Who's your choice for Mayor in 2015?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thanks again to Ken Jobe, Ernie Freeman and Lang Wiseman, here's the video from Fox13

It was a lot of fun, but mighty quick:

YO! I'm going to be on TV again tonight, FOX 13 News at 10!

I am on for a short segment of FOX 13 News at 10 with anchor Ernie Freeman and Shelby GOP chair Lang Wiseman regarding partisan County primaries; Lang suggests we get rid of them, I make a case for keeping them, with a twist.

I don't know if a video will go on their website or not, so either watch or set your DVRs for 10 PM FOX 13 News, OK?

Besides, if you are a regular reader, you KNOW how I feel already!

Aunt B has a new book out!!!

We've always known Aunt B to be a terrific writer about anything she chooses to write about, whether at Tiny Cat Pants or at Pith In The Wind.

However, she has written a book of ghost stories about the Nashville area, titled A City of Ghosts.  For more information, go here.  What? You want to know where to BUY it?  Ok, then you need to go right here!

Congratulations to Betsy, who is a terrific writer and whom I am proud to know!

Crooks and Liars looks at our mishandled election

Amazing stuff they have, there is growing support for trashing the election and starting over with NEW MACHINES THAT PROVIDE A PAPER TRAIL.  That the GOP-dominated EC does not want it lends credence to the idea that our elections ARE NOT SECURE.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

News from Regina Newman on Voting Rights events

Upcoming events/info on voting rights in Shelby County:
 
 
1.    Thursday, September 2nd, at 6:00 pm: 
Informational meeting at Bloomfield Baptist Church, 123 South Parkway West.  Anyone who had any voting issues in the August election is encouraged to attend.
 
2.    Tuesday, September 14th, at 6:00 pm: 
March on Election Commission downtown.
 
3.   SHELBY COUNTY VOTER PROTECTION RIGHTS FUND (SCVPR) 
A bank account has been established at First Tennessee to accept contributions for the expenses of the lawsuit/experts contesting the August election.  Checks can be deposited at any First Tennessee branch.
 
For further information or to supply an affidavit if you cannot attend the events, contact 901-265-8124.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rebuild Government Is Going on KWAM 990 Every Thursday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2010

Contact: Bonny Kinney
             Communications Director
             Rebuild Government
             (901) 275-5500

Supporters of the New Charter Hit the Airwaves

Memphis, TN – Rebuild Government is excited to announce that it's taking its message to the airwaves! Beginning Thursday, September 2nd, you can hear the "Take Back Our Government" show every Thursday from 8-9 a.m. on KWAM 990.

We will talk about how the new charter can make government better for everyone in our community, regardless of where they live. We are excited that more and more people are joining our campaign to create a more efficient government that eliminates waste, guarantees strong ethics, removes duplication, and powers our economy.

On this weekly radio program, we will talk with citizens who care about the future of our community as they decide how they will vote in the November referendum. We hope you will tune in to learn more about the opportunity for a new charter and a new government!
Memphis and Shelby County citizens will vote separately on the new charter November 2, 2010.

Rebuild Government is made up of concerned citizens who organized in 2009. The purpose of Rebuild Government is to create public awareness and foster a county-wide conversation about the need for a new government. You can learn more about Rebuild Government at www.rebuildgovernment.org.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gee, who could have seen THIS coming??

Well, Jim Strickland and Shea Flinn, for two.  However, few of their colleagues on the Council wanted to prepare for the possibility that the City would LOSE their appellate case and have to pay MCS the money that had been promised.

So what happened? The State Supremes DENIED the City's appeal, and so we have to pay 57 Million to MCS.  I wonder how many Miami-Dade cronies that money Kriner Cash can buy with that money?

I can't WAIT to hear what the other Councilors have to say about this, and y'all are going to have to ANSWER for it.  Well, except for Strickland and Flinn, because, after all, THEY TOLD YOU THIS MIGHT HAPPEN AND WE NEEDED TO PREPARE FOR IT.

Oy, I'm getting a headache.

PRESS CONFERENCE AT 11 AM REGARDING LAWSUIT AGAINST SCEC

A PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25TH, AT 11:00 AM ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE COURTHOUSE AT 140 ADAMS AVENUE.

