The White Truck Delivering Ballots

The Washington Post's Ovetta Wiggins has an article out on Maryland's 4th yesterday. Get ready for legal challenges, because Edwards won this election.

What's going on there is really bad, and it's a preview of what's coming in November considering that the Republicans have basically hired a criminal named Terry Nelson to head up the NRCC opposition 'research' department.  So if you don't really know how to approach a situation like this, you should try to learn by watching it during the Edwards-Wynn dry run.  

Here's the latest.  The absentee ballots from Montgomery County were counted yesterday, and Wynn's lead was narrowed to 2800 votes.  Most of these ballots were not in the 4th.  I'm not sure if that's true about the provisionals, which are the key.

The polls closed on Tuesday evening, but voting machines in anywhere between two to eight precincts (probably controlled by Wynn's allies) were not brought in to the Maryland Board of Elections until the next day.  On Wednesday at 5pm, observers saw a white moving truck pull up and deliver voting machines from several precincts in Wynn-favoring Prince George's county, one of which the Edwards campaign heavily canvassed.  Though memory cards were supposed to be taken out immediately after voting closed, these machines had their memory cards still in them.  Though no one can yet prove that Wynn's people tampered with the machines, the margin on those machines went for Wynn by around 65-35, which is out of line with the rest of the county.  The rest of the county had it at 57 or so for Wynn.  

The impact of the numbers appears to be about 1000 votes.  Prior to these votes coming in, Wynn had a lead of less than 2000 votes, with 13,000 Montgomery County provisional ballots to be counted on Monday.  Donna won that county by a substantial margin, which means she'll probably pick up anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand votes on Monday when those votes are counted.  

In other words, what it looks like is that Wynn or Wynn's allies held the ballot boxes they controlled back until they knew the margin Wynn needed to win on Monday, and that's when they probably did their tampering.  We'll see what happens on Monday, when the provisionals are counted.

Donna Edwards should probably be the next Congressperson from the fourth.  She may yet be seated in Congress next session, though I wouldn't bet my life on it.

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

Comments

47 Comments

Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

What public official is charge of the provisional ballots? Is it a Republican? A Wynnite? How could the ballots be tampered with between now and Monday and how could it be pre-empted?

I'm tired of always learning about questionable and corrupted elections after the fact.

by Sitkah 2006-09-15 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Do you have a link to show that your version of events happened? That Wynn and his followeres tampered with the ballots? Your Post article doesn't show it.

Honestly, this gets old. Every election, whenver a favored candidate here loses, the same old people scream "Diebold" and "BBV". And frankly it weakens the cause of election reform. I hate to break it to you, but not every candidate favored here is favored by regular voters. Sometimes, as hard as it is for you to accept, the voters do pick someone else in close elections. I think that you just can't accept the fact that more people voted for Wynn than Edwards.

When Francise Busby lost the same people came out here and other blogs to scream "Diebold" and "BBV". This, in spite of the fact that the 50th district is still very heavily Republican and that Bilbray was probably going to win anyway.

That being said I agree that the conduct of the election should be investigated. If ballots were mishandled those individuals should be disciplined, up to and including termination from their jobs at the board of elections. But screaming "fraud" before you can even prove it weakens your case strongly.

I honestly don't think that what happened in Maryland was some "massive conpsiracy" pushed by Ehrich and the GOP. For frankly, if they did want to rig the elections, why didn't they make it so that William Donald Schaffer would win his primary? Why did they let Peter Franchot win the Controller's primary? Why did they let Doug Gansler win the AG primery? Why was MFume not allowed to win, as pols have shown him behind Steele?

To me it seems like more of a matter of "massive incompetetence" instead of a "massive conspiracy". If there is proof of intentional fraud then Wynn et al should be investigated and suffer whatever legal remedies are available.

But claiming that Edwards was robbed is still very premature at this point. And frankly I think it is more of the fact that you can't accept that she probably, in all honesty, did lose.

And this is from someone who was supportive of her  too. I didn't like Wynn's votes on the Bankruptcy Bill. I agree that he needed to be replaced.

I like Edwards and hope that she runs in 2008. Or that maybe she runs for something else in future cycles. For her I think it would be better for her to focus on the future than trying to fight an outcome that she (most likely) isn't going to be able to reverse.

I have one story to share. In 1994 Ellen Sauerbrey (R) lost a very close race for Governor in MD. She  lost by 5,000 votes to Parris Glendening (D). For weeks afterward she screamed "fraud". She filed lawsuit after lawsuit, claiming that dead people voted. Long story short she finally relented right before Glendening was to be inaugurated.

However, as a result of that whole post-election challenge, she became known as "Ellen Sourgrapes". Four years later she ran against Glendening again. Glendening was extremely unpopular--a poll or two pegged him to be the most unpopular governor in the country. He was in the same position as Grey Davis was before the recall.

But MD hated Sauerbrey more. What was supposed to be a close election ended up being a 56-44% victory for Glendening. People hated Sauerbey and thought of her as a sore loser.

