Monday, September 27, 2021
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Forensic Poll-watching

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.

 

vassarbushmills
Citizen With Bark On

10 COMMENTS

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the mention Vassar, and you are absolutely correct every polling station should be treated as a crime scene. This experience taught me well how many ways there are to commit voter fraud and intimidation not only by the voters but the poll workers. I even stayed after the polls closed, at the request of the Romney campaign, to watch over the tearing down of the machines and the packing up of the ballots. This is a major area where shenanigans can be perpetrated by the poll workers but they were aware I was watching very carefully.

    P.S. You should have seen me in action when I left my car over night at the dealership for maintenance and when I went to pick it up it was banged up on one side. A bunch of men TRIED to tell me “it was that way when you dropped it off.”

    Guess who won? -:)

    • If looks could kill, penguin would be dead, but when I showed up for my shift of poll watching, one of the workers gave me a hard time. She had apparently been ugly all day to the elderly man who manned the ORCA seat. I just looked right through her and told her that we were allowed to be there.

      My precinct has shifted demographically and most of the election workers were black. When the doors were locked and votes tallied the acrimonious comments being made by the bunch that sat around, toward Romney and our side, and FOX was enlightening but also depressing. This is what 20+ yrs in a Rev. Wright church gets you…hate whitey, which was spread by this president. Of all the things he did wrong, his anti-Americanism and hatred toward the people who made this country be a good and noble nation, is astounding. I hope he rots.

      Yes, I will need to share these thoughts with the priest in reconciliation soon…

  2. This is quite important if the GOP really wants to “win” going forward. And then there’s this: General elections are run by states, not by the Federal Government. Even within a Democrat-majority county. There are many suspect states which have Republican Governors, and usually Republican Attorneys General. Calling 911 in a Democrat County probably isn’t going to get you anywhere. There should be a State Attorney General’s Election hotline number to call and there should be a flying team of State inspectors ready to spring into action every two years.

    However, if it never dawned on anybody after the New Black Panther fiasco in Philadelphia ( it was in all the papers, Myrtle)that this was going to be the new normal, that The Vote really wasn’t as sacred as we all thought it had been for 230 years, that aside from a few crusty old veterans of the civil rights movement (they testified before the Civil Rights Commission, Myrtle, but it wasn’t in all the papers) nobody really gave a damn, then probably we are all just baying at the moon anyway.

    • Then Bob, we also have those pesky voting machines, which I’ve been told can be told to “cheat” even by a junior programmer and leave no evidence behind.
      Remember many of the ones in swing states, including Ohio, people complained no matter how many times they pressed the “Romney” button Obama’s name came up.

  3. It harsh to think or even talk about . But either we take back this country , and we do it with great prejudice and steel-like strength and resolve, or we abandon the ship. After this theft, they have the bit in their teeth, and they are running with the wind, taking us over the cliff. Unless we knock them off their feet with a very large stick swing with considerable force, this won’t end but one way.

    Good plan, VB. And the first of a number of good ideas that better be put in place in a very short time.

  1. Thanks for the mention Vassar, and you are absolutely correct every polling station should be treated as a crime scene. This experience taught me well how many ways there are to commit voter fraud and intimidation not only by the voters but the poll workers. I even stayed after the polls closed, at the request of the Romney campaign, to watch over the tearing down of the machines and the packing up of the ballots. This is a major area where shenanigans can be perpetrated by the poll workers but they were aware I was watching very carefully.

    P.S. You should have seen me in action when I left my car over night at the dealership for maintenance and when I went to pick it up it was banged up on one side. A bunch of men TRIED to tell me “it was that way when you dropped it off.”

    Guess who won? -:)

    • If looks could kill, penguin would be dead, but when I showed up for my shift of poll watching, one of the workers gave me a hard time. She had apparently been ugly all day to the elderly man who manned the ORCA seat. I just looked right through her and told her that we were allowed to be there.

      My precinct has shifted demographically and most of the election workers were black. When the doors were locked and votes tallied the acrimonious comments being made by the bunch that sat around, toward Romney and our side, and FOX was enlightening but also depressing. This is what 20+ yrs in a Rev. Wright church gets you…hate whitey, which was spread by this president. Of all the things he did wrong, his anti-Americanism and hatred toward the people who made this country be a good and noble nation, is astounding. I hope he rots.

      Yes, I will need to share these thoughts with the priest in reconciliation soon…

  2. This is quite important if the GOP really wants to “win” going forward. And then there’s this: General elections are run by states, not by the Federal Government. Even within a Democrat-majority county. There are many suspect states which have Republican Governors, and usually Republican Attorneys General. Calling 911 in a Democrat County probably isn’t going to get you anywhere. There should be a State Attorney General’s Election hotline number to call and there should be a flying team of State inspectors ready to spring into action every two years.

    However, if it never dawned on anybody after the New Black Panther fiasco in Philadelphia ( it was in all the papers, Myrtle)that this was going to be the new normal, that The Vote really wasn’t as sacred as we all thought it had been for 230 years, that aside from a few crusty old veterans of the civil rights movement (they testified before the Civil Rights Commission, Myrtle, but it wasn’t in all the papers) nobody really gave a damn, then probably we are all just baying at the moon anyway.

    • Then Bob, we also have those pesky voting machines, which I’ve been told can be told to “cheat” even by a junior programmer and leave no evidence behind.
      Remember many of the ones in swing states, including Ohio, people complained no matter how many times they pressed the “Romney” button Obama’s name came up.

  3. It harsh to think or even talk about . But either we take back this country , and we do it with great prejudice and steel-like strength and resolve, or we abandon the ship. After this theft, they have the bit in their teeth, and they are running with the wind, taking us over the cliff. Unless we knock them off their feet with a very large stick swing with considerable force, this won’t end but one way.

    Good plan, VB. And the first of a number of good ideas that better be put in place in a very short time.

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