Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oh By The Way, Angela Mansfield Won

As if you needed another reason not to have confidence in our county clerk's office, we learn two days after the election that Angela Mansfield actually defeated Bruce Schumacher in the District 2 race, which means Republican control of the council by a smaller 16-13 margin. Here's how it is explained in the Star:

The results were based on votes that had gone uncounted Election Day after voting machine memory cards were inadvertantly left untabulated.

Angela Mansfield said today she wasn't that surprised at the turnaround. She had guessed she might get about 52 percent of the vote and kept looking for a spike from precinct Pike 13, a heavily Democratic area she called "the gold mine."

"I got a call today, and apparently it (the vote memory card) had been left in the machine," she said. "I was kind of getting used to the idea I would have more time.

"Mansfield, the mother of a Marine, said she would be happy to work with Mayor-Elect Greg Ballard, a retired Marine. But she said it will be tough being in the minority on the council.

"I don't feel that strongly one way or another about the turnaround," she said. "Now that we won't have the majority, I won't have that strong an influence on public policy. I was hoping to strengthen the smoking ban, and now I don't think that will happen."

If this sounds familiar, think back to the close race between Jon Elrod and Ed Mahern in a state representative race. Elrod wins on election night, memory cards are reported missing, they are recovered and Elrod's lead dwindles but not enough to tip the balance in favor of Mahern. This time, the "lost memory card" switched an outcome in a race that seemed certain on election night. Congratulations to Angela on her belated win, but I hope she understands if this writer is less than confident this race was decided fairly. And Angela can blame Beth White's office for creating that uncertainty. As with a criminal case, I have a real problem with the chain of custody of these lost and found memory cards.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

this district should not be certified until there is a full investigation and accounting.

Anonymous said...

and go look at the updated results. there is still one precinct unaccounted for. the last one was a huge number of votes for the democrats. one more like that and the at large races could change too.

Wilson46201 said...

The memory cards are no big deal - they simply make adding up the totals easier. The original paper ballots remain.

If you are truly disturbed about the chain of custody of the memory cards, your losing candidate can surely file for a recount and look at the paper ballots.

The anonymous nobody surely knows that there are well-established procedures for election recounts. The Peanut Gallery is not a part of it.

Or are you just making a cheap partisan potshot at Beth White?

Anonymous said...

I am a Republican and was with her on election night at the Westin. I can tell you we were all waiting for Pike 13 to come in.

Believe me, if the D's were going to rig an election, it wouldn't have been for Angela. I'm sure they would have seen fit to get Ron, Rozelle or King Ro back in.

Besides, like it was stated before, there are paper ballots.

Advance Indiana said...

Wilson, unlike you, have been consistent and even-handed in my criticism. I leveled a similar complaint against Sadler, a Republican, because there weren't checks and balances along the way to ensure the integrity of the vote. If there is a problem in the chain of custody for the memory card, how can I be assured of the chain of custody with respect to the paper ballots. I believe it also flipped the result between Coleman and Sanders. I think Coleman was ahead of Sanders in the at-large race and is now finishing 8th. Are more going to pop up to deny Coleman a seat?

Wilson46201 said...

The numbers you see on the IndyGov.org webpage are provisional. They are not officially certified yet - that's done by a vote of the County Election Board. There are still some Provisional Ballots yet to be counted but I suspect they'll be few.

Anonymous said...

I bet the card were left in the machines by a republican inspector.

Advance Indiana said...

For all intents and purposes, in today's electronic voting world, those memory cards are the official vote. Unless the race is real close, nobody ever bothers to count the paper ballots. The Moveon.org folks have been telling us since the 2004 election, Republican election vendors rigged those in places like Ohio to ensure a victory for Bush. Nobody is going that far here and saying they were rigged in advance. What I am saying is that it is critical that, because those tallies are as a practical matter, the official vote upon which we rely on election night, close care needs to be given to ensure the chain of custody from polling place to electon central where they are read by the computer. When the established procedure allows a memory card to be left behind and not accounted for on election night when the precinct inspector checks in, something is wrong. Criminal cases get thrown out of court when LEOs allow a break in the chain of custody to create doubt about its authenticity or reliability. We should treat our election balloting process no differently.

