Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do You Think It's An Accident, WHERE the glitch hits over and over?

Is it any wonder some counties never get it right with their elections, no matter how hard they "try"? (or triLITE).

Consider this recent article coming out today in the New York Times, "Five-Thirty Eight Blog" called 'In Florida Tampa is Essential to Romney's Election Hopes. The bubbles represent the largest percentages, "where the electorate lives". Hillsborough and Pinellas 18 percent. West Palm Beach takes 7 percent, Broward 9 percent, and Miami-Dade 10 percent. Volusia, also has a big chunk of the voters

Look at it another way. By which way the counties lean.
And where are all the "glitches" coming from?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Can't Get Enough of the Pinellas Glitch

Submitted for your review and approval. Here are some curious facts about the Pinellas Glitch during primary election night on Aug. 14. The election supervisor said 36,000 ballots had to be re-tabulated due to a phone line issue. This is every ballot at all the precincts on primary election day. The ballots, then in data form contained inside USB flash drives, were bagged up, driven over to the main offices, and then data dumped into the system.
The excuses went as follows. 1. Phone lines were down. 2. Lines were down inside the building, and a primary computer failed, and a back-up failed as well. 3. No, no, scratch all that, it was the phone lines after all. 4. No no, scratch that, it was a gateway device inside the county's phone system that failed after a power outage at 4:30 p.m. on election day.

Here is the Supervisor Of Elections office for Pinellas County located just off Starkey Road in Largo. Marked In Red.

In lavender you see outlined the county offices of Tax Collector and Property Appraiser. As far as we can tell, and this is only after a couple of phone calls, there were no issues reported from either of these two county offices, day-of.

In bright green you see a curious thing. You see the warehouse medical supply offices of HCA - Hospital Corporation of America: Rick Scott's old company. Ironic isn't it. One person there too, reported nothing out of the ordinary on election day.

So, only the building circled in red had a total failure in telecommunications, and a power outage on election day?

The funny thing is, the media - oh, yee lame-dead media - hasn't thought to ask these questions at all. Hasn't thought to ask whether the story of power outage is even true.

We (royal we) contacted Bay News 9 after this item ran on their website (LINK) A newsroom producer and I went round and round before he admitted "we do don't investigative journalism". Thanks for your honesty.

The television station did post this photo (Credit Bay News 9) on their website, of the furious scrambling of the elections workers.

The red arrow points to the "bags" that had the "memory sticks" in them. You see the "numbers" in this case "18" as touted by a spokeswoman as airtight security and chain of custody. As far as the "seal" goes well obviously it's tight because they are zipping them open right there on the table.

The yellow circle shows how the caption says "the ballots were counted by hand" which of course, is absolutely wrong. The only thing done "by hand" was bringing them into the building and opening these bags and then inserting the "memory sticks" onto a tabulating machine.

And yet, the media doesn't even correct its misleading errors in this case. Nope, just going to stand there, shake your head and look no further. And why? Because "we don't do investigative journalism."

Furthermore, what is it these workers are doing here? What precisely is this?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why do I think the Pinellas Glitch Smells Like ...?

And why do I suspect it might happen again here in November during the general election? Just take a look.
Here we are in the car on Aug. 21, 2012, just a week after the glitch that ate 36,000 votes in the primary

After the county commission meeting where I spoke to seven blank stares, and got no response, I wandered over to the elections office complex on Starkey Road  in Largo and interviewed Nancy Witlock, spokeswoman for the supervisor of elections of Pinellas County. The complex is one of dozens of warehouses, offices, government agencies ( the tax collectors office is there) who, to date, all reported no problems with their telephone service on election day/night.

Afterwards, I recap what we've learned. Here's a strange fact as well. Directly across from the Supervisor of  Elections Office, can be found the HCA offices - you remember HCA? Rick Scott's old company charged with medicare fraud and so on? In this case the facility appears to be a warehouse with sales and business offices in the front facing the elections supervisor's office not half  football field away. I don't know if this is significant or not. Seems worth a mention in the notes, though, doesn't it.

