Wednesday, September 17, 2008


DO YOU SMELL THAT?: We’re just back from voting and it was every bit the appalling experience we thought it would be- and then some.

First off, early voting this year on Kaua`i is being conducted in a construction zone having moved from the Historic County Building– where people were told to come- to the “Annex” next door where the newly and apparently hastily readied basement room reeked of fresh paint- not just an OSHA violation for the workers but a nauseating experience for all involved.

But what the heck- you have to be dizzy in the first place to vote for most of those on the ballot this year- what’s a little huffing on the way into the voting booth?

Then we were handed a paper ballot shunning the electronic machine, as if it really matters. We and others were not told of the new procedure of having to check the little box picking a party instead of just voting in one party’s primary.

The new check box is there for no particular reason other than our new idiotic State Elections Chief Kevin "King" Cronin decreed it- without checking with anyone as was required by law.

And, in another bit of stupidity that could have been solved if he had bothered to follow the law and let someone check his new ballot, although the instructions still say to fill in the oval completely, there are no ovals or even circles next to each name but rectangles, insuring not just more confusion but using twice as much effort and ink to mark the ballot this year.

Cheesehead Cronin obviously decide that too many people had finally figured out the color-coded method over the last 10 years it’s been in use so he’d change it to insure another 10 years of confusion and ruined and invalid ballots.

Then- surprise number 17 gazillion this year- instead of, as has been the practice in the past, leaving off the names of those unchallenged in their party's partisan primaries for those running for state or federal office, they were included this time for no particular reason... probably because that’s the way they do it in Wisconsin.

Studies show that the worst years for mistakes in balloting occur when the balloting methods change- whether changing from things like punch cards to optical scans to using new instructions and ways to mark the ballots.

And so you’d think any schmuck who runs elections knows the best way to insure people understand the ballot is to not change the methodology from election to election unless you really have to..

But Cronin obviously isn’t just any ordinary schmuck- he got a unique, arrogant schmuck-osity about him as we’ve detailed over the past few months.

The worst part is that we aren’t alone in thinking that no matter what we did, there was a good chance that our vote will not be counted because no one is checking the infamous “paper trail” that is supposed to reassure everyone that the result will reflect the vote.

Everyone assumes that some kind of paper record- such as the printer contained in the electronic machines or the ones that we mark in ink and feed into the optical scan counting machine- are an assurance of lack of fraud because they can be counted later after the machines are done doing their “magic”.

But,. as we reported yesterday- and as is listed as a bone of contention in the lawsuit filed by Maui voting observer Bob Babson- the “paper trail” is rarely if ever seen again once the voter leaves the booth.

Because, as Babson’s attorney Lance Collins told us,. trying to see them again is an exercise in futility.

We were surprised to find out yesterday that electronic transmission to Honolulu of the vote with no one on-site verifying the totals had been the case for years and was not, as widely reported by the mainstream media and so by us, a new arbitrary invention of Cronin’s..

But when we asked Collins about it he added the following

I don't know how its been done on Kauai but tabulation has occurred previously on Maui then sent to Honolulu (without telling anyone on Maui what the results are) and then the results are sent back from Honolulu. This is what made Bob Babson initially suspicious in 2006.

Because the Maui final count was not made available before the tabulator was hooked up to the internet/telephone, there would be no way to verify that tampering had not occurred unless you manually recounted all the ballots (except the absentee ballots are never audited-recounted in the first place). However, there are no recounts unless a candidate or 30 voters have concrete evidence that there was fraud or error and that the fraud/error changed the result.

A very high standard for very low election security.

In other words the only way the “paper” is ever seen again - or even a first time- is if 30 people can prove there was something wrong with the totals. And that, if that’s true it would have changed the winner

Many people think it’s futile to vote because good people don’t become candidates- almost by definition- and many can’t even get on the ballot in many states.

And if they do manage to run, only those with lots of money from dubious sources – as well as those who don’t just represent but actually ARE the special interests- can get the media recognition to tell people they are “viable” or “ electable”.

But the with the privatized elections systems used in every state these days- which results in the proprietary nature of the counting software- and other ridiculously convoluted rules for ever actually checking the results, the supposed confidence-building “paper trails” do nothing to negate, and in fact facilitate, the opportunities for election fraud. .

So, that said, don’t forget to vote Saturday kiddies... It’s apparently a sucker’s game but it’s probably the only “right” you have left.

No comments: