Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I know that everyone is on the Election Commission's back right now

And I hate to join them. However, is there not room in the budget for them to hire a full-time webmaster?

Here we are, seven weeks out from the largest ballot in the history of the county, and with new voting machines to boot, and when you go to their site, NOTHING is up about the August 3 election.

Folks, if you want your voters to be knowledgeable, this needs to happen. Period.

I know, John Harvey is on their collective asses night and day; however, it's not all unjustified. Look, I like the Election Commission, I've known all 3 of the Democrats for years, and I hate to bitch about this (when I could be bitching about something else!).

If we're going to begin to fix this broken system, we have to A) make sure they have the resources and people to do their jobs, B) make sure that their people are trained to do these jobs and C) make sure that, if they have all that, that the jobs get done.

I suspect A) is more the culprit than anything else, but they still need help.


John Harvey said...

The problem with the election commission is they don't believe there are any problems. I haven't got any axe to grind with any of the members of the election commission, Republican or Democrat. However, they are supposed to be ensuring that things are done properly and they have failed miserably. I am simply pointing out where the problems are. Instead of thanking me for pointing out where the problems are, they have rewarded me for finding the problems by disabling the "write-in" capabilities in the upcoming election to make things harder for me. I have been discussing this problem with a lawyer and may wind up going to Chancery Court to get things set right.

Here are some of the things that I think are wrong with the election commission:
1. Attitude - this comes from the top all the way down to the clerks. Go to the counter and ask one question they don't necessarily want to answer and you'll get the surly attitude. Try asking one of the clerks why they didn't purge the ENTIRE list of 12500 dead voters the state sent them. Yep, Ms Attitude will probably tell you like she told me, "how would you feel if you showed up to vote and we said you were dead?" Duh! My response was - "if I were dead, I wouldn't show up!"
2. Incompetence - some of the people who work there can't even file things properly. They should all have to learn the ABC song. A news reporter told me he had never seen such a cluster when he went to pull records. They didn't have things neatly and alphabetically filed, they had boxes that had to be rummaged through and when he wanted to take the time to go through them (here comes the attitude), they didn't have time! Another issue is the website. It is screwy to say the least. Then there is the data they extract or maintain. Someone needs to learn relational database theory. Normalization would be another nice thing to take a quick look at (3rd level at least). Everytime they send out an extract, they use a different layout. STANDARDIZE THE REPORTS AND USE RELATIONAL TABLES!!!!!!!!!!!
3.Laziness - At a commission meeting one of the clerks was asked if she had purged the 500 names the commercial appeal had sent over (dead voters) and she said she hadn't had time.
4. Cronyism - good old govt patronage is alive and well at the EC from Greg Duckett to James Johnson to the clerks. James Johnson is a nice guy, but I don't think he knows much.
5. Bad system design - Giveing one party sway over the other is bogus. The two Republicans claim they have tried for years to get the ruling Democrats to purge the vote. My response is that if I were on that commission, I would be so disruptive they would have to do something. I would call press conferences, I would try to get the Republican party to file a lawsuit, whatever it took, I would do.

Having said all this, I don't plan to go away. I will be checking on the data as often as possible and notifying the public of my findings. Additionally, I have now obtained the Tipton County voter database and it will be folded into the search capabilities of

On another note, I am starting to blog each candidates race at The first race is County Mayor and there are already a few comments up there.

polar donkey said...

I've got problems with the Election Commission too. I went and paid my $35 for a voter database. The lady who I spoke to and paid made it clear about the information I wanted. So I go back several days later (WTF? you're just burning a disk.) and get my disk. Our data guy loads up the disk and what do you know part of the information is missing. The data guy calls the election commission and asks where is the info. The lady says the commission doesn't include that info. The data guy says bullshit and how has he run the spreadsheets for candidates in all these other elections.
In another story, the election commission deliberately told prospective candidates wrong information or held them to different standards than other candidates. Now you can argue incompetence or corruption, I have my belief, but why does almost everything have to be fucking bullshit in this city and county. Besides clean water, wtf can we do right? No wonder we are in the bottom of almost everything.

John Harvey said...

And I thought I was upset at them?< G >

It's that attitude I was speaking of, coupled with incompetence. They believe they own that data and they can do what they please with it. People need to address these concerns to the Republican County Commissioners, sorry but the Democrats are in cahoots with Duckett and company and you won't get anything but lip service. You may not get anything but lip service from the Rs either though, come to think of it.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm looking into this, for example:

2-12-103(4) Before appointing county election commissioners, the members of the state election commission shall consult with the members of the general assembly serving each of the counties as to the persons to be appointed to the county election commissions.

2-11-103 and 104 lead me to believe that majority party for state election commission purposes means whichever has the most votes in the House and Senate combined; but 99+33=132, so a 66/66 split is possible.

Looking at 2-12-103, majority and minority could have different meanings at the county level, because third party status seems to be contemplated by (3). Perhaps you local mavens can tell me what the practice is.

Anonymous said...

AG Opinion No. 05-049 seems to gloss over this possibility by stating that:

"Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-12-103 provides that three members shall be members of the majority party and appointed by the members of the majority party on the State Election Commission. The remaining two members are to be members of the minority party and appointed by the members of the minority party on the State Election Commission."

In practice, that means all counties have the same party in control. Is this the case? If majority and minority could have different meanings at the county level, I have not run across a statute for defining those words at the county level.

dwayneearl said...

Proported problems with "Attitude and incompetence" are minor league John Harvey, compared to your approach of posting PUBLICLY on your website social security numbers and dates of birth for "dead voters" - whether alive or dead, you, a LAWMAN, set up a system INVITING identity theft of these registered voters. You have the audacity to criticize ANYONE else's system after this gross negligence and disrespect for citizens' privacy? Give me a break!

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