AUGUST CANDIDATES FORMALLY SUE DUE TO

IMPROPRIETIES IN ELECTION


Ten countywide candidates in the August 5th election have formally filed an election contest in Shelby County Chancery Court requesting injunctive relief. The ten plaintiffs in the suit include certain non-partisan judicial candidates as well as certain Democratic nominees, all of whom competed in the County General Election earlier this month.  Based on an inspection and investigation of the Shelby County Election Commission (SCEC) and of August 5th election records, the suit claims that the election process was incurably flawed to the extent that the citizens of Shelby County were denied a free and equal election as required by Article I of the Tennessee Constitution.

The suit alleges widespread irregularities, improprieties, discrepancies and voting problems so significant as to have affected the outcome of the August election and to have caused the election results to beincurably uncertain. Already known is the massive error already acknowledged by the SCEC and described by the SCEC itself as “unacceptable” where invalid and inaccurate voter eligibility records were provided to polls on Election Day potentially affecting 5,400 voters and turning away thousands. 

“This lawsuit is intended to assure that the OTHER substantial and appalling improprieties which occurred in the August election are brought to light, investigated and resolved for all citizens and for every future election. The handling and mishandling of the August election by the SCEC is an embarrassment to our county and a violation of every principle on which our country was founded.  Regardless of race, party or gender, every citizen is entitled to better and is entitled to an unimpeded and transparent voting process. Our upcoming November election, including the vote on consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County, is important to many, and we intend to do everything in our power, with the approval of the courts, to assure that every citizen’s vote counts. None of us should tolerate incompetence or impropriety.”

Examples of problems from the suit:

1.    Votes Without Voters: According to SCEC records, the Participating Voters List for the August election includes 176,119 voters.  Without explanation, the Certified Statement of Votes Cast shows 182,921 votes as being cast in the August 2010 election.  Thus, according to SCEC’s own records, 6,802 more votes were cast than individuals who participated in the August 2010 election.

2.    Missing Vote Batches: Unexplained errors in vote count are reflected by the voting machines.  Vote batches are numbered sequentially based on when they are uploaded from the voting machines, and all early vote uploads to the central tabulator should reflect an upload date of August 5.  However, two of the batches mysteriously reflect an upload date of August 12 (the first day of inspection) –yet they remain sequentially listed with the other early vote batches that were all uploaded on August 5.    Further, twenty batches of vote uploads are no longer in the system at all (vote batches 245-265) with no record of them at this time. The missing batches potentially contain between 6,000 and 18,000 votes.

3.    Provisional Ballots:  Errors were committed with provisional ballot counting.  Eight entries appear in the GEMS software audit log at SCEC stating that provisional ballots were manually entered on August 12, 2010, but only one entry appears in the batch entry, and according to the poster log, 13 batches were manually entered.  Plus, only about 70% of the provisional ballots cast are being credited as valid.

4.    Turnout Inconsistencies: Inconsistencies exist in the SCEC’s daily turnout figures for early voting sites.  During early voting, poll watchers for candidates documented voter turnout at specific early sites, yet the turnout figures subsequently released by SCEC for each day were inexcusably inconsistent.  Final voter count taken after the last voter voted each day should have exactly matched the actual count released from the SCEC.  In some instances, the count was off by as much as thirty (30) votes in a day.  Such widespread and pervasive inconsistencies occurred at the twenty satellite voting locations over the approximate two-week early voting period as to make the results of the August 5th election incurably uncertain. 

5.    Poll Tapes:  Poll tapes from each voting machine with vote results are to be signed by poll workers and maintained by SCEC in accordance with law (TCA 2-8-108).  During the first day of the post-election inspection at the SCEC Operations Center, two large trash bags were found containing crumpled, but original signed poll tapes, without reasonable explanation from the SCEC except that they were being thrown away.  Such election documentation is required to be preserved by law.  On the other hand, many poll tapes being kept by SCEC to allegedly verify the certified vote totals lack proper signatures and verification, and others are just missing, making it impossible to confirm vote totals.

6.    Unsealed/Unsecured Equipment:  Voting machines, tabulators, memory cards and other voting apparatuses used in the election were seen at the SCEC Operations Center and were not secured or stored in a manner to protect them from manipulation. Many voting machines used in the election were not sealed and had not been sealed since Election Day, August 5th.  Multiple voting machines were not returned to the SCEC until August 12, 2010, a week after the election in violation of law.  There were voting machines running at the SCEC between August 12th through at least August 17th, all open and able to accept votes – more than a week after the election.  Memory cards holding votes were in open boxes throughout the facility. 

