This rumor has been spotted mostly amongst the Obama camp. Emails are warning supporters that wearing political gear, hats, t-shirts, buttons etc - that feature a political candidate to the polling places is against the law. It is FALSE.
The rumor comes in an email entitled "Please advise everyone you know not to wear Obama gear to the polls". The claim is that this is considered "electioneering" or campaigning and no one can campaign within 100 feet of the polls, so wearing political gear will get you turned away.
None of those rumors are true, at least not for North Carolina. but please don't take my word for it. If you wear your Obama t-shirt, McCain t-shirt, Bob Barr t-shirt, or Cynthia McKinnie t-shirt, will you get turned away from the polls? To clear matters up, I emailed Don Wright, the General Counsel for the North Carolina State Board of Elections today. He replied in a matter of minutes and explained:
From: Don Wright
To: Joyce McCloy
Subject: RE: electioneering question
Date: Sep 24, 2008 3:16 PM
This rumor has been circulating for several days.We allow voters to wear items inside the polling place in North Carolina. But other states may differ (I understand Tenn. does not allow it)A NC voter may enter a voting place to vote wearing political items as long as they...
proceed to vote in a orderly and timely manner, and do not attempt to electioneer within the voting place. A voter wearing a t-shirt saying "Vote for X"that shouts "vote for X" or places his T-shirt in the sightline of voters asking support for "X" is obviously electioneering and will be asked to refrain from the conduct at once, and if they continue will be removed.
A voter that has a political cap, T-shirt, or button and does not electioneer within the polling place will be allowed to vote in a normal matter. A voter wearing a political item does not violate GS 163-166.4
§ 163 166.4. Limitation on activity in the voting place and in a buffer zone around it.
(a) Buffer Zone and Adjacent Area for Election Related Activity. - No person or group of persons shall hinder access, harass others, distribute campaign literature,place political advertising, solicit votes, or otherwise engage in election related activity in the voting place or in a buffer zone which shall be prescribed by the county board of elections around the voting place. In determining the dimensions of that buffer zone for each voting place, the county board of elections shall, where practical, set the limit at 50 feet from the door of entrance to the voting place, measured when that door is closed, but in no event shall it set the limit at more than 50 feet or at less than 25 feet. Except as provided in subsection
(b),the county board of elections shall also provide an area adjacent to the buffer zone for each voting place in which persons or groups of persons may distribute campaign literature, place political advertising, solicit votes, or otherwise engage in election related activity.
(b) Special Agreements About Election Related Activity. - The Executive Director of the State Board of Elections may grant special permission for a county board of elections to enter into an agreement with the owners or managers of a nonpublic building to use the building as a voting place on the condition that election related activity as described in subsection
(a) of this section not be permitted on their property adjacent to the buffer zone, if the Executive Director finds all of the following:
(1) That no other suitable voting place can be secured for the precinct.
(2) That the county board will require the chief judge of the precinct to monitor the grounds around the voting place to ensure that the restriction on electionrelated activity shall apply to all candidates and parties equally.
(3) That the pattern of voting places subject to agreements under this subsection does not disproportionately favor any party, racial or ethnic group, or candidate.An agreement under this subsection shall be valid for as long as the nonpublic building is used as a voting place.
(c) Notice About Buffer Zone. - No later than 30 days before each election,the county board of elections shall make available to the public the following information concerning each voting place:
(1) The door from which the buffer zone is measured.
(2) The distance the buffer zone extends from that door.
(3) Any available information concerning where political activity, including sign placement, is permitted beyond the buffer zone.
(d) Buffer Zone at One Stop Sites. - The provisions of this section shall apply to one stop voting sites in G.S. 163 227.2, except that the notice in subsection
(c) of this section shall be provided no later than 10 days before the opening of one stop voting at the site. (2001 460, s. 3; 2003 365, s. 1; 2007 391, s. 13.)
From: Joyce McCloy Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:08 PM
To: Don Wright
Subject: electioneering question
North Carolina State Board of Elections
Don Wright, General Counsel
Can you clear something up for me.Is there a restriction against voters wearing t-shirts, hats etc to the polls, while voting - that bears the likeness of a political candidate or in other ways shows support for a candidate?
There are several rumors about this circulating around the state and I also heard discussion on a radio show.Some rumors say that you won't be allowed in the voting area if you wear such attire, or that you won't get to vote unless you change clothes etc. None of these rumors are substantiated in any way by citing NC law.
NC Coalition for Verified Voting
Monday, September 29, 2008
North Carolina Elections Rumor Control: Wearing political t-shirts, hats etc. to the polls is not against NC law
This rumor has been spotted mostly amongst the Obama camp. Emails are warning supporters that wearing political gear, hats, t-shirts, buttons etc - that feature a political candidate to the polling places is against the law. It is FALSE.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Not so innocent. They're at it again. Women's Voices, Women Vote, aka The Voter Participation Center. Sending out registration forms to people already registered, sometimes with incorrect information, mispelled name or incorrect address.
We all thought that besides the illegal and very misleading robo calls in North Carolina that WVWV was basically "harmless" except for them swamping election officials with redundant forms for voters who were already registered. And that they were only inconsiderate jerks for sending registration forms to people who had been deceased for 5 years or more, or for sending registration forms to 8 year olds, or to people who are already registered.
IF people aren't careful, and send in the WVWV registration form, they may be sending in a form that misspells their name or has a small detail wrong, has a wrong address, or other mistake which in turn could get that person kicked off of the rolls.
Election directors tell me that voters often don't notice if/when WVWV has put the wrong address on the registration form. The voter sends the form in, and the BoE changes the voters address to match the one on the WVWV form. This could change your polling place location or even cause you to get a provisional ballot or even get you kicked off the rolls.
Considering that Florida and 4 other states are requiring strict matching for new registrations or they block your registration, this is awful.
WVWV goes by the name of http://www.voterparticipationcenter.org/ also.
Here's a note from a Florida voter who got 2 of the scam registration forms, posted to one of my blogs:
I got a fake voter registration form twice from http://www.voterparticipationcenter.org/ instructing me to send my registration to Florida Department of State-Divison of Elections in Tallahassee,Fl I am registered to vote in my county just like everyone else. First big envelope was large and offical looking the second using my middle name came from Boston Mass. Some stinky pooh is going on here Wish I had not thrown first envelope away,but I have the second piece of misleading caging garbage.so there is a concerted effort to mislead voters.It says if you are not sure call 1 866-308-6739
Who is WVWV trying to help? Many of their Board members are former or current staffers for either of the Clintons. Many of the BoE have businesses that receive contracts from WVWV.
Perhaps friends of the Clintons could address this potentially disenfranchising scheme.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Bill Bucolo in Florida received a phony voter registration letter. The purpose of this letter was to confuse voters, not cage them, as the envelope did not say "do not forward". The forms can cause problems for the voter if he follows the instructions. The mailers also incorrectly tell voters that in Florida senior citizens do not have to present ID at the polls.
The Obama campaign will have to take action themselves, no one else is going to act swiftly enough. They MUST launch a vigorous phone call campaign to counter the mis-information that is being mass mailed to voters in Florida. We can't wait for Rep Conyers to launch an investigation that will go nowhere. When we had misleading robo calls in North Carolina during the primary, the Obama campaign set the record straight by giving many voters correct information by phone. The Obama calls prevented the fake robo calls from working. *
Here is Bill's email sent far and wide:
Subject: Tell me- did you get a fake vote registration letter too?
My Friends (as John McCain would say), I just received a genuine collector's item... one of the phony voter registration letters the GOP is sending to hundreds of thousands of voters throughout the swing states. See it below.
Let me know if you got one too.
The cheaters who send these want to trick people into screwing up their status with local Supervisors of Elections (images attached). With the encouragement of our Republican owned Secretary of State Kurt Browning, most of these SOEs would probably be only too happy to knock you or me off their books should we make a mistake on the form... or provide information a little differently from what they now have.
My letter supposed to come from the "Department of Children and Families," and was mailed to me with an E middle initial... mine's an F. It was mailed out of the Miami Cuban-Republican stronghold of Hialeah, FL. It arrived in a somewhat official looking slightly oversized window envelope with an official looking return address with the word "Circuit," and the letters DCF.
In addition to a wrong initial in my name... enough to knock me off the polls if anyone sends it in, much less me, the poorly copied registration form also says I don't have to show an ID if I'm over 65. (that part was real clear). I'm pretty sure that's not true also. I believe everyone has to show ID if they appear at the polls... but of course I went to the state's Election's web site and the link to those rules comes up black... a convenient "glitch."
