Friday, August 04, 2006

From ecstasy to agony

I left home around 10:30 after monitoring the Election Commission site for victorious judicial candidate Lee Coffee and victorious County Commissioner-elect Steve Mulroy, delirious that not only had they won, so had Steve Cohen, and, even better, so it appeared that several Democratic candidates were on their way to victory.

Arriving at the Palm Court, we were all too busy celebrating with the other bloggers to notice what was happening on the screen showing the returns. Around midnight, we repaired to the deck of Bosco's in continued celebration until around 1, when I received a call from my godfather Mike Kernell, who was telling me that Shep Wilbun, Otis Jackson, Vernon Johnson and Sondra Becton were all about to lose.

I asked him to repeat it, thinking he was watching a rerun of the 10 PM news; but it was true, as I learned to my horror when I got home. All had led by around 2000 votes with 25 precincts to go, there's no way they could have lost.

But they did.

I am absolutely devastated for Sondra Becton in particular, who deserved a FAR better fate. She has worked tirelessly for this seat, and this was her third shot at it and maybe her last, best chance to win this seat.

I am also sad for Shep Wilbun, whose chance for redemption was maddeningly snatched away from him at the end. He is a good and decent man and deserves another opportunity to show what leadership skills he has.

In a nonpartisan race, I want to extend my condolences to Regina Morrison Newman; I am as shocked as anyone else that she did not win. She would have been a terrific judge, and I hope will be in the future.

Now, back to victory for a moment.

Despite the fact that Nikki Tinker spent half a million dollars, and EMILY's LIST spent a quarter-million, Steve Cohen's impeccable record of service to his community carried the day on Thursday, and I humbly ask all Democrats and independents to rally behind him for the November elections.

Now is a time to reflect on the just ended campaign, take a week off, and prepare for November. For Memphis and the 9th District, there is no more important act we can take than to ensure Steve Cohen's election to Congress.

Let us also reflect on the importance of Steve Mulroy's victory in County Commission District 5. For the first time in the modern, partisan era, The Democrats are in charge of the County. His unceasing efforts on the campaign trail turned this race around; even my godfather says Mulroy is now the king of door-to-door! That's saying something.

More later, it's time for rest and reflection now.

What a night.


Mike said...

I'm told that the lasat returns to come in were from the Agricenter. Isn't that interesting.

Just saying.

Don Sandberg said...

I worked as an election inspector yesterday at 4 different polling places in Whitehaven. I worked from 6am until 11pm before the last one was able to turn in their results. I saw firsthand how things worked (and didn’t). All but one of the 24 machines in place worked well, and its problem was not related to the counting of ballots. Every machine was in constant use all day long, and lines as long as 50 people were not uncommon. The last voter in one of my precincts did not finish until 9:30, and most people took a long time to vote.

Many Democratic clerkship candidates lost yesterday in agonizingly close elections. It seems suspicious indeed that late results appeared to swing the election, but speculating about rigged or tampered results is IRRELEVANT. Why? Because TRUE recounts can’t be done. All results are stored on memory cards, and the results are printed on thermal paper rolls. Voters have no way of knowing if who they voted for is actually counted on the machine they voted on. There is no separate independent audit of the machine possible.

Steve Mulroy (who is a voting rights expert), my wife Ann, and others have led the fight to require the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) for the new Diebold election machines. The Shelby County Democratic Party supported this push; their combined efforts convinced the Shelby County Election Commission and the Shelby County Commission to recommend and approve funding for VVPAT.

The stumbling block to implementation at this point is Brook Thompson, the State Coordinator of Elections. He must certify the equipment necessary to implement VVPAT. It might be more effective for us to use any influence we have with state legislators and senators (many of whom we personally helped get elected) to “encourage” Mr. Thompson to certify these results…he is in an appointed position, reporting to the Secretary of State, Riley Darnell.

In elections this close any “recount” currently possible can only be a review of results recorded in the computer and printed out. There is no way to do a manual recount to verify 100% accuracy of the results. There is no mechanism in place by which to do a true audit or individual vote recount without implementation of something such as the VVPAT.

vibinc said...

Thanks for the comment on DK.

Cheers (or Advil, whichever is most relevant)



WellInformedLady said...

Juvenile Court Judge Race Summary:
Jane Chandler never attended one debate or one forum. She never stated a platform. It is so wrong that she got 12% for doing nothing but throwing her name in the hat. As far as Earnestine Hunt Dorse goes it is a well known fact that she is racists - not only against whites, but fair blacks. She spread lies about Veronica Colemand being white and if a black person was to vote for her they would be a traitor. But, more importantly 6 sample ballots were being given out at the polls. Only one, of course, was the true official democratic ballot which showed all of the people that the democratic people had endorsed. Veronica Coleman was the democratic endorsee as well as the commercial appeals endorsee. But, she was only on two of the six sample ballots. The voters were totally confused. I thought that the name of the game was to select the best candidate for the job and then the party was suppose to support them in their efforts. That way the party would have the best chance for a win. The Republican's only had one weak candidate in opposition of their endorse and they had only one ballot. As long as the democrats allow this type of behavior and don't police themselves they will continue to hand deliver important political positions to the republicans. I bet neither Chandler nor Hunt-Dorse have any remorse about this victory that they assisted in. If this last statement is true, then it is a crying shame. Because this whole community lost a wonderful opportunity of having a caring person in an important position that would try to better the lives of our children and would have tried to heal the racial division that is so pervasive in this community. Instead this wonderful lady has been abandoned by her own racial ethnic group. The irony of this whole situation can not be missed.

LeftWingCracker said...


While I certainly agree with the premise (proven by the numbers) that Hunt-Dorse and Chandler being in the race crippled Veronica's chances for election (and, yes, I can hear Earnestine & Fred saying that if Veronica had stayed out, Earnestine would have won), I am noth thrilled with the personal attacks on them.

I think Hunt-Dorse ran because she thought she could win, but I personally think Chandler was put in the race by the Goopers to siphon off votes from Coleman and/or Hunt-Dorse.

I, too, am disappointed that Person won, and sample ballots are a problem. There were 10-15 of them, all with different people on each.

These ballots, frankly, are done with one purpose in mind: to generate revenue for the creator of the ballot.

Imagine if there had only been the Democratic and Republican ballots; the judicial races could well have been a LOT different.

WellInformedLady said...

Let me apologize for my previous remark. I can see now that some may view it as an attack. Rumors are rumors and may or may not be true. I am new to the political arena and I was so surprised and appauled by what I saw on many fronts during this election. I doubt that I will ever be politically active again. The taste in my mouth is too sour. I guess, I had too much of an idealogic concept of how the political process works instead of a realistic one. Please edit my previous comment regarding the racist remark.

Mike said...

The EC told the candidates that the paper-trail version of the Diebold machines wasn't available in time.

I hope they included a trade-in clause in their purchase contract, or that the paper trail can be retrofitted, because otherwise you know the county isn't going to be spending the money anytime soon to replace these brand new machines.

Don Sandberg said...


VVPAT is an add-on feature currently available from Diebold. The money for the system has been appropriated by the County Commission, but official approval at the state level by Brook Thompson has not happened yet. We exprect approval by the 2008 election cycle.