Who Really Won?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

VoteCobb Update

As you might have read, there is widespread confusion among BoE's about the definition of "random" when referring to the "random 3%" hand recount required by law. Many officials seem to believe that choosing which precincts to hand recount based on the number of voters is 'random.' Cuyahoga limited the selection of 'random' precincts to those that had 550 votes and over, which effectively eliminated approximately 90% of precincts from consideration.

One county put the names/numbers of all precincts in a bowl and pulled out precincts to recount -- that's random.

Observers have faced a range of attitudes, from pleasantness and willingness to answer questions to outright obstruction and hostility. Some are being threatened with expulsion if they talk to the counting teams [note: so far, I do not think anyone has been expelled] creating a very tense and negative experience for those volunteers who want to exercise their right under law to observe the process.

These volunteers deserve our thanks and gratitude for stepping up.

Ballot security is a big issue.We're discovering that ballots are being stored in unsealed boxes in locked broom closets, or in shelves in a locked lunchroom, open to all employees who lunch there every day. There are deeply disturbing reports coming out of Greene County, about unlocked offices and intimidation techniques including: phone calls and slashed tires [reported to the local police].


Vote totals are changing, with extra votes for Kerry and Bush being found (not huge amounts) but a new vote total doesn't trigger a full hand recount. Only a discrepancy between the 3% hand recount and computer count can trigger a full hand recount.

In Montgomery County, the hand recount of 3% found an additional 8 votes for Kerry. Because the hand and computer counts matched, though, the remaining 97% of the ballots were run thru the computer. An additional 12 votes for Kerry were found.

3% hand = extra 8
97% computer = extra 12

It seems obvious that a full hand recount would have discovered more than just 12 new votes for Kerry.

Day Four of the Ohio Recount brought more tales of ballot prepping (to allow the hand count and the machine count to match) and more tales of not-so-random selection of voting precincts. Observers are taking copious notes, and we are posting initial reports by Coordinators and Observers as they come in. Take a moment to read about Fairfield County, which will reconvene on Saturday to do a hand recount of the 3% with a new machine (the same situation Monroe County faced on Tuesday). Nine more counties will begin their counts on Friday, with Defiance County scheduled for Saturday and Trumbull County for Monday. For now, all reports can be found at http://www.votecobb.org/press/