NOTE: Okay I mean to say Pinellas has 600,000! Registered voters.
Whatever the case might be regarding the phone lines, a woman who works there told me there were no phone problems, or anything out of the ordinary, on the Tuesday of election.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tampa Times's Pants-Pissing Cowardice

Imagine trying to describe the sinking of the Titanic by writing it on a postage stamp.

This is what print media, in the form of Tampa Times, does to the issue of rigged, or botched elections.

What you're seeing is the follow-up to the unanswered questions about the thoroughly flubbed election in Pinellas County last Tuesday during the primary.  

Recap: 36,000 ballots failed to download, so workers and volunteers drove memory sticks around in their personal vehicles then voted these ballots themselves back at the office. No chain of custody to speak of.

This burnt offering....this, is story number three for Tampa Times.

Back in the day when I was in newsprint this was called filling a 1 by 4 news hole: a one column story, four inches long. A news brief, in my day. You wouldn't even put your byline to it. A press release.

When editors give you an assignment that even they don't want covered, but they feel the need to anyway - in this case because some underwear blogger is putting the screws to them and raising a stink down at the county commission - they give it a "news hole" like this. Then, when the reporter has done her best with perhaps eight column inches they have given here, the editors cite a new ad purchase, hack the hole in half again, and then tell her to boil down the language for space, or "simplify it" more for mass consumption.

The resultant has little if any news value. It's not really the reporter's fault. She's being told how far she can go with this story. The editors are then pretending the story itself is unworthy of more investigation when balanced against the need of a dealership to sell more Chevies; even though they know they are lying to themselves and their colleagues. Even though they know what they are doing is the height of hypocrisy and pants-pissing intellectual cowardice.

I drove by the Tampa Times building en route to Pinellas County to look into this glitch. The Tampa  Times building appeared to be every bit of 15 stories tall. Call it 350,000 square feet of space? Maybe 400 employees in the building when I drove by it? Just guessing here having seen the building from 275 in the rain.

 I spent $60 round trip Tuesday, ten hours of my life without pay. Three hours there, three hours back, three hours boots-on-the-ground driving around Pinellas County. One hour lost in the pouring rain from Clearwater to Largo.

This is the best they can do with a story of such importance with all their resources at their disposal? This while other people spend their own time and money bird-dogging, and doing their jobs for them?

For over a year, I have begged, pleaded with their editors to look into the rigged voting situation in Hillsborough; not for me, but for my son. 

He's 16. Every time I see him in his JMCROTC uniform, I get a tinge of fear in my guts. I know I don't want Mitt Romney to be my president because he hasn't the slightest hesitation toward reinstating the draft and sending my son into the worst of it in Iran, just to please the Koch puppet masters. He'll make damned sure his own boys don't have to go, of course. He'll make sure of that, the self-interested swine that he is.

But there is even - if you can imagine it - something worse at stake here. If corporations and shadowy intelligence operatives, and political dynasties can now purchase with impunity the actual vote, ( not the laws shortening early voting, not unlimited ad budgets) but the actual votes by extortion and bribes inside the offices of elections supervisors; if they can get away with murder in order to make room for willing accomplices; if they can silence the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; if they can purchase silent inactivity from the US Department of Justice; if they can install governors from the clay of seedy corporate criminals; if they can bribe and intimidate editors and publishers, and now actually just buy an election result outright, then we have truly lost this country. And they will find another way to kill or enslave my family eventually.. You can bet they will hide them and theirs when the bombs fall on us; swine that they are. Of that you can be sure.

Back in the day when I worked in newsprint, if we heard one of our own had been invited to join The St Petersberg Times also known as "St. Pete Times" we were impressed and envious. Here was someone who rated, someone who would now be free to pursue journalism for its own sake, for the value it added to a free society. 

But those days are gone now. Just look at what they have done with this story. Those bygone days have given way to pants-pissing yellow cowardice on the part of editors and publishers. So too, in the newsrooms of major television stations and networks; so too, within radio: god-damned, pants-pissing, yellow, cowardice. Did you hear that, boys and girls? Did you hear what I just called you?

I just called you out: you, god-damned, pants-pissing coward. That's what I just said. And what are you going to do about it? You're not going to do a damned thing, that's what. Because you're a god damned, pants-pissing coward who hides in your corner office when real news comes your way. Send a young reporter off to do a job you know, you'll hack down to nothing.