But of course voters don't need to show any ID if they just mail their ballots in. That's another illogical rationale of the ID law. If I were going to be a phony voter with a slightly different name than the SOE has on their records, I'd just vote by mail. Any court that blesses this stupidity has to be complicit in the fraud- and it certainly seems like intent to fraud by the people who foisted this law. What are the odds that judge is a Republican and/or a fool?
Some people think these letters have "do not forward, return to sender" messages which, if returned tell the GOP who to challenge at the polls. Personally I think that's an unlikely strategy because it's so labor intensive. I don't think they have enough people to do that sort of thing effectively. Letting unsuspecting voters screw up their own registration or show up without ID would be far more efficient for these scum.
Now since this is an obvious vote fraud on a state-wide level, any self respecting state law enforcement agency should be onto this immediately... checking out the commercial mail houses to see exactly who the customer is, etc. But no... on local television today Florida Sec'y State Kurt Browning said the state police were overloaded with too many other kinds of criminals to chase. I guess felony vote fraud for a national election comes after whatever else they do. So we can expect the criminals to avoid repercussions for now... but there's always later. And a lot of us have a long memory.
Just make sure all of you and your friends and family members verify your registration records carefully. It's a shame most voters won't, and a real shame that this plan, along with whatever else the cheaters try may, little slice by little slice, cost us the state... and the other states where ID laws are now in effect. For now.
So, the letter's a keeper for sure because eventually we're going to nail these slug perpetrators for the treasonous unAmerican vote suppressors and vote thieves that they are. When this wave of vote stealing and fraud is put in the history books for the social sciences classes that will someday be reinstated in our schools, evidence like my letter will surely be an item worth showing off.
One last thing... If the State and National Dems don't fight this stuff with prominent advertising, multiple news releases, calls and letters to authorities and media, and in the courts with everything they have, they are flat out incompetent fools, and deserve what ever happens with this latest GOP trick.
Copies of the letter portions I described are below.
(Click on this link to see the letter)
# # # # # # # # #
Comment: Activists in Florida say they have determined that this mailer is outdated with incorrect instructions regarding permissible ID's. (But) Also under some circumstances people over 65 are in fact exempt from needing to show an ID... we trying to figure out if that's for mail-in ballots or at the polling place. The law seems ambiguous to us so were asking others.
I have sent this to the Brennan Center for Justice asking them for an investigation or clarification of the law. Millions of dollars are being spent on sending these confusing mailers out.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
An email from the North Carolina State Board of Elections brings good news today regarding the McCain campaign/absentee ballot requests confusion.
Voters will not be disenfranchised as a result of the form leaving off some personal information. At issue - the SBoE asks voters to provide their birthday on requests for absentee ballots - but it turns out that this is not an absolute requirement. Furthermore, if for some reason the Board of Elections cannot verify that the request is coming from the correct voter, they will send a "request for a request" to that person. Other states, like Ohio, are not so fair to voters.
Background: McCain campaign mailers invoked outrage among suspicious democrats in North Carolina (and other states) who were recipients of the unsolicited absentee ballot requests from the republican candidate. Many expressed fear that this was an thinly veiled attempt at voter caging or that the requests would not be accepted by local boards of elections The voters were especially concerned because of reports that the McCain campaign had sent out mailers with incomplete or inaccurate information in at least 9 other states.
Greg Flynn of Wake County wrote about the mailers on Sept 11, 2008 in McCain Confusing NC Republican Voters:
......McCain is telling people to request a ballot on a postcard using their own handwriting with their name, residence, phone number and signature..The critically missing piece information is the date of birth...At first blush this looked like a voter caging exercise but upon review it just seems sloppy. The pre-sorted mailing rate does not allow for returns.
Don Wright, the General Counsel for the North Carolina State Board of Elections advises today in an email:
It is not required in North Carolina that the date of birth is included on the request for an absentee ballot. It is useful to a county board of elections if there is trouble determining who is actually requesting an absentee ballot (Parent/child with same name at same address, voters with the same name) See the statute below.
§ 163‑230.2. Method of requesting absentee ballots.
(a) Valid Types of Written Requests. – A written request for an absentee ballot as required by G.S. 163‑230.1 is valid only if it is written entirely by the requester personally, or is on a form generated by the county board of elections and signed by the requester. The county board of elections shall issue a request form only to the voter seeking to vote by absentee ballot or to a person authorized by G.S. 163‑230.1 to make a request for the voter. If a requester, due to disability or illiteracy, is unable to complete a written request, that requester may receive assistance in writing that request from an individual of that requester's choice.
(b) Invalid Types of Written Requests. – A request is not valid if it does not comply with subsection (a) of this section. If a county board of elections receives a request for an absentee ballot that does not comply with subsection (a) of this section, the board shall not issue an application and ballot under G.S. 163‑230.1.
(c) Rules by State Board. – The State Board of Elections shall adopt rules for the enforcement of this section. (2002‑159, s. 57(a).)
If the request does not meet the above requirements we send the requesting person the standard request form used by the counties for the requestor to fill out and return. This has been our policy for years.
On September 10th and e-mail went out to the counties reminding them of the policy. That e-mail is set out below.
"We are aware that postcard requests for absentee ballots are being received by county boards of elections. Hopefully this will provide answers to most questions.
If the postcard contains sufficient wording for a reasonable person to know the applicant is requesting an absentee ballot it should be treated as a compliant request and a "simultaneous issuance" absentee ballot should be issued. Date of birth is not a statutory requirement to request an absentee ballot. It is an additional piece of information to assist CBEs in identifying the correct voter.
If the request card does not comply with GS 163-230.2, consider it a 'request for a request' as in previous years.
Johnnie F. McLean Deputy Director (919) 715-1790 "
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Over at Ballot Access News, Richard Winger reports:
In North Carolina, it takes alot of support to get an independent on the ballot. Once on the ballot, this candidate has to overcome the impact of "straight ticket" voting, which favors one party or another. This option is often recommended by political parties, and often is relied upon by low information voters.
North Carolina Senator Will Introduce Bill to Ease Independent
Candidate Ballot Access in 2009 September 16th, 2008
North Carolina State Senator Jim Jacumin (R-Connellys Springs) has told a constituent that he will introduce a bill to ease ballot access for independent candidates next year. North Carolina ballot access for independent candidates is so severe that no independent has ever qualified for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, or Governor, in the history of government-printed ballots in that state. Ross Perot in 1992 is the only person who ever qualified as an independent candidate. District independent candidates need a petition of 4% of the number of registered voters, which is as much as 20,000 signatures in some U.S. House districts. No independent candidate for U.S. House in U.S. history has ever overcome a petition hurdle as great as 14,000 signatures.
However, in spite of all of that, we see, as with Ross Perot, that independent candidates actually fare much better than third party candidates.
Voters beware! Its election season, and the mischief and misfeasance abounds!
The Richmond County Daily Journal warns voters in North Carolina to be cautious in trusting election related mailings. Offers to help people register to vote or to get an absentee ballot may be legitimate, or they may be attempts at identity theft. Some mailers are honest efforts to help voters yet contain incorrect or incomplete information that may do more harm than good.
At a minimum, the mailers can cause confusion or suspicion, at worst case, the mailers may have errors that can disenfranchise the voter, and some mailers may be efforts at identity theft.
Voters urged to use caution with mailed offers
By David Wall/Richmond County Daily Journal Monday, September 15, 2008
Voters are being advised to read carefully any election data they get in the mail regarding absentee voting.
In addition to the question of whether absentee ballot requests are legitimate, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning to all U.S. residents, to be cautious of fraudulent voter registration drives used to commit identity theft.
According to the FTC, scammers are attempting to obtain individual Social Security numbers, supposedly to register a person to vote through the use of mass mailings, unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails. In fact it is merely another way for them to steal for unsuspecting people, the agency said.
As a rule, federal officials advise organizations conducting legitimate voter registration drives either contact you in person or give you a voter registration form to fill out yourself. They will never ask for your financial information.
Read everything carefully
“As with any relay of information, concerning a citizen exercising their right to vote, please verify all information on a request for an absentee ballot or a registration form is accurate and complete,” said Connie Kelly, Richmond County’s elections supervisor.“All voter registration changes or new registrations must be completed and received by the board of elections by Oct. 10. If there is an
issue or a problem that has arisen, there is plenty of time now to handle it and correct the situation.”
...Mail-in ballot requests must be received at the board of elections by Oct. 28, and the ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. Nov. 3.
Get more information on how to request an absentee ballot here at the State Board of Elections
Make sure you are registered to vote or that your registration is up to date and you know where to vote: see the State Board of Elections voter look up
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The McCain campaign is flooding voters in many states with absentee ballot requests, in hopes of increasing his turnout. North Carolina is one. Blogger Greg Flynn has the flyers on his "spot" and a great write up.
