The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

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.

Tags: Al Wynn, Donna Edwards, Machine, Maryland (all tags)



Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

I appreciate your outrage but who exactly stole this election and why did they do it?  Do you really think that anybody cares that much about Wynn and would then go to such lengths for him?

I could imagine voter suppression in the general but trying to rig a primary election to ensure an Edwards loss is a bit of a stretch.

by aiko 2006-09-13 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

Oh, elections will get thrown if there is enough money involved.  From what I read, Wynn hasn't been to scrupulous about where he gets his money and where it goes . ..

by Maven 2006-09-13 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

Doesn't say much for democracy, if people can't even bloody vote!

by Illustrious 2006-09-13 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

Matt, This was incompetence, not a conspiracy.  Do you really think Ehrlich and Wynn are in cohoots to limit the vote for Donna Edwards by denying voters in Montgomery COunty the ability to vote?!?!?!?  

Then how did Franchot and Gansler win?  They both are Montgomery COunty office holders running state wide, and needed Montgomery's votes.  Gansler himself would have had oversight over the election boards in Montgomery county.  I guess he was probably in on it too.  

Do you really think Ehrlich and Wynn are that competent to pull this off?  If they were they both wouldn't be in the political battle of their lives...

by eeor 2006-09-13 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

That is what I believe happened in Ohio--make it so incompetent it is not obvious.

by jasmine 2006-09-13 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

It's refreshing to know that I'm not the only person who believes they are promoting incompetence so they can steal elections.

I don't understand people who don't see's SO clear to me...

by Elise 2006-09-13 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

If Ehrlich et al "wanted to steal the election", then why didn't they arrange it so that Schaffer won the primary? Why did "the powers that be" in the MD Democratic arrange it so that Stu Simms won? Simms hails from Baltimore?

Two out of the three statewide candidates are from Montgomery County. Wouldn't Ehrlich have rigged it so that Schaffer, perhaps his strongest Democratic supporter, would win?

I don't buy that some massive conspiracy apparently has kept Donna Edwards from winning. And this is someone who didn't support Wynn talking.

Sometimes, as much as some people here don't want to accept it, the voters decide to choose someone else than the "netroots favorite".

by jiacinto 2006-09-13 03:48PM | 0 recs
I know this is your favorite thing

to argue about...

my point was vague on purpose. I didn't specify that this was happening only in MD...not even close.

What I think their goal is is to get enough voters to distrust the system that voter turnout drops. I find it convenient though (for Republicans) that their candidates always seem to pull out a win at the last minute by counting absentee ballots, provisional ballots, or by counting some rural area at the last minute. And inevitably, these votes that they need come in at the point where they know JUST how many they need to squeak out in the end and of course, there's always some time delay because someone left a ballot box someplace...or somewhere was understaffed...or a machine was "down" for a bit...etc.

Sorry, but that's suspicious. Is it proof that they stole those elections or this election? No. But it sure as hell is suspicious enough for us/others to keep investigating and to push for greater visibility and ease in the voting process.

And I'm glad that I'm not the only one who is suspicious about this.

I'm sorry, jiacinto, but yes I am suspicious when this bull happens again and again in swing states or in areas of states where Republicans either hold the Governor's office OR Sec. of State, or both...and conveniently, every "oops" possible keeps occurring. It's bull and we should question it and fight for clear and open elections.

by Elise 2006-09-13 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I know this is your favorite thing

There's a difference between "questioning" it and then making the next giant leap, which is to scream "fraud" and "stolen election" when the proof isn't there.

by jiacinto 2006-09-13 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: There's a difference between ...

But I never said that I was sure they had committed fraud or had stolen any election (with the exception of Florida...there's MORE than enough evidence to claim that election as stolen).