How DARE you look in a mirror and call yourself a journalist. I blame you.... I blame you, for NOT doing your job;  I blame you for NOT standing up. I blame YOU for what's happening to us.

When I started Rick Scott: Enemy of the State, and this blog, I promised myself I was going to behave in a more mercenary fashion than I had in the past. I thought publicize the ebook through activism, yes, but don't make a "calling," of this. Don't go Quixote. Have a business model, like everyone else.

But that has also gone out the window, entirely.

If this is a business model, it's not working. I am spending hundreds of dollars, thousands when you count lost wages, selling precious few books. I am a "micro-micro" publisher of the first order. Which is why I have repeatedly politely reached out to the likes of Adam Smith and Bill Varian at the Times, Christian Wade at the Tribune;  other names; Brad Freidman, Pete Schorsch, Michael Bender, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Mike Papantonio, Thom Hartman.

Here, this news story is an exemplification of media pants-pissing cowardice run amok. I was in Tampa yesterday. I checked the Times news bin, as I do every time I am over there. I didn't see this item, anywhere, or anything like it. And it should have been on the front page of the A section.

There is every reason to suspect foul play in Pinellas, in Hillsborough and in other offices of supervisor of elections, throughout Florida. These glitches, make no sense. They indicate our systems are woefully inadequate at best. They indicate felonious election fraud at worst. The explanations never make any sense.

And the media stands there with their coward face and lets them pass for news in tiny little buried stories, that have as much impact as a wet fartlette from a shy debutant.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pinellas County Refuses to Answer Questions About Chain of Custody

Reviewing now.

During the primary election last week, the "phone lines went down" in the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections. This "prevented the transmission" of EVERY single ballot cast on election day from EVERY polling precinct. According to their figures, this was more than 36,000 ballots.

So what happened? The "memory sticks" which are USB Flash drives containing the ballots in data form, were bagged up by the volunteers and the poll workers and driven to the central offices of the supervisor of elections on Starkey Road, in Largo, after the close of polling. Then data-dumped onto the central vote tabulator. Again, the voters didn't put the numbers on the board, the workers and staff did.

During transit, there is supposed to be what's called "chain of custody" which is to say, there are usually two people, sometimes with a deputy, to make sure there's no "switcheroo" of the flash drives and or the ballots for previously, prearranged, prevoted ballots and the theft of elections.

But: They will NOT tell me what the procedure was for chain of custody on primary election night.

I went to the Supervisor of elections office, drove three hours to get there, spoke at the county commission meeting - who again, in a mirror of Hillsborough, seemed to have no knowledge of the event - then drove to the Starkey Road Annex where I asked the same question I had asked the day before of Ms. Wittlock "how were the memory sticks transported, were there two people per vehicle? Did they use their own personal vehicles?"

Keeping in mind I had asked this question the day before and got no answer and let her know I was coming over there to ask it again, imagine my surprise when I was again directed to speak with the Deputy Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus. Who, again, was unavailable for comment, this time "in a meeting."

Visiting the complex was instructive. I spoke with someone at an adjoining building directly across the way from the Starkey Road annex of the elections supervisor and was told there have been no telephone communication problems, at all...ever, in her building.

I again had to wade through a cross examination with Ms. Wittlock about the fact USB drives DO infact equal BALLOTS because each drive can accept hundreds of them. I don't understand why they persist in attempting to use semantics to block honest inquiry. Highly suspicious.

Despite the fact phone lines only in one specific branch of county government went down, Wittlock assured me there was no cause for alarm that someone had purposefully attacked the lines as a pretext to shuffle ballots around. All is well. How can she be so sure?

She's not prepared to "go there" yet.

Also, when asking Ms. Wittlock what if anything the Pinellas County supervisor of elections plans on doing if the cause of the "phone line" failure cannot be determined, she said everything was fine because, they will merely repeat the process of bagging up the memory sticks and driving them around by the thousands, presumably with the same level of chain of custody and care as wasn't exhibited in this, what some have called a "dry run" of the complete disenfranchisement of the voters of Pinellas County during the general election.

Pinellas has just over 600,000 registered voters. The number of democrats eclipses the number of republicans by just 3,000 voters.

