Friday, August 27, 2010

Harris County voters are so very Screwed!

Ladies and gents, I'm taking my partisan hack hat off for a moment and putting my election judge hat on.

This is a very important announcement to ALL voters in Harris County!

Early this morning every election machine in Harris County's inventory, all 10,000 of them, burned to the ground. Early voting starts on Oct. 2, and election day is Nov. 2, it is August 27th. we have 37 days until early voting and 67 days until election day. This is not a whole lot of time to replace these machines, frankly I don't think we can. Harris County plans to borrow machines from Montgomery and Ft Bend and other surrounding counties that use the Hart Intercivic E-Slate system for use during early voting, and this is probably doable since not as many machines will be needed for this. But this election cycle is going to be huge and well it should be. The electorate are not happy about the status quo and they are primed to take their wrath out on their elected representatives. This means that a LOT of people are going to want to vote and we will have a shortage of machines to vote them with. For those whose knee-jerk reaction is to revert to paper ballots, sorry but that is simply not an option. All of that equipment got chucked years ago.

So we face a dilemma, one that quite frankly I do not really look forward to dealing with, but I must. I am an Election Judge and I took an oath that I must do everything I humanly can to ensure that every legal ballot counts and that nobody is turned away without just cause. So what I am about to say might sound like I am violating that oath, but I'm not, I'm actually trying to facilitate it.


PLEASE VOTE EARLY instead. The lines will be shorter (but maybe not by lots.), we will have enough voting machines to handle the onslaught, and the process will flow more smoothly. And besides, you can vote early at any early voting location, you do not have to go to a specific polling location during early voting. And if you have moved and haven't updated your voter's registration (which you still have 16 days to do!) with your new address, you can vote early, give them your new address and it will be updated for you the next time around. If you show up at my polling location and are not on my precinct's voter rolls, I will be forced to tell you to either go to the correct precinct, or you will be allowed to vote provisionally but that the odds are that it will not count. And all this will do is make an already hectic day for me even more hectic and will slow down processing for everyone else in line. So please, I'm begging you, if you can't get your residency squared away by the deadline, PLEASE go vote early. I will thank you, everyone in line behind you will thank you, and your vote WILL count. And ultimately that is the most important reason of all.


Blogger Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

We used to vote with paper ballots. Why not print them now? The ballots were probably not stored with the machines, were they?

Paper without electronic machines were good enough before, they are good enough now.

August 27, 2010 5:46 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

several reasons, the biggest one is that all the OCR equipment and other associated ballot handling equipment were chucked years ago. the other reason is that I don't believe state law even allows paper ballots any more. third the error rate for paper ballots were absolutely abysmal and it took days to get a count. the electronic machines can give a count in under 24 hours with ten times the number of votes.

August 27, 2010 5:53 PM  
Blogger Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

Who cares how long it takes. It used to take all night and we still had a government in place the next morning.

Paper ballots are still used in counties that did not buy the e-slate machines. Some counties did not use them so paper ballots could still be used.

Aren't absentee ballots paper?

A quick glance at the election code says nothing about the ballot form. The form is approved ultimately by the secretary of state's office and could be printed. It doesn't say it must be electronic.

These machines cost about $3 million. It is going to cost at least that much to print them. The booths are prescribed by the election code.

The problem is that this usually takes about 60 days before an election to get the proposed ballots certified. This is about 52 days out from the election. White we argue about this, Harris County has no means of conducting state, local, and federal elections and of course Harris County could mean the election for Bill White.

Do I hear lawsuits? Will there be a Justice Department inquiry into this fire? Will Houston Votes and the County Clerk's Office keep fighting about who is registered to vote and who isn't? People from all the campaigns and quite a few party chairs probably should be meeting to discuss what is going to happen now.

August 28, 2010 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

It is my understanding that the registration paperwork -- in particular those disputed registrations fraudulently submitted by a Democrat front group -- are stored elsewhere, since the voter registration is handled by an entirely different elected official.

August 28, 2010 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

You are linked over at my place -- I consider this to be one of the most important messages that we as election judges can send out to the voters of Harris County at this time. Indeed, my alternate judge and I talked a couple of times about this matter yesterday, and are going to try to figure out how to get as many of our voters to vote early as possible (and may I say that I am blessed with an alternate judge who shares my commitment to making sure that every eligible voter votes and every valid vote is counted -- and who has become a friend over the years).

August 28, 2010 11:06 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

I'm not aware of anyone saying any different.

August 28, 2010 3:24 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Mail in ballots ARE paper and they are THE most forged and defrauded system around.

There is NO way that Harris County could get the Ballot certified and the election plan certified by the Justice Department (Thank you very much Voting Rights Act!) to do anything different from what was done before. ANY change will result in a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act. And since Harris County has no choice but to change what was done before, the WILL be a lawsuit, it is inevitable.

Now lets discuss who benefits from burning every voting machine to the ground.
The Republicans have this election in the bag. They are going to defeat virtually every democrat on the ticket, some by double digit percentages. So they have nothing at all to gain and everything to lose by screwing this up. The Democrats on the other hand are up against the wall and posing for rifle fire, They have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by screwing up this election. At a minimum they have a chance of tying up the vote in the courts, if they are lucky, the Justice Dept. will step in and given the biases that the current Justice department have shown recently they will probably find a way of skewing the system heavily democrat, like putting all of the remaining machines in democrat areas and none in republican areas or something like that.
So bottom line, the Dems can claim "Not US!" all they want but if this is found to be arson,they are the only ones with motive.

August 29, 2010 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Brandon De Hoyos said...

I thought HAVA 2002 required electonic voting; I guess I am wrong. I am extremely concerned about the possibility of fraud with paper ballots in Harris County.

September 05, 2010 1:59 PM  
Blogger Angharad said...

I found this while looking for a way to help with the election; counting votes, verifying... whatever. It seems that help is needed now more than ever. Can someone point me in the right direction? I live in Harris County.

September 08, 2010 8:54 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Angharad, you should contact Beverly Kaufman's office and speak to Tom Moon or one of his election judge supervