Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great Observation #1

Whether the rumor is true or not...I'm getting some really great observations and opinions on the inconsistencies in our current voting process and the potential for fraud which currently exists. Here is one of those observations:

Anonymous to me
show details 8:08 AM (1 hour ago)

Reply

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Rumor Quash #1":

Well, I might as well chime in here. Everyone really should calm down, because if you want a reform minded, ethical Democrat, Republican (or Other) to run or represent this City, then that isn't happening until we resolve the voting issues.

As an aside, I met someone named Susan Bernecker who ran in JP against Giambelluca a long time ago who claimed that she and Richard Angelico did a live investigative report on WDSU from a warehouse guarded by Harry Lee's guys and showed how machines could be and had been easily manipulated to change returns there and fix an election. That was in JP. To my surprise there is actually a wiki page of some kind on her:
http://viswiki.com/en/Susan_Bernecker

In Orleans, I will just throw a few observations out. (1) I do remember news reports about the local registrar for Orleans, Sandra Wilson (a PhD by the way) taking the lists of purged voters after Katrina and supposedly faxing and mailing forms to the residents back to where they were outside NO to ensure that they would not be purged. Supposedly from a list of like 8000-9000 or so maybe a couple hundred may have finally been actually purged. I think this happened again on 2008, though maybe differently, there was a list of inactive voters published and basically someone could call in and just give a new address, which I found kind of a remarkable way of doing things.

http://www.nola.com/archives/t-p/index.ssf?/base/news-29/1212644819114130.xml&coll=1

(2) I don't know if everyone agrees with this, but my observation has been (as someone who has voted both for and against her) that Mary Landrieu in her first two elections for Senator was losing very late, only to see a needed number of returns come in very late in the evening in her favor from the 9th Ward. The Landrieu team did not seem surprised. (3) The same goes for Bill Jefferson, though when he was losing to Cao, he did get a sudden rush of extremely late votes from the last 5% of precincts, that greatly narrowed his deficit. It seemed to me in the interviews that his team being interviewed on tv knew they would be close but would not have quite enough to pull it out, as though they knew exactly what numbers would be coming through. - I realize there is nothing nefarious necessarily about those last two items, it's just a pattern I've seen in Orleans elections. Indeed something similar happened in the Nagin/Mitch Landrieu election. If I had the wherewithal it would be great to run a study to compare elections affecting NO at the ~95% return stage vs. how they ended across the board and over a long period of time. It certainly seems to me that some precincts from the Ninth and occasionally Central City are held to the very end only to generate heavily titled results to one particular candidate.

Finally, talk to anyone who has worked as a poll worker in NO and they will tell you some of the practices that go on in some precincts, very sketchy enforcement of the rules or lack thereof.

14 comments:

adrastos said...

New Orleans *always* reports late in statewide election. Plus, there was a Senate investigation in 1997 after Mary's first race. The GOP controlled committee found no evidence of voter fraud. That seems to be an anecdote that this anonymous commenter forgot about.

I don't understand why folks with only public domain info remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Hi adrastos: just thought I'd check in. I'm anon here because frankly I'm new to the blogging thing. I should sign up for a handle I guess. - Yes, I remember the investigation at Jenkins' request as that was public info, I think. I also think it's just a pattern as you indicate, and has happened in other elections. But I think it's happened locally also, and it's not just "New Orleans" generally I would guess or think, but certain precincts repeatedly, and it seems like when the numbers do come in, they come in all at once and heavily for one candidate. I just think it would be interesting to really see which precincts, when it's happened, and who it's favored, or not if that's the case. These are just observations and comments. Thanks.

Puddinhead said...

Well, those precincts are among the more homogenous in the city, so it reasons they would be the most easily predictable, as well.

Clancy DuBos said...

Here's the poop on "late" precincts, and this has been the case for several decades:

The last precincts to come in during citywide elections in Orleans Parish EVERY TIME are those from eastern New Orleans and Algiers. Why? Because those are the most "remote" areas. Dating back generations, returns have been driven to the Criminal Court building at Tulane and Broad. Because Algiers and eastern N.O. are "remote," there developed a historic practice of bringing all the returns from "The East" to the 7th District Police Station (formerly on Read Boulevard near Joe Brown Park), and all those from Algiers to the Algiers Courthouse, and then driving ALL the returns from those respective parts of town to Criminal Court. I confirmed this years ago with folks in the clerk's office at Tulane and Broad, which is the local Elections Office. It's still the case. For that reason, the last returns to come in for any citywide race are those from eastern N.O. and Algiers. You can make book on it.

By the way, eastern N.O. may be mostly African-American, but it's also very middle class and does not necessarily vote the same way (depending on the election and the candidates) as the Lower 9. Algiers also has a black majority, but not as much as eastern N.O. Interestingly, Algiers and the East do not always vote the same way, depending again on the election and the candidates.

"Late" returns will always trigger conspiracy theories. Sometimes those theories are well founded. Sometimes they are just excuses by losing candidates.

Just sayin'.

Dambala said...

- "Late" returns will always trigger conspiracy theories. Sometimes those theories are well founded. Sometimes they are just excuses by losing candidates.

Now that's a pregnant paragraph.

One question though...with the electronic voting machines...aren't the votes distributed over IP or phone lines now? Or are they still physically tallied and brought by vehicle to Tulane and Broad?

Cause I have a tech guy giving me some really, really interesting scenarios in my mailbox.

Clancy DuBos said...

Dambala,

Good question. I honestly don't know for certain how the votes get to Criminal Court deze dayz, but I will check ASAP and let you know.

Clancy DuBos said...

Although I don't know for sure, here's what I think happens:

The machines at each precinct are opened after voting ends and the results are printed out and posted for public viewing at each precinct site. The commissioner in charge then is responsible for transporting a computer tape of some sort to Tulane and Broad, where the tape or disk is loaded into something (forgive my ignorance of technology) that reads and tabulates the results.

I will ask those in the know at the clerk's office ASAP and let you know exactly what the protocol is for getting returns to the courthouse and getting them counted.

Dambala said...

I'm actually trying to track that process myself. What I've learned so far has scared the hell out of me.

Anonymous said...

I acctually found the poll worker instructions somewhere in the Sec.of state website.. and it is frighting.

Yes.. poll workers open the machine.. push some button to make a few printed copies.. then they remove two "cartridges" (zip drives i think).. one is placed in an envelope and MAILED to Baton Rouge..
the other is hand carried to the parish election commisioner.. placed into a machine and "read".. somehow that data is transmitted to Baton Rouge for the election night returns.

I don't think the precinct level workers would have the technology to rig the "cartridges"..
but that is not to say that they can't sit there and "vote" for anyone who had not shown up that day.. That could explain the late result... they wait until very late in the day.. then begin casting votes for any voter who had not already signed in????

Dambala said...

Thats unlikely. The machines can be hacked much more easily than people pulling the lever for hundreds of voters.

mominem said...

Aren't poll watcher for any candidate supposed to be able to observe this whole process?

Anonymous said...

Just some notes:

Nagin won the runoff by apx. 5,300 votes.

Between the primary and the runoff total voting increased by just under 5,200 votes. Early voting increased by only apx. 700 votes and from what I can tell the LA SOS (which is what I'm looking at) does not break down absentee results from within precincts (though I think I remember those breakdowns back in the day in the TP, who knows where to find them now).

In the primary out of apx. 32,200 votes not going to Nagin or Landrieu, apx. 31,300 were split between Forman, Couhig and Boulet (apx. 29K between Forman & Couhig).

Now, between the primary and the runoff, Landrieu picked up apx. 22,600 votes, Nagin added apx. 17,900 votes.

Now I remember reading something in a few places about Couhig voters going disproportionally for Nagin considering that Couhig was conservative (though Couhig's dad did work for Dutch, right? Maybe that's a story for another day...)

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what I would call a "dry" precinct, one that would be a sort of control or vacuum, where maybe machine politics (for lack of a better term) would not hold sway.

If you look at Precinct 15/18E in the Primary, Couhig & Forman together tallied 358 votes (there were 19 "extras", of which there were 11 for Boulet), 647 total votes. In the runoff, Landrieu picked up 238 votes, Nagin 121 (though who knows who got what from whom). In other words in this precinct, which to me looks like the one that Couhig did the best percentage-wise of any precinct (27%), with little change in total vote (oddly enough, Couhig, Forman, Landrieu and Nagin had 628 votes in the primary sans the others, and Landrieu and Nagin had 629 votes in the runoff) Landrieu picked up the sizable 3rd and 4th place vote getters' votes by a near 2-to-1 margin.

So if Landrieu was trailing by apx. 10,000 in the primary, but could expect a 2-to-1 benefit from the apx. 29-31,000 Couhig/Forman (and maybe Boulet) voters in the runoff wouldn't or shouldn't that have meant everyone should have been expecting a virtual dead heat in the final?

This is all in the nature of a question, an inquiry, that's all.

Dambala said...

M,

yeah...as long as the machine is in a position to be watched...sure.

Anonymous said...

Just one more? A question for Mr. DuBus, if that's okay?

Re this from Mr. DuBos: "Good question. I honestly don't know for certain how the votes get to Criminal Court deze dayz, but I will check ASAP and let you know." "I will ask those in the know at the clerk's office ASAP and let you know exactly what the protocol is for getting returns to the courthouse and getting them counted."

I wrote this:" As an aside, I met someone named Susan Bernecker who ran in JP against Giambelluca a long time ago who claimed that she and Richard Angelico did a live investigative report on WDSU from a warehouse guarded by Harry Lee's guys and showed how machines could be and had been easily manipulated to change returns there and fix an election. That was in JP. To my surprise there is actually a wiki page of some kind on her:
http://viswiki.com/en/Susan_Bernecker
"

Mr. DuBos do you think you could ask Mr. Angelico if he remembers thi incident?

Because I am wondering if it is true and accurate, that account/

Because if it is, is it still going on - or is it still possible - in JP and other parishes, say Orleans?

Because have there been any changes in the machine procedures since then? No, I think?

And if the JPSO is the responsible office for holding and securing the machines in JP (uhm, someone may want to start asking about Mr. Broussard's suprise victory this last go round by the way...), then who is the responsible office in Orleans?

Civil Sheriff Valteau? How long has he been in office now?

Criminal Sheriff and former Morial CAO and former councilman Gusman? Do we really need to discuss various conflict of interest issues with him?

So again, is what happened to Ms. Bernecker and if so is what happened there still possible? And if so, why doesn't anyone report on it? Angelico got entree that time and no one has tried it since?