I find it amazing that when you ask elections officials about this concept called "chain of custody procedures" in cases like these - perfectly reasonable questions - they either get offended or the pretend this is the first time in the history of elections they have ever heard of such a concept, or the need of such procedures. You, inquirer, are the first person to ever dare to suggest that other humans would do something so dastardly as use such a delectable and perfect opportunity to steal elections. And because your mind can "go there" well, ( and this part is left unstated) there must be something wrong with you.

NOTE TO ELECTIONS OFFICERS EVERYWHERE: Head-patting, obfuscation, deflection and soft, tissue-thin non-explanations, actually make people MORE suspicions of malfeasance, not less.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pinellas County Can't Say 'It won't happen again'

Why? Because nearly a week later, they still don't know what went wrong during the primary election.

They remain steadfast with the story that "phone lines" are to blame.

Public information officer Nancy Witlock says the I.T. department at the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office still has no idea what manner of glitch attacked the modem network, AKA "phone lines," on the night of the primary election

She did clear one thing up, however, the ballots were not "recounted by hand" as had been reported by the Tampa Bay Online.

Nor were they "rescanned." No. Rather, the data from 36,217 ballots contained on USB flash-drives were driven, on those flash drives in sealed numbered pouches, to the central offices of the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections and there data-dumped onto the Central vote tabulator.

According to Witlock, of the 140,231 ballots cast, 1,612 were early voted; 36,217 were voted on primary election day; and, get this 102,341 were voted absentee. And those absentee and early voted ballots were already tabulated and in the system when trouble stuck the phone lines on election night.

And yes, these numbers don't gibe. Somewhere in the mix are 61 ballots. Are those the provisional ballots they are going through trying to verify? Maybe? I will have to go back on that and check since I didn't have my "rain-man cap" on when the numbers were reported to me.

When asked about the chain of custody procedures, she wasn't prepared to answer my questions. Namely, were there more than two people in the car driving the sealed containers of the "memory sticks" or flash drives to central offices? Did the workers use their own personal vehicles?

She referred us instead to Deputy Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus, and it being 4:45 p.m. on a Monday, the later had gone home for the day.

Also, when asked what steps are being taken to ensure this doesn't happen again during the general election, Ms. Witlock said she won't know that until the IT people determine what caused the problem in the first place.

Personal observations:

1. It seems outlandish that fully 73 percent of the electorate chose to mail-in an absentee ballot rather than report to the polling location and vote in the traditional manner. Is it just that hard? That certainly must be a record.

2. Were the mystery 61 ballots voted absentee and not accepted? I'll have to check that.

3. And this is KEY, KEY, KEY.... EVERY single ballot cast ON ELECTION DAY was driven around in a vehicle of a poll worker, or staff member, BEFORE they were put up on the big board.

4. Why does it always seem that a 35K-plus number of ballots are messed about in some random indeterminate way at the last minute on election day? What is so magic about that particular number? In Hillsborough/Tampa 38K ballots were driven around in the middle of the night before they were "voted" by the elections workers. The former secretary of state Kurt Browning even said it himself in 2006 when he was Pasco SOE, when you push the button on the touch screen to "send," when you slide it in to the optical scan machine, only THEN are you "voting the ballot".

The last person to touch the ballot before it is "voted" should be the voter. Not the poll worker, not the staff member. And particularly NOT after the ballot has been driven around inside the personal vehicle of the poll worker or election staff member, who may, or may not be accompanied by anyone, who may or may not have a political agenda of their own.

5. Aside from downloading memory sticks, which is just quicker than rescanning, there is no difference between this botched election and the botched election in Hillsborough. Making this entire affair, highly suspicious.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UFO Blasts Pinellas County Elections Office with anti-technology-ray

Riddle me this: How else do you explain what you are about to read?

Here's the official story. In Pinellas County, ballots from 299 precincts were counted BY HAND between close of polling and 11 p.m.? Why BECAUSE NOTHING WORKED! The whole county. For a while there, about 90 minutes the rest of the county, state, nation, the planet, moved forward in time. Whereas the Supervisor of Elections Office and all its precincts and polling places, returned to the absolute native state. It's like a magical UFO swept over and using some sort of cosmic ray, blasted a hole in the technosphere ONLY on the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office.

