I’m not an accountant, but I have a good history in statistical quality control, and criminal cases involving chain of custody. In 1997 a lady in Chicago hired me to go through a stack of bank receipts and ledgers to find some lost money she thought belonged to her. She dumped app 4000 pages on me, and by 2000 I had recovered almost $6 million.
I called this “forensic auditing”, which differs from standard auditing in that I was looking for irregularities (misappropriations) from the outset. I was hired to assume crookedness was taking place from Day One.
I raise this point because in a private message LadyImpactOhio mentioned a confrontation at the precinct she was watching on election day in which some of the procedures that were supposed to be adhered to weren’t being followed, so, after complaining, she worked up the chain of command to the precinct person in charge, then called up Romney HQ in Ohio, and, in so many words (I’m leaving out a lot of detail) told the person in charge, “Here, talk to these guys.” Issues resolved.
Now, I know LIO personally, and while she is diminutive in stature, virtually everyone I know thinks she’s missed her real calling, which would be down at Camp Lejeune, teaching the Marines how to fight dirty.
What LIO did right that time after time after time after time GOP poll watchers fail to do, is she refused to abandon her post. LIO can’t be terrorized or threatened by body language, ugly looks or a few ugly words. She stands her ground.
How many stories have you heard, going back to 2008, 2010, and this past week, where a GOP poll watcher was hassled, threatened, or just stared down threateningly (yes, GOP volunteers are easy to frighten) and then did exactly what the Democrats wanted them to do; leave their posts or become so distracted they could no longer do their jobs?
I recall the GOP guy from Detroit (on Drudge) who was yelled at by a guy in line, who was then told he “had a gun and a badge” and then ordered him to leave. What did he do? He left. Without even asking/demanding to see the gun or badge, he hightailed it out of there, went to a safe place, then called 911, who refused to send any assistance. After all, they were only words. And a good laugh was had by all.
Actions like this just hands the polling place over to the Democrats, and in some precincts it’s been going on for years. No mas. No mas.
All polling places are crime scenes, ab initio
I told LIO she was sitting on top of a gold mine, for she would be the perfect person to hold training seminars around the country teaching GOP volunteers to put a little sass in their brass, and to go into the voting venue under the assumption that criminality is going to take place.
By now, Republicans should take that as a given but they don’t.
I recall a GOP attorney at a symposium at the 2009 CPAC, and many questions of this nature were asked of him, and he assured everyone that the GOP was aware of all the schemes the Democrats could employ, and were on top of it. Even then, we knew he was full of it, for he was pointing to a line of defense well away from the election venue and long after the election was over, and one manned by lawyers. The battlefield? The courts.
Rule Number One: Just like knives, you don’t take lawyers to a gun fight. Every polling place should be treated as a crime scene, and it must be secured at all times.
You’ve seen old films where a gambling room is quickly changed into a ballroom through swinging doors, from the days of Prohibition. Well, you never, never abandon the crime scene, for by the time you get back with the police or your bosses down at GOP headquarters, the scene’s been cleaned up.
Poll watching for any party should be both a security and quality control process, to insure certain mathematical realities match up, as well as the processes established by state law are adhered to.
The problem in confronting these is that often one or both parties have an interest in seeing that state law is circumvented, and often either/both the local precinct officers and workers, and even elements of the state board of election, share in that bias.
(I’m being very judicious in how I frame this, but you get my drift. I voted in the strongly GOP county that ended up handing the election in my state to Obama, by producing far fewer votes for Romney than McCain in 2008, not by producing new votes for Obama, and the process was less than perfect. My precinct should be entirely overhauled.)
The only protection is a strict adherence to the math of elections, but the problem for non-partisan groups is gaining legal access not only to the polling place, but also to the state and county election boards as well, who almost always see them as an annoyance and territorial intrusion.
Chain of custody Math
No matter how complex a voting process; on-site or absentee, or the technology; electronic or paper, just like money that leaves your wallet and ends up in the restaurant’s bank account, there is a chain of custody of that twenty dollar bill. At every juncture there is an opportunity for misappropriation or misdirection.
The same is true of votes cast. At every juncture from the time the voter hands over the ballot, or punches his/her preference on a machine, there is a trail of several junctures that follows that vote to the point of final tabulation and certification. All those junctures offer different opportunities, different persons, different sets of hands, different process to snatch and grab, erase or detour. Each must be observed, each opportunity shut down.
Now, we already know the GOP was ill-equipped to to meet this challenge in 2008, even 2010 in fewer, but notable instances, and without delving too deeply, certainly in 2012.
The most effective way to approach this problem would be for the GOP, through the RNC and state party HQ’s, to establish a stealth training regimen (so the Dems don’t know we’re coming)…beginning now…so to swoop down on the precincts with whole new attitudes and counting/auditing practices.
But, since the GOP won’t consider this option (look at how they turned down the better GOTV platforms in exchange for less-effective ones provided by insider-cronies) then I suggest some deep pockets out there in the GOP stratosphere (if there are such things anymore) to set up training protocols based on all the known voting processes, and technologies.
Non-partisan groups already exist, but they need cash for training, and the carte blanche acceptance by legal authorities of their right to carry out these functions.
And someone need to hire a person like LIO to teach poll-watchers to stand their ground.