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.

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Updates on the 4th: 16,000 Ballots to be Counted in Montgomery, More Shady Stories

There are around 10,000 provisional ballots in Montgomery County, which are going to be counted on Monday.  Not all are in the 4th district.  There are also 6000 absentee ballots, and the count for those ballots will start today.

In addition to having spare parts for machines withheld and staggering incompetence, I'm getting reports of other strange electoral tricks.  Here's an email I got from someone on the ground.

FYI, on Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 pm a truckload of machines and cards from three precincts rolled into the board of elections in Prince George's County -- polls had closed at 8:00 pm on Tuesday.  No one at the Board of Elections can account for the whereabouts of this truckload of ballots until it showed up at 5:00 pm on Wednesday.  These ballots were from precincts that we had canvassed and phonebanked heavily.  The reports from the precincts were radically different from all the other 203 precincts that had reported, through which we held a balance of 56-40 (Wynn) in Prince George's -- the lost truckload of ballots came in with a 10 percent margin shift which significantly altered the count out of Prince George's County.  I'm not a statistician, but this may be a statistic impossibility.  We're trying to get to the bottom of all of this, in addition to counting all the absentee and provisional ballots that are outstanding.

And yes, this is a dry run for this November.

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Donna Edwards Speaks

Here's what Donna Edwards said:

I salute my supporters and everyone who struggled to vote on Tuesday.

I have heard from voters who made several trips to vote, some waited and waited in lines and still others had to cast provisional ballots.

In our democracy, voters expect to have their ballots counted. I am determined to know what happened in both Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.

Thousands of voters made a tremendous effort to cast their ballot.

Voters need to have confidence that their vote counted.  I will fight for answers and make sure every ballot is counted.

Our democracy demands it.

Gore didn't say this.  Kerry didn't say this.  Democrats are castigated for not fighting and making sure that all the votes count, and this gives license to conspiracy theorists and crazy people to irresponsibly argue that democracy is pointless because it's all stolen anyway.  A genuine progressive, Donna Edwards took on a machine candidate, someone who regularly broke laws and had his staffers beat up and threaten Edwards people, and there was basically no press coverage.  There were massive voting problems, incompetence and downright shady behavior by a Republican-controlled Board of Elections which is heavily tied in with Al Wynn.

If you care about change, you need to fight for it.  That's what the right-wing does.  They fight for change, every day.  That's what we are beginning to do.  There are now activists on the ground, in Maryland, working to make sure that the votes are fully counted.  And yet we have a long way to go.  I believe that there are several excuses that we have for not acting, for not making change.  One of them is a demonically evil and omnipotent Karl Rove.  Rove isn't that good at what he does, but what sets him apart is that his supporters believe in what they are doing and always go to the mat, every single time.  Put Karl Rove in charge of the Democratic Party, and we would still lose badly.  Put Bob Shrum in charge of the Republican Party, and, well, actually, seriously, please put Bob Shrum in charge of the Republican party.  

Joke aside, I bring this up because of a disturbing habit I notice among progressives to argue aggressively for giving up.  I read this diary from the normally savvy David Kowalski, and a few Breaking Blue posts that continue to reiterate the bad numbers coming from the Maryland Board of Elections, and I want to knock my head into the wall.  These are not good numbers, and we should not consider them real.    

If smart progressive activists are willing to accept falsified numbers and illegitimate elections, then we are simply going to lose again, because it's pretty obvious to me at least that we are not really willing to fight.  Fighting for change means recognizing that old habits are inaccurate.  One of those old habits that no longer works is accepting numbers as accurate because it comes with 'Board of Elections' stamped on it.  It means understanding whether that 'Board of Elections' stamp comes from a board that is credible, or one that is not.  If the board is not credible, and there is ample evidence of strange problems, we must contest those numbers, and remembering the astericks going forward.

Now, we can't pretend like electoral fraud is omnipresent.  It's not.  And we have to face the fact that many of the noisiest proponents of the stolen election line are a little tin-foily at best.  This is a difficult issue, and we have to pick our battles.  In this case, there's an extremely credible progressive candidate challenging an incumbent with a history of illegal activity, and she's fighting.  We ought to back her.

Do I know if this election was 'stolen', with evil maniacal men cackling in backrooms?  Of course not.  But if you look back in history, to LBJ, JFK, and how some of our heros manipulated electoral machinery, you'd see that they often did it through planned incompetence.  This situation needs to raise hackles.  I hope it raises yours.  It certainly raises Donna Edwards', and she's not taking it lying down.

Go Donna.

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More Maryland Madness

Apparently two precincts in Prince George's County still haven't submitted their ballot boxes to the Board of Elections.  They apparently aren't physically in the building.  

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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.

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