Pushing absentee voting this way has been successful for other politicians including George Bush in 2000. The problem is, that the request forms in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina have either incorrect, incomplete or confusing information on them. This hurts... the GOP vote. Greg Flynn points out that the forms he saw in Wake County NC are missing critical fields and also have an incorrect address to mail them too. Here's an excerpt, please visit his blog to read and see it all:
McCain Confusing NC Republican Voters by gregflynn, Thu Sep 11, 2008
The Campaign of John McCain has begun sending out misleading information to North Carolina voters about absentee voting. His target audience? Republicans.
...McCain is telling people to request a ballot on a postcard using their own handwriting with their name, residence, phone number and signature. The address example actually contains two addresses. One address in the example has a non-existent zip code, 127602. The other address immediately below it is a PO Box address.
The return address given is actually that of the Wake County, NC, Board of Elections but there is no clear identification of the Board. It simply says "Director of Elections". The postcard requires a first class stamp but does not tell the recipient the actual postage required.
...The critically missing piece information is the date of birth and, to avoid the risk of identity theft, that should not be placed in full view on the back of a postcard. At first blush this looked like a voter caging exercise but upon review it just seems sloppy. The pre-sorted mailing rate does not allow for returns. Such a request to the Board of Elections would not be valid and a response would generate more expense and delay and likely frustrate the recipient.
For anyone who has received this mailing, please contact the Board of Elections in your own state (in NC your County Board of Elections) to clarify the requirements that apply to your circumstances and needs. Lord only knows what Democrats received in their McCain Mailin'....
more at the link
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Many college students don't vote because of questions about residency. To cut through the confusion, the legal experts at the Brennan Center For Justice have created a Legal Guide to Student Voting that "explains the basic residency, registration, identification, and absentee voting requirements for student voters in each of the 50 states and the D.C. Individual state guides can be downloaded here.
The full North Carolina guide to student voting is here.
Student Voting in North Carolina, an overview:
Generally, North Carolina voters do not need to show ID at the polls. However, voters who register and vote during the early voting period will have to show proof of their residence address. First-time voters who registered by mail who have not had their identifying numbers verified by the state have to show ID when they register or vote.
North Carolina law clearly states that students who intend to make their school address their home during school, and do not presently intend to return to their former homes, can register and vote as residents of their school addresses.
Registering to vote in North Carolina may be considered an abandonment of voting residency in your old state.
The regular registration deadline is 25 days before Election Day, but North Carolina also has same-day registration during One-Stop Absentee voting (early voting), from nineteen days before the election to three days before the election.
Anyone registered in North Carolina can vote absentee by mail, but the procedure is somewhat complicated: first, your request for a ballot must be handwritten, and second, your ballot must be witnessed by two adults.
For a complete write-up on this state's regulations, please visit: www.brennancenter.org/studentvoting/states/north_carolina/
The Brennan Center answers some other frequently asked questions:
Residency and domicile, what do they mean, exactly?
Learn what it really means to have residency and what that entails...
The Truth About Financial Aid
Students are often warned that voter registration might affect their financial aid. This is untrue for the vast majority of students. Learn more...
Registering to vote more than likely won't hurt your wallet. Read more about in-state and out-of-state tuition as it relates to voting...
Taxes, your parents and you
Registering to vote cannot affect your parent's ability to claim you as a dependent. But it could hit you in the pocket, learn why....
Insuring your health and car
Registering to vote will have almost no affect on your insurance, car or health. Read more...
Driver's Licenses and Car Registration
Registering to vote may entail a trip to the DMV afterwards. See why...
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Will your vote count in 2008? Are you worried about inaccurate or fraudulent election results? You should be - because we know that errors are made and the stakes are high. Just this May, at least three North Carolina counties reported incorrect results on election night, and that is what the media went with. (SeeMecklenburg, Wake find vote flaws News 14 Carolina, NC and Thousands of votes missed in Tuesday tallies Jacksonville Daily News, NC May 9, 2008) .You can help protect electionsL email, call or otherwise ask your county and state political parties or other groups to AUDIT the elections. Send them this blog post. Here are the steps:
AUDITING YOUR ELECTION 101 By Andy Stephenson
In 2005, Andy Stephenson (RIP) gave a "teach in" in Ohio in 2005 on how to audit your elections. These procedures can and must be used to protect this year's elections whether your jurisdiction has has paper ballots or not. These "audits" help to check that correct procedures were followed, to check against tampering, and whether votes were counted correctly. Andy's lesson plan for elections is after the jump:
Andy Stephenson, "1962-2005 A good man, a tireless activist, and for too short a time, a friend." - David Allen, BlackBoxVoting.com
AUDITING YOUR ELECTION 101 By Andy Stephenson
Submitted by Forrester on Fri, 07/15/2005
Verification Procedures / Audits
The following document contains Andy's course notes for the class he gave at the CASE-Ohio "Teach-In" on May 7, 2005. This course basically contains the complete instructions for auditing an election conducted on a Diebold Optical Scan system, however Andy said that most of these instructions could also apply to ES & S or other vendors' equipment.
