Monday, December 27, 2004

It's All Just to Fix the Election...

So what does an Ohio election official do once they have completed their recount? OK, almost completed. We're still waiting for the official announcement that it's complete.

Fulfill hundreds of Open Records requests of course.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer gave some examples in this article.

Everybody wants a piece of Cuyahoga County's presidential election.

High school students and college professors. Civil rights lawyers and self-appointed election activists. Politicians and Average Joes. Reporters from community newspapers to the Los Angeles Times.

Since Nov. 2, hundreds of requests to review, copy, inspect and even manipulate records related to the election have flooded the board's offices. Many of the requests are testing Ohio's open records law, the patience of elections officials and the will of the people submitting them.

Some, coming from high schools students for a class project, sound interesting. But others aren't so knowledgeable.
But some requests are off-target, such as those seeking information about electronic voting machines; Cuyahoga County uses paper-ballot machines.
Thanks for doing your homework before making that request!

And thank God others come from trustworthy liberal organizations, because if they came from the right, I'd have to suspect vote tampering...
Working on behalf of the progressive political group Alliance for Democracy, [Harvey] Wasserman mailed his request to the state's 88 election boards. It includes an unusual appeal: permission to hook up his computer to the boards' computers and copy records.
According to the PD, Cuyahoga county officials have named Vicki Lovegren, a mathematics professor at Case Western Reserve University, "among the most persistent - and exhausting - voter advocates."
Lovegren's detailed requests and addendums forced elections officials to use a computer spreadsheet to track her requests.
This included holding a special evening training session for her - after she refused to believe that the vote tabulation machines couldn't produce the detailed reports she wanted. If you think that she would be grateful for this, well, you'd be wrong...

Lovegren's frequent e-mails and calls suggest that she's suspicious of election officials.

"If I don't get these items tomorrow, I have to conclude that the board is hiding something," she wrote in one e-mail.

But of course, it's all in the interest of improving the process.
"We are not here to overturn an election," Said Steve Hertzberg, project manager of Votewatch. "We want to find out where the flaws are so we can fix these things."

But Steve, of all of the states and all of the counties, why would you pick one that already has plans in place to replace their current voting technology (punch cards) - instead of somewhere else where they would actually benefit from your observations.

Oh wait a second - I get it. When you used the term "fix", you meant it in the same way that the King County election officials in Washington did when they "fixed" their election too. It's all so clear now.