Voting Conspiracy Theories Don’t Check Out

by John Fund

The Internet is filled with rumors that something must have gone terribly wrong in the vote counting for Mitt Romney to have lost. The most common thread begins with pointing out that Romney has received only 58.2 million votes, while even John McCain won 59.9 million votes in 2008. They often don’t mention that Barack Obama’s current vote total is 61.2 million — way down from the 69.5 million he won in 2008.

Before the conspiracy theories get up more of a head of steam, let’s wait for all of the votes to be counted. Washington State has only counted 57 percent of its votes. As of Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time, California has over 3 million ballots left to count. Romney will no doubt take between 1 and 1.3 million of those. Douglas Johnson, a fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government in California, says most of what he has seen on the Internet is based on very preliminary returns. He is “confident” that when all the votes are in that Romney will exceed the McCain vote totals of 2008.

That said, it’s clear that the vaunted Romney get-out-the-vote operation — dubbed ORCA — failed to deliver the goods. Blue-collar whites failed to turn out in expected numbers in key swing states, dragging down not just Romney but key Republican Senate candidates. An autopsy of just what went wrong is in order.