Friday, November 24, 2006

Cuyahoga's Election Will Be Completely NON-Auditable.

Among stuff I have noted so far in absentee ballot/provisional/curbside paper scanning and "remakes" is first of all:

their PROCESS makes the election COMPETELY NON-AUDITABLE. Everyone seems to be working really hard, ( and trying not to get into trouble with Vu, Dillingham and board) but NO ONE has any idea of any overall picture and systems/process design, there are no overall agency plan nor departmental written guides about how to do any of these massive tasks, no set out mission (like count accuracy and ability to later check that) for them - except to get each massive task APPARENTLY DONE - somehow, some way, any way- and not get in trouble - for lateness, or such things as not following a superior's decision should he/she show up later and THEN decide "you did it wrong"so you need to start over again. Underlying this troop of managers making things up on the fly and truly dedicated (and also well-paid) temps following them, there is resignation, overwhelm, anxiety, a bit of crisis always. Each process is only oversighted in a plowing through the task of the day way - kind of like a person in messy living environs might shove the dirty laundry under the couch, dust balls under teh rug, and the litter box down the basement stairs right before guests are to arrive.
All of this, as one friend has said, is therefore - alot of "noise" - dangerously, I add, highly historically impacting "noise"....

The term "remake"comes from punchcard days when the voter inserted his or her card into the punchcard slot backwards or upside down. Where the voter intent was clear, the BOE could "remake" those few ballots, putting them on an obvious blue card, keeping the original for checking,

Now, the Cuyahoga BOE, since May,'06 has been using the name "remake" to do whatever they want to create results they want. In May, when the Diebold $9000.per, optical scanners could not read the 18,000 absentee ballots - the BOE decided, and with Blackwell's OK, to have temp workers, no background checks, no proper supervision, and some of whom it was later found could not even read, take those thhousands of votes and enter "them into the DRE's - for the official count. (Blackwell told them also to turn the paper over, so there would be no "paper trail"of what occurred.) These they called "remakes"!!!!

At the October 2 meeting, after reading their equally stonewalling reports, filled with pages of tiny minutia put online, and with any item they didn't want to talk about, just removed - with no public closure, I strongly objected that "the managers" had again decided to give themselves "permission"to "remake" ballots after the Nov.election - that they were giving themselves "permission" to print "paper trails" - that are by law literally OUR "official ballots"! -but they could print them from who knows what machines, from supposed archival memories that the ESI report had already shown don't even necessarily match the supposedly matching memory card, etc. ie. Give themselves permission to print anything, and say - Look, here are your (?) "results" and here are "your"winners"! I'll also attach the 10/2 video of my statement that AG Petro's determination clearly states that voter verifIED ballots are to be used, not somehow veriFIABLE - if one digs or even knows what the BOE is doing behind our backs.

Here, however, I deal with only paper ballot remakes which are equally as bad. I of course, didn't see the "remakes" from the machines.

To begin their Saturday and Sunday "remake days" began as the workers were supplied the supposed all soiled, defaced, and overvoted ballot PAGES (of 3 or 4 pages in ballot) that the scanner could not read in first unofficial count.

Starting last Sunday, they were just dealing with absentee ballots that had been included in unofficial count (not approx 20K provisionals, absentees that came in Sat. Mon or Tues before election, not curbsides and not federal/military. Don't yet know how many those actually comprised. Don't know if anyone there knows either.)

They had also sorted out all ballot blanks that came back in precinct bags to be used for "remaking." These had been piled into bins, then before remakes back into precinct order - so as the remake teams of two - one D and one R needed a blank to remake the proper ballot style for the proper precinct (we have have almost 1434) - a runner would go get the right PAGE - not whole ballot - usually leaving the package of printed ballots for that precinct that came from MCR, the printer, then with at least two "orphan" pages of a ballot, amidst the unused ballots. There will be now be NO way to rectify that the proper number of unused BALLOTS remain unused - ie that no ballot stuffing occurred.

(I do not have an estimate of the number of "remade" pages that were needed. I just know that there were about 25 teams of people, working an entire day on them, though the actual redoing of a page went very fast. There were definitely bins of them - LOTS. And this is the proof they use to show and laugh about how the PUBLIC is so disorganized!!!!- that voters soil their ballots so the precious Diebold machines can't read them- but they supposedly make it right....).

