Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Balderdash mixed in with coded entries in the "big binder"

Parts of the reconciliation summary and notes prepared by King County to explain the contents of the “big binder” appear to be balderdash.

As a result, I haven’t made much headway on “Part II” of my attempt to figure out what the canvassing crew members did – and, in particular, to figure out whether the total number of provisional ballots run through the polling place AccuVote machines was closer to 1008 or 660.

Here’s an example of the stuff that King County calls a reconciliation of ballots – and perhaps an illustration of the reason why Dean Logan was only willing to say that there is “some overlap” in the two reported numbers of provisional ballots that were improperly run through the voting machines (348 reported in early January and 660 admitted on March 11).

For the Mirror Lake School polling place, the reconciliation summary states that there was a “Net Difference” of one more ballot in the vote tabulation process than there were ballots issued by the 6 precincts using that polling place. That one ballot cannot be explained, so it is one of the 216 ballots in the election night vote tabulation which cannot be shown to have been issued to any voter at the polls. (Those 216 ballots are clearly illegitimate ballots, since their source cannot even be identified, much less the persons who inserted them into the ballot box.)

The notes show that 3 precincts had a total of 4 “no labels,” meaning there were 4 provisional ballots which were not returned to the polling place officers in the labeled and signed envelopes provided to the voters for that purpose. Presumably, those 4 provisional ballots were unlawfully inserted into the ballot box via the AccuVote machine.

The summary states in the “PBAV” column that 3 provisional ballots were improperly inserted into the AccuVote machine, but then makes an “adjustment” of 4 ballots in the “Adjusted #” column – offsetting 4 of the 5 excess ballots in that polling place.

All 4 of the “no labels” should have been noted in the PBAV column. There is a note which states: “inspector: at least 1-2 pbs ran through AV.” The words used by the precinct inspector were “at least,” yet the PBAV column indicates that only 3 of the 4 “no labels” were run through the machine. There is no apparent reason for concluding that only 3, rather than all 4, were unlawfully inserted into the machine.

Although one of the “no labels” was omitted from the PBAV column, all 4 “no labels” were reflected in the “Adjusted #” column – reducing the “Plus/Minus” column’s number for the polling place from +5 to +1 ballot. Thus, the canvassing crew apparently concluded that all 4 provisional ballots which had not been returned to the precinct officers in signed, labeled envelopes had indeed been “PBAV” – provisional ballots inserted into the AccuVote machine.

Since the same information was used back in January as the basis for reporting that 348 provisional ballots were improperly inserted into the voting machines, that total was at least one ballot short.

For this particular polling place, the “overlap” between the 348 and 660 numbers apparently should have been complete, but it wasn’t. Someone noted only 3 of the 4 “no labels” as “PBAV,” so only 3 of the 4 were included in the 348 number reported in January. All 4 are included in the 660 number reluctantly and belatedly admitted last Friday.

Sorting out balderdash is harder than code breaking.


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