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6234: Response to Nealy on issue of percentages (G. Antoine) (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

> I have now seen estimates from a few percent to 70% of the turnout for the
> 26 Nov election in Haiti. The ICIO is the only one which stated the basis for 
> their estimate, near 60%. The CEP (60.5%), Caricom (15-20%), and some 
> very low estimates leads me to ask: Where are the actual numbers of votes...

Dave, as always when it comes to percentages, one must first define 
the denominator.  Ours was based on the number of people who 
had previously registered to vote, hence the higher percentages. For 
others, the denominator is the total population of people eligible 
to vote, whether they had registered or not, hence some lower 
percentages. But this determination is a lot more difficult since you 
must then rely on previously released demographic data (or you just 
intuitively survey the number of people currently in line to vote at 
specific polling stations and at specific times, and extrapolate this 
largely sensory data to a surmised totality of people who voted 
throughout the day and mentally compared it to some demographic 
data of eligible voters that you happen to carry in your head -- as 
is your divine right to do so), hence the possibility of still lower 
percentages.  And finally, the great statisticians of the opposition 
parties who quickly and fearlessly determined that only less than 5%, 
and in one case only 1%, of the population had in fact voted.  Take 
your pick, my friends.  When it comes to percentages and statistics, 
Haitians are kings.

Even the U.S. Embassy got in the game of estimating how low the 
turn-out was, based on the reports from the local media (!!) and 
their own observations (??) ... And we had thought that these elections 
so disinterested them that they would not have any observers of the 
electoral scene.  But just who were their observers, and how extensive 
were their range of observation?  Why is it that nobody is asking them?  

And what about the local media which were publishing the estimates of
extremely low voter turn-out on the very day of the elections, from the
opposition parties that had boycotted same elections?  Sources, I am
sure, of unimpeachable integrity.

I did talk to a member of the elite a couple of days after the elections,
and she assailed me over the 60% figure of participation, estimated
independently by the ICIO, KOZEPEP (with a much larger contingent
of national observers), and KEP/CEP itself.  Less than 5% of eligible
voters had bothered to go and vote, she affirmed.  Point well taken,
though I couldn't care less, because I was strictly bound to report only
what my group had observed within some rather obvious geographical 
limits.  But I was still curious as to how she might have acquired such
certitude about the supposed extremely low turnout.  That certitude
must have come directly from direct observation, however flawed the
process.  But she went on to describe how she stayed in her house
all day long, making sure that the gates stayed locked.

And you want a scientific determination!  Good luck, but who will be

Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti