Time to Doff the Tin Foil Hats - No Suspicious Undervote in Meck/NC-08

Unless you've been in seclusion or you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the alarmingly high undervote rate in Florida's 13th Congressional District race. According to The San Francisco Chronicle piece linked above via CommonDreams, the undervote of somewhere around 15% in Sarasota County means that close to 18,000 people voted for other races, but failed to select a choice for the Jennings/Buchanan race. Unlike North Carolina, Florida does not require a paper trail for its touch screen machines. There are several theories floating around as to what happened to those 18,000 votes, but with no paper trail, it is difficult, if not impossible to verify the count from the machine.

Now, conspiracy theories are cropping up surrounding the 4.2% Mecklenburg County undervote in the 8th Congressional race between Larry Kissell and Robin Hayes. It started with an email going around with lots of THESE and quite a few of !!!!!!! these. According to the author of the email the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections was negligent in its execution of the 3% eye-hand recount performed on November 29, 2006. The author also claims that there is an unprecedented undervote in Mecklenburg County for the 8th Congressional District race. The undervote rate of 4.2% is unprecedented in this race for Mecklenburg County, however, in light of circumstances surrounding November's elections, it is not surprising, shocking or significant and all the CAPITAL LETTERS and !!!!! exclamation points!!!! in the world will not change that fact.

Grab a cuppa and get comfy. This one's looooong....

Why address this publicly? The email has had broad enough distribution that it deserves to be addressed publicly. Not only that, diaries are showing up on Daily Kos, Democratic Underground and now BlueNC. A new web site asserting this claim also exists. It isn't my intention to call out any one person or to try and embarrass someone, therefore I'm not addressing the author of this email or the web site by name.

Another reason to address this publicly is the spread of faulty data that is now getting wider distribution. A couple of days ago, Kirk Ross brought our attention to a writer who is spreading confusion by using a completely inaccurate undervote total for North Carolina's 8th Congressional District. Michael Collins has a post at Scoop Independent News, OpEdNews.com and it was taken to Crooks and Liars by Nicole Belle. In this article Collins claims that the undervote percentage in the 8th Congressional race in Mecklenburg County was over 15%. I'll refute his numbers later in this post.

The most important reason to address this publicly is that there are valid complaints with election procedures and results in some states. Any time a false claim is made or a problem created where none exists, it dilutes the importance of other, more valid claims and takes attention and possibly resources away from where they are most needed.

What is an undervote?

An undervote occurs when a ballot is cast and the voter either intentionally or inadvertently does not vote in a race on the ballot. Undervote rates tend to increase the further down the ballot the race is located. Undervoting is to be expected, but at the top of the ballot any undervote over 2% should at least get a nod of attention. How much over 2% is acceptable depends on which race sits at the top of the ticket and any special circumstances surrounding the vote. Last year, in Mecklenburg County there was an undervote of 4.2% in the 8th Congressional race, which sat at the top of the ballot.

Today, I hope to lend some perspective to the analysis others have given and I hope to correct the inaccuracies being spread by Michael Collins and any others who are using faulty data. To understand this post, you might need to follow the links. I have provided my raw data, but have also linked to the data provided by the Mecklenburg County board of Elections. I know some of you will want to do your own calculations.

The Email

If you're on as many political email lists as I am, you've probably seen this email. It includes an exchange between an observer of the Mecklenburg County recount and Bev Harris of Blackbox voting. You will find a redacted version of the email at this link. You will find the email author's raw data at this link.

To summarize, the author of the email makes these claims:

* There is an unprecedented, suspicious undervote in Mecklenburg County, especially in the 8th Congressional race

* No other down-ballot races had a higher undervote rate than the 8th District with the congressional race being outperformed by all other down-ballot races.

* It is the FIRST time all down-ballot races have had a lower undervote rate than the top of the ticket race.

The author of the email is wrong on all counts. There was a partisan down-ballot race that had a higher undervote than the 8th Congressional District race. Kissell shared 20 of 29 precincts with the County Commission District 4 race, which most would consider a down-ballot race. The author chose instead to include in his comparison a county commission race that shared only two precincts with the 8th Congressional District. In comparing only shared precincts, the 8th CD had an undervote rate of 4.3% and the County Commission District 4 race had an undervote rate of 5%. Raw data for this can be found here.

The author's excitement over the fact that it's the first time this has happened deserves some perspective. In 2004 the sheriff was not running for re-election and none of the other races that shared precincts with the 8th CD had opposition. The only races that provide any reasonable comparison were the 2002 elections for sheriff, County Commission District 4 and NC House District 100. Making this claim based on a comparison which includes only a few races from one year makes the claim that it, "NEVER BEFORE HAPPENED", a little weak. Actually, it makes it a lot weak.

The following is a quote from the email about the author's experience during the recount procedings.

I was present for the manual hand recount of the 3% of the precincts in Mecklenburg, but the recount procedures I witnessed where NOT appropriate. First of all even though I was an observer I was NOT permitted to view the paper reams that where being counted. Although this seems the defeat the purpose of having a observer the BOE officials insisted that the reams where confidential and would only me, OR the campaign attorney to view the tapes.
The only people allowed to view the tapes where BOE employees and they where given instructions that virtually guaranteed they would produce the same results of the machine count.
THE COUNTERS WHERE INSTRUCTED TO TALLY UP THE RESULTS OF A REAM OF VOTES AND THEN CHECK TO SEE IF THAT TALLY MATACHED THE MACHINE COUNT. IF THE COUNTSMATCHED THEN THE ROLL WAS PUT ASIDE, BUT IF THE COUNT DIFFERRED FROM THE MACHIE COUNT THE COUNTERS WHERE TOLD TO ASSUME THEY MADE A MISTAKE AND COUNT THE TAPE AGAIN! IF THE AGAIN PRODUCED A RESULT DIFFERENT FROM THE MACHINE COUNT THEY WHERE AGAIN TOLD TO RECOUNT THE ROLLS AND CONTINUE TO RECOUNT THE ROLLS UNTIL THEY PRODUCED A RESULTS THAT MATCHED THE MACHINE COUNT!

While I did not attend the recount itself, I did call the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections to ask an official about their recount procedures. I did not ask for a formal statement, so will not give a direct quote, however I do know this person attended the recount and is very familiar with the procedure. I will request a formal statement if my explanation does not suffice.

First, my understanding is that none of the machines involved in the eye-hand recount showed a significant difference from the machine tally when counted by hand. If there was a difference, it is my understanding the tape was examined to see if it could be determined whether human error caused the difference in count. If they could determine where the mistake was made on the tape, and the tape then verified the machine count, the tape was not recounted. There was nothing found during the process that indicated a problem with any of the machines.

The other issue the author takes with the recount procedures is that he was not allowed to examine the tape. North Carolina election law can be ambiguous on some points, but a reasonable interpretation of G.S. 163-182.2 (3)(PDF - pg. 172) might explain why the author wasn't allowed to examine the tapes. It reads :

Any member of the public wishing to witness the vote count at any level shall be allowed to do so. No witness shall interfere with the orderly counting of the official ballots. Witnesses shall not participate in the official counting of official ballots.

An observer or witness is just that, an observer. As far as I'm aware, an observer is not entitled to any special privileges just because he or she is from a campaign. Examining the tapes might be construed as interfering with the orderly counting of the official ballot. I'm not a lawyer or judge, but this statute could easily be interpreted - and may already have been interpreted to prevent witnesses from touching, examining or hovering over the official counters while they touch and examine the tapes. It appears to me, the author's complaint isn't with the Mecklenburg Board of Elections on this point, but with North Carolina's election laws.

I understand why tapes should be examined and I understand why the observer might want to see for himself what the tape says, but the employees of the different boards are required to follow the law.

As I mentioned above, I'm not writing this to pick on anyone or to call anyone out. However, the data that the author of the email used is inaccurate and incomplete. Sensationalizing a 4.2% undervote when prior undervotes have been just over 2% is not in the best interest of the candidate and it certainly isn't in the best interest of the people who spend many hours investigating claims like this. Their time should be spent on legitimate issues.

The Web Site

The author of the email and the owner of the web site are not the same person. I don't doubt the sincerity of the owner of the site, but the data given to back up his claim that there is an aberrant undervote is sketchy(Precinct 205 counted twice) and simply does not do the job.

The site gives a few graphs and claims the undervote was 4%. More specifically it is 4.2%.

The following is a summary of the site owner's questions:

* If the undervote is attributed to voter dissatisfaction, why did it stop at the county line?

* Why did the voter dissatisfaction "arise sui generis in 2006"?

* Why did voter dissatisfaction not extend to candidacies lower on the ballot?

Answering the first question is easy. Republicans voted in other races, but did not vote for Robin Hayes. If you look at shared precincts, the Republican candidate in the county commission race came within two votes of Robin Hayes' total. It's hard to imagine that a relatively unknown candidate from a down-ballot race who lacks the power of incumbency, could come within two votes of a popular, well-known congressman. The NC House race between Hal Jordan and Jim Black isn't a fair comparison with Jim Black's ethics challenges. However, Hal Jordan had about 700 more votes than Robin Hayes in their shared precincts.

If you look at overall percentage of votes for these Republican candidates across their respective districts, Robin Hayes received the lowest percentage of votes of any of the Republicans with shared precincts and he is the only Republican incumbent with high name recognition.

Also, the NCGOP ran an aggressive ad campaign in Mecklenburg County to try to flip control of the county commission. This ad campaign did not extend beyond the county's borders and should at least help explain why Republicans would turn out to vote for the county commission, state house and sheriff races while their overall dissatisfaction gave them a reason to withhold their vote from Robin Hayes.

You would have to have spent the last year under a rock or in a cave to not understand the escalation of voter dissatisfaction that has built over the past year. Why did this wave not occur in 2004 or wait until 2008? Like I said, rock or cave, if you were not politically aware of what was going on, I'm not going to waste ink rehashing it here.

The final question posed asks why voter dissatisfaction did not extend to down-ballot races. Well, North Carolinians might not all be the brightest bulbs in our respective packs, but most of us understand that our county commissioners, state house reps and our sheriffs don't have a thing to do with the mess in Washington.

Michael Collins Articles

The articles linked above written by Michael Collins are particularly disturbing. First, it appears that Mr. Collins is advocating that Mecklenburg County's tapes be used to prove that Sarasota County's machines are faulty. If the problem is in the programming and Sarasota's machines were faulty or tampered with, recounting the results in Mecklenburg County will not prove anything. He completely ignores the fact that the 3% eye-hand recount performed in Mecklenburg County resulted in zero added votes and did not indicate any problems with the machines.

There is a bigger problem with his article, however. Collins either intentionally uses an inflated undervote figure to make Mecklenburg County's undervote appear more sensational, or he has no idea how to figure the undervote from the iVotronics returns.

In stating that Mecklenburg County's undervote is greater than 15% he failed to exclude all paper absentee, curbside and provisional votes. Provisional votes naturally create a huge undervote since so many are discarded. Once those are removed the actual undervote of 4.2% is revealed. With the correct undervote total, Collins' entire argument is rendered moot.

Conclusion

There was no vast conspiracy in Mecklenburg County. There was no suspicious, aberrant, shocking or surprising undervote in Mecklenburg County. Voters were unhappy with the mess in Washington and it showed in the slightly inflated undervote. Republicans voted for down-ballot races, but withheld their votes from Robin Hayes. I only wish they had withheld about 330 more.

This is a long piece and if I've failed to clarify a point well enough, please feel free to ask questions. I am not an election returns expert. I am not a political scientist. However, I do follow returns and fiddle around with numbers and I've been doing it for a good long while. I am in-tune enough with what happened in Mecklenburg to be able to take a step back and apply a little common sense to this situation. At least, I hope that's what I've done. I'm sure you will all let me know if I have failed.

Data Links
Email Data
Web Site Data
My Raw Data derived from Meck BOE data
Media Download, Meck BOE
Election Returns Archives, Meck BOE
November 7 Returns, Meck BOE

Comments

Sorry it's so long

But...phew....I'm glad that's over with. Now I can get on to writing about fun stuff.

