"We have not had a crisis in the elections process.
We have had a civics education."

Sharon Priest, Arkansas Secretary of State,
head of the Nat. Association. of Secretaries of State

Registrars: Thieving Liars

Historically, Currently and Forever Dishonest

Vote counters have been a problem for humanity throughout the history of popular rule. Voter counters have debased the will of the people from Greece through Rome to America. Often in the name of states rights they trample human rights.

Historical Hilarity:

  • "As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?"
    Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, New York.
  • "It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."
    Joseph Stalin, Soviet Dictator

Current Comedy:

  • "The Election of 2000 threw a glaring spotlight on a simple fact: The American election system, which sits at the very heart of global democracy, is in disrepair." WSJ

  • "It's a silent scandal, and the problem is getting worse with increases in absentee voting which is the easiest way to commit fraud." WSJ

  • "But show me a close race, and I'll show you voter fraud." WSJ

  • "Whatever bloats your vote." Authors' summary judgment on America's Voter Registrars

Future Fantasies:

  • In early February, 2001, 38 of state officials responsible for elections issued a report calling for reforms based on eleven points .

Registrars: Foot in Mouth but No Mad Cow Disease

At a meeting of Secretary of States (February, 2001), a number of suggestions were made. These suggestions are listed and refuted in Politicized Voting Reforms . You'd think you get the straight dope from the horse's mouth, but one writer observes "nowhere in the report are there discussions of national uniformity in regard to voting standards, what constitutes a vote or endorsement for a particular voting machine or technology." In summary, the primary problem is not only not addressed but obscured in the traditional political solution: More money.

Where are fines and penalties for officials stealing elections? Where is the prison time? Where is the revocation of the pensions? Remember, what the president of this association said:

"We have not had a crisis in the elections process.
We have had a civics education

What a wonderful way of glossing over political corruption: It's not a crisis, just a civics lesson!

Was she on vacation last November and December in Florida? She went onto say that there was "no need to reinvent the wheel." Horse and buggy attitudes 100 years after the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk indicate an altitude of aptitude that should not be present in voting halls let alone in the heads of voting officials.No need to fear Mad Cow Disease among the Secretary of States.

As noted repeatedly throughout these writings, politics has become the pollution of problem-solving by introducing irrelevant factors. True to form, the politicians' smoke and mirror proposals obscure the real, simple problems: Dishonest vote counters.

Ludicrously in the face of nationwide voting fraud, some vote counters adopt the Caesar's wife defense. "Not only am I chaste, but I should be above suspicion." Ok ... how come so many pregnant chads? With the numerous news accounts (100+), no one was found supporting the registrars and their actions except the registrars, the politicians and the salesmen.

How can you tell when a registrar is lying? Lips are moving. I used to think that lawyers belong in jail and economists in hell with the politicians in purgatory. Now I believe the politicians should not be alone without their bedfellows, the facilitators of their habitual crimes. Using on-line democracy, we can and must create a new hierarchy of officials responsible for counting votes.