AUDITING YOUR ELECTION 101by Andy Stephenson
What does that mean when I say "audit an election"? Well, an election audit looks at the election results to ensure that all proper procedures were followed, and that the votes were recorded correctly. In an audit, you can see if any votes are missing, or if any votes have been tampered with. While you're auditing, you will need to look at every document that the system produces, from the audit log, to the poll tapes, to the numerous reports that are generated during the election. It may sound like a difficult process to audit an election, but really it's quite simple. It comes down to following certain procedures, gathering the right materials, and taking good inventory of your records. It's a methodical and detail oriented task that takes some time and energy, but other than that, it's not that hard to manage. By the time you leave here today, you will have all the tools you need in order to audit your local election successfully.
Part One: Background information regarding electronic voting and terminology.
Electronic voting occurs in nearly every state to some degree. This might not be directly evident when you visit your polling site. Most ballots are counted electronically, whether the votes were cast on a touch screen computer or on paper ballots.
Election night procedure:
Once the polls have closed, paper ballots are collected and then counted with an optical scan machine. The optical scan machine then records all of the data onto a memory card. Absentee ballots are also recorded on separate memory cards. The memory cards are then delivered by hand to the central tabulator, or the data is uploaded remotely into the tabulator by modem. Then reports and vote totals are generated, and sent to the canvassing board. The canvassing board is a group of about 5-13 appointed members, who service the election. The canvassing board then certifies the results of the election, and makes them official.
There are a number of terms that I will be referring to in today's presentation regarding voting equipment, and voting reports. Here I'll give you a brief explanation of some of these terms.
GEMS: Global Elections Management System. "GEMS is a state of the art election management software package that runs on Microsoft's Windows operating system." (let me editorialize a bit here...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
Unity Election System. This is the central tabulator software. ES&S product
The ES&S Model 100 is a precinct-based, voter-activated paper ballot counter and vote tabulator. Utilizing advanced Intelligent Mark Recognition (IMR) visible light scanning technology, the Model 100 is a proven mainstay for jurisdictions worldwide utilizing precinct-level voting and tabulation.
The AccuVote-OS Tabulator: The tabulator is a multi-functional terminal that counts and tabulates the ballots at precincts on election day and communicates with the host computer at Election Central for accurate and timely jurisdiction-wide results.
Statement of votes cast (SOVC): It is a breakdown by precinct of the number of votes cast in each race in every election.
Audit Log: is equivalent to the "black box" on an aircraft. It contains everything that happens in the voting system, and tracks the times and dates of all activity that takes place within the GEMS server.
Modem Log: Records the dates and times that any external communications commenced with the server.
Windows Event Log: Shows if any changes or patches were made to Windows, which could affect the operations of voting software.
Poll Tape: A printout, similar to a cash register receipt. Zero tapes are printed before the election, showing zero votes on the machine, and at the end of the election, the tape is run again to show the results of each race in the election. Zero tape and poll tape is signed by elections workers after they are run.
Interim Report: A report printed each hour on the hour during election night, that shows the breakdown of votes cast in each precinct. These are usually timed and dated stamped automatically.Printing of this report will create an entry in the audit log.
Part Two: Overview of the public records disclosure laws'
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Public Records Request: State and Federal laws that you will use to obtain the documents you need for an audit.
Background info. on FOIA:
What to ask for in your public records request:
1.Zero tapes and poll tapes, date and time stamped, from the precinct you are auditing.
2.Statement of votes cast
4.Audit logs: from two weeks prior to the election, to two weeks after
5.Windows event log
6.Names of all poll workers
7."Key" log and names of everyone who had access to the central tabulator
8.Names of all pollworkers
9.Copies of all "trouble tickets": any recorded malfunctions, reported by pollworkers.
