Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Look for Allen West to Force a Recount

We're at the back of a busted down shopping mall in Fort Pierce, at the supervisor of elections office which is one of two county offices which have taken over this old mall.

Ballots are being carted into a room that looks it was formerly a jewelry store.

Ceiling tiles missing. Twenty optical scan machines have been moved in here. Ballots are coming in the room by the top on wheel carts, some boxes opened, some tightly sealed.

This is a mess. The County Commission Chairman Charlie Wilson is laying all the blame at the feet of the elections supervisor, and then adding "I am not pointing fingers."

He said; "there's nothing wrong with the machines, nothing wrong with the memory cards, this is the supervisor of elections. Don't lay this off on the county commission."

Cards failed to upload their data for the early vote, first thing on Tuesday morning, said elections supervisor Gertrude Walker. She told Rick Scott Watch that workers turned the machine on, and attempted to transmit the data and it didn't happen. Memory cards were re-coded and sent out to early voting places for the re-scanning.

Wilson said training of people in the tabulating room led to 6 of 18 memory cards being improperly coded and sent out to the early voting precincts. He said it is his understanding that the IT chief of the St. Lucie elections supervisor's office was "in the field" the morning the cards were coded and then sent out to the locations of early voting on Nov. 1; there to capture the early vote until Nov.3.

This has resulted in the rescanning of (Wilson's figures taken from a press conference held by Walker) 26,400 early voted ballots on Sunday last.

This is virtually the same problem encountered in the Nov. 6, 2010 election in Hillsborough County, however those 36,000 ballots were curiously rescanned at the office of supervisor of elections. In this case they were rescanned on site.

What's at stake? Due to redistricting, the newly alinged 18th congressional district created covers the counties of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie.

A recount in the Fort Pierce Florida mayoral race between Vince Gaskin and Linda Hudson - the outcome of which - may, may provide fodder supporting a machine, hand or total redo in the electoral fight between Patrick Murphy and one term Congressman Allen West, both of south Florida.

As it stands, Murphy is the winner with a 0.58 percent lead. West refuses to concede. And has asked for an injunction to block the certification of the election until all the ballots are recounted. He is pointing to the confusion in St. Lucie as the reason.
Yeah. This must be one of the previously counted boxes

The Gaskin and Hudson contest currently stands within the 0.5 percent different for a mandatory machine recount of a three percent sample. Should that number fall outside the 2.5 percent difference of standard error as measured in Florida, a hand recount will ensure. Should that still present a above error difference between the vote totals, a total recount will occur for the entire race.

But what numbers to use? The original count still continues on absentee and early votes for the entire elections. The sample recount proceeds, oddly, as boxes and boxes are being brought in to decide what numbers are the actual numbers in the race, as far as we can tell here. How do you calculate the 3 percent if you still can't agree on how many votes were cast in St. Lucie County?

Why? Because the number of cards cast, at present in at least two precincts does not jibe with the number of voters voted as counted by the ballots used. This may be compared with the number of voters registered.

Why does the recount in the mayoral race continue without all the information?

No one seems to know.

So Allen West is still alive in this race.

 About 100 West supporters and protesters are here. Scant Murphy support if at all. Haven;t seen anyone from the democratic party other than local folks who are hot on the mayoral outcome.

Within the hour, a team sent down from Tallahassee and the division of elections is going to look into the election as it was held here. What they find could turn flip delay impede Murphy from taking his seat, despite the fact Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already  introduce him as congressman elect.

Canvassing board
The team coming down includes David Drury, chief of voters systems and certification. The same cat who was on heavy hand at the Sarasota District 13 recount in 2006 which essentially installed Vern Buchanan over Christine Jennings.

The mall where all this is happening has very little other than locked doors in the way of security. It's in a rough part of town. The ceiling tiles in the room where the majority of the recounting is taking place are falling in in places.

There are no security cameras in that room, which will be locked for lunch, now. But we have been told the tabulating room does have required security measures.

Perhaps the greatest comment this morning came from Judge Tom Walsh who is running the canvassing board; "we aren't organized enough to deceive anyone here."

It is interesting to note that though precisely the same error happened during the election of republican Rick Scott; with even stranger techniques employed after for the rescanning, and a similar hiccup in Pinellas county during the August primary; neither of these brought the slightes whiff of interest from the state division of elections.

Now, when the potential election of firebrand tea partier Allen West is within reach the republican partisan appointee Secretary of State, a former beer lobbyist, wants to get to the bottom of this.

The St. Lucie supervisor of elections seems content to let the run the show, once they are on scene.

St. Lucie use Dominion/Diebold Optical Scanners/tabulators and GEMS software.

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