7.    The Ghost Race:   The election machines chosen by SCEC affix an ID to each race being run.  One ID number is found on the GEMS report and poll tapes and a corresponding but different ID is in the MDB tables.  For example, the Sheriff’s race is ID 92 in the MDB tables and is identified as race 408 in the export to GEMS.  According to the MDB and GEMS tables, there are a total of 105 races.  However, only 104 races were visible to the public while voting, with one race existing but hidden from view.  In the MDB tables, this “Ghost Race” is designated Race 105, with GEMS export ID number 440.  This “Ghost Race” was created on June 11 and remained in the system until after the August election.  It is coded so as to be hidden on both touch screen (early voting and at the polls) ballots and absentee ballots.  It does not appear to be designed to capture votes entered by voters – but it can be used to transfer, delete or temporarily store votes.  The race contains no candidate and is marked “nocount” which will cause any votes in this race to be omitted from vote count reports.
The existence of a “Ghost Race” is similar to a dummy bank account or a second set of log books.  It allows votes to be moved around without reflecting transactions in the audit data.  The most troubling aspect is that it only appeared on ballot styles 2, 10, and 80 – which encompass 54 primarily Democratic precincts.

8.    Obstructionism:  On August 17, 2010 during inspection, employees of the SCEC were stopped while taking computers to their cars.  SCEC represented to the inspection team that the computer memories had been wiped clean, and the computers were being given away due to their age – per a ‘policy’ of the SCEC.  However, upon examination, the computer memories were not wiped clean; voter files were on the machines and the machines’ memories indicated they had been accessed multiple times in the wee hours of August 12, 2010, before candidate inspection teams arrived that same day.

9.    Vote Swap: Numerous incidences of “vote swap” were recorded during the election, where voters voted for one candidate by touching the appropriate candidate’s name on the electronic touch-screen, only to have another candidate’s name appear.  The vote swap issue was consistent and pervasive throughout the election period and SCEC did not cure the problem. 

10. Party Identifiers:  Another distinct problem during the election was “party identifiers” being erroneously placed next to candidate names on voting screens.  For example, numerous reports exist of non-partisan candidates for judicial elections having “party identifiers” labeling them as Republicans or Democrats next to their names.  Such political identifiers are improper and significantly impact judicial races, which are non-partisan.

11. Voting Unavailable: In both May and August elections, some polls opened late – as much as an hour and a half – or had voting machines which were inoperable for periods of time while voters were turned away.  The SCEC denied all requests to keep the respective poll(s) open longer to make up that down time. Some voters attempted to vote 3 times.

12. The Wrong Early Voting Database:  SCEC has acknowledged loading the wrong early voter database in the Electronic Poll Books (EPBs) used for August 5th, potentially resulting in 5,400 voters being told they already voted.  Affidavits have been collected evidencing voters turned away without being given options and/or threatened with prosecution. Some affidavits have been turned over to TBI, which is also investigating.  The SCEC was correct when it stated that this error was “unacceptable”.  Infringement on a person’s right to vote is not a minor matter; it is illegal. Candidate inspection teams have thus far been denied sufficient data or documentation to even verify that that SCEC used the May 2010 early voter database rather than a larger early voter database which would have affected more voters, as some voter statements would indicate. The error itself was not corrected on Election Day, since SCEC allegedly advising their poll workers how to handle the issue, is not the same as not having had the issue. Voters were told they had already voted, and the voters’ reluctance to try to vote, after being told that they already cast a vote in the General Election was undoubtedly magnified by the arrest of two individuals in July 2010, who were charged with voting twice in the 2006 election.  The media publicized these arrests throughout Shelby County, and specifically included quotes from members of the SCEC.  This public decision to prosecute immediately prior to the election, after a lapse of four years, unquestionably had a chilling effect on voters that was magnified by the use of the incorrect voter file.
******

The lawsuit requests that the Court immediately restrain SCEC from destroying, erasing or disposing of any voter information or data from the August election, seize all election paraphernalia, and that an exact copy of all computer data and hard drives be preserved for examination by the Court.  It further requests that the actions of the SCEC for the November election be monitored. 



Contact:
Regina Morrison Newman
901-287-1800

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MMHF 2010 is only 10 days away

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Carol Chumney!

Carol can be found at CarolChumneyOnline.com; her opening post is a good take on the Election Commission problems, go check it out!