That is something Edwards should remember and learn from.

by jiacinto 2006-09-15 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

If several precincts came in very late, and their results were anomalous with the rest of the area, that is enough to warrant a thorough investigation. Though frankly, I don't know how you can prove these things.

I hope Edwards does fight hard.

by desmoinesdem 2006-09-15 04:01PM | 0 recs
As I recall...

Matt blamed Busby's loss on her being a DLC-type and for pushing the culture of corruption meme as opposed to... I'm not actually sure but accountability, not ballot tampering.

If you just meant in comments, then you may well be right but I don't know.

by MNPundit 2006-09-15 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

 Don't you think it's more than a little odd that the worst election "screwups" just HAPPENED to occur in the most pivotal race in the state, the race which would have cost the Republicans one of their most valuable assets in Congress if it turned out the "wrong" way?

 I mean, there were literally hundreds of races around the state where these "irregularities" could have flared up. But it's funny how they affected this one. Not the Frederick County sheriff's races, not the Carroll County state senate races. Just this very critical, high-profile House race in MD-04. It may well be random, but that's one hell of a fortunate coincidence for Wynn.

 I get your point about Sauerbrey. But this is different -- the Diebold machines are deeply mistrusted by many, and Edwards seems to be framing her challenge in the right ways. I don't expect too much of a backlash. And remember Sauerbrey was actually running neck-and-neck against Glendening in '98 until the final week, when Parris launched a massive and effective ad blitz that caught Ellen flatfooted. The Sauergrapes thing wasn't really much of a factor.

On Franchot -- he can be dealt with in a couple of months. "Stopping" him now wasn't`quite so urgent. But an Edwards primary victory was an automatic ticket to the House.

by Master Jack 2006-09-15 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

I don't think Wynn was one of the Republicans' "most valuable assets" in Congress. Yes his votes on a few issues were out of whack, given how liberal his district is. But he wasn't voting like a conservative Republican either.

This just gets very tiring. The same old voting machine conspiracies just get old and older. It's like clockwork. Whenever a "netroots favored" candidate loses it always has to be the machines that "stole it". This avoids accepting the fact that maybe the "netroots favored" canddiate probably lost.

I'm not saying that malfesance didn't occur. If there were questionable anamolies then there should be investigations. But screaming "stolen election" way before there is any proof weakens whatever claim Edwards may have--at least in the public eye.

by jiacinto 2006-09-15 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Don't you think it's more than a little odd that the worst election "screwups" just HAPPENED to occur in the most pivotal race in the state, the race which would have cost the Republicans one of their most valuable assets in Congress if it turned out the "wrong" way?

No. Then why didn't Mfume win?

Reality is that the screw-ups happened all over, in Baltimore, PG, Montgomery.

by dblhelix 2006-09-15 08:25PM | 0 recs
dblhelix is right but different screwups there

In Baltimore, there are (to date) no reports of ballots being confiscated and squatted on overnight in friendly precincts after darn near EVERYBODY else relevant has reported, which as Matt Stoller has noted is a key tool for ratf***ing an election.

Baltimore sounds like a bunch of jurassic, technophobe judges with poor attendance jamming everybody.

I suspect that the real story will be Prince George's County and not Montgomery when all is said and done.  But not all is said and done now.

by Bruce Godfrey 2006-09-16 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

You do have to be careful in attributing every case of vote theft in the nation to the all-powerful Republican party. It is widely know that Diebold machines can be tampered with, and this could just as well be a case of a Congressman facing a challenge using a corrupt Democratic party machine to steal a primary.

Indeed, to me, that is the more plausible explanation of the three available - Wynne and a corrupt Democratic party machine stole it, the Republicans stole it for Wynne, and accidental mistakes that simply coincidentally favor the incumbent.

For those skeptical as to whether or not there is funny business, I'll buy the incompetence story if it anulls the result and brings a fresh election under the control of an unbiased third party. Otherwise, I go to the rules for stealing an election on the one hand, and the law of large numbers for accidental mistakes on the other hand, and weigh it up.

Appearance of incompetence provides a "moral hazard" problem, of course, since the first fall back story for vote thieves is incompetence.

When the incompetence is strongly biased toward precincts favoring one candidate, and the last precincts reporting results ... or in this case, delivering their vote counting machines ... heavily favor the other candidate, "widespread incompetence" becomes the less likely of the two explanations.

by BruceMcF 2006-09-16 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

I agree with the person who said that Donna Edwards lost and she should show better grace. She is lucky to have done as well as she did. She was an unknown who had never held elective office of any kind. If she runs again there will be a lot more attention to who she is and what makes her qualified for Congress. Wynn is vulnerable and I believe that a number of good candidates will challege him the next time.