Because these glitch stories are pulled off of media web sites so damned fast after they are published, or the links are intentionally buried so hard you can't find them anymore, I have to screen capture this one since it is just so absurd. Here is the official word coming through Tampa Bay Online regarding the Pinellas County superglitch.

So, they hand counted ballots from 299 precincts between 7 p.m. when they discovered the problem and 11 p.m.? All those precincts? There are upwards of 300 ballots per precinct. Times 299 of them? How many choices per ballot? Hand counted, huh?

Or, is THIS more accurate or more complete, coming from Tampa Bay Times? Again, these links are getting buried by the hour, harder to find as the clock ticks, and even the explanation in this more complete story - one which will never ever ever be followed up on by a swill headed cowardly media - is so obscenely absurd as to defy belief. So too, the idea that they would long let anyone link to it for very long, well forget it. They'll kill this fast because their reporting makes no sense and they know it. So because of that, I will screen capture while the link still exists.

So once again, nothing downloaded. Perhaps having learned from what happened in Hillsborough they are keen not to mention any particular piece of equipment as being the culprit. It's all sort of a melange of half explanations. From the reporting you can't get a sense on whether the computers went dead or the network did, or the cards failed to upload. Again, someone tried to vote all over the county, and the votes registered on those machines because the ballots were fed through.

But we're on the other side of the state from Volusia County, and the SAME evil is creeping in here: they won't dare share how many ballots precisely are affected, even though with 299 precincts we're talking about thousands, tens of thousands. Hell, read it: they are talking about a complete top-to-bottom do-over. They took ALL the memory cards - they call them "memory sticks" in Pinellas - and once again, just like in the case of Hillsborough, they had to rush them around in the middle of the night under "emergency conditions" and in this case re-do it all over.

Again, the supervisor of elections voted the deciding ballots, not the voters. And this is neat because, this TOTALLY avoids a recount.

Worst case, this is disenfranchisement folks. Best case? Can you trust this result? At this time all results in all Pinellas races remain unofficial.

Someone seems to have a need to mess with votes in and around Tampa Bay. One poster at the Tampa Bay Online site said this was a "dry run" for the total disenfranchisement of the Pinellas vote in the general election. And, can you fault him for believing it?

In perhaps a related note as we face the general election, Pinellas County's elections supervisor has no problem displaying open partisanship on her FACEBOOK PAGE.

Ok so she "liked" a No-Bama page.  And then she left it there for all the world to see. Well there's a page for the DEC there too, just below it but, the first thing you see blazing out of the blue is this page "I will not vote for Obama in 2012" and she liked the page. Come on. That's pushing it. Especially in light of this monstrously huge screw up.

You have to wonder, if the voters of the state swallow this, if we don't get upset, isn't that the "steal sign" they are looking for from second base?


Volusia County, uh-GIN! More than ten memory cards fail to upload their data. Yes, Volusia County uses Dominion voting machines.

And now, Volusia's SOE Ann McFall must explain how, why this happened, if the slow media is inclined to get off the porch and hunt for answers (big if). You may remember McFail as the Florida election's supervisor who wasn't going all-in on the voter purge list. Though a republican, she told the Orlando Sentinel "you are more likely to find voter fraud than getting struck with a bolt of lightning." She also told Governor Rick Scott the list she got had so many inaccuracies, she purged the list, not the voters on it.

Are these two things related? Unknown at this time.

So now here's a glitch very reminiscent of the one in Hillsborough! Just look.

From the Daytona News Journal 8/15/12
Hillsborough's glitch of 2010 was allegedly the result of 12 memory cards failing to upload their data. Volusia's was 15. The failure in both cases allegedly was one of inability transmit through the secure network, But for some reason, the votes kept going through the machine on first go. I have been told by workers at the Brevard supervisor of elections that IF the ballot is going through the scanner, it IS being counted, face up, face down, it doesn't matter which. So, in both cases, the machine accepts the ballot but cannot feed the results over the network? Totally unacceptable. And, how can this happen? They were all made aware of the Hillsborough glitch during one of their secret meetings! Wouldn't this bug be worked out?