All I said was that I was glad I wasn't the only one who was suspicious of their repeated incompetence...

by Elise 2006-09-14 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

The failure to deliver the cards in Montgomery County was probably due to incompetence, but if it was intentional it would hardly require a massive conspiracy. Regardless of whether the failure was intentional, it effectively disenfranchised a lot of voters, and that could have changed the outcome of the election. That's completely unacceptable. It doesn't matter which candidate voters choose if they never get to vote.

Those responsible for this fiasco need to be held accountable, and serious changes need to be made to ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen in November.

by KCinDC 2006-09-14 04:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

Well frankly I wasn't for Wynn, but I'd be careful about alleging some widespread conspiracy before the facts are in. I live in DC, right next to Montgomery County. Usually the coutny is very good about running elections.

I don't think some massive conspiracy is/was afoot here. I honestly don't. To me it seems like this was more a matter of incompetence. For honestly the Democrats run Montgomery County. They wouldn't have gone after to suppress their own candidates.

Two of the statewide nominees are from Montgomery County: Franchot and Gansler. If the powers that be wanted to conspire against Democrats in the DC area,  if your theory were true, wouldn't Gansler and Franchot both lost? If Ehrlich and the GOP machine wanted to rig the elections in question, if they wanted to control the outcomes, they would have arranged it so that both Gansler and Franchot lost? They wouldn't have wanted Schaffer to lose. So, if this was rigged, as you are claiming, then why didn't Franchot lose? Franchot beat both Owens and Schaffer, both of whom are more close to Ehrlich.

by jiacinto 2006-09-13 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

Remember that the county doesn't run the elections.

by RT 2006-09-13 05:57PM | 0 recs

My original point still stands, though. If Ehrlich rigged the elections, why would he have allowed Schaffer to lose. Schaffer is one of his strongest Democratic supporters. Owens also has been semi-supportive of him. So why would Ehrlich have allowed them both to lose to Franchot?

by jiacinto 2006-09-13 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Well

Erlich is getting hurt by Schaeffer.  The man in an embarrassment. He's better off with Willie Don supporting him as a crusty old outsider than a groping, wacko office holder.

by achamblee 2006-09-13 07:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Voting FUBAR Story
John Gideon of and votetrustusa
writes a daily bibliography of news articles that he calls "Daily Voting News".
It is accessible at 9
For the past year John Gideon has provided daily links to news articles appearing in local newspapers throught the country which document meltdowns in elections that have been going on all year -- all over the country-- Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Florida.  He offers little commentary-- just provides a short introduction, the list of articles and links.  In the absense of a lot of MSM coverage on the subject, this bibliography has been an invaluable resource.
Many of the stories over the past year have read  like this Maryland meltdown.  And they have not all been Diebold either.  Stories about ES&S, Sequoia, and Hart have often read similarly.
I am a voting rights activist in California and I have been reading John Gideon's bibliography all year.  I have begun to question "Who benefits from the chaos?  Why is it that all of the major manufacturers of voting equipment are so completely inept?"  Sometimes they seem to be like the Katrina and Iraq contractors --- simply incompetents ripping off the public for hundreds of millions of dollars and unable to supply a decent product in return for the cash -- and with no oversight and operating in secret.
I am a great fan of this blog, and so you know that I welcome you to this subject.  I admire the way you conceptualize the issues so clearly that I have been struggling with over the past year.
Look into the Daily Voting News coverage if you can.  You will find it fascinating.
by syolles 2006-09-13 07:29PM | 0 recs
For the General Election

The blogosphere needs to get some volunteers in the polling places.

It's not fair to the elderly, with their bad eyesight, arthritic hands, and lack of computer familiarity, to make them responsible for our vote.  WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for our votes.  I realize not all elderly are infirm and not all poll volunteers are infirm or elderly, but it's time we helped them out.  Get an absentee ballot NOW, and leave the day free to volunteer.

by achamblee 2006-09-13 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The First Maryland Voting FUBAR Story

It's a bad thing that it's not even possible to vote without problems. It really shouldn't be that hard to figure out a working system. That's the least you can ask for in a democratic country.

by Lester 2008-02-29 11:28PM | 0 recs


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