Advance Indiana said...

Note, I am not arguing to throw out those ballots in this case.

Anonymous said...

Gary, who writes PolisPolitics? He has a post on the role of bloggers in this election and doesn't even ackowledge your blog. Does that blogger have a beef with you.

Advance Indiana said...

anon 6:44, I have no idea who writes PolisPolitics. I link to it and favorably comment and credit some of the posts there from time to time. If he/she chooses to pretend this blog didn't exist during this past campaign, it's his/her anonymous right to exercise.

Anonymous said...

If it is that tough being in the minority, she can always switch parties.

Angry Republican said...

(Armageddon Announcement: I am about to agree with Wilson):

One of the reasons that I'm in favor of the optical scan machines (like in Marion County) is that you get a paper trail - the physical ballots themselves.

Sure, I find it a bit suspicious that we didn't get this information until TWO days after the election, but if it's doubted, the paper ballots are still there.

Unless, of course, someone tampered with those.

AR

Advance Indiana said...

AR, The key is "if you voted" on an optically scanned ballot. At my precinct, they allowed you to choose between the touch screen or the optical scan. Many chose the touch screen. The touch screen is offered because it is required for disabled voters, but many non-disabled voters use it as well. No paper ballot completed by the voter for those machines.

Advance Indiana said...

And I should add I would never vote on a touch-screen machine because it does not create a permanent paper record of the votes I cast. Those machines are frought with problems--including loss of data. The only reason they are in the polling place is to meet ADA requirements. It was the intent that everyone else would use the optical scan machine ballots.

Angry Republican said...

AI,

I completely agree. In Hamilton County, we just have touch screen DRE. I'm not a fan of them. I guess the only way I could use a paper ballot is to refuse to show my ID, get the provisional ballot, then go to the clerk's office.

But you are right - the paper ballot question is immaterial if you vote on DRE. I completely agree there.

AR

Wilson46201 said...

Actually, there are FIVE devices recording votes. The "touchscreen" machine has it's own memory chip card (that's the upside-down one causing so much trouble election day). A PEB memory device is used to transfer vote counts from the touchscreen to the main scanner. The scanner machine also has a memory chip card. Election night paper audit tapes are printed from the scanner at the polls. Finally, the original paper ballots are available.

Personally, I'd never use the touchscreen devices. Remember the Borst/Waltz race where the questionable Johnson County votes were done totally on touchscreen devices so no recounts could be done?

Angry Republican said...

For my money, optical scan is the way to go. The ballots can be counted quickly, but can be handcounted if need be.

Two big drawbacks, though:
(1) For people with disabilities, this system doesn't allow many of them to vote independently (which, as I recall, federal law requires);

(2) Printing each ballot is expensive.

But, overall, I'd prefer if all counties used optical scan - I think it's the best of both worlds.

AR

Advance Indiana said...

And to add to that, Wilson, I understand the optical scan machines won't fire up if the touch-screen machines can't be activated. That was how it was explained by one of the TV news reporters in those precincts where the batteries weren't charged on the touch-screen machines.

Wilson46201 said...

"My" touchscreen machine wouldn't fire up until 11am (when a techie came out for repair) because of the incorrectly-inserted memory card. I'd called at 5:50am for help. Because of that, the scanner couldnt fire up either. Thank heavens for the paper ballots!!!

Anonymous said...

Mansfield is still a nazi who wants gun control like 1930s nazi Germany. May she never prosper.

Angry Republican said...

Wilson,

I haven't served as an inspector on these optical scan machines.

Who inserts the cards that were improperly inserted? The inspector? The technical folks?

I guess I'm just curious as to how this happened.

AR

Wilson46201 said...

The upside-down memory chip cards arrived from the warehouse already installed by technicians with a seal in place to prevent removal and/or tampering by poll workers.

The cards were to be removed only after the closing of the polls and enclosed (with the broken seal) in a special transmittal envelope...

Angry Republican said...

How in the hell could the tehcnicians do that? I could understand if they had the inspectors do it, who might have had some training, but aren't experts.