I'll be checking in to answer any questions. I probably also need to add more links. Let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Thanks SD

I know it took a lot of time to pull all that together. It is silly to try and link the FL-13 and NC-8 races. The evidence seems pretty clear in FL-13, and I am not sure why they would even need to look elsewhere.

I have one question about NC-8 though. How does Meck's 4.2% undervote compare to the other counties in the district? Are undervotes more likely to occur on touch-screen machines than other types of machines, such as optical scan?

THX

I believe that it is higher

But I dont know exactly how much.

However, no one knows if touch screens create more undervotes or not, its never been looked at as far as I know.
Also, its hard to compare Mecklenburg to the other counties for a variety of reasons, mostly surrounding local politics, campaign focus and just general knowledge of a race going on.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

The three congressional races in meck have a high undervote

And it's not that high outside the county. Of those three, NC-08 has the highest undervote.

For my paper I want to see those tapes!

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Most of the other counties

in the 8th do not have their data online as extensively as Meck. I do know that the candidates for sheriff in Stanly and Anson (I think) counties both had more votes than the congressional race in those counties. I do not know the undervote for any of the other counties. I could call and get the information.

All the other counties used optical scan machines and my understanding is those typically have a lower undervote rate. I am not a student of voting machine types/facts/data.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Kissell gained 2 votes from manual recount (3%) of 5 counties

Facts about the Kissell/Hayes recount in NC 08
5 counties had a sample recount (which extends if results show anomalies).

4 of the counties were optical scan, and 1, Mecklenburg is touch screen with the VVPAT.
We had machine recounts, then we had manual recounts.

Kissell gained 2 votes in the manual recount of 5 counties,then conceded.

RDU News 14 | 11/29/2006 | Kissell Concedes Defeat
Kissell conceded even though only five of the ten counties in the district had completed the hand recount requested by the Democrat....
He gained only two votes Wednesday during the first phase of the hand recount,
during which election officials manually recount votes in a sample of precincts covering 3 percent of the votes cast in the race.

http://rdu.news14.com/content/headlines/?ArID=95335&SecID=2

Kissell gained 10 votes from the machine recount in Cabarrus, Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond and Union counties

The Sun News | 11/22/2006 | 8th District race closer in recount
In Hoke, Hayes gained a single vote, while in Union County Kissell lost two ...
www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/myrtlebeachonline/news/local/16074785.htm

Outstanding!

Thank you so much for taking the time to gather all of this information. We are long overdue for putting these conspiracy rumors to bed!

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Is that your way of saying.....

"It's about freaking time you finished this piece"?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

No!

I would never say that to your face). hehehe

In all seriousness...I know how hard you worked on this and how much you put into making sure that every detail was covered and every fact was checked.

Great job!

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Some back up

In other counties people were allowed to watch the vote counting but not look at the actual ballots. That is SOP.

The numbers that I have seen make one think there was a 9 to 12% undervote. However, that is due to a problem with the way MeckBOE does its reporting, not because of an ACTUAL undervote.

4% is very very normal. Usually the president has 2% undervote. Given that this was a non-presidential year, in an area where Larry had low name-id and many thought Mel Watt and not Hayes was their rep it makes 4% seem lower than I would have expected.

Just as important, in Florida there were reports that very day of problems with voting. I have yet to talk to a single voter or heard of any voter having trouble voting for Larry. And considering I spent all of election day in almost constant contact with people at almost every precinct in Mecklenburg I would have expected to have heard about something by now.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Thanks for the backup

I haven't heard of any issues either. Also, the times I've called the Meck BOE with questions they've been responsive, positive and eager to help educate/inform the public about procedures, expectations, etc. It's a shame that when some folks attack the accuracy of voting machines, they wind up vilifying Board of Elections employees.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Also....

in FL-13 you had the candidate (Jennings) who "should have" won that county actually lose the county, and thereby the race, as a result of this abnormally high undervote.