Individual PAGES, not ballots, then were going all over the place - for there were about 10 tables of at least 2 teams of two at each, doing the remakes If a team needed a ballot from a "bin" which is how they separated them and find them - and that was the same "bin" needed by another table/precinct style, that team would then lay aside the bad ( the ones that needed remaking) originals and go on, until someone could get back and refind the proper "bin" pile.
Thus there were strays and loose ends of two different kinds going on. All these "loose ends" unlogged and untracked and actually unsupervised - were really making me nervous. Never saw any way of tying everything back together properly. (And in later conversations with Ballot Dept, Manager, Matt and a few others there - scarily neither did any person there.)

There will be NO way to ascertain exactly how many ballots we had:
• from machines - all we have is the number generated inside the black boxes - actually the massively overpriced at $2,700 each junky, toylike "dumb terminals." (Think about it - most of us could buy at least 5 decent, but solidly performing laptops, especially for just this function, and a WORKING printer for each, for that amount- an amount we paid for with taxes, though they're termed "free")
• paper provisionals, absentees, curbside votes, etc: how many used and unused ballots were supposed to be there, nor how many we actually were supposed to have. NO true idea. NO way.

Also, the supervisors of "remake day" were also "the runners" - getting frustrated and tired and excited among themselves when they could not find the "bin number" needed - because it was already at a different table for a different precinct. They'd think they lost something - excitedly go calling for a bin number.

I also saw a bin with some envelopes with ballots just laying there in back of the room, that no one was aware of until I pointed them out to the one person "I" , the bad person/observer was allowed to talk to. They just said Oh, and laid them aside, busy with running. Eventually my "OK" person to talk to got someone to come over and look at the unidentified bin of ballots. It was in the view of "the chair" I was assigned to. More anxious talking among them. The major purpose then seemed to be to whisk them out of my sight. They didn't know what those were either. They were more to be put in another one of a number of unmonitored unmarked piles to somehow be dealt with "later".

THEN as I started watching the scanning of unofficials, again (?) appearing were NEW pages that the scanners could not read! When I saw some of them, it was obvious why - marks all over, etc.
The first question there becomes how did the scanners purportedly read them the first time? - Why were they not among the Sunday remakes previously identified? Is all to that date really been scanned and scanned/counted properly ?

When I asked , I was told "not to worry about that". I said that's exactlyy the kind of thing I DO "worry" about/my job. There was no good explanation offered. Basically they just turned it into an argument about why "paper ballots are so difficult to deal with", though better than punch cards. Not if one things it through, they're not.
I replied, NO. Referred to New Hampshire, N. Tobi site, with excellent and much cheaper, less labor intensive methodology. It was the BAD SYSTEM they were using.

THEN, as I sat there, I had explained to me how they were handling the NEW remakes that supposedly had been represented in unofficial count.

On Sunday, they had marked both the original and remake with the same number at top in red: "A for absentee, the bin number, and the ordinal number in the pile they were handed (Though each precinct's "bads" being kept in well marked envelope, the person in charge on Wed. did not have any idea of how they are filing those originals' envelopes"- so originals can actually be found. Another kind of we'll worry about that later. "We're dealing with the cards we're handed" referred to!

Wednesday's scanning finding NEW remakes, were being marked with a DIFFERENT "system" "OC" for official count. Those did not even have the nicely marked envelopes for remakes, and one for originals. They were just all in one pile. Wednesday, they were sending runners downstairs in basement for the "pages"/blanks. All blank ballots just sitting in precinct piles down there - not locked up.

THEN I was told that there were MORE blank ballots somewhere upstairs too! Because when the Cand. and Voter Services department went out to nursing homes and hospitals election day, they each took lots of blanks with them - (not all from same precincts, so wide cross section.) The man in charge Wed. ( not VU though he was there - and he knows little about any process anyhow - thus, all devised by separate department managers doing the best they can with no overall picture, and not enough time) did not know how many, where they were, and didn't think there was a logging system he could find for those upstairs blanks and useds.

ADD TO THAT - that our Diebold system has a "ballot on demand" feature - which means that our BOE can print as many ballots as they want from the computer - and that DO work in the scanner.

That is how they did the "public pretest" of the scanners I observed - with ballots they printed in house!

Just add all of the above up - and if you're skin is not crawling yet, you can see that just given absentees and other kinds of paper ballots - even if we get the number of printed ballots provided from MCR - there will be NO WAY, I repeat NO WAY to ever rectify them...

Our election is thus, NON-AUDITABLE.

Getting the number of absentees today. 80K-100K total.

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