Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Remember Glitchborough County Florida

I am thoroughly disgusted. I come to the conclusion, in dealing with Hillsborough County, that in all likelihood malfeasance occurred through the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections during the Nov. 2, 2010 election. This good faith conclusion comes following these months of lies, obfuscation, non-answers, as officials there run out the clock toward the destruction of the evidence from this election. Five months from now.

People operating in good faith, don't lie. They don't hide information for months on end. They don't slide away from questions. When someone challenges them they stand up immediately and explain themselves. Precisely the opposite behavior we have seen from Hillsborough County's supervisor of elections office. Matching the very stereotype of an office in the wrong,operating in a fashion that is possibly unethical, immoral and illegal. I can't help that this office meets that stereotype so well. It is time to call a bad penny, a bad penny.

No county commissioner signature?
I further believe the majority of the Hillsborough County Commission knows I am right, and are doing nothing about it because the balance of that board benefited from that particular election. Making some or all open to a state ethics charge. One indication they know the election was a farce could be seen from the fact not a one of them wanted to be a part of the canvassing board which signs off on the election certification. Not a one. No county commissioner signed the document. We have the SOE, a county judge, but no county commissioner.

However, in that the State Ethics Commission is made up of mostly republicans and several of those are governor appointees, those charges will likely go nowhere. Though I could file them, though I could suffer the legal expenses times seven for each commissioner as a lien against my home when the charges are (surprise!) ruled groundless and the legal services bill boomerangs back to me.

I am sure this will make many of you, out there in "better you than me" land, very happy. I am sure many of you reading these words will Facebook "like" that I have done this economic injury to myself in your name. And having "liked" my volunteerism in this regard, you will experience the good feeling that comes from pseudo participation we all enjoy so well on Facebook et al. (I am raising my hand here as well. I'm just as guilty.)

Having first addressed my concerns regarding this election to the State Attorney General, Pam Bondi, also a recipient of her seat in the Nov. 2, 2010, election, I was told my complaint was turned over to the Florida Department of State, Kurt Browning's office, specifically. A sidestep that smells unethical itself.

Our Secretary of State Browning, as we recall, was hired by Rick Scott following a six month "retirement." The timing of that "retirement" dovetailed perfectly with our state law prohibiting one to take both a pension and salary within a six month time from retirement to reappointment to that, or another, state position. His rehire fell just days outside that blocked window, thus allowing himself both his annual salary and his pension; a process we here call "double dipping."

Browning who orchestrated the Nov. 2, 2010 election  months before "retirement number 1" had a pension valued at greater than $400,000. Which in any episode of Matlock, could be considered motive for just about anything.

Browning made no effort that we can see to investigate this election from the time we called attention to it. Rather, Browning announced his "retirement" again on January. 11, 2012, just days after I began demanding answers from the Hillsborough County Commission. The subject of my inquiries into this election, now wafting in limbo because of "retirement number 2."

The most recent acts of obfuscation from Glitchborough's SOE come in the form of non-answers to very specific questions. It is a juvenile game that goes like this: I ask for an acorn, you give me a raspberry. When I again ask for the acorn - nice though the raspberry is - you claim you are trying to help a member of the public with their numerous and onerous requests while sending more raspberries or pears, or whatever.

OSX machine 499 blamed
Optical scan machine serial number 499 is now the root cause - the goat - in the muffed 2010 Glitchborough election. It is the reason, they say, 38,000 ballots were rescanned in the middle of the night Nov. 2, 2010, all from early voting.

I asked for the Audit Log for the OSX tabulator serial number 499 from the election. I received the general audit log for the election, yes, and the file directory, yes, but mum silence on the first request, the most crucial that one machine that caused the whole screw up.

The fact they won't provide this, nor comment on why they won't leads me to believe that perhaps there is no OSX machine serial number 499, and there never was. That the early vote was a complete sham, and "499" the number itself may well have come from the bottom of a hat; that it could just have easily been OSX machine number 321, or machine number 568.

I also asked a series of specific questions, most importantly why one machine, the defective one, was used to code all 12 memory cards all sent to these early voting places where democrats are known to vote? The closest thing I have received was a file containing general security procedures for a generic election as it would be held in Hillsborough County under normal circumstances.

March 16, I provided comment from Peg Reese, deputy operations chief, for the Hillsborough SOE taken during a phone conversation with her that day . She called me, in fact. When I asked her why the defective machine was used, why all twelve memory cards were coded on it, and why those memory cards weren't checked before they were sent out to early voting, Ms. Reese said something I didn't include in the blog post, mostly because I still held out hope there would be some open exchange of information.

She had no answer. When I questioned her about her silence, about the lack of an answer she said "we each have our roles to play". She offered something to the affect that I was playing a role as protector of the public's interest and she had her role to play as well.

Hers is to protect her office. And if that means not answering questions which get to the heart of this issue, that's precisely what she's going to do.

She continues to do so. As time winds down toward the destruction of all the evidence with regard to this election.

The next time someone tries to assure you that all is well with the machines, everything is okey-dokey, at the very least do me the honor of remembering what I have been through here.

Remember Glitchborough County Florida. Never forget. Because the longer you yourself put off your own volunteerism, in fighting the widespread use of these machines, the longer you sit there with only a string of Facebook posts to your name, and no time spent down to your own county commission trying to get them to remove these machines, you're going to see a hell of a lot more of this.

At least you will have this example to reference when you begin to wonder whether or not it is happening to you.

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