In NC-08, we had Kissell win Mecklenburg with a higher percentage of the vote (68%) than we've seen in a loooong time....and yet some still claimed an unusual undervote/conspiracy/blah/blah/blah that somehow withheld additional votes from Kissell.

Makes no sense.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

There are other issues and factors to discuss

Sam Spencer has promised us the "be all, end all" of political science analyses. I anxiously await his report. It better live up to his promise. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

I would

imagine that might take some time. You know Sam....

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

I can't talk....

I started writing this December 12. I don't want to say how many revisions I've written. The web site and new articles have all cropped up as I've dragged my feet.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Now that

is some citizen journalisming.
Hats off—gzzzt.

Thanks, Kirk

That means a lot coming from you.

I pay WFC and Blue South to say nice things. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

mmm

cookies and jolt gum.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

OK, so it wasn't real money

I'm not above making payments with cookies.

Speaking of jolt gum.....I could use some right now.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

irony

15 minutes ago this went up on kos

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

It's a lot shorter than mine

and I'm disappointed he is hinting that the BOE employees were at fault for the recount procedures. They followed state law.

I'm sorry, but there's a reason why bank tellers and cashiers balance to their machines, right?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Time to cross post

on Kos, SD. Seriously...enough is enough.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Done

and ready to be rec'd. Link to Kos post.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

conundrum r/e how the recount was conducte

I spoke with the observer for the Kissell campaign, and it sounded like he was not allowed to view the "paper trail".I also spoke with a reporter at the Charlotte Observer. Their accounts differ, and that could be partly due to perspective.

The Kissell observer should have been allowed to view the paper trail as long as he didn't obstruct the process.
Please know that the paper trail is very hard to read. I can't dispute his story, he sounds very creditable to me.

In an email on 12/6/2006 Don Wright, the General Counsel for the NC SBOE advised me in an email:

"Observers were allowed to view the recount process in a matter that was not disruptive to the persons actually doing the recount. Observers did not handle the ballots or VVPAT, only the bipartisan teams of counters under the direct supervision of the county boards handled the documents to be recounted. I am assuming that observers had opportunities to view ballots and VVPATS during the process.

Understand that most "observers" were there representing partisan candidates and were taking aggressive partisan positions. We heard no complaints from any observers of the recounts as to how they were conducted or as to what they were allowed to observe"

I contacted Carrie Levine, reporter at the Charlotte Observer, and she advised that the procedures for the recount were correctly followed. She said she was present at the recount. Levine said that the paper trail prints every single selection and deselection made on the ballot, and this made recounting exceptionally difficult. She was adament that procedures were followed.

Since the only personal accounts of the recount that I had were two contradicting ones, there was nothing to say.

Kissell's lawyers, observers, a reporter(s) were present. Did they understand the process? I don't know.

Electronic voting makes things complicated.

We never ran a story on this because we could not find anything radically wrong.

there's more

To be fair, the observer is providing a viewpoint from a person not normally part of the system.

An outsider.

I have dealt with several Boards of Elections, and can tell you that some are very open, and some not.

Chatham county activists sued their County BOE for holding meetings OUTSIDE of the county to decide on type of voting machines.

The BOE didn't want activists to be present during the decision making process.

The Chatham activists won their case, but only got a few thousand $ in legal fees, while their total attorney's bill was about $40K.

And I can tell you, Mecklenburg County has not been open with me - several requests for information have been blatently ignored, and
that is unusual. Most counties will reply to any request, within reason.

Still, I don't think we had a smoking gun in Mecklenburg.

The way to be sure is to have more citizen activists participate in the post election audits, which are similar to a recount.

Objective persons can tell us what is going on, then.

Hmmm...I guess we had different experiences with them then

Every email and phone call was promptly returned and they knew I was researching and writing about this very subject. Maybe my calls and emails were far enough away from the election in February that they had more time to talk? I don't know. They've been very, very responsive to me.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

I am glad you had better luck, here is one of my emails to them

Southern Dem,first of all, I am truly greatful to you for writing this blog.
I have tried to address the inaccurate information being spread around the
internet, specifically Michael Collins article, but fell short.