What was different in this case? Apparently, Volusia learned from Hillsborough's "mistake" if it is indeed that. In Volusia's case "replacement cards were tested and sent to the 18 affected precincts."  This, rather than suspiciously and haphazardly driving ballots around in the middle of the night, to one single location where the people ramming them through scanners have no idea whether or not they were indeed voted where they were supposed to be voted, or they were the result of a swap-out.
But WOW! 18 LOCATIONS? Again, this is a rescanning job of perhaps thousands of ballots. Which means, in this case, again, the ballots were "voted" not by the citizens, but by a poll worker, or a staff member, over and over again, until more than a thousand. Totally unacceptable.

Here, no numbers are given to the media. Apparently they have learned something evil from the Hillsborough case in that the idea is not to reveal precise-ish figures which may be shocking - albeit useful - to the citizens. Can't have that.

Obviously, we need to get into this one. And we are going to. Highly suspect. Same error as Hillsborough.

This photo shows the obvious lapses in custody chain that seem to plague the entire system, statewide. Note the personal vehicle of the worker. No one riding along with her to make sure no switcheroo? She just sort hands the ballot bag and the memory cards out? Is this how it works? And there's no chance this person is partisan one way or another, right? I mean just look at that bumper sticker. I support the troops too. But, this just makes me queasy.

From Daytona News Journal 8/15/12
The other weird thing about this glitch is this: the last paragraph of that news story: the number of signatures, and the number of ballots voted, didn't match up. What? Yes. They take your signature, as well as look at your ID here. Then they check to make sure the number of those match with the number of ballots cast. In one precinct, these didn't match. That means the machine was either miscounting, it started with fewer or more numbers on it, when voting began, or votes were added or subtracted during the count, or unregistered voters wandered in and voted.

You decide.

Meanwhile, Volusia wasn't alone. Even weirder, is what happened in Pinellas.

Citizen Exit Poll 2012

Citizen Exit Poll 2012’ first exit poll a great success!
Thank you to all that worked a shift at our poll today, you did a great job!
We are posting the Citizen Exit Poll 2012 raw data from the exit poll conducted at Precinct 310 in Melbourne, FL on Primary Election Day, August 14, 2012.
The exit poll went smoothly with no problems and we had a voter exit poll response of 62%.
A few voters were not quite sure they remembered who they had voted for and 4 voters checked off more candidates than allowed for an office, which have some effect on the accuracy of our totals.  However, from our raw data, our exit polls were very close to the official precinct totals when adjusted for the percent of voter response.
Since we had 62% of the voters respond to our exit poll, when we take 62% of the precinct official total votes, our results are fairly accurate.  Below is our raw data from our exit poll:

Exit Poll total votes
Precinct total votes
62% of Precinct totals
US Senator

Glen A. Burkett
Connie Mack
Mike McCalister
Bill Nelson
Marielena Stuart
Dave Weldon

Exit Poll total votes
Precinct total votes
62% of Precinct totals
State Rep. District 53

John Paul Alvarez
Edward (Ed) Lewis Geier
Tres Holton
John Tobia
Lauren Trent

County Judge Group 10

Judy Atkin
Sean C. Cutshall
Morris Richardson

This shows that exit polls are indeed an accurate and credible indicator of the accuracy of precinct official totals.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Are YOU a Fake Democrat? Do you know one?