I was put off by the way
Edwards attacked Wynn for not being in touch with his constituents but she accepted backing from many national groups, and individuals most of whom have nothing in common with the average 4th district voter. Edwards is to be congratulated for running a close race her first time out. She is very confrontational and politically correct. We have seen how difficult it can be for candidates who are drawn to constant confrontations and hysteria. As a lawyer she is doing herself no favors by extending the election through litigation. THis is a no win strategy. If Donna Edwards was smart she would conceed when the provisional ballots are counted on Monday (if she loses) and start to think about her next campaign. The problems of voting in Maryland did not harm her any more than other candidates in that district and those counties. Donna Edwards seems like a good advocate but a less than astute politician. Politics is not just about getting elected.

by bette 2006-09-15 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

How can you say in one paragraph that "Edwards lost and should show better grace" and follow it up with another paragraph and say "...concede when the provisional ballots are counted (if she loses)" when   Wynn hasn't won anything yet.  Stop pretending that he has.

How about Wynn do everyone a favor and concede since Edwards will undoubtedly close the gap with the provisional ballots.  The margin favoring Edwards over Wynn in MoCo was huge.  

by LionelEHutz 2006-09-15 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

you are insane

by bette 2006-09-18 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

What does receiving backing from national groups have to do with being in touch with your constituents?

By your logic, then Wynn has no business being a representative for the 4th district because he's a lawyer and most people aren't lawyers.

The fact that Edwards brought up how Wynn's support for the bankruptcy bill, the Iraq War, and gutting the estate tax hurts most working and middle class families doesn't show that she's out of touch. It shows that Wynn's been supporting the interests of a very few rich people and the Bush Administration.  

by adamterando 2006-09-15 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Bette, you say "The problems of voting in Maryland did not harm her any more than other candidates in that district and those counties." I suppose that's true in terms of the absolute number of votes lost, but if Edwards' race was closer than theirs, then the fact that some voters were disenfranchised, even if it was simply through incompetence, could have cost her the race. Losing N votes ends up being a bigger harm if the margin of victory would have been less than N votes.

So, yes, maybe Franchot and Raskin and whoever else got fewer votes than they would have without the disenfranchisement of morning voters, but they still won because their margin was larger than Edwards'.

by KCinDC 2006-09-15 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

a) I didn't scream fraud.  I have never screamed fraud.  nor did I blame this on Diebold.  Frankly this election makes me more suspicious of Diebold-specific conspiracy claims, since this was human error.  though it does look like diebold machines are poor quality..
b) I didn't claim Busby's election was stolen.  we spent thousands of dollars to find out why she lost, in fact..  
c) where' my link? I actually do reporting, my friend.

given that you lied and smeared me, please either apologize or explain why I shouldn't ban you.

by Matt Stoller 2006-09-15 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

You misunderstand the game. It doesn't matter what you say or what arguments you make because it's not about that. It's simply about having you say nothing. That was the above posters goal.

by bruh21 2006-09-15 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

A: Well you implied in your post that you thought Edwards won the election and that you hypothesized that Wynn manipulated the results. That indicates that you believe that fraud or some kind of malfeasance occured.

B: I never said you said that Busby's election was stolen. I was referring to the fact that on this and other blogs, the same chorus comes out to scream fraud or "stolen electoins" whenver a favored candidate loses a close race. I wasn't referring specifically to you in that case.

But in general, whenever a Republican wins a close election, there are people who come out to claim that the "election was stolen". It happens in the blogosphere all the time.

C: So how do I know that your version of the facts is correct? You admitted that you were for Edwards. So how do I know that Wynn actually was involved in any tampering? How do I also know that Wynn's allies were the ones who brought in the late precincts? Do you have any corrobortation to that fact?

I will apologize if you think that I smeared you. I apologize for any offense that I might have caused with you. That wasn't my intention. Please accept my apologies.

It is just that I am VERY concerned about how this debate is shaped. For frankly, Matt, it seems like many posts about Diebold often take a conspiratorial tone. People digress into conspiracy theories, implying that every election narrowly won by a Republican or lost non-netroots favored Democrats in contested perimareis is "stolen". This, in turn, makes it harder to proceed reform. For it makes it easier for critics to dismiss any concern as being the rantings of "conspiracy theorists".

I have concerns about the machines. I just hate it when the concern turns into complete conspiracy theories.

by jiacinto 2006-09-15 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

"Every election, whenver a favored candidate here loses, the same old people scream "Diebold" and "BBV"."

So, I assume that this wasn't referring to Matt, since this wasn't a response to Matt's post or anything?

by DanM 2006-09-15 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

No, I didn't mean Matt specifically. But there is a group of people who does scream "fraud". They are here every election. Again I apologize to Matt for any offense that I may have caused.

by jiacinto 2006-09-15 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Ok, you are now banned.  You clearly don't understand that lying and smearing people is wrong.

by Matt Stoller 2006-09-16 09:02AM | 0 recs
Time to step back

Is this a purely literal interpretation of the phrase "scream fraud"?  Can we come up with some mutually acceptable term to characterize your stance, as typified by language like "Edwards won this election," and "that's when [Wynn's allies] probably did their tampering"?