I have been sending your blog (the DKOS one) to many lists, and also posted it at Democratic Underground. I posted links to it in the comments section at OpEdNews as well.
Many national election integrity advocates are thankful for your writing.

Now -

The State Board of Elections has been very open and responsive to my numerous phone calls and emails, that is something we should all appreciate.

Unfortunately, the Meck BOE has NOT been responsive AT ALL.

Anyway, here are two of just some of my email requests to Mecklenburg Elections Director Michael Dickerson.

I asked Dickerson for trouble reports from the May primary. (thats the list of malfunctions and problems that poll workers record).

----- Original Message -----
From: joyce.mccloy@earthlink.net
To: MECKLENBURG.boe
Sent: 7/31/2006 1:33:26 PM
Subject: attn: Michael Dickerson - request for info r/e May primary and VVPAT

Mecklenburg County Board of Elections
Mr. Michael Dickerson, Director

Dear Mr. Dickerson

I am writing to you about the voting machines that didn't print the paper trail for the May primary training.

The design of the iVotronic clearly needs improvement to prevent the operation of the machines if the printer is not engaged, and if the paper is not installed correctly.

We asked computer scientist David Jefferson about this, here is his summary of the iVotronic RTAL printer. Jefferson recommended that the printer provide a summary of the ballot only. Unfortunately he didn't address the issue of the printers needing a stop or alarm function.
http://www.votetrustusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14...

*Could you please send me either via email or fax your trouble reports for the May Primary for all precincts?

*Additionally please advise which polling locations had the printers that did not print.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

It is our wish to recommend changes to the printer function to prevent these sorts of problems in the future.

I do not wish to criticize the poll workers, instead it is my belief that the design of the machines makes it too easy to have these problems.

If you prefer to fax the information rather than email it, my fax number is XXX-XXX-XXXX

Regards;

Joyce McCloy
Founder, NC Coalition for Verified Voting
336-794-1240
jmc27106@earthlink.net
www.ncvoter.net

May. 04, 2006 Few voting glitches pop up
Results not affected by minor malfunctions in new machines
CARRIE LEVINE
clevine@charlotteobserver.com

Mecklenburg New voting machines worked well in Tuesday's primary, Mecklenburg County Elections Director Michael Dickerson said, and more training for poll workers can likely address the few glitches:

- Printers on 10 machines had paper put on backwards, and poll workers didn't realize the printers weren't working properly, Dickerson said....

Dickerson never replied.

Here in Dec 2006 I ask Dickerson for the May trouble reports - again - and also ask for the trouble reports from the November elections. He never replied to this one either. (I have other requests he has ignored in the past as well) maybe you could give it a try for me?

----- Original Message -----
From: jmc27106@earthlink.net
To: MECKLENBURG.boe
Cc: madreabogada; mkolb; jbprops
Sent: 12/18/2006 7:54:30 PM
Subject: 12/18 request for public information

Mecklenburg County Board of Elections
Ms. Georgia Jacquez Lewis
Mr. Michael A. Kolb
Mr. Jeff C. Bradsher
Mr. Michael Dickerson, Director

Dear Mr. Dickerson and the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections;

Please accept this as a public information request for any or all problem reports or trouble reports for the May 2006 Primary and the November 2006 General Election.

Please also advise what voter education programs and or signage you used tell the voters about how to verify the new "paper trail" of their ballot.

It would be preferable if you would email this information, or if its more convenient to you, you can fax it to me toll free at 1 XXX-XXX-XXXX

Thank you -

Joyce McCloy
Founder, NC Coalition for Verified Voting
336-794-1240
jmc27106@earthlink.net
www.ncvoter.net

In closing, the State Board of Elections did include instructions on how to verify the vote - in about 4 million voters guides mailed out before the election.

Also, they are working to get the printer function corrected to print a summary instead of all selections. Further, they will add some sort of signage at the polls to remind voters that they can verify their vote.

Compared to most states we are VERY lucky - our State Board of Elections really does care about the voters.

I will be more than happy

to give it a try next week. Maybe I can go down in person and get them.

