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.

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