an unbiased analysis of this data should have done:

If this Mr. Braynard really wanted to know why so many people requested ballots but didn’t return them, he should have tried calling a random sample of all those people, 165,000 + 230,000. But no.

This is merely a random sample of the so-called data that supposedly proves election fraud, in the eyes of the outgoing president. If there was some more convincing data, surely that would be worthy of headlines in some national news media– but there are no such headlines.

We can conclude that, although absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, absence of evidence in the face of concerted efforts by motivated seekers of such evidence, is indeed sufficient to allow us to conclude that there was no appreciable fraud in the presidential election. Therefore, Joe Biden is indeed the president-elect.

There was probably some fraud in the election perpetrated by both sides, but it seems to have cancelled out enough to have given Mr. Biden a 6 million vote margin of victory and a convincing Electoral College majority.

No time to celebrate– we should worry about a large minority of die-hard Republicans who favor authoritarian con-men.

What should concern lovers of our democratic federal republic is that 74 million people voted for someone who is obviously a conman, someone who continues to perpetrate his cons despite his electoral defeat. The prospects for karma to catch up with he-who-must-not-be-named in the next four years are in the balance.

We must continue to fight for our federal democratic republic.

We must form a large popular opinion base in favor of aggressive prosecution of this conman for state tax fraud, state insurance fraud, and any other offenses that the State of New York can think up quickly. There is no use in trying to prosecute him on a federal level because his last act as president will be to have himself pardoned– as surely as the sun will set on his four years of federal mis-rule.

Fortunately we have state attorneys general who are looking into this matter with considerable motivation. We wish them success in their endeavors to hold he-who-must-not-be-named to account.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 2020-11-27 4:01 AM

    Sadly, Trump’s followers will remember the report but many will never know about the retraction.

    Like

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