I'm happy to know who you (userid) are. I've been wanting to chat with you(the real person). I have a busy weekend coming up, but I'll try to get an email out. If not, I'll email you on Monday.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Sorry to say

...I wish we could find some irregularity or other reason to explain away Larry's loss. But we can't. We fell short a few hundred votes because we fell short in our efforts to get out the vote. It's that simple.

I think it was PJ O'Rourke who said the problem with free will is finding someone to blame your problems on...and when you do find someone, it's amazing how often their picture turns up on your driver's license.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

I love that quote

Falling short sucks.

Being short kinda sucks too.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Cross posted at Kos

If you have a chance....., please.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

SD

I think you meant this link

(You can still fix it if no-one has responded)

Great work by the way.

KIssell's Campaign Debt

Folks
If you care about Kissell's campaign, send some money.

He was left with a debt at the end of his race against Robin Hayes. He announced that he is running again.
Two weeks ago I was told the Campaign debt was $80,000.

Help Kissell.
Kissell for Congress
106 East Main Street
PO Box 1530
Biscoe, NC 27209
1-877- 4 KISSELL
(1-877-454-7735)
FAX: 910-728-4751
info@larrykissell.com

TurnNCBlue

Stuff

House 100 is very valid for this analysis, because it's supposed to have a high undervote as a result of Democrats withholding their vote because they don't want to vote for Black or Jordan.

I can't read any of the data links, and I do have Adobe.

My Data Sheet from November

While comparing the two District 1 precincts to NC-08 is a stretch at best, the 50 undervotes in Malcolm Graham's 4 precincts is less dubious, especially since that may have been one of the least competitive of the "competitive" races.

More to come ... I think I need to look at County Commission At Large undervotes and try and figure that out, as impossible as that seems. Again, my paper's going to be a lot better if I see those tapes.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

question

given the amount of coverage surrounding black's election, would his "popularity" have had more of an effect upon turnout or undervoting in his race?

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Probably depends on

which side of the aisle your party sits on.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Sailence is the word you're looking for :-P

Again, something to analyze if I can ever get my hands on those tapes. Not a bad question at all. But it's hard to believe that someone came out to vote for/against Jim Black, and then voted for Sheriff but not Congress. Meck wasn't a county with a competitive Sheriff's race, and we're not one of the more rural counties where that race has a lot more electioneering and effort attached to it.

Unscientific as they are, media interviews at polling locations in NC 100 found people specifically not voting in Jim Black's race. There was 37% turnout in the Black race (and I think that's inflated because of the absentee x-factor), and that's about average for NC House races in Meck Co.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

I don't find it that hard to believe

in our county - the county commissioner's races got the most votes. The congressional race got a few less, and the state senate race got even fewer. I'm no statistician, but I can see how people would be more willing to vote for local races than federal ones.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

I included House 100

District 1, what? County Commission? District 4 is a much better comparison because of the number of shared precincts.

Good luck getting the tapes since state law is a little hard to work around. I thought about trying to figure a way to find undervotes for at-large, but it was a bit ambitious for me. If anyone can figure it out, it'll be you. Good luck. I can't wait to read what you've found so far. I really stuck to addressing this one point, so can't wait to see what you have come up with.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

There's only one district 1 that was elected in MeckCo in 06

I said District 1 was not a good comparison, and my data sheet bears that out.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Always good to be clear

when leaving comments so folks who aren't as familiar with the data don't have to go hunting for the information.

Your data sheet bears a striking resemblance to the one used by the email author. He excluded the District 4 County Commission Race.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Quoting you

The NC House race between Hal Jordan and Jim Black isn't a fair comparison with Jim Black's ethics challenges. However, Hal Jordan had about 700 more votes than Robin Hayes in their shared precincts.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

OK?

And?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

OK....wait....I think I know what you're saying

but it is really hard to tell.

The reason I use House 100 as a comparison when looking at undervotes, but then say it isn't really a fair comparison when looking at just the votes received by the Republican candidate, is that Hal Jordan would not only benefit from the anti Jim Black mood, but he would benefit from the ad campaign sponsored by the NCGOP to get Republicans out to flip the Meck Co Commission.

