Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cuyahoga's Smoothly Running, Thus Newsworthy May 8 Election

The following is a letter I just sent to the PD. Right now, I cannot say enough good about Tuesday's election.

I will be going to the board, to observe the handling of provisionals and the second, certified count over the next few days and weeks, and will keep
you apprised about those processes, and even about the "handling" of an Observer now, (as compared with the bizarre and ridiculous obstructions last November. See articles archived from November '06, found in archives on the right side of this page.)

From what I experienced on Tuesday, even that difference appears positively miraculous and helpful to all, in the cooperative effort put forth by Platten.

On election day, many even remarked that the entire CCBOE building felt transformed - to one of being humane; non-crisis oriented, but planning oriented; and calmly excited, on purpose, reasonably open, and very pleased.

The last line of the following letter, "Now, if we could only resolve the e-voting machine problems as quickly" is meant to remind that with all the phenomenal improvements of "people-systems" that Platten has accomplished; and despite the fact that she has also taken great care to handle and avoid as many of the machine problems and risks as she can, the security and operational problems with our Diebold systems remain. They are inherent in the now primitive architecture, the proprietary coding, and even in the many limitations of the machines and servers, including those of minute memory capacity and inflexible reporting limitations, to not allow full transparency and certainly not verifiability of voters' choices to voters.

Cuyahoga's smoothly run election is a quantum positive leap for this county. I just hope that such excellent work can continue - that politics don't quickly or eventually obstruct what seems now, filled with such positive accomplishment and potentials. For even where problems are still existent, the drive seems to be to identify them and solve them, not cover them over again.

I also do not want this success to provide too much of a false sense of security about our machines - thinking that now all is well with our elections, when the current technology prevents such "election wellness."
Here are just 2 recent articles that say it: New Yorkers for Verified Voting and The Brennan Center for Justice (which here does propose audits as one solution - which they cannot be - another false security, and too little, too late.)
Hopefully the Secretary of State will find much better solutions for citizens and our elections with the upcoming professional review of Ohio's e-voting systems.

I'm also still processing film for posting of the new board's first meeting, their working with the staff the very next day - election day, and Platten's election day wrap up comments with a reporter, etc. As the board begins, - all accessible, friendly, willing people, seemingly very "quick studies" and eager to do the right things right - "hope does spring eternal."
This is my letter to the PD. (When it comes to elections, though they keep on not printing, I do keep on trying to get "a fuller truth" across.)

Their article to which I responded.


To the Editor:

Cuyahoga’s May 8 election - involving 24 cities,168 polling locations, about 2,000 poll workers, 1800 memory cards, and more than 3,000 absentee ballots - ran so smoothly mainly because of Interim Director, Jane Platten’s vision, planning and agency turn-around leadership. Her simultaneous attention to details and goals, appreciation of staff, and the provided support from the Secretary of State’s and the Prosecutor’s offices when asked, made May 8 a truly newsworthy election in this county.

For the first time in recent memory, including other non-countywide elections, all polls were open and ready by 6:30 am and all closed easily. Two memory cards identified as missing from their own bags were quickly found in their proper larger precinct bags, because those bags had been immediately stored in order.

Cuyahoga’s newsworthy election was not primarily due to low voter turnout as your May 9 article indicated. Platten and staff carefully planned additional training and placement of experienced and extra staff. Such factors as first-time department-wide writing, review and pre-testing of all election processes allowed procedural problems to be found and fixed so all could be ready to handle any size voter turnout.

Now, if we could only resolve the nation's e-voting machine problems as quickly.

Adele Eisner

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