BREAKING NEWS: TEP asks Fullilove to WITHDRAW the NDO

Hat tip to Bianca Phillips of the Flyer, the full report is at GRAND DIVISIONS.  I'm stunned.

AC flip-flopped on this? Gee, who could have seen THAT coming? /snark

Again, Ware's idiocy is expected, but Morrison's in trouble, folks.  He had a LOT of support outside District 1 three years ago, and I am willing to say that 75% of that just vanished.

As Daffy Duck Once Said, Let's Try That One Again

MOVED TO THE TOP

From the G-Town Democrats:


Save the Date: Wednesday, August 25, 6:30 PM

Mike McWherter, Tennessee’s Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate, will be the guest speaker at the Germantown Democratic Club Meeting. The meeting will be held at the Cordova Public Library, 8475 Trinity Road in Cordova.
Everyone is welcome! For additional information call club president, Dick Klenz at 756-4165

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Today was Tiger Football Media Day


This was the crowd at the Elna Roane Field House as Tiger football fans got autographs from U of M football players and coaches.  This is Coach Larry Porter's first year as a head coach, and I hope Tiger fans will cut him some slack as he rebuilds a program that Tommy West had improved, then let deteriorate.

I'm not hopeful they will win their opener on the road at Mississippi State.  I believe that their second game at East Carolina, the conference opener, will be crucial for the season.  Win that, and they are 1-0 in Conference USA, and give Tiger fans a reason to come out for the home opener the following week against MTSU.  (Note: UM has not beaten MTSU since the 1950s.  Seriously. Oh, and MTSU is the pre-season favorite to win the Sun Belt, the conference Tiger fans look down upon, and whose teams did REALLY well against UM toward the end of the West era.  Full Disclosure: I am an A-State fan of longstanding.)

I digress.

Tiger fans will be looking for more disciplined play this year, something I fully expect to see under the new coach.  They're going to need it.

Coach Porter has a mission, and that is to win Conference USA in Football.  It won't happen this year, but it MUST happen soon, because if we can't win C-USA, how the hell can we compete in a BCS league? It is a Catch-22, because the Tigers would find it easier to compete with the extra revenue that a BCS league would bring.  However, they won't get there if they can't win the league they are in.

As a Memphian, I root for the Tigers as much as possible (but NEVER against ASU, sorry) and I want them to win, especially since I have lived within walking distance of campus for a quarter of a century.  This is arguably the most critical period in Tiger football history, but it won't happen overnight.

However, it had better happen within the next five years, or we may have to decide if it is worth it to try and compete in football at all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What part of CIVIL RIGHTS IS CIVIL RIGHTS Does Bill Morrison Fail to Understand?

You know, I have always supported Councilor Bill Morrison, I've gone to fundraisers for him and generally been an advocate for him.

So, why the hell did THIS happen? (from Grand Divisions):



But that didn't happen at the first reading. Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware objected to the inclusion of the ENDO and threatened to vote against the entire consent agenda if it was not voted on separately.


After the ENDO was knocked out of the consent agenda, Councilman Bill Morrison took advantage of the situation to introduce a substitute ordinance that gutted the inclusive ENDO. His substitute ordinance contained no provisions protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. His substitute proposed protections based on non-merit factors that are already explicitly defined in current municipal, state, and federal law.

Before the moment that Morrison introduced his substitute ordinance, no one on the Council or the public had been given an opportunity to review the ordinance. He acted in secret and broke a campaign pledge he made when he ran for office to support lgbt-inclusive workplace protections.


What the hell? No, really, Bill, what the hell?  Fortunately your motion was thoroughly defeated and the  ENDO (Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance) was approved on the first reading, with two more to go.  I know you represent Frayser and Raleigh, but come on here, you got a LOT of support from TEP, and you back-stabbed them.

CIVIL RIGHTS IS CIVIL RIGHTS.

I expect that from an old hack like Ware, who is worthless and who hopefully will get run out of office by Scott Banbury next year (if she's not indicted first), but not from YOU, Bill.  You've always appeared to be progressive, and lots of us supported you over Antonio Parkinson, so what the hell?  Who got to you?

You see, folks, gay people may never have had water hoses shot at them, (or been shot at, PERIOD), but discrimination against them DOES exist, and it needs to stop.  NOW.  As a dear friend of mine says, this is not about special rights, this is about the BILL OF RIGHTS.  The ENDO must pass, and I don't care if it harelips every jackleg preacher in town.