While the situation looks similar, they are actually quite different. Jim Black suffered from specific personal ethics questions. They have been tossed about the media for years and have finally stuck to him. Robin Hayes on the other hand had only the Fast-Track and CAFTA lies and while those have been in the media, the coverage was nothing like that given Black's ethics challenges.

To quote you:

House 100 is very valid for this analysis, because it's supposed to have a high undervote as a result of Democrats withholding their vote because they don't want to vote for Black or Jordan.

No race is "supposed" to have a high undervote. You might assume it will or you might use that as an explanation if it does, but it isn't supposed to. What is curious is that it looks like Democrats and Republicans had no problem coming out and making a choice in this race. Also, I used House 100 when making all my comparisons. The only time as mentioned above that I said it wasn't really fair was when comparing only the Republican votes.

I'm sorry if I'm misunderstanding your asking/saying. I'm not trying to be dense. I guess I don't know you well enough to get your point without a little more in your comments.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

I'm sorry, let me rephrase

It was supposed by many media outlets in Metrolina that the race had a high undervote, a supposition made because of interviews and non-scientific analysis.

Obviously, I'm not saying that race is supposed to have a high undervote; only judicial races and one candidate races are expected to have a high undervote.

Now, I'm about to say something completely anecdotal, but I believe that, in Mecklenburg County on 7 November 2006, you would have found more Democratic voters disgusted by Jim Black than Republican voters disgusted by Robin Hayes. While the national mood and Iraq certainly hurt Hayes, CAFTA isn't going to inflame Mecklenburg Republicans.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Ah

"Also, I used House 100 when making all my comparisons. The only time as mentioned above that I said it wasn't really fair was when comparing only the Republican votes."

That was what wasn't clear earlier. I can't access any of your files.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

I don't know why

I can get them on both my computers. Hmmmm

I am heading out of town, so can't deal with it right now. I haven't heard anyone else say they are having trouble, but they might not be following the links. You and I pull the same data. We just set our pages up a bit differently. It's the calculations we choose to do that make the difference. There again, we probably do the same ones. I liked comparing the Republican votes, but then again, with the 8th not having a very long history in Mecklenburg, there isn't much to compare. Maybe the 9th would be more telling.

Stanly and Anson (I believe...I can't find my notes) both had more votes cast for sheriff than congress. I'd be interested to get their data and see how it compares. That's for another day.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

That makes more sense though, if true

Rural sheriff races are percieved as much more important than MeckCo ones, because the employees and potential employees know that jobs are on the line.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

actually

sheriff jobs in rural areas are more important because they are the only law enforcement. most people in meck county rely upon police from charlotte or davidson or..... to protect them. Just like in Wake most people rely upon Cary police or Raleigh or....

In a rural county it is the sheriff who is relied upon by the majority of the population.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Also a valid point

My point was more along the lines of how they mobilize more very concerned volunteers to GOTV.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

I saw the Florida e-ballot somewhere online

The cell phone image of the ballot/machine revealed how easy it was to miss the congressional race if you weren't paying close attention. It was one possible explanation for the undervote there. NC-8's ballot, I'm sure looked different.

Sorry, don't remember where I saw it.

Great job, SD.

Thank you

I saw the Florida ballot as well and it was terrible. The congressional race was in smaller letters at the top and then there was a highlighted bar that just screamed, "start here" and the candidates for governor were in larger letters underneath. I can imagine many people would have seen that highlighted bar and started there.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Take a look at Mecklenburg Ballot Design - its bad

Take a look at the ballot.

If you look at the ballot (as it appears on the touchscreen) for Mecklenburg County,
see how the NC 08 - the top contest - is actually at the bottom of the ballot under
some nearly unintelligable instructions on how to vote straight ticket.

Here is Meck's ballot, as it appears on the touchscreen:
http://www.meckboe.org/Pages/SampleBallots/2006General/71.pdf

Now, take a look at Guilford County's ballot, which is also on touchscreens.
they have the congressional contest in a much more visible location.
http://www.co.guilford.nc.us/elections_cms/docs/ballottypes/BS_1.pdf

I do not know if the county or the state handled the creating of the ballot definition files.