The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story
by Matt Stoller, Wed Sep 13, 2006 at 11:28:27 AM EDT
The first email is on the flip. I want to first address the 'oh this wasn't stolen it was incompetence' line. If you steal an election, you first figure out how to make it look like incompetence so that you don't go to jail. If possible, you design incompetence into the operation so that there's no way to tell who would have won had the voting operation gone off smoothly.
If I were trying to steal this election, for instance, I'd fail to deliver enough memory cards and provisional ballots to Diebold machines in heavy Edwards areas so that area volunteers would get confused and voters would leave frustrated without voting. I'd also make sure that Wynn's base area Prince George's County was well-stocked. Finally, if the vote were close, I'd get the Wynn areas to stop counting in the middle of the night to measure the needed margin, and then I'd resume counting when I knew the vote total I had to make up.
All of these things happened, by the way. And the Board of Elections is apparently controlled by the Governor, who is a Republican tied into the Maryland machine. The Governor's chief of staff is a big dollar Wynn contributor.
It's time to get Donna's back. She's fighting for us. We better be there for her. On the flap, here's the first voting story I have.
I tried to vote for Donna Edwards yesterday. I arrived at Silver Spring International School at about 8:45 am. There was a short line, about 5 minutes. When I got to the check-in, I gave my name, and the poll-worker, who was a bit slow- I don't mean retarded, but with some sort of minor speech impairment - had trouble using the automated poll book. He had to call over a supervisor, and when they finally got me in, they told me I had already voted. I was apparently their first problem of this type. When I persuaded them that I had not voted absentee, they let me fill out a provisional ballot. This whole process took almost 45 minutes. Luckily I don't have to be at work at any exact time, otherwise I would have had to leave. I have no idea if my vote will count.
I think the problem is that this new auto poll-book is extremely unforgiving. The machine wants to prevent people from checking in twice, so there is no way to correct an error in entering a name. Plus, the poll workers are volunteers who are retired or otherwise don't have regular jobs- lots of elderly people with bad eyesight, arthritic hands, and no computer experience, who have no difficulty at all with index cards but can't manage these touch screens.