10.Copies of absentee totals and provisional totals
11.Copies of all e-mail and correspondence between elections office and hardware/software vendors, and their contractors.
12.Certification documents for the AccuVote and certification documents for the GEMS software being used in the county.
13.Lists of all precincts
14.Absentee and provisional reports. (Call Susan T. to get details)
Overview of public records disclosure laws, including Ohio statute.Also, an example of public records request. And a review of the FOIA,its guidelines and processes.
Part Three: Auditing the Election
1. Inventory the materials obtained from your public records request/(FOIA). Look to see if anything is missing. Any missing materials are most likely your most important ones. Look at the audit logs for any gaps or lapses in time. Check poll tape totals against the statement of votes cast. Check the statement of votes cast against the interim reports. Check poll tapes against the interim reports. Regarding interim reports, they can be obtained through FOIA, but it is best to obtain one from the central tabulator on election night. That way it establishes a benchmark, and if any changes take place later in the process, you will have a document to compare to. Also,look at the modem log to ensure that the modem was functioning properly on election night. Look at the trouble tickets to see what kind of problems were encountered on election night. Pay particular attention to hardware issues such as modem errors, memory card failures, and transmission problems. Transmission and hardware failures will appear on the audit logs and modem logs.
Note any and all discrepancies.
2.Find errors, make a list of the problems that you found. Present this information to the candidate you are working for, and recommend further action. This action includes investigation of precincts where anomalies have been found, and a hand recount of the ballots from the
3.This is people intensive and you MUST organize groups now to train . You are going to need people in every precinct and at a minimum 5 people watching at central count on election night. Take binoculars. Pen Paper ASK questions don't be afraid. Take note...ask the names of people working on the central count computer. Become a poll worker, go through the training so you will be able to teach others what the procedures are. in the event you need them, have lawyers ready to file injunctions and lawsuits. Find lawyers you can work with locally that will work for costs only. They are out there.
Thanks goes to the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition where I found Andy's notes safely recorded for posterity.
If you are in a touchscreen county, please read this and pass it on. The report explains the need for emergency paper ballots. Our state recommended them to touchscreen counties in 2006, but we need to ask again.
Must Read Report on Need for Emergency Paper Ballots! Avoid Disenfranchisement in 2008
Dr. William Edelstein & Save Our Votes have issued an EXCELLENT five page report titled "How can we prevent long lines from disenfranchising voters in this year's election?"
Dr. Edelstein, a physicist applied the queuing theory to voting and shows why long lines are likely. For example, queuing shows that "a voting time of 6.3 minutes would cause wait times longer than 2 hours in nearly all precincts."
Together Edelstein and Save Our Votes make the compelling argument for emergency paper ballots this November 4, and provide a point by point rebuttal to all the objections to emergency paper ballots. Additionally, the report gives specific suggestions for how and when to give out the emergency ballots and addresses cost, logistics and security. If you are in a jurisdiction or state that uses touch screen voting machines, then we strongly urge you to forward this report to your election officials and request emergency paper ballots.
From the report
"How can we prevent long lines from disenfranchising voters in this year's election?"
...The 2004 and 2006 general elections in Maryland were accompanied by very long lines, with voters in some locations waiting for hours to vote. Many left without voting and were thereby disenfranchised. This year's hotly contested presidential race is expected to cause a record turnout at the polls in November.
"The formation of polling place lines depends on the interplay among thenumber of voters, the number of voting machines, and the time each votertakes to vote. It is a process similar to that which occurs on highwaysduring rush hour. Traffic flows smoothly as long as traffic density islow. As volume increases, traffic gradually slows until, at someconcentration, it locks up and cars accumulate into long lines that can take hours to clear.
Physicist William Edelstein has applied mathematical queuing simulation to voting dynamics in Maryland. Dr. Edelstein studied an averageprecinct with 10 voting machines and 1500 actual voters (a turnout of75%). He found that if each voter takes an average of 4.6 minutes tovote, all precincts will have wait times of more than 15 minutes at somepoint during Election Day and 0.1% of precincts will experience waittimes of more than an hour.
But small variations in voting times can cause large changes in wait times. An average voting time of 5 minutes would mean that 10% ofprecincts would have a wait time of more than an hour at some pointduring the day, and a voting time of 6.3 minutes would cause wait timeslonger than 2 hours in nearly all precincts."