Retired Pittsburgh-area manufacturer Bill Been stumbled into what may prove to be the most significant presidential vote fraud scandal since, at least, 1960.

Although Been did not buy into the myth of the missing millions of Republican voters for Mitt Romney in 2012, he was troubled by the Romney shortfall in at least three Pennsylvania counties: Philadelphia, the suburban Philadelphia county of Delaware, and the Pittsburgh-area county, Allegheny.

In fact, Romney outperformed John McCain’s 2008 numbers in virtually every state, including Pennsylvania, but in these three counties, he received 35,000 fewer votes than McCain had in 2008.

A mathematician by training, Been set out to understand the localized Romney shortfall in Allegheny County. There was an obvious binary nature to the problem: either fewer Republicans voted in 2012 than in 2008 or the official Allegheny County Voter History failed to record all the votes of those who did.

To solve this problem, Been planned to ask those Republicans who voted in the 2008 presidential election but did not seem to have voted in 2012 whether they actually voted or not. More than 24,000 people fell into this category.

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To test the thesis, Been ran a preliminary phone survey in the Gibsonia area. Of the 21 people he reached who fit this description, 18 of them (or their spouses) claimed the person in question did, in fact, vote for Romney in 2012.

The phone survey, although unreliable in itself, showed Been that further testing was warranted. To enhance reliability, he would need to walk the test door-to-door and have respondents sign a notarized affidavit swearing their response to be accurate. The affidavit read as follows, “I, __________, who currently resides in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, do affirm that I voted in the General Election held on November 6, 2012.”

Been took the survey to 179 households. 130 of the targeted voters were not at home or no longer at that location. Of those remaining, 38 were willing to answer the question of whether they voted in 2012. Of these, 13 said they had not voted and 25 said they had voted in the 2012 election.

When combined with the phone surveys, 49 voters were identified as having voted, none of whom were listed as having voted in 2012 on the Bureau of Elections CD. Of the 49, 22 were willing to sign an affidavit testifying to the effect that they had voted in 2012. Several expressed disbelief that their votes may not have been counted.

Although Been’s sample is too small to project with any accuracy, it is possible that as many as half of the 24,000 missing voters in Allegheny County actually did vote in 2012.

Is it within reason to question whether election officials simply chose not to record thousands of Republican votes? If the numbers in Philadelphia are any indication, the answer is yes. A week after the 2012 election, for instance, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that in 59 inner-city voting divisions, Mitt Romney received no votes.

“These are the kind of numbers that send Republicans into paroxysms of voter-fraud angst,” reported the Inquirer glibly. Well, yes they do. When Barack Obama outscores Romney by a combined 19,605 to zero votes cast in these 59 districts, the stench of fraud is surely in the air. Fidel Castro never did this well. That said, not a single major media outlet followed up on the Philadelphia story.

They should have. According to Roper, Romney received 6 percent of the black vote nationwide. If those numbers held in Philadelphia, and there is no reason to believe they would not have, nearly 1,200 of these Philadelphia voters would have voted for Romney.

If only 14 people voted in those districts, the odds would have favored Romney’s receiving at least one vote. If 80 people had voted, Romney would have had a better than 99 percent chance of receiving at least one of those votes. With nearly 20,000 voters, the odds of Romney being completely shut out are beyond any reasonable calculation.

This is a story the media should have hopped on. They did not. Instead, they have left the research to enterprising individuals like Bill Been. Knowing nothing, the media smugly question the motives of anyone, presidential candidates especially, who points out the obvious.

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