Monday, October 18, 2010

Regina Morrison Newman responds to my earlier post

Without further ado:
I have already done a lot of breathing and a lot of work.  The fact is that our current election commissioners are knowledgeable of nothing regarding the tabulation of votes...all of them.
It was not necessary for Myra (also my long-time and good friend) to file an affidavit with the court in support of the SCEC's motion to dismiss the election contest (not granted but argued before trial).  It was not necessary for her to write a letter to the editor trashing the process.
I don't care who is out-numbered on the EC, the Democratic Party asked our Democratic election commissioners to vote NO to certify and they had time left to allow continued inspection rather than blocking it.  They certified a mess of an election and they did it early, with all 5 votes. 
This is supposed to be a public process and those are our votes, without regard to partisanship, race or anything else.  Even with court orders, we STILL haven't received important info we asked for and it is PUBLIC information.
I have read Dee Nollner's report.  Apparently there is a lot of misinformation going around about what was said and testified to in the lawsuit. The only thing the judge ruled on was that we didn't prove fraud or illegality, but the law says we don't have to
What the SCEC did do, was engage in abuse of the discovery process.  The information requested in the inspection was public information yet they covered it up or didn't supply it.  We then formally requested the same information in the lawsuit, yet SCEC didn't supply anything until ordered by the judge on the morning of 10/4 to give us everything by 4:30 that day.  They told the media they had already given us everything, but around 4:30, they supplied 5 boxes and 2.5 terrabytes of information (that is 8.3 million pages) and trial was scheduled to start a day later.  They still did not supply some crucial items and those items are still public information.  Evaluation is continuing on the data received because the process must be improved and specificity will be helpful.  An appeal is likely.
The Dem party asked for Federal monitors in May and did not get them.  They asked for them 30 days before early voting started for August, due to the May problems, and did not get them.  In point of fact, observers are quite worthless for the problems incurred in the August election.  The problems are in the software and vote tabulation process INSIDE the computer system.  Although observers might be able to assist voters at the polls, the SCEC computer system is not properly handling the tabulation of the digitally uploaded votes....and there you have the problem with this whole issue.  It is way too technical for the local media or most voters to want to understand. 
SCEC is supposed to run a Logic & Accuracy Test (L&A) on the whole computerized set-up after the election is built for a coming election day.  In August, they only checked the Republican candidates and only partially.  We also 'accidently' received on 10/4 the test which was run for November's election.  Again, the test was only partially done.  This is the age of computers and unless we have people on the EC who understand how computers function, we will continue to have problems.  Unless the SCEC performs the proper testing, we will continue to have problems.  Unless they properly train the election workers, we will continue to have problems.  Despite Giannini's immediate response to the inspection we initiated and the TBI investigation, where he said everything was fine and no one would turn anything up, the moment we listed all the issues on August 24, he said he had to contact the vendor.  The SCEC had no idea how to respond to the issues raised by us in the lawsuit and actually asked the computer system vendor, ESS, how to respond. Attached is a copy of that email. (LWC here: I am working on trying to attach this so you can see it).  You will note that the correspondence parallels Giannini's rebuttal eventually printed in the Flyer.
We discovered that the SCEC staff does not actually build the election in their computer system even though they think they do.  They testified they don't assign the candidate IDs, the vote export IDs (determine where a candidate's votes get tabulated in the software), the various race IDs or really anything.  They think the software does it.  As far as I can tell, the election must have been 'built' by the vendor and without proper testing, the systems will continue to run inaccurately.  There were August problems with all those parts of the election tabulation system.
On 8/19, when the August election was certified, SCEC knew that the number of votes was 3221 more than the number of voters their records showed.  They knew on August 5th that the 'error' they admitted potentially affected 5390 voters, not the 210 or 300 that Giannini kept harping about.  2024 of the 5390 voted but that left 3265 hard-core voters who didn't vote.  Not likely by choice.  They also knew on August 19th, that they only audited 10% of the precincts for certification purposes (out of 236, that's about 24), but 11 of them didn't reconcile.  That's about half.  Yet they certified this mess of an election.
Bottom line: they have a lot of issues which need to be corrected and couldn't verify those election results from August if they tried.  The same thing will be happening in November.  This is really a non-partisan issue but the media was determined to make it partisan.  A lot of work needs to be done and help from any quarter is appreciated but observers are not the only answer.

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