The following quotations are the basis on which the writer drew and supported his conclusions about the general, almost universal corruption of officials responsible for the integrity of our voting. These conclusions were buttressed by his own rights denial by the Voter Registrar in Richmond, Virginia, which was assisted by over 30% of the 135 Voter Registrars. If you don't accept this conclusion, you should review this condensation of observation from newspapers across the land--liberal and conservative.
  • 001114 WSJ
    1. Conflict-of-Interest Charges Escalate as Vote Dispute Continues in Florida Article
    2. All key players are major figures in political parties. No non-partisan citizen committees.
  • 001120 WSJ
    1. Vote Recounts in Oregon Are by Hand, by Law
    2. Redundancy: "Each item goes through one stack and hands it over to the other team which tries to verify the count."
  • 001120 WSJ
    1. How Vote Counting Remains Politicized
    2. "As long as I count the votes," Boss Tweed once infamously said, "what are you going to do about it?"
    3. In the end partisans count votes.Elected or politically appointed officials control the process at the local level, partisan state officials control it at the state level, and judges subject to partisan pressure make the final calls.
  • 001211 LA Times
    1. A 'Modern' Democracy That Can't Count Votes
    2. Alice is where operatives stuffed Ballot Box 13 with 200 votes to save Lyndon B. Johnson's political career. The extra ballots were cast in alphabetical order and marked in the same handwriting and with the same dark ink.
    3. Because ballots can be bought, stolen, miscounted, lost, thrown out or sent to Denmark, nobody knows with any precision how many votes go uncounted in American elections.
    4. For weeks, Florida has riveted the nation with a mind-numbing array of failures: misleading ballots, contradictory counting standards, discarded votes--19,000 in one county alone. But an examination by The Times in a dozen states from Washington to Texas to New York shows that Florida is not the exception. It is the rule.
    5. With his cigarette lighter, Bruneau softened a lead plug that sealed the machine. With a pair of pliers, he removed a copper wire embedded in the plug. With a screwdriver, he took off the back cover and a Plexiglas lid protecting the vote counting mechanism. With a Q-Tip, he prodded the counter digit by digit, manipulating the vote total as easily as he might reset an alarm clock.
    6. The late Earl Long used to say that he wanted to be buried in Louisiana so he could stay politically active.
    7. Apart from their expense--an estimated $100 million to outfit Los Angeles County, for instance--some election officials do not trust them. Some of these systems provide no paper records for recounts or disputed elections.
  • 001212 Star Tribune/Cox News Service
    1. Chads and undervotes an old problem in Florida,
    2. Was the Florida ballot preventable? Were there warning signs? You bet there were: big red flags. They certainly were raised a dozen years ago and likely as far back as 1982!  [The mother of mis-votes was Miami which was not chaste]:
    3. Not only was the system broken, but it appears elections officials were allowed to tamper with ballots as early as 1982 when they themselves were tearing chads off cast ballots.
  • 001218 WSJ
    1. In Selma, a Landmark of Civil Rights Can Still Be a Struggle
  • 001219 WSJ (box insert)
    1. Recent Absentee-Ballot Fraud Cases
    2. [30% of States listed]
  • 001219 WSJ
    1. As Absentee Voters Increase In Numbers, Fear of Fraud Grows
    2. "Elderly Are Primary Targets of Professional 'Brokers' Despite Reform Efforts.
    3. [A politiqueras (vote brokers)] "collected about 240 absentee ballots from local senior citizens, many of them illiterate Mexican immigrants who don't speak English."
    4. [Absentee balloting] doesn't become an issue when a race isn't close. But show me a close race, and I'll show you voter fraud."
    5. "But show me a close race, and I'll show you voter fraud."
  • 001221 WSJ
    1. Gloating Rights. Viewed From Abroad Florida Debacle Sullies U.S. Brand of Suffrage
  • 001222 WSJ
    1. Fixing the System: Lessons From States Hold Hope for Reform
    2. The Election of 2000 threw a glaring spotlight on a simple fact: The American election system, which sits at the very heart of global democracy, is in disrepair.
    3. Every turn in the five-week postelection standoff gave a glimpse of a different systemic flaw: a crazy-quit of standards from one county to the next; antiquated equipment that miscounts ballots and disenfranchises many voters in low-income areas; an inability to ensure the integrity of the swelling volume of absentee ballots.
  • 010204 AP
    1. Officials to urge election reforms [the problem was voting, not elections]
    2. 11 far-reaching recommendations and asks that the federal government provide the money to implement them. [All are equivocating with slippage and no mea culpa.]
    3. Nowhere in the report are there discussions of national uniformity in regard to voting standards, what constitutes a vote or endorsement for a particular voting machine or technology.
    4. For a review of the proposals and a rebuttal, click here
  • 010206 St. Paul Pioneer-Press
    1. Election Revisions Suggested
    2. We have not had a crisis in the elections process. We have had a civics education ... no need to re-invent the wheel.
