How’s that votie integrity thing goin’ for us?

Following the mainstream media reports on Tuesday’s elections we learn: Two CEO-Business-Women won CA Republican Primaries. Most incumbents are in trouble. Yet, in Arkansas out-of-state-far-left-and-labor-supported Bill Halter was defeated by incumbent Sen Blanche Lincoln. [Apparently Lincoln had no out-of-state support or significant funders of note].

From reading local papers and watching news channels we get the impression that there were no election glitches to worry about either.

Here at CTVotersCount we rely on the Internet for our news, particularly the venerable VotingNews, BradBlog, and Election Line. Unlike the mainstream media, they dug just a little deeper, providing national coverage of local news and even personally probing the election systems democracy depends on. These are some of their stories; any resemblance to fiction is purely a consequence of reality:

LOS ANGELES

Apparently America’s largest voting jurisdiction is not able to handle the equipment they employ. Brad Friedman continued his quest to vote like voters with disabilities [When they do vote, apparently they must avoid the InkaVote system].  This time he noted 6 failures in his two and one-half hour attempt to vote on Tuesday:

Two years ago, in June of ’08, the ES&S “InkaVote Plus” e-vote system in Los Angeles County misprinted 4 out of 12 of my own votes.

Today, as I tried to vote on the same system, the failure was even worse. Incredibly. And not just because I cover issues of Election Integrity for a “living.”

I spent more than two and a half hours not casting a vote on the system before eventually I, the poll workers, and, apparently, the folks at the L.A. County Registrar’s central help desk call center, simply gave up. A complete and total failure of the e-voting system for disabled voters in the nation’s largest voting jurisdiction. Again. On a system the county spent millions to buy in order to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) boondoggle by allowing disabled voters to cast their votes independently. <read>

Our Co-Founder, Denise Weeks, had a suggestion that might cure the problem: Require that the leaders in Washington that passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) be required to vote in the way that voters with disabilities are “Helped” by the Act.

ARKANSAS

Voters filed suit against Garland Co Arkansas. Garland Co had 2nd highest turnout yet voters were turned away as polling places were cut from 40 to 2. Those changes were illegal says SOS. “They’ve tried this before,” said attorney Ben Hooten who filed lawsuit on behalf of disenfranchised voters. <read>

Not just anywhere, but where the losing candidate was strong.  To save the county money, yet the state pays:

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter who is challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln in today’s Democratic primary runoff has a beef with state election officials.

The Halter campaign complained that Garland County – the county seat is Hot Springs, and it’s one of Halter’s strongholds in the primary — had opened only two polling stations to serve several thousand voters, creating long lines and parking woes at points during the day.

Natasha Naragon, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Secretary of State, said Garland County election officials failed to notify voters of the reduced number of polling stations, as required by state law. Though a local official told the Arkansas press that he had made the decision to save money, Naragon said the state bears all costs for primary and runoff elections.

Garland County did allow early voting at the two polling stations for the week leading up to Tuesday’s runoff, as did counties across the state. <read>

Earlier Brad had noticed some odd results in Arkansas in the original primary:

What’s going on in Monroe County, Arkansas?

We’ve been looking at their May 18 “Super-ish Tuesday” election night numbers on the AR Secretary of State’s website (Monroe County doesn’t have its own public election results website) since the night of the election, and the posted results can only be described as going from “impossible” on the day after the election, to possible but still entirely inexplicable…

The original tip-off to concerns about Monroe County’s results came when on May 19th, the day after the election, the state’s SoS website showed a total of 3,393 out of the county’s 5,252 registered voters had cast ballots — a rather impressive 64.60% turnout! But not “impossible.”…

Notice all of the precincts, in both the R and D Senate races, where the exact same number of votes were cast for each candidate.

For example, in the Dem results, there are four different precincts where 4 voted for Morrison, 9 voted for Lincoln and 7 voted for Halter. Not “impossible,” but curious. On the Republican side, some of the very same precincts also had identical numbers for each of the eight candidates, and a few more had nearly identical numbers. A few of the precincts also reported what appeared to be the exact same percentages for each candidate as seen in the precincts with duplicated numbers, but where the number of votes is simply doubled. All still not “impossible,” but certainly getting much more improbable. <read and view the data>

NEW JERSEY

The “Garden State” grows more than vegetables and oil refineries.  It has one of the finest election integrity investigative teams at Princeton University.  Professor Ed Felton checked out the security of several voting machines the night before the election, including the one he voted on the next day.  With any luck it managed to count his vote, and perhaps even counted it accurately:

It’s Election Day in New Jersey. Longtime readers know that in advance of elections I visit polling places in Princeton, looking for voting machines left unattended, where they are vulnerable to tampering. In the past I have always found unattended machines in multiple polling places.

I hoped this time would be different, given that Judge Feinberg, in her ruling on the New Jersey voting machine case, urged the state not to leave voting machines unattended in public.

Despite the judge’s ruling, I found voting machines unattended in three of the four Princeton polling places I visited on Sunday and Monday. Here are my photos from three polling places. <read/view>

We hate to think it takes a Professor of Computer Science to check these things, or that it would take a science reporter to translate the implications to the public.  What else could possibly happen that would cause concerns about voting in New Jersey?

PATERSON — City Council candidate Kenneth McDaniel is asking the state to investigate what he alleges are election irregularities and possible voter fraud surrounding 49 mail-in ballots that appeared last week before a recount of the May 11 municipal elections.

McDaniel appealed in writing to state Attorney General Paula M. Dow to investigate the recount after a state judge on June 2 decided to include the 49 ballots that a Board of Elections administrator said were discovered the day before.

Judge Thomas F. Brogan had ordered that the ballots be included in the recount, saying he did not want to disenfranchise voters. The decision reversed unofficial election results in which McDaniel defeated incumbent Rigo Rodriguez for the at-large council seat by six votes. The 49 ballots – 47 of which were ruled valid — made the final count 5,239 to 5,198, giving Rodriguez a 41-vote victory…

“Unfortunately, I was not provided with the time one would require to investigate a phenomenon of this magnitude; the sudden and unfathomable, untimely appearance of ballots cast for one candidate in a 10-candidate race, only after said candidate petitioned the court for a recount and recheck,” McDaniel wrote in his letter to Dow…

McDaniel said the fact that all the found ballots were delivered to the Board of Elections office by three of Rodriguez’s supporters raises suspicions about their “chain of custody, security and validity.” <read>

We ask, “Just how strange is it that the ballots delivered by a candidate’s supporters would mostly be votes for that candidate?”

We could go on, but you can read more for yourself at: VotingNews, BradBlog, or Election Line.  As Hartford voter, Mark Twain said “It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”

Could things get dramatically worse for our Democracy?  Yes, but we will leave that story for another day.  

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.