Whatever... the holes in this story are big enough to drive a truck through.  Frankly I'm shocked by the recklessness of your accusation, and I'm concerned that that the Edwards campaign is verging on similar recklessnes that may wipe out what should be, if not an actual victory this time around, a stepping stone to one in 2008.

One element of your story holds that, at 5PM on Wednesday, Wynn had approximately an 1800 vote lead.  That conflicts with reports of gradual Board of Election tallies listed here.  

A poster noted at 12:30 PM that all Montco precincts were in, and that eight PG precincts had not yet reported.  (The PG County Web site had real-time updates on what precincts had reported.)  At this time, the tally was:

Wynn 36212
Edwards 34008

Subsequently the poster reported at 1:53 PM, with only two PG precincts not yet in, Wynn had nearly a 2800 vote lead, with this overall tally:

Wynn 37811
Edwards 35035

Currently the MBEL site lists the results as:

Wynn 39017
Edwards 36081

So, if this progression is trustworthy, then, according to your story, the 5PM "white truck votes" from an indeterminate number of precincts delivered a near shutout for Wynn (which would only be through cheating), and then the absentee tallies subsequently wiped out those gains, which would have a required a near shutout for Edwards (which would be completely legitimate).  That simply doesn't make any sense.

I guess you can come back with the theory that MBEL was reporting fake numbers throughout the day in order to help cover the tracks for "Wynn's white truck."  That would be par for the course of your overall argument.

But, that aside, put an end to the vagueness.  No more "two to eight precincts" - name the exact precincts that are at issue here, list the actual vote tallies, and explain why those tallies could not have occurred without manipulation (citing a simple 10% variance from the mean, incidentally, doesn't even come close to a satisfactory explanation).  Make sure that the areas that you cite are actually in the Fourth Congressional District (amazingly, the Edwards campaign appears to have failed to do this, based on the Wash Times article quoted below).  And if you can't do all of this, then stop the brick tossing.  It may be Edwards and the progressive movement who wind up taking all of the hits.

by looking italian 2006-09-16 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Time to step back

No, actually, that's not how this works.  You see, smart criminals cover their tracks, and I was getting different reports on which precincts had reported in.

You want certainty, you try doing reporting.  I wrote what I knew.

by Matt Stoller 2006-09-16 11:15AM | 0 recs
Stoller is making sense

Matt, I have at moments (RESPECTFULLY) disagreed with your "pitch" but not your analysis; this is the difference between being a high-energy activist and reporter,  and a lethargic tax lawyer of "middle temperament" with two in diapers, I suspect.  

But I think you are hitting the sweet spot right here.  I commend you for your hard work on behalf of the voters of our state.

The evidence may show in the end that Montgomery was not corrupt - breathtakingly incompetent but not corrupt - but a few precincts with machine Wynn supports may have gotten hard-corrupted.  This is a conjecture on my part.  The (apparently unmarked) white van may be part of the story, particularly with the late timing of those votes.

To paraphrase the Godfather, "I did know until now that it was PG all along."

by Bruce Godfrey 2006-09-16 02:58PM | 0 recs
LookingITalian's status? Also why no fraud wing?

Matt, I got an email from him in response to my comment defending this blog in the "Stoller is Bad" diary.

Anyway, looking Italian says he can't post anymore. I don't know if it is a screw up or not. I gotta admit this last comment of his doesn't look that bad considering the tone of this diary and other comments. If you look at his history, I do not see a trend of trolling regardless of what I might think of his posts.

Back to this diary itself, why doesn't the democratic party have a fraud monitoring wing for elections that is more effective? You would think with all the lawyers we have, we would have more preemptive action on these kind of shenanigans instead of learning about them later. I realize this is just an intraparty election, but it would be nice if there is a department a candidate can seek help from BEFORE the election so they can educate the volunteers on what to do every step of the way in case things go wrong. If a box doesn't get moved by a certain deadline to whatever, immediate action should be taken.

by Pravin 2006-09-18 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Re: Busby Bilbray

When Kos said the election was lost I commented I'd wait for all the ballots to be counted. Then Busby conceded prior to all the ballots being counted. Then the CA SoS told Hastert to swear Bilbray in prior to the election results being certified. Then it turns out the San Diego Registrar didn't follow the CA SoS's conditions for certification for the Diebold machines used in the election. Then a lawsuit follows with the judge ruling only the US HoR has the power to unseat Bilbray when it seemed the question was whether or not a recount should take place because of the irregularities. Had the recount taken place perhaps the US HoR would have had new information upon which to make an informed decision... or not.