Democrats defend democracy. This, is their first instinct.
The instinct to defend democracy rises above any and all partisan issues. It concerns itself not with the color of the signs nor the t-shirt when democracy itself is in peril. The instinct will gladly ignore temporal considerations, social calendars, fashion, gossip, less meaningful action, when the right to vote is in doubt.
Real democrats - not fake ones - rise immediately to the side of democracy itself; the sanctity and the right to vote, first, and always, when that right has been challenged, when it is in doubt.
The woman's right to choose, was only made possible, by the woman's right to vote. When the right to vote is then imperiled, protesting threats upon the right to choose, are meaningless. The vote will be subverted, followed by the right to choose, followed by the right to protest.
Fait accompli 
We are experiencing the joy of the election season! Hooray for us and our causes! It will be our last, and dearly and too late, will we bemoan the loss, when these elections are stolen from us.
Bev Harris going through the trash in the movie, "Hacking Democracy" at the Viera SOE office, in 2004
If you can believe it, if you dare stomach this dreadful truth; that they who take these seats of office,  determine for us everything from the fate of our lives, to our schools, to the condition of our infrastructure, to the very the survival of our military personnel, not to mention billions and billions of dollars. And because of this latter element, there are those - if you can for a moment live in the adult and sober world - who are paid informants, misleaders, fake protesters, and yes, even fake candidates.
By their actions you shall know them.
First and foremost fake democrats DO NOT defend democracy. Witness a radio broadcaster who refuses to discuss the substantive issues, or prevents perfectly logical arguments from flowing on his or her airspace. The radio and television airwaves are chock-filled with such misleaders, such fake democrats.
Do you know any?
Witness the protest organizer who leads the masses down a merry chase concerning issues which are gone, barely through one weekly news cycle. Leads them to bars thereafter to commiserate with the masses using damnable pity and self defeating talk, rather than urging they who follow to do anything about what is happening. The protest organizer who leads the group to a corner that no one cares about, or can even see:
Are these real, or are they fake democrats?
Witness any candidate who will hold up a sign for themselves, but will not urge you to vote; nor will they urge you to protect the vote.
Can these people be trusted? Are they real democrats or fake ones? Were they sent to us, are they being paid to say one thing, do another?
There are organizers who corral well-intended people, only to get in the way of the mission they allegedly purport to champion. Are they inept, or is something else going on?
The democrat defends democracy. First, foremost, always.
Harris wrestling a Volusia County election official for a trash bag containing  public records, evidence of an "error" in the election. By the way, she's from Washington...the state!
Exit polling defends democracy.  Real democrats DO exit polling. They participate in them.
There is no cynical side-mouthed slovenly argument that bears any scrutiny that the state of Florida enjoys actual democracy. Our voting history is the laughingstock of planet earth. There are problems with our machines, and our duly appointed officials set to monitor them. These can fill volumes and yet nothing, ever gets done. We have a state run by criminals, still, at the highest level.
Just, read!
Is it just those evil bad people again and again we whine and cry about, like so many miserable babies, in our slogans and our shirts and signs? Or have we like dutiful fake, false, hypocritical, non-democrats actually facilitated the evil through our cowardly refusal to see truth. Not fake, corporate truth fed to you by cheering mega-egos giving smidgens of light between car commercials, but real truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Are YOU a fake democrat? Are you?
The lazy sneering argument "all is well". Listen to it, and you would do well to watch from whose mouth it slips, if you actually value democracy. If you are a real democrat ask where they are coming from? All is not well. This is no simple matter. We are in a crisis.
It shouldn't be "weird" or "inconvenient" or "weirdly inconvenient" or kookoo to participate in, or even help conduct, an exit poll, in any county.
As a democrat - a true democrat, not a fake one - it should be your first instinct after voting itself.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Clear as Mud?

Basically, the supervisor of elections is going to provide no information on what is acceptable when it comes to operating an exit poll. Oh, but, you can do one, so there's really no problem.

Most exit polls require the proper collection of data. The organizer of the group I am working with suggests using a clip board with questions on it. Does the clip board require the use of paper? Yes. Is use of a paper and a clip board solicitation? The SOE won't get specific, but perhaps it is, which is a no-no.

Clue: if they catch you doing something which in their view is "disruptive" or "illegal" during your exit polling, they can shut you down and all your data is rendered meaningless. Good for them. No oversight to see if the election is being handled fairly and accurately. Why would they ever ever ever tell you what behavior specifically crosses the line? It's not in their best interest to behave in a manner that is even-handed!

Surely this is paranoid thinking you say. Is it?

In the previous post we see the attorney for the division urging the outreach coordinator to outreach to anyone wishing to conduct such a poll. His response is to contact the attorney, whose response is as follows.

Clear as mud? Not even.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Intimidation by other means

You're gonna want to be careful when you conduct an exit poll. If you've approached your county elections supervisor, county commission and asked about conducting a fair election - and let's say you've even mentioned the machines - you may be on someone's radar.