At the end of the day, whether you like it or not, being gay is who they ARE, not what they DO.  That's why this matters, and why it is insane for people who understand discrimination all too well to say, oh no, not for the gays.  that, in fact, is obscene, all things considered.

Morrison, you got some splainin' to do, and fast.  2011 is only next year, and you may well have provoked something you didn't want if you can't explain this properly.  Don't tell me that "this was about protecting business"; this is about CIVIL RIGHTS, pal.

You don't want to be on the wrong side of that, do you?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Um, no, this is NOT a good idea, folks

Matt Kuhn, former SCDP Chair and aide to outgoing County Mayor Joe Ford, who has been in politics a while now, argues in the Flyer that partisan primaries should be eliminated in Big Shelby:


I must agree with local Republican leadership, which has recently indicated a willingness to dispense with local primaries for county office. As a former chairman of the Democratic Party, I'd implore both parties not to request a call for primaries for local county office. It isn't mandated, and 43 of 95 counties in Tennessee do not conduct county primaries. Shelby County needs to join the list.
That may be an inconceivable statement for a former Democratic Party chairman to make, but local partisan primaries in a state that has an open primary system just doesn't work. Even if we had a closed primary system, partisan primaries for local office are an inefficient way for political parties to select candidates.
Please don't misunderstand me. We don't need to return to the smoke-filled backroom to choose our candidates. What is important is that spending roughly a million dollars every two years to allow five to 10 percent of the voting public to decide the two parties' candidates is a waste of taxpayers' money as well as of local political leaders' time.


At the risk of being called an old hack, which, well, I AM, I have to say, why?  Surely Matt remembers why the GOP called for them in the first place, which many of us fought against years ago: They did it because they had the NUMBERS.  Now that they don't, now the GOP appeals to a "higher calling"?

Bullshit.

I can tell you exactly what will happen if we eliminate county primaries: In each race you'll have 5-6 African Americans, 1-2 whites, and the good ole boys will stay in power forever, and the plantation will continue unabated.  Now, I don't think for a second that is what Matt has in mind, but I am telling you that is what will be the result, because that's how it was in the pre-1994 days.

Only three African-Americans were elected countywide under the old system, and all only lasted ONE TERM each: Michael Hooks as Assessor, Minerva Johnican as Criminal Court Clerk, and John Ford as General Sessions Court Clerk.  It was only under the current system that Democrats and African-Americans began to break through, beginning with Rita Clark, then AC Wharton and now Cheyenne Johnson and Otis Jackson (sigh, you can't win them all, I guess).

In a county that will soon officially become majority African-American once the Census figures are in, returning to a non-partisan system is good ole boy heaven.  It will ensure that the powerful keep their positions and inflate the influence of the Poplar Corridor way beyond their percentage of the population.

In short, it's ANTI-little "d" democratic, even more than it is anti- BIG D Democratic, and that's what makes this idea disreputable, no matter the source.

As I have said before, if you want to get the elections right, change the Tennessee Constitution to combine ALL primaries for August and ALL General elections for November.  Thus, you eliminate a superfluous election in May yet allow the parties to pick candidates across the board, allowing for party-building at every level.

Matt's a good guy, always has been, but he is simply wrong here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

If you stayed up to see Informed Sources, Thank You

If you couldn't, I am checking with Richard Ransom to see if they are going to put the video up on WREG.COM.  We have received good response from those who saw it, many wishing it could have gone 30 minutes.

If the video does go up, I will link to it here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Cracker Appears on Informed Sources TONIGHT!

Yes, it's true.  Your humble Cracker, the face that cracked a thousand lenses, will be on Your Voice, Your Vote: Informed Sources with WREC600's Andrew Clarksenior, NewsChannel 3 anchor Richard Ransom and everyone's favorite Watchdog, Mike Matthews, this Sunday at 10:35 immediately following NewsChannel 3 at 10.

We taped this afternoon, and I hope I sounded coherent, I guess we'll all find out Sunday night, please watch it!  Who knows, they may even have me back!

