Re: Observing process in Placer County CA 4th CD -- Brownv. McClintock

From: <dr-jekyll_at_att_dot_net>
Date: Tue Nov 11 2008 - 07:28:07 CST

Is anyone also checking to be sure the voter registration lists don't have phantom voters who voted?

Nor yet, O Freedom! close thy lids 
in slumber for thine enemy never 
sleeps. -- The Antiquity of 
Freedom By William Cullen Bryant
-------------- Original message from "Alan Dechert" <>: -------------- 
> I spent this morning observing the vote canvass process in my county. The 
> congressional race is still too close to call. Placer has not started 
> counting absentees and provisionals, which amounts to about 60 percent of 
> these types of ballots for the district. Maybe 25,000 of the 40,000 to be 
> counted. The vote count shows McClintock leading by 800 votes or so. 
> I observed several processes going on in different rooms 1) the vote-no-vote 
> process that updates voter history for voters voting provisional ballots, 2) 
> checking signatures on mail-in ballots, and 3) ballot duplication for 
> mail-in ballots that have some anomaly. They won't start counting votes 
> until these process are done. 
> Before I go into any details, a couple of quick impressions. 
> 1) Vote at the pollsite on Election Day and encourage others to do the same. 
> I think Placer County's procedures are pretty good, but there are many 
> things that can go wrong. It eats up a huge amount in terms of human 
> resources and lawyering. 
> 2) If we are going to have absentee voting, the ballot should be machine 
> printed like the OVC pollsite system (we need to develop a system to 
> transmit a form electronically for the remote voter to make selections and 
> print the ballot). Optical scan systems are not too bad when employed at 
> the pollsite since they can catch anomalies like overvotes and stray marks. 
> But you run a significant portion of hand-marked ballots though the postal 
> system, you're going to end up with a bunch of screwed up ballots. This is 
> not a big problem for contests won by a large margin, but when you get under 
> 1/2 of one percent (like our congressional race), you have a problem. 
> They check every signature on the absentee ballot envelopes. If it can't be 
> matched to the signature on file, the envelope will never be opened. This 
> is sometimes a tricky judgement call, especially when they are checking 
> signatures on registration forms that are sometimes 10 years old or even 
> older. 
> I asked a lot of questions about all these processes. A supervisor gave me 
> a 32 page document on ballot duplication. I asked if this was available on 
> the web, and she said, "no," it was there own procedural guidelines. I 
> scanned the document and have attached it here. Some of the real-world 
> examples, do not fit neatly in these guidelines. 
> They remake the ballot when there is some problem with it. One person reads 
> each contest on the ballot to be remade (now marked VOID), while another 
> transcribes the choices onto a new ballot marked DUPLICATE. A county 
> employee watches along with several observers. Once in a while, they make a 
> mistake and have to re-do again. 
> A lot of the things I saw today are not specifically covered under state 
> law -- a lot of judgement calls based on the way they do it in Placer 
> County. Other counties do things differently. Placer has some deal with 
> the post office to expedite late arriving ballots. As I understand it, the 
> post office will make a special Election Day run to the county officies with 
> any ballots they have anywhere in their system whereas they would not arrive 
> on time with normal delivery. That's nice, but how many counties do that? 
> If your ballot arrives after the polls close on Election Day, it doesn't 
> count (postmark doesn't matter). 
> Alan D. 

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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:15 2008

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