A group of loosely affiliated residents concerned for the sanctity of the vote has approached the supervisor about the voting machines. They want to conduct exit polling to ensure that the vote count isn't something totally different than the exit poling data. In Florida, as in the nation in the modern age, this is the ONLY legal way to capture ANY data whatsoever about how well, how fairly, the election was handled. The other way of course is blind trust; which, doesn't always work out in our favor.

I was surprised to see this correspondence between the assistant general counsel for the Florida Division of Elections, Bennett Miller and our SOE's public outreach coordinator, Eddie Thompson here in Brevard County.

If you look at the first paragraph, second sentence you read Miller telling Thompson "you advised you are concerned someone engaged in otherwise lawful exit polling, may also engage in picketing, voter education, or other disruptive behavior."

I just got off the phone with Mr. Thompson. After a little coaxing he admitted that the fact we were convinced "the machines were rigged" that he wanted to know what resources were at the office's disposal, what legal remedies could be used in assuring an election free of disruption.

I corrected him of course. I certainly never said all the machines were rigged or even that Brevard's "were rigged" I am convinced however, that they are "riggable." And, see the difference?

Cut to the chase: Mr. Thompson he didn't know precisely what constitutes legal exit polling. He did say he certainly thought what we were planning sounded legal, but he thought I should check with Mr. Miller and CC him the exchange so he would know too. Which I did.

There's two interesting points about this. One, Thompson is assuming worst case scenario which - I am sorry - isn't fair. Two, "voter education". You can't educate? If someone asks who I am and what this is about, I might just have to tell them the accuracy of the election is what I am there to ensure, if I can. Next natural question from them might be "why would you want to do that? Aren't they accurate and fair always?" And the answer is?

No. They are not. The machines, as we have said repeatedly, as has been borne out in the record of this blog through the example exposed in Hillsborough county, and hundreds more, are woefully unreliable, at best. Used to rig elections at worst.

They are riggable. They have been used to rig elections in this country, in this state. And there's no catching them because the machine companies, tied in to those who do the rigging, not only control the elections, but have exclusive rights to find the cause of the glitches, and erase all trace of the "errors." Only they can see what precisely went wrong because the code is protected under trade secrets. Vote goes in, result comes out. The rest is a black box, in the flow chart with a big red question mark on it.

Black Box Voting a well respected, honored resource on this sort of voting has taken its name from this concept: that, we the people, have no idea what goes on in there, and by strange turn of corporate-tames-government, we are denied, denied, denied the right to know. And it looks, feels, sounds, and tastes like they want to do away with our right to even ask.

Here, what I am sort of learning from Thompson in our brief conversation, I am drifting in the realm of "educating" the public when I explain why an exit poll is important. I certainly can't hand them any fliers telling them who I am. That's right out. But, sort of, according to Thompson, I may be drifting into illegal behavior by even explaining why I do what I am doing.

If you check the statute referenced in the email, you see that it gives the county the right and duty to park a deputy at these poling places. That deputy has the right and duty to control what happens there. In my county, the deputy has the right to control you pretty much anywhere, in practice. You ask them in your county and see if you don't get an honest, quick response. He can look at you, tell you to leave, and then arrest you if you don't, and you'll explain it to a judge.

We had four people at the meeting last night of those mildly if meekly interested in conducting exit polls in the county. This correspondence had its desired effect from the elections supervisors point of view.

"Look I can't afford to get arrested for this. I don't know..."

You like that? That's how intimidation works these days. Also, and I am no lawyer, but Mr. Thompson's initial line of inquiry has a whiff of something called "prior restraint" to it. Am I wrong? Prior restraint is when you go ahead and anticipate illegal behavior on the part of citizens. And it's still illegal as a means to begin curtailing their rights, ahead of time. Although it happens all the time with these "Free Speech Zones" and containment pens we see for protesters.

Think about it while I wait for a reply from the Florida Division of Elections concerning what is and what is not legal in the conduct of an election poll.

It may just come down to this. Any behavior - a wrong word, the bare utterance of "voting machines" or perhaps a sideways glance - the election supervisor "feels" is disruptive, will give him or her the pretext to end you little election exit poll right then and there. You'll be talking to a deputy who is pointing toward the highway behind you.

Which is just fine for the supervisor. They can look into the camera, smile real purty and say "everything here is running smoothly" and the lap-dog media will regurgitate it to the masses in between the car commercials.