Friday, August 13, 2010

SCEC Report - Part 2

Regina follows up her earlier report:


Since I signed into the Ops Center at 4:10, a constant battle of control was waged between the County attorney sent out to represent the Election Commission and the inspection team.  I waded in as the plaintiff on site, and participated in the arguments on numerous idiotic objections raised by the SCEC attorney to each and every request made by the inspection team.  A detailed letter of agreement had been prepared between Van Turner and John Ryder this week, but unfortunately both were unavailable today and this evening.  Regardless of the specification in the agreed letter as to what would be inspected, every request brought forth some type of stalling argument from the SCEC attorney. First he stalled until the IT staff went home, then he tried to use that to stall until Friday, then he threw a fit about Bev Harris' "yankee rudeness' in giving instructions, then he just got more ludicrous - and I am an attorney. 
 
After information was finally being downloaded onto disc with copies made for both the inspection team and the SCEC, one of the final matters was a request for the poster log.  Bill Giannini arrived just before this argument began.  The poster log is a text file (I don't presume to be an expert but this was the explanation the experts put forth).  The log keeps track of actions which could have been made to the system which would override vote totals.  David Cocke was stunned that such overrides were possible, but assured Mr. Settle, as the "dispute resolver" on site, that we needed a copy of the log.  The SCEC attorney consulted with Richard Holden again and announced that it was proprietary to Diebold and there was no way we were going to get it.  The experts explained that there was nothing proprietary about it - it was not programming, it was a text file.  Could we just look at it without even downloading it, before we wrapped up for the evening?  The experts searched their own computers and provided a sample of one for Mr. Settle to see.  He acknowledged that he saw nothing proprietary about it, but the SCEC attorney stood more than firm and negated all suggestions.  I, through David Cocke, suggested that Mr. Settle be allowed to look at the log without us (in legal terminology 'in camera"), so that he could make an even more reasoned decision based on the real thing. SCEC denied that request as well.  Nearly an hour was spent on this argument.  Ultimately, Mr. Settle ruled they should allow him to see it and they refused.  They stated they would contact Diebold Friday morning and if Diebold had no objection, they would let us see it Friday morning.  I said I wished I had a court reporter, but I believe that Susan from BB voting was recording the argument. 
 
It was determined through more argument that the server and back-up server would be unplugged, turned off and locked in the tabulation room, with seals placed on the doors.  Cardell verified that the servers were not hooked to anything.  They were turned off to prevent remote access just in case.  We then requested that the 2 trash bags we had found full of signed poll tapes also be sealed and placed in the tabulation room. This generated another histrionic fit and argument from the SCEC counsel.  A simple yes or no would have sufficed but he accused us of wanting more and more and more and we would be there all night.  The only thing keeping us there forever was that attorney.  Mr. Settle resolved that the bags would be put into the room and everything would be sealed and we would come back in the morning.  SCEC seemed fairly certain that they could contact Diebold between 8 and 9 am on Friday and get the answer. Van Turner arrived just as everything was resolved for the evening.
 
Servers were placed in the tabulation room, shut down and unconnected. The 2 trash bags of tapes were placed in the tabulation room. I tied knots in the tops and placed a seal on each and initialed the bags, which Susan videoed.  We then sealed the door with two seals, which I initialed and which Susan videoed.  The list of seal numbers was given to Mr. Settle. Several Sheriff's deputies had been called.  We agreed to return at 9 am Friday.  I left and arrived home around 11 pm.
 
Today, cooperation from the SCEC was non-existent, despite the law cited by their attorney in court on Monday and despite a letter of agreement regarding the inspection.  Many of the arguments between today's SCEC attorney and David Cocke, and I, became very heated. Most were simply delaying, frustrating and apparently we were expected to give up and leave - which did not happen.  Mr. Settle was frustrated as well and was as clear as he could be, which unfortunately fell on the deaf ears of the SCEC attorney. 
 
At no time, did I expect to become so involved in this situation or expend the time put in today, but the fact is that the process for the August election was tainted by alleged "mistakes' and problems. Tonight, I find it even more tainted by groundless refusals for public information to which the law grants us access.  If there is nothing to hide, why is so much effort being put into hiding everything?  According to our experts, several things we found today were in violation of Federal law, including the trash bags of signed poll tapes. We also found unsealed and opened voting machines, as well as discovering voting machines which were just brought to the center today - one week after the election. 
 
I watched Mike Matthews on TV tonight when I got home.  I believe I know the words he wanted to use to describe the process we went through today but he couldn't say them on TV and I won't say them now.  I will say that if today is any example of the way our current Election Commission officials intend to administer our democracy, we are in serious trouble.
 
Regina

Cracker here again: the response of the SCEC and Diebold can only lead one to suspect that there IS something to hide here, and that this election should be thrown out.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

REPORT FROM THE SCEC OPERATIONS CENTER

I received this a while ago from Regina Newman, County Trustee, who is part of the investigation:


We have 2 experts from Black Box Voting, plus Cardell Orrin, Darrick Harris, 
George Monger & Shep (Wilbun). Del Gill was with them when they arrived at 1 pm. After 
being stalled by SCEC & their substitute atty (John Ryder out of town), at 3:30 pm, 
team called me because SCEC had called the Sheriffs on them. I tried to reach 
Ryder, counsel for the SCEC, since our counsel was out of town.  David Cocke 
agreed to come out to the Ops ctr to fill in for our counsel.
 
When I arrived around 4, Channel 3 was here. Shortly thereafter, David Cocke 
arrived to argue with the SCEC counsel & Dewun Settle arrived as the 
Chancellor's special master to mediate issues. Following the first & immediate 
argument regarding the access which had already been agreed to & which the law 
allows & which the atty argued was proprietary to Diebold.   
 
Settle advised that he was staying & the inspection would go forward. Before we 
could get into the machine room, SCEC atty then advised that it was 4:40 & the 
IT staff had gone home so nothing could be provided. 
 
After numerous more arguments & Holden & SCEC atty disappearing into the 
tabulating rm unsupervised for over 30 mins, then we had more waiting.  Jackson 
Baker, Channel 3 & Mike Matthews have been here.
 
JB & Matthews & cameraman were here when a trash bag was found containing signed 
poll printouts with vote totals. Many were recorded on video.
 
Eventually, after argument about who were the appropriate representatives to 
enter the server rm, Darrick Harris, Cardell Orrin, Bev Harris of BB voting, 
David Cocke & I were allowed to enter the server/tabulating rm, with Holden & 
his counsel. Bev began explaining what we needed. SCEC atty threw a fit & said 
she was trying to order a county employee around. He called off everything. Then 
there was another argument before the court's representative where SCEC 
complained of a rude Yankee manner by Bev & said everything was called off right 
then. We then submitted that Cardell would be the Southern interpreter & all of 
Bev's requests would go thru Cardell. Ridicuous but true. (LWC note: My bolding for emphasis).
 
We were then able to have Mr Holden via Cardell's translation, download certain 
info to disks to review. 
 
Battery dying. More later. Still at OPs ctr.
 
Regina

Cracker here.  What in the hell are Giannini and Holden trying to hide?  Why can they NOT provide this list of people who voted on Election Day?  What about the vote totals in the garbage bags?  Aren't those supposed to be kept for archive purposes for a time?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cohen Did The Right Thing Bringing in the DOJ, This is Officially FUBAR

First, my apologies to the entire Democratic ticket, this election, from everything that I am hearing, was FUBAR.

This is NOT, as reported earlier, about those who voted provisionally, but those who were turned away and/or threatened with being charged with voter fraud.  The fact that the wrong voter file was loaded into the system (and I am receiving reports that people who did NOT EVEN VOTE IN MAY were affected by this problem) shows incompetence from the EC.

This was not just happening to people of color either.  Mike Carpenter (who apparently deleted this tweet from his file, because I can't find it through TweetDeck) responded to one of my tweets that he had received many calls from GOP voters with problems.

Bill Gibbons had to call in the TBI because HE was one of the affected voters, folks, and as such could not investigate it.  Now, Steve Cohen called in the Department of Justice, and he was right to do so, because there are so many things that do not add up about the EC's handling of this election that I believe it may have to be thrown out, and I did not believe that 72 hours ago.

Now I do.

There was a meeting Wednesday night at the IBEW Hall on Madison, and nearly 500 people showed up to sign affidavits and tell their stories about voting problems on Election Day.  There will be another meeting, as noted below, this Friday afternoon at 3 PM at the AFSME Union Hall, MLK Center, at the SE corner of Beale and Danny Thomas.  If you had problems on Election Day trying to vote, EVEN IF YOU DID GET TO VOTE, please come to this meeting if at all possible, and if you did not get to go to Wednesday's meeting.

The integrity of this AND FUTURE ELECTIONS is at stake, folks.  Please take part if you had any problems!