So, there were irregularities in CA 50 starting with the SD registrar not following CA SoS's conditions for using the machines. All of this has been publicly documented. You make it seem like questioning the outcome of CA 50 is a form of tinfoil hat wearing. Without a recount it is hard to point out anything but the irregularities and outright violations of certification standards. The presence of those irregularities and violations means a healthy dose of skepticism is warrented if one buys the notion that vigilence is required if one wishes to maintain our demorcratic freedoms. Wanting a transparent system that people can have confidence in isn't the same thing as crying fraud everytime my candidate loses.

by sfflyman 2006-09-16 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

I respect your concern (and recall the Sour Grapes of Wrath as a life-long Marylander) but I agree with the poster who said that these cases are distinct.  The facts sound a lot more damning, Wynn's activists have a history of dirtball conduct and the timing and white van/overnight possession information make them distinguishable.

The other difference is that this election is only one-eighth of the state and the political dynamics are likely to be different.  The problem is that Maryland's courts are fairly conservative institutionally if not politically; deference to other branches has been a mainstay of the Maryland Court of Appeals.  I don't know that it has ever overturned an election, though perhaps Maryland legal scholars in the midst may offer comment.

by Bruce Godfrey 2006-09-16 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Are you saying that at the precincts in question there were NO vote totals printed out and turned in as the official results? That's how the DREs work, they capture the totals on a magnetic cartridge or disk or card but they also print out a report of the vote totals. I don't know the MD law, but in Pennsylvania those totals must be posted on the door of the polling place when the poll is closed for public inspection the next day.

Just because the memory cards were still in the machines doesn't mean a printout wasn't made and turned in. Again I don't know how MD works, but in Philadelphia a policeman shows up and collects both the official results printout and the cartridge. The voting machines are just closed up and left at the poll, they don't get picked up until the next day.

IMO instead of jumping to conclusions a much better service would be to explain how a poll actually operates in MD and what the requirements are for turning in and publically posting results.

Understand working a poll is a very long day from 6:30AM to closing time then getting the results,
getting all the materials together that go to the election board in the right packages and then cleaning up the poll. I could see it being entirely possible on a day when some polls had problems and had to stay open longer that the pollworkers just got tired, did the minimum and went home.

by phillydem 2006-09-15 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

This is not a stolen election, it is ridiculous to even imply that it wss.

by bette 2006-09-15 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Yeah, it's incredibly ridiculous to imply that an election where thousands of votes showed up late after going missing to some unspecified location and showing results that were highly inconsistent with similar precincts was tampered with.

You know what else is ridiculous?  The fact that people come here and make knowingly inane remarks just to piss people off and distract people from getting any serious thinking done.

by DanM 2006-09-15 05:58PM | 0 recs
Read the WaPo Article

Here's what Wynn said,

Wynn, who was on Capitol Hill yesterday, would not address questions about the results. He said he would "be happy to respond after they finish counting the votes. I'm more concerned about finding out what went wrong with the electoral process."
(emphasis mine)

Now, why does the winner assume something's wrong with the vote?  Could it be he had been asssured of a much wider margin of victory than the one he was handed?

by Limelite 2006-09-15 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

It looks like Wynn's operatives know how to use the internet!

by Michels 2006-09-15 05:22PM | 0 recs
Time for the DCCC to get involved.

If the DCCC and thier rethuglican lite director had the best interest of the Democratic party in mind he would throw the full support of the DCCC behind Edwards and finance her legal challenge, supply legal and logistical support, and do anything possible to show that the Democratic party supports open and honest elections.

This would lay a groundwork for the challengeing the irregularities we all know are coming and put the party on the side of the angels in this debate. Being able to cite this to show it is not just partisan races where the D's care about honest elections would be a valuable example to cite in Nov. and Dec.

But alas I fear that Emmanuel probably prefers wynn to Edwards after all wynn is more his kind of deal cutting nest feathering politician that doesn't let principles get in his way just like emmanuel and all to many of his recruits.

If hiring and shilling for a carpetbagger in Ill. 06 while financeing his sock puppets torpedoing of a local democrat with DCCC money is the way emmanuel thinks that the D's should run elections then obviously Wynn is his man.

Now he can call duckworth and give her Wynn as a role model. And being the good obendient marionette she will probably move just as her string puller commands.

This would be a good time for Dean to come out and show what his vision of the Democratic party is by throwing the support of the DNC behind Edwards. I believe for legal challenges etc. the national party can, and in this case, should get involved.

by Rational 2006-09-15 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Time for the DCCC to get involved.

Did you expect the DCCC to endorse Edwars? They aren't going to go against incumbents, expect in very limited extraordinary circumstances.

by jiacinto 2006-09-15 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Time for the DCCC to get involved.
The DCCC has imported carpetbaggers to sabatauge local candinates.
Cialis was running Emmanuel imported an outsider to torpedo a progressive.
So why can't they support a "Reform" candinate in a race they are running in part on a "Reform" agenda?
by Rational 2006-09-16 05:34AM | 0 recs
Throw Out The Tainted Ballots

Throw out ALL ballots that fell out of the chain of custody -- there are many precedents, including an election in Miami.

I've experienced it first hand -- the first time I voted was for George McGovern, in Tucson. ALL of the Presidential votes were thrown out, because there was a problem with how the electoral college electors were identified on the ballot.