But for the county's technical experts to do that...that's just unacceptable.

AR

Anonymous said...

wilson, this is anonymous nobody 5:08 here. although i couldn't be tuesday, in every prior election going back to 1992, i've been a democratic inspector. yes, there are procedures. there's also a lot of sloppiness, people -- mostly innocently -- bending or breaking rules, and things that appear to be fraud. absentee ballots in the county have always been a mess. in 98, this big tote of them came in to my precinct. yeah, right.

yeah, there are procedures. they clearly didn't follow them if this happened.

around here, any time something suspiciously swings to the democrats days after the election, i would be very concerned.

i'm waiting for them to find "missing" memoy cards in CD 4 next so that one can flip. the dems wanted it badly and thought they had it. i was assured that 1,2, & 4 were going democrat.

right, wilson?

Wilson46201 said...

8:50 is flat out lying. There have been NO Democratic Inspectors in recent memory. The election Boards were completely controlled by the Republicans. No Democratic Inspectors allowed.

Why are you lying, anonymous nobody @ 8:50??? Your obvious fabricating impeaches anything you say.

By the way, the one still-missing precinct is in Perry Township which'll come back heavily Republican.

Advance Indiana said...

"By the way, the one still-missing precinct is in Perry Township which'll come back heavily Republican."

It doesn't matter to me where the precinct is located or whether it's Republican or Democrat. The question is why is it still unaccounted for two days after the election?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think the heavily republican precinct will knock Joanne out of the box?

Anonymous said...

Wilson is right, damnit. Democrats haven't had inspectors for many years. This is the first year in a long time, so either the earlier poster fudged and was a clerk or sheriff, or he's lying.
I prefer to think the poster mis-stated his election day title.

For Joanne Sanders to lose, that remaining Perry precinct would have to be all Republican votes, no Dem votes, and then some. Not gonna happen.

And whoever thinks Angela is a Nazi because she responded to a constituent's concern over shooting guns in a certain area--well, they'd better pay closer attention. That's not what happened.

There isn't a better constituent service member of the Council. 5:18 is right--Angela Mansfield has consistently pushed to get the council leadership to man-up, if you will, on conflicts of interest and similar lousy practices. Monroe and King Ro detest her.

Which is why this is all soooooo sweet.

Atta girl, Angela.

Her statement about not being as effective in the minority was a blunt and realistic observation. Get off her back already.

Anonymous said...

The touch screen machine for ADA purposes are actually more difficult to use than the optical scan. If a person is confined to a wheel chair, a table can be provided to mark the ballot. State law also provides that a disabled voter may take a person of his/her choosing to help mark the ballot.

Gary, dont let yourself get into the FOP conspiracy mode. Amateurs who work a job one or two days a year or are totally new will continue to make errors.

As to the chain of custody, The republican judge is supposed to accompany the inspector to turn in the election totals. 9 of the 15 precincts that I was responsible for did not even have a republican judge or clerk. In addition 2 or 3 of the republican judges that were there chose not to accompany the inspector to turn in the results. The mechanism is there for chain of custody but your party must step up to the plate if they wish for it to be honored.
I do think it would be next to impossible to alter the results. It would take a very sophisticated techie to do it if it could be done.

Wilson46201 said...

The designated Republican Judge simply didnt show at my precinct. Some guy showed up identifying himself as the GOP Clerk did. He was a complete novice.

Much of the integrity of the election process is based on checks and balances of the two party watchdog process. If the GOP doesnt provide watchdogs, why should they holler about chicanery if they dont even bother try to prevent it as provided by law and custom?

varangianguard said...

Maybe you ought to amplify on your last comments, Wilson.

It read like you were saying that election integrity was optional if the opposition doesn't keep an eye on you.

Surely, that isn't what you meant?

Anonymous said...

And yet another chapter in the voting nonsense:

At my polling place, there were four precincts. As inspector for one of them, I communicated with my Democratic ward chair, and we filled the boards with Democrats.

Grand total of Democrats working at those four precincts, not including inspectors: 15. (Some worked half days).