    3. They [registrars] steered clear of pushing for a uniform standard among among the states. In fact, many said they want assurances Congress won't delve too deeply into the ways states conduct elections, arguing that each has developed its own individual process.
  • 010206 AP
    1. Secretaries of state make election recommendation
    2. In fact, many said they want assurances that Congress won't delve too deeply into the ways states conduct elections, arguing that each has developed its own process.
  • 010215a, b, c USA Today
    1. Updating Voting Machines could take nation decade
    2. If the nation decided to dump its antiquated voting machines tomorrow and get new ones, it wouldn't be able to it.
    3. Sometimes, salesmen feel the pressure to perform what they consider improper favors for election officials. One, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing business, told of encountering an election supervisor in a small Georgia county who listened to a sales presentation, then asked, "What's in it for me?" The salesman ignored the question, and the official repeated it.
    4. "This is no different from other government procurement," says Caleb, an election analyst with the non-profit Center for Voting and Democracy. "Kickbacks happen, and favored contractors win despite not having the lowest bid. Politics affect it, too. Anytime there are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent, there is an incentive for that to happen."
  • 010304 New York Times
    1. FROM SELMA TO FLORIDA Election Reform, Meet Politics
    2. This collision of responses to the last election is rapidly widening the racially tinged divide in American politics. And it partly explains why the two major parties are already at a standoff over so many issues surrounding the machinery — not just the machines — of elections.
  • 010329 WSJ
    1. Blind to Voter Fraud
    2. Voter fraud continues to be an underreported story, "It's a silent scandal, and the problem is getting worse with increases in absentee voting."
  • 010406a, b Rampant flaws leave citizens without voice in democracy USA Today
    1. "The whole process is enmeshed in the party system ... When parties get in a position of control, they often try to take some partisan advantage."
    2. With the partisan stakes so high Keyssar is skeptical that any meaningful reform will occur. Too many politicians have too much at stake: "My pessimistic view is that what we're going to end up with is a lot of new machines, because that's the easiest thing to do," he says. "The legal and constitutional problems, the fact the (election) bureaucracy is a giant patronage network ... Those things aren't likely to change."
  • 010426 New York Times
    1. Little Change Forecast for Election Process
    2. Despite the outcry over last year's presidential election, the next national election will probably occur under virtually the same circumstances as the last, with the same unreliable voting systems and under the same dizzying hodgepodge of rules that vary from county to county across the nation.
    3. "There is no technical fix to the problem," said Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution. "There's no possibility of a uniform national ballot. There are contradictory findings on the accuracy of different voting equipment."
    4. Setting national or state standards for ballots and recounts might have seemed a logical response to the mess in Florida. But it is becoming increasingly clear that elections officials are resistant to giving up turf. And untangling the roles of federal, state and local officials is emerging as a central obstacle.
    5. Sharon Priest, secretary of state in Arkansas and president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said she could accept statewide standards but she rejected national standards.
      • "Frankly," Ms. Priest said, "we don't have to have the feds tell us everything that we have to do."
      • She gave perhaps the gloomiest assessment on the future of election reform: "Unless there's a real uprising on the part of people in this country who will call their congressmen and senators and say, `Elections are important to us and democracy comes at a price, and we're willing to pay that price — do something!' then I'm not sure, running into budgets now, that anything's going to get done."
  • 010514 Election reform at mercy of elected officials. USA Today
    1. Below the surface, experts say, is a dirty little secret: Those with political power in both parties don't want to upset the system that got them where they are.
    2. ''I have come to the conclusion that the only way you can do anything about elections is to take all the hired guns of both parties and lock them in a house, and keep them out of sight until you've resolved it,'' says former representative Al Swift, D-Wash., who until 1994 served on the House panel that oversees election matters. ''They are totally paranoid, they believe that any change will hurt them, and they are often flat wrong.''
    3. Pressure to standardize voting equipment and practices is being fiercely resisted by local election officials, who jealously guard their control over the administration of elections. At the same time, makers of voting equipment are lobbying to make sure any legislative fix is friendly to their brand of voting machine.
    4. ''The history of political parties in this country is that each party believes fervently in the right to vote of its own supporters, and is not too sure about everybody else.''
  • 01b0515: USA Today
    1. Elections are 'local responsibility'
    2. The National Association of Counties, whose members are on the front line of running elections, has warned states and local governments not to solely rely on the federal government for election reform.
    3. In a report to be released this week, the association also cautioned local government about possible federal encroachment on local control.
    4. ''The administration of elections is and must continue to be a local responsibility,'' the report said. ''The commission recommends that reform should be undertaken within the present system rather than creating new systems or imposing nationwide procedures on states and local governments.''
    5. ''We should not look for a single dramatic solution but for a sustained effort to eliminate all sources of error,'' said Kenneth Mayfield, a Dallas County commissioner and vice president of the organization.
  • 010517 Today
    1. Already running behind for 2004, voting-machine exec says USA
    2. Voting hardware and software must be approved by the National Association of State Election Directors, then by each state where the new technology would be used. But the group has months of backlogs. [When did the voters give away this right?]
  • 010529 WSJ
    1. "Definite Key to Better Voting: Catching Errors at Their Source"
    2. The real culprits appear not to be punch cards, but central-counting systems ....We now know that precinct-counting systems help to significantly decrease voter error.
  • 010531 Human Factor Was at Core Of Vote Fiasco, Washington Post
    1. "Many counties used sophisticated voting equipment designed to catch ballot errors -- but two decided simply to switch off the mechanisms."
    2. "The supervisors -- all but one of them elected by popular vote -- are so famous for their independence that a post-election report by the Florida Senate asserted that some "often intentionally disregard" election laws. The rest of the time, they made individual decisions as they saw fit."
    3. Indeed, elections officials routinely made judgments about voter intent at several stages in the election process.
    4. Matthew Hendrickson, a sailor aboard the cruiser USS Ticonderoga, mailed his overseas absentee ballot from Puerto Rico on Nov. 13, six days after the Election Day deadline. He knew the presidential race was undecided and he wanted Bush to win. Records show that Duval County included his vote in its results.
    5. He showed them the place on the pre-printed mailing labels that identified the voters' party identification. Contrary to standards of fairness, elections officials in Manatee and Okaloosa counties knew voters' political affiliation before deciding whether their votes would count.
  • 010604 Star Tribune & AP
    1. Civil rights panel reportedly finds fault with Florida balloting; no conspiracy found
    2. Overzealous efforts"to purge state voter lists most harshly affected blacks
    3. Blacks were nearly 10 times as likely as whites to have their ballots rejected
    4. Fifty-four percent of votes rejected during the Florida election were cast by black voters, according to the report, scheduled for a commission vote Friday. Blacks accounted for 11 percent of voters statewide.
  • 010618 New York Times
    1. Entrepreneurs Stump for Their Voting Devices
    2. This has led many companies to hire elections officials to give them credibility and connections within the stable, close-knit and aging world of election administrators.
  • 010625 AP
    1. States sift through voting registration confusion
    2. "Mark Wolosik, manager of the county Elections Division, blames the discrepancy [more registered voters than adults of voting age] on state and federal "motor voter" laws that took effect in 1995."
    3. Deborah Phillips, president of the watchdog group Voting Integrity Project, said 10 percent to 25 percent of voter rolls nationwide may be filled with "deadwood" - people who have moved or died.
  • 010628 NYT
    1. Senators Hear Bitter Words on Florida Vote
    2. Blacks in Florida were at least 10 times more likely than other voters to have had their ballots rejected last Election Day.
  • 010714 NYT
    1. How Bush Took Florida: Mining the Overseas Absentee Vote
    2. Thanks to a network of local lawyers who had advised his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, on judicial appointments, Mr. Bush had a ready source of politically connected legal talent to argue on his behalf before the 67 county canvassing boards.

I have met more bad election officials than good ones. Arrogance, power, greed and pettiness come to mind. Fortunately, the simple system to eliminate them and their evil deeds does not require any participation from or interaction with them--see VoteTime. The time spent distinguishing the good from the bad is best spent creating the replacement. More importantly, the bad will metastasize all kinds of decay.


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 > #24 010517 010517 Voting Machine Lag010517 U S A Today
 > #25 010529 010529 Better Voting Key010529 W S J
 > #26 010531 010531 Human Factor Vote Fiasco010531 Wash Post
 > #27 010604 010605 Fla Vote Discriminatory010605 Star Trib
 > #28 010618 010618 Voting Machines Convention010618 N Y T
 > #29 010625 010625 States Sift Vote Records010625 Star Trib
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