But the Miami case is the best precedent I know of -- a judge overturned election results because of massive fraud, and these few precincts are small potatoes in comparison.

by ck 2006-09-15 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

>>"it get's old<<

The post says there were procedures that weren't followed.  Were those precincts that brought their voting machine in the next day given permission/expected to be showing up late?  Why were the memory sticks not taken out at the end of the voting day (as the post indicates was SOP?).

When people trusted to ensure accurate results (precinct workers) fail to follow the procedures that are in place to ensure accurate results (timely removal of vote recording device; timely delivery of votes to HQ), SOMEBODY had better be shining the light on this fact and finding more competent and trustworthy people to do the job.

This is getting old.  I agree but for different reasons.  

by gimmecoffee 2006-09-15 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Bette,

If you can be taught how to rig a Diebold voting machine in 10 minutes or less, how can you be so certain that someone else hasn't taken the same online class?

by gimmecoffee 2006-09-15 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

I've never seen these type of accusations on MyDD. And that's something I've always appreciated about the website. On other left leaning blogs any close loss it treated as certain theft. I can just imagine the claims if Lamont had lost by narrow margin to Lieberman. We'd still be reading about it, fraud in this district and theft in that one, even if it was lever machines. And it does get a bit old when Hackett's race then Busby and now Edwards are all treated as manipulation instead of accepted. Again, that's not true of MyDD but jiacinto posts on other sites as well, and has for years, and in this case I think he blanketed the situation too much instead of emphasizing the overall frustration, which I shared as soon as I heard there was a dispute in this race.

In November my greatest fear is we fail by narrow margin in the senate and house, then the liberal blogs identify the close defeats and cry fraud for two years. Anyone who thinks there isn't massive potential for exactly that hasn't handicapped the situation. You're going to have a tons of close races and obviously we'll lose many of them.

This confuses me about Diebold and this race. Did the Wynn people buy or rent the rights to tamper from the Republicans, in the primary only? I thought we had no control over the machines. No wonder we lose if we're stupid enough to fix the primary, then turn the memory cards and everything else back to the GOP in November.

by jagakid 2006-09-15 07:20PM | 0 recs
Isn't Anyone Interested in the White Truck?

Under the circumstances described in your piece, I, for one, would like to know who hired it.  And when.   And how it was paid for.  Then maybe one could interview the driver and crew to see what they have to say.  Who knows what might be learned?

by Limelite 2006-09-15 07:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

"Rational" seems to provide the perspective/rationale of anti-Rahm Republicans from Illinois. So, tell it to Sharon Angle-R in NV-02.
Your analogy and the Duckworth bashing doesn't work here.

Explaining corruption by relegating it to a series of unrelated and unexplainable coincidences is the harbor of theives.

by Predictor 2006-09-15 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Here's the latest.  The absentee ballots from Montgomery County were counted yesterday, and Wynn's lead was narrowed to 2800 votes.  Most of these ballots were not in the 4th.  I'm not sure if that's true about the provisionals, which are the key.

OK, so about +110 based on the absentees. No surprise that most of these ballots were not in the 4th -- electronic turnout in the 4th is consistent w/ 2004/2002 primaries, as I mentioned here.

Hooray for her if she enjoyed particularly robust turnout in Montgomery. I see that the estimate on provisionals has now been increased from 12K in the Post two days ago to 16K-18K. Interesting that turnout for Montgomery keeps getting ramped up. This is the only path by which she could take the advantage. If it's only 12K, she definitely can't win.

The polls closed on Tuesday evening, but voting machines in anywhere between two to eight precincts (probably controlled by Wynn's allies) were not brought in to the Maryland Board of Elections until the next day.

Well, you are not listing the precincts, but a few comments. I was a precinct rover for multiple MD legislative districts -- one in Montgomery and three in Prince George's. Primarily MD-04 and MD-05 territory.

I was at a precinct close in MD-05/PG. The results could not be electronically uploaded to Upper Marlboro. This is the key information you didn't mention. So, poll workers were instructed to deliver to Upper Marlboro directly.

Problem -- and I am dead certain this happened at least at one precinct -- the location info given for results delivery was incorrect. The results were undeliverable.

On Wednesday at 5pm, observers saw a white moving truck pull up and deliver voting machines from several precincts in Wynn-favoring Prince George's county, one of which the Edwards campaign heavily canvassed.

OK, the campaign I worked for didn't win every precinct we canvassed heavily. We even did poorly in some. Habits are sometimes hard to break.

Though no one can yet prove that Wynn's people tampered with the machines, the margin on those machines went for Wynn by around 65-35, which is out of line with the rest of the county.  The rest of the county had it at 57 or so for Wynn.

This is just sad. The 57 represents an average. By your logic, PG precincts in which Edwards outperformed are also suspect.

In other words, what it looks like is that Wynn or Wynn's allies held the ballot boxes they controlled back until they knew the margin Wynn needed to win on Monday, and that's when they probably did their tampering.

