Friday, April 6, 2007

A Long Look at the Dysfunction of Cuyahoga's 11/7/06 Election Day Meeting - Under Bob Bennett

"Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it."
George Satayana

For the full effect of Cuyahoga elections under Bennett, click on each video link and watch for yourself.
Start with#1, Bennett's election night speech, watch each one below,then go back and watch #1 again.

1. Election Night Back at the Board - Bennett's Speech
• Bennett continues to:
  • ignore facts of systemic election problems brought before him at the day's earlier meeting;
  • obfuscate the reality of election day problems, instead of identifying them so they can be solved;
  • inferentially and directly attack "his opponents" who want fair voting;
  • minimize/or not recognize even the dangers of citizens not being able to properly track election precinct reporting results, while also not being able to watch any "counting" inside the Diebold computers.
2. Michael Vu's first report of a "pretty good election," as desired/choreographed by Bennett.
  • confusing polls and precincts and all else, so no one there could get any idea of the problems really going on
  • highly under-reporting problems (as seen later) that he as Director should have had knowledge about, but may not have
  • continuing to blame BOE problems on those who anyone who can't defend themselves publicly, such as pollworkers and custodians
  • inferring that volunteer election day Observers at the polls were obstructive
  • inferring that one citizen problem (as seen "accidentally" later) was a large one, and Bennett, as usual highlights this, as he constantly refers to citizen/voters as the cheats, himself and BOE "pure."
3. Jaqui Maiden's report, when Bennett wanted to highlight citizen cheats. We see Jaqui:
  • already indicted, and hesitantly caught again between telling the truth outright, or helping to paint the Bennett-desired picture;
  • changing the 4 and 14 polls precinct numbers mentioned before, to 20 more with problems;
  • offering assurance that no one was turned away because of machines were not up or malfunctioning, and that all voters were being offered paper ballots, which again turned out to be highly under-"estimated" (as seen later;)
  • mentioning that the BOE had sent out precinct-specific paper ballots to those 20 places, without Bennett even questioning where they were getting those ballots - were they printed off Diebold computers, or the official, numbered and auditable ballots created by the print shop; (Though Bennett had stated numerous times to concerned citizens who came to meetings before the election that an independent audit "by a certified company" would occur, no such independent audit ensued nor was even attempted.)
  • offerring, unlike Vu, that Observers were offering a huge help to a better election day process.
4. Then more Vu report,
  • ascribing the still under-reported long lines at the polls being due to too much on the ballot!
  • and even laughing, with no disagreement from Bennett, that voters were taking the time to read "Issue 1" that had been removed from the ballot- when it was the board's responsibility to have poll workers inform all voters that the issue was removed.
5. And more staff reports, now showing that:
  • despite all the machine problems in May's election, no provision had been made to properly store and immediately count these regular ballots from mostly strongly Democratic precincts, and to separate them from provisionals which needed verification.
  • in my later observing of provisional's not counted, there were a number discounted, just because of missing provisional information - because poll workers were unclear about putting the regular votes into provisional envelopes, and then improperly marking them as regular votes needing no further ID.

6. Then with the intervention of Congresswoman Stepahnie Tubbs-Jones, the few people who had actually been at polls or been monitoring and who came to the meeting for other reasons, began coming forward, revealing systemic problems, and shattering all the "pretty good election"/no major problems picture.

7. Then we can see some video of a late-starting polls, 1 of 16 ordered by the courts to stay open until 9pm - Coventry School in Cleveland Heights.
  • Bennett only angry about the court order never thought to advise staff to inform those poll workers to make sure voters could still find the polls, typically all 16 with strong Democratic voting, but here with no signs, and in November's pitch dark.
  • Also you'll note no poll worker knowing to properly question the presence of the non-voting man who saunters in.

Now, for the full effect of Bennett's obfuscation about Cuyahoga election problems, instead of
  • sound management,
  • finding sources of problems and fixing them,
  • and his unwarranted attacks on "his opponents" who want fair elections,
go back up to #1 and watch his late night speech again.
For all of our sakes, Bob Bennett must leave.

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