2nd Voting Problem Meeting Friday Afternoon

Anyone who had ANY voting problems last Thursday is urged to attend a meeting this Friday, Aug. 13th, beginning at 3 pm at the AFSCME Union Hall, MLK Center, SE corner of Danny Thomas and Beale Street. Please pass the word.

The TNDP Weighs In

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2010
  

    Primary Election Mishaps Undermine Voter Confidence In Tennessee

TNDP Header ImageNASHVILLE - Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said recent election debacles in Memphis where a wrong voter file was initially used underscore either incompetence or an intention by Republicans to manipulate election results.

"Secretary of State Tre Hargett and his election coordinator Mark Goins have continued to show their willingness to manipulate vote counts to keep their party in power," Forrester said. "People across this state, regardless of their party affiliation, expect their votes to be counted correctly.

"Using wrong voter files, miscounting ballots and opening voter precincts late do not give too many of us confidence in the election process, which is the bedrock of our democracy. I appreciate Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons' request that the 
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation take a close look at what happened on Election Day in Memphis last week."

Republicans took control of local election commissions in all 95 counties after the November 2008 elections, firing many county election administrators soon thereafter. That prompted a federal lawsuit to be filed on behalf of several former county election administrators contending Republicans violated their constitutional rights by conspiring to treat their jobs as political patronage.

Forrester also pointed to actions of the Benton County Election Commission, which invalidated earlier this spring 2,100 voter registrations for various reasons, including a simple failure to check a box. The commission warned voters to correct their registrations by July 31 or they would be ineligible to vote in last week's primary.

"This kind of behavior is damaging our political process," Forrester said. "This is not a partisan issue. It is at the core of this country's foundation that we have fair and accurate elections and that we engage as many citizens in the process as we can.

"I don't see how disenfranchising legitimate voters betters our country, our state or our communities," he added. 
###

Contact: Keith Talley
TNDP Communications Director
615-327-9779 (office)
keith@tndp.org

Darrick Harris takes issue with my earlier posts

He has written a counterpoint to my earlier posts on the August election, and I present his response:


 
I think your analysis is only slightly correct, however the mainstream media refuses to investigate or even question the outcome of the election after what one could only call the largest disenfrachisement of voters in the history of this county. Bill Gianni purposefuly released figures that were misleading and down right incorrect. The fact is the number of people turned away was massive.There is no way for anyone to know the exact number but at least a third of the voters that presented themselves to cast a vote in heavily Democratic precincts in which we were monitoring from opening to sometime after 2:00 were either turned away or left without casting a vote.
 
 
The talking points coming out of the election commission was like watching Fox News, their story was being repeated in the news paper, the internet blogs, on the radio, and the news without challenge. Since when did the incorrect Data get loaded at the polling site and no one challenged the commission's official talking points or even asked for some type of verification.
 
Was the need to call the election and move on more of a reaction to having Lutrell and other so called qualified clean candidates quickly anointed to their posts, or should it have been more important to ask tough questions of the Republican led election commission?
 
I am ashamed of the behavior of some of my fellow Democrats, the media and the Republican party. We cannot go around the world lecturing other third world counties on the virtues of clean, fair, transparent elections if we accept the notion that only a few thousand voters missed their right to participate. Was our slate of candidates so bad that we would look the other way while knowing something went wrong and not objectively challenge the Republican led election commissions talking points. We are relying on a media that is more based in opinions than searching for the facts and the truth not, anecdotal unverified facts from the Republican election commission hacks.
 
 I still hear projections of 210 provisional ballots and the maximum possibly effected of 5000 voters.  We ( The Party) have reports and sworn affidavits from some folks being turned away who did not vote in May at all. Which would completely blow out the water the information the election commission gave out and would make the potential size of the voters disenfranchised much more.

 
Lastly, every four years a slate of Democratic candidates emerge and yes they are largely African Americans and every four years something shaky always happens and the questions are usually summarily dismissed. When will some of the members of this community learn to be fair. Speaking of qualifications, just what makes Jimmy Moore more qualified than Ricky Dixon? not education. Are you telling me Paul Boyd is more qualified than Sondra Becton  please give me f.....n break? Did Tom Leatherwood know anything about the Register of deeds office when he was first elected?  In adition, how can anyone look down on the black community for electing Fords when the Keys and the Mashburns are still at the table? Can we just be fair. Remember a Republican led Senate overturned the Ophelia Ford election for a handful of dead voters what about the living.