Matt, I couldn't defend you in a lawsuit. And I don't even like Wynn.

by dblhelix 2006-09-15 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

What is wrong with you?  Did I claim that I proved this election was stolen?  I didn't prove it, and I can't prove it.  The Maryland Board of Elections won't give out much of the information you are demanding.

I seriously don't get your desire to attack me on this.  It really makes no sense.  Sure everything could be fine here.  It could be.  But it doesn't look like it.  Trucks that are unsecured for a day in Wynn-heavy districts?  

by Matt Stoller 2006-09-16 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

The Washington Times provides more info:

Edwards campaign officials said they will be filing an injunction that asks a court to take possession of voting machines from the Chillum area that were delivered to the election board Wednesday at about 5 p.m.

Jonathan Shurberg, a lawyer for Mrs. Edwards, said the machines still had memory cards inside of them and that nobody could account for their whereabouts between Tuesday and Wednesday. The votes from those machines increased Mr. Wynn's margin of victory substantially, Mr. Shurberg said.

by pragmatic adjustable hed 2006-09-15 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots

Based on this list, I see two precincts which could be described as "Chillum area":

17-06
CESAR CHAVEZ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
6609 RIGGS ROAD
CHILLUM

17-07
ROLLINGCREST CHILLUM COMMUNITY CENTER
6120 SARGENT ROAD
HYATTSVILLE

Both of these precincts are in MD-08.

by looking italian 2006-09-16 09:52AM | 0 recs
I live right across from PG County

and I am confused by all of this.  I do think it is possible that Wynn -- not the GOP -- would try to change the vote.  He is an old time, Daley style pol (and remember Daley did this for years).  

But, what I haven't heard is how this would happen with the memory cards.  How would it work? Would Wynn's people boot up the votes and change them?  Would they replace them?

I voted in Montgomery and I'd imagine this wouldn't be easy to pull off.  I know that Diebold just uses Access but you're talking about altering thousands of individual memory cards in a way that wouldn't show up.  

So, before we assume that because there was a white truck, there must be fraud, can someone outline how the fraud could happen given this system?  I think it could have happened but I think it is equally likely that the election workers opted for PIzza and donuts the next morning (instead of bringing the votes over).

by lojo 2006-09-16 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The White Truck Delivering Ballots


"What's going on there is really bad, and it's a preview of what's coming in November considering that the Republicans have basically hired a criminal named Terry Nelson to head up the NRCC opposition 'research' department.  So if you don't really know how to approach a situation like this, you should try to learn by watching it during the Edwards-Wynn dry run."

(Okay, so here Terry Nelson, who is a criminal, is linked in to the outcome of the Edwards-Wynn race.  So in this way the stage is set for what is to follow.  At this point any sentient reader is obviously thinking that what follows will be some type of conspiracy with GOP involvement.)

"Here's the latest.  The absentee ballots from Montgomery County were counted yesterday, and Wynn's lead was narrowed to 2800 votes.  Most of these ballots were not in the 4th.  I'm not sure if that's true about the provisionals, which are the key."

(Yes, the provisionals are the key.  Typically those are the last to be counted, and the counting of them is done at election headquarters.  If by saying that the absentee ballots were not in the fourth district and thus should not be counted, there will be no way to slip this past election central.  They make the final determination on absentee ballots.  Poll workers may add absentees in the initial counts, but these counts are frequently adjusted by legal reviewers at election central.)

"The polls closed on Tuesday evening, but voting machines in anywhere between two to eight precincts (probably controlled by Wynn's allies) were not brought in to the Maryland Board of Elections until the next day."

(Here it is said, "Probably controlled by Wynn's allies."  That's not "reporting," as was  claimed.  Its opinion, but more so its speculation that sheds less light on the facts and more on what the writer is thinking in terms of what happened here.)

"On Wednesday at 5pm, observers saw a white moving truck pull up and deliver voting machines from several precincts in Wynn-favoring Prince George's county, one of which the Edwards campaign heavily canvassed."

(This "white truck" could have been the vehicle that was agreed upon by the judges at the polling places used to return the ballots to election central, and nothing more.   Here in Illinois, the key judge is responsible for making sure the ballots get back to the collection points.  For the last two elections, that has been me.   I have a choice - I can transport the ballots and equipment in my own vehicle, or, I can contact election central and have them picked up.  IN some cases election judges may not have a vehicle, and it is not unusual for election central to authorize a vehicle to pick up equipment and ballots for several precincts.)

"Though memory cards were supposed to be taken out immediately after voting closed, these machines had their memory cards still in them.  Though no one can yet prove that Wynn's people tampered with the machines, the margin on those machines went for Wynn by around 65-35, which is out of line with the rest of the county.  The rest of the county had it at 57 or so for Wynn."

(Again here, even though he says, "Though no one can yet prove that Wynn's people tampered with the machines, [emphasis is mine] he uses the word yet as if he knows that it will be proven most likely that there was tampering.  Now to the memory cards.