Grand total of Republicans who worked: 2. Both asked to work by me, a Democratic inspector. I saw multiple Republicans whom I know during the day, and asked why they didn't work as they usually do. Their response?

"We weren't called." (By the Republican Party)

Filling the non-inspector roles is the specific responsiblity of each party.

Methinks someone wanted this election to fail (again), in order to have someone to blame. The lack of Republicans this time aorund is uncharacteristic, and the Republicans with whom I spoke were angry about not being asked to work where they normally do.

Next spring? The Democratic ward chair and the other three inspectors and I, will call the Republicans ourselves to fully staff the polling place.

Do you really think it's a coincidence that the Republicn Party did not fill those spots at all four precincts?

Anonymous said...

As I said in my post ANON at 10:00 and two or three others have posted since then. The GOP cannot claim problems about the lack of checks and balances when they fail to provide the people from their party to perform that duty. No one is suggesting in the dozens of precincts where the GOP failed to provide workers that cheating occurred. we are simply saying to those that whine that there are no checks and balances that they are wrong. The law specifically provides for workers from each party for that reason. When the GOP fails to meet it obligations to provides workers for the checks and balances then whining that there "might" have been cheating is silly. YOU [the GOP} are the ones who failed. Fortunately for you, the Dems do believe in fairness at the polls and cheating does not occur.

Angry Republican said...

6:40 said:

"Fortunately for you, the Dems do believe in fairness at the polls and cheating does not occur."

Can I quote you on this?

The failure of republicans to staff a precinct in no way diminishes or eliminates the right of them to file a complaint if something fraudulent happens.

Yes, they should be staffing precincts, no question. Is that true for democrats as well here in Hamilton County? I've served as an inspector here several years, and in all those times, I've had exactly ONE democrat poll clerk - no judge, no sheriff, nothing. 1 democrat poll clerk in 6 elections.

Please, save your righteous indignation for someone else.

AR

Sir Hailstone said...

Listening to a talk recently at Pike Twp GOP from SoS Todd Rokita, someone asked Secretary Rokita about looking into boosting election day pay for poll workers to entice more to work election day.

Secretary Rokita's answer was simply that working the polls is like jury duty. It's one's civic duty to work the polls every once in a while.

Well we know how Marion County does in jury duty, which is really a sad state of affairs. One of the few things that separate the United States system of justice from other countries. "Right to a trial by a jury of your peers".

Rokita also mentioned the chronic shortage of poll workers could eventually fix itself if the state and counties would adopt the "voting center" concept trialed in Lafayette and Richmond this year. With the "voting center" the number of polling places and workers is dramatically reduced.

Anonymous said...

Hail, please don't ever, ever hold up Todd Rokita as an example of ANYTHING that's right with elections.

National study commissions have viewed his ideas, and determined he's, well, nuts. Save your Rokita praise for the American Association of Travel Agents.

Multiple voting changes have been proposed by Democrats in the legislature since then-Rep. Marilyn Shultz tried it in 1978. The result?

Every single damned time, the Pat Millers and Sen. Harrisons of the world, stalwart defenders of All Things GOP, blocked every single attempt at election reform. More than a dozen reform bills have been pushed in the last 25 years, and the only one we get? Voter ID.

Which does nothing to address the problem of easier access to polls.

We're a much more mobile society today than we were even 20 years ago. Don't tell me there isn't a way to make voting more easy, accessible and voter-friendly.

Online voting, Voting centers. Election Day registration with online verification. Now there are some ideas to pursue, which would increase turnout.

But, large turnout has not often been a GOP priority. "Controlled" turnout--that's their mainstay.

I think this new Mayor will breathe some life into that Republican organization, because he owes them zippo. And his devotees will start to fill precinct committeeman ranks, which is good.

Anonymous said...

Voting by mail would be the answer. Works well in Washington state. Would work well here.

Anonymous said...

Todd Rokita's home precinct was not even staffed with a republican precinct board......

Angry Republican 6:40 ...how can you know if there was voter fraud if no republican was there to monitor...either you participate or keep your whiny mouth shut

Anonymous said...

Ain't nobody better be talkin' bad 'bout Miss Angela! Laws no! She be an honest lady.