Fri Jun 29, 2012, 05:29 PM
hue (4,707 posts)
Another Wisconsin recount, another set of open ballot bags.
Once upon a time there was a recount of a statewide election in Wisconsin in which the discovery of open and torn vote bags was a prominent scandal. Over 150 bags! That fabled recount was called “The Kloppenburg-Prosser Recount” and it occurred long ago in the year 2011.
In that year and that time it was impossible for those torn-open bags discovered in the darkest recesses of Waukesha County and elsewhere to be used to challenge the votes contained therein.
Today Republican hearts were racing when 2 open vote bags were discovered in Racine during the Lehman-Wanggaard state senate seat recount.
Back in May of 2011, candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court Joanne Kloppenburg explained that there was no use pursuing a court action over the anomalies she found in her recount because:
“Wisconsin courts have held that absent connivance, fraud, or undue influence, substantial compliance with the statutory voting procedures is sufficient…the defects or irregularities in the sealing and securing of the ballot bags, as documented in the recount minutes, would not be sufficient to meet the threshold set by law.”
5 replies, 1542 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Another Wisconsin recount, another set of open ballot bags. (Original post)
Response to hue (Original post)
Fri Jun 29, 2012, 11:22 PM
mojowork_n (2,332 posts)
So it's now "normal" to expect vote bags can be torn open, for no apparent reason?
,,,,,Thinking of moving, to some galaxy "far, far away."
Or I don't know where.
That is a freakin' huge decision.
And I had a few hopes still kindling, that the "paper audit" of the recall election,
mandated by law and the G.A.B., could still turn up something of significance.
This was what I was thinking:
supposed to take place within a two-week window following the certification
I could find a link here:
That page actually describes what was in place for the September primary election in
2010 (couldn't find a link to this year's, it may not exist on that state agency's
website), but it's basically a two-step process. A "random" sampling of several
different types of voting machines is selected for a paper-counted audit, with
steps in place to make sure that "at least 5 reporting units" will be selected to
test each of the different types of voting machines used in Wisconsin. So that
the audit actually checks the reliability or accuracy of all of the different
manufacturers' models. Then, when the audit list is complete, the county clerks
in each of the "randomly selected" reporting units are notified, and they perform
the audits locally. For the September primary in 2010, the web page reports that
"...Each municipal and county clerk selected shall be contacted by the close of
business on Wednesday, November 3, 2010."
So there are maybe still a few weeks left before that audit process begins.
But here's the kicker, this is the line on the web page that says how voting
machines will be picked for the paper audit:
"The staff shall use the random number generator in Excel to select 250 reporting units for audit by local election officials."
That's it. Nothing about any precautions to make sure that the (networked?)
PC on which the copy of Excel has been installed isn't, itself, subject to any
In this case, when we've already had people named and indicted for a "secret
wireless network" that was installed within 20 feet of Scott Walker's office, while
he was County Executive (that some people think was installed to allow 'unofficial'
partisan work and campaigning while they were also on the clock for state-paid
official job responsibilities), it might not be inconceivable that someone could
insist a few extra precautions are taken. (A judge, somewhere, I don't know.)
The circumstances of the 2011 recount for the State Supreme Court election
were also somewhat unusual, when bags full of ballots were discovered unsealed,
busted open and otherwise compromised.
With some of the Governor's top aides already named and indicted in the criminal
John Doe investigation....
...and last Sunday's largest circulation daily having taken note of the following:
.....consider the swing nature of the 11-county Wausau TV market in north-central Wisconsin. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle won the Wausau market by 11 points in 2006. Democrat Barack Obama won it by 12 in 2008. Then Republican Walker won it by 12 points in 2010 and by 18 points in 2012.
Consider the Green Bay market. Obama carried it by seven in 2008 and Walker carried it by 23 in 2012.
Consider the La Crosse-Eau Claire market. Obama carried it by 19 points in 2008 and Walker carried it by nine points in 2012....
...Many of the same outstate counties Obama carried by single or double digits in 2008, Walker ran away with in 2012.
The fact that Walker won them by such unusual margins is clearly an encouraging sign for Republicans in November.
By the same token, Walker's performance in outstate Wisconsin was so exceptional it may be hard for other Republicans to duplicate.
One of the hardest things to know about elections is: When does something pretty unusual constitute a trend? And when is it just something pretty unusual?
Would it be possible to insist that instead of using some PC in a state office building somewhere -- that's almost certainly connected to other PC's in the state network, and other PC's beyond that network's firewall (?), the "random" audit is made truly random?
Get a brand new PC, never connected to the web or a network, and use the copy of Excel that's ever so
...c a r e f u l l y...
installed on it to generate 100 separate lists of the required 250 'reporting units.'
Print them and pick one of those 100 lists at random, and then go through the required steps. With as many
civilian, volunteer watchers as the law permits -- from both parties.
Using a machine that's simply available, in some state office somewhere -- and known to how many people as the "official audit PC" -- completely defeats the purpose of holding a random audit.
It would be the digital equivalent of going to a casino to place bets where you know that almost anyone, at any time, could wire up an invisible magnet to the roulette wheel. Or to use a more common analogy, like buying meat or deli items at a grocery where the person behind the counter has an invisible, electric thumb that could be applied to the scale. At any time.
If enough people get behind the idea, maybe we could make it happen. If every paper ballot that's hand counted exactly matches the machine-tabulated results in every reporting unit, it'll simply quiet all the talk about vote rigging. We can go on with politics as usual for the November election. Talk about messaging, and how to connect with all those out-state, Northeast voters who gave up on the Democrats in the recall. (Did they really? The anecdotal stories I heard had people out-state who were paid 100 bucks a pop to put huge Walker signs in their front yards actually intending to vote for Tom Barrett.)
It would really be a good way to separate and answer two distinct, unrelated questions. Question 1.) "What happened in the minds of voters that caused them to view the election as a choice, in the way that they did." and Question 2.) "Was the vote tabulation recorded by all the electronic voting machines -- that have been discontinued and banned in so many other countries (the U.K., Holland, & Germany among them) -- accurate and reliable?"
PS -- With the exception of one question I can think of -- "Why didn't Russ Feingold want to run against Walker?" -- many of the questions that were raised up-thread have been discussed in the Wisconsin forum here at D.U., and also at bradblog and Thom Hartmann's blog. In case anyone wants to go ahead and do some note-taking and research, before writing up a good, concise bullet-point petition.
(That is, assuming it's worth going through with that small amount of extra time and effort; if there's no chance that there could have been back-tampering with bags of ballots, to make machine tabulations match the paper count.)
...Posting all of the above to add that it's completely beside the point to attempt anything like that on a touchscreen voting machine. Any audit should attempt to exclude all voting appliances that don't leave behind a paper trail.
It's possible that there are already GAB rules (or guidelines?) in place that specify Wisconsin is supposed to use only optical-scan units, or other voting means that will leave evidence of actual voter intent, for the purposes of recounts or audit checks. I don't know where I saw that, but it could be an important point to bring up. Also to ask if those rules or guidelines were violated by the "new lamps for old" swap of 3,000 brand new DRE "Command Central" voting machines for 1,500 pre-owned optical scanning units.
Response to hue (Reply #3)
Wed Jul 4, 2012, 07:27 PM
mojowork_n (2,332 posts)
4. Say what?
It's on the GAB website, "Random Draw Procedure for Voting Systems Audit."
Why is this election being treated differently? Can you post a link that
explains the basis for treating this election differently than the one for
No audit at all????