If these are the same machines I worked with, before the memory cards are removed, results are transmitted electronically to election central from the machine itself.  It has a modem and transfers the counts.  This can only be done once.  The memory card is removed after that and is sent to election central with the ballots.  It's used, not to count, but to verify what has already been sent.  The only way the count can be manipulated with these types of machines is by changing the count through the machine itself.  The cheater would have to somehow take out unused ballots and run them through the machine.  With 3 - 4 poll workers at each polling station, and poll watchers and DA investigators coming by every now and then, it would be awfully hard to do this.  Even if they did, they'd have to account for the used ballots.  So even if the memory cards were left in the machines, election central already had the counts!  Again, the memory card is only used to verify the counts election central has already tallied.

This much I can tell you: the process by which the polls are closed, e.g. the machines are shut down and the tapes of the counts are made and sent to election central, can be confusing.  Based on what happened in this election, in terms of the planning of it, it sounds like a lot of the volunteers were in it for the money.  These are not necessarily people who are used to following written instructions and are less experienced with use of computers and automation.  I have heard stories where polls were closed, and the poll workers just up and left; left all the equipment, ballots, tapes; the whole lock, stock and barrel there.  Memory cards were left in the machines.  Election central had to send out a truck to get them.  When this has occurred, they send out a truck(!) and this truck goes to several precincts/districts and picks this stuff.   Election boards typically do not own any vehicles, since they don't use them every day and there is no justification for them owning any.  Trucks like this are either rented or borrowed from other departments.  So by emphasizing this "white truck" to highlight the mystery of it, they are not taking into account this fact I have just described.   You are not likely to see trucks that say "Board of Elections" on them.  The point here is that machines arriving at election central with memory cards in them, is hardly evidence of tampering.  That they arrived the next day is no evidence of fraud either, since the workers at election central are very busy and may not be able to go out and get equipment and ballots that are left by errant workers until the next day.  But it doesn't matter because again, the counts have already been received!)

"The impact of the numbers appears to be about 1000 votes.  Prior to these votes coming in, Wynn had a lead of less than 2000 votes, with 13,000 Montgomery County provisional ballots to be counted on Monday.  Donna won that county by a substantial margin, which means she'll probably pick up anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand votes on Monday when those votes are counted."

(So why not wait until then to find out?  Why inject all this unnecessary speculation in the story?)

"In other words, what it looks like is that Wynn or Wynn's allies held the ballot boxes they controlled back until they knew the margin Wynn needed to win on Monday, and that's when they probably did their tampering.  We'll see what happens on Monday, when the provisionals are counted."

(Well here fraud is being claimed.  The writer is outright accusing "Wynn or Wynn's allies" of holding back the ballot boxes and that's when they did their fraud.  He is doing exactly what he said he didn't do.)  

"Donna Edwards should probably be the next Congressperson from the fourth.  She may yet be seated in Congress next session, though I wouldn't bet my life on it."

(At this point who the next Congressperson from the fourth district will be determined by the vote count.   It's almost like the writer is saying she "should" be, because that's who he wants.   I want her to win too, but if she lost fair and square, there's no point in manufacturing conspiracies out of thin air.  It makes us look and look like sore losers.)

I've worked every election here in Illinois since the 2002 mid term elections, and every local citywide race.  The writer claims he is doing "reporting," but if that is the case there are a lot of claims in his report that leave the reader open to assume that there is the implication of some kind of conspiracy.

I've worked every election in Cook County, IL since 2002, and I can tell you that the memory cards being in those machines were not evidence of anything underhanded, except maybe laziness or an inability to follow instructions, or the inability of the elections board to get to te equipment until then.  But it doesn't matter anyway, becuase the results are transmitted electronically from these machines to election central.  The memory cards are just used to verofy what was already transmitted.  Then you have the tapes with the results on them.

The "white truck" means nothing either.  That could have been the truck used by election central to pick up the equipment.  If there is evidence that Wynn or his people manipulated the election, he should be held to account.  Edwards not winning is not the basis for making such assumptions, however.  As popular as Edwards was, she was running an insurgent campaign against an entrenched incumbent who had more cash on hand than she did.  Its not therefore unlikely and somehow indicative of extroadinary circumstances that can only be explained away by fraud on the part of Wynn or his people, as was claimed.  

by clark 2006-09-17 06:59AM | 0 recs
Matt Soller's bad advice

Donna Edwards should not sue. As of now she has lost. If a recount finds that she has won then she won't need to sue. If she sues she will never be elected in that district as candidates who sue are routinely viewed as sore losers and people who can't accept that they didn't get what they wanted. I am not an Al Wynn supporter nor do I even know him and I know Donna Edwards.

She should let the system work out the end result and if she wins then more power to her. If she loses then she should assess where she can improve and get back out there and try again!

You are giving her terrible advice.

by bette 2006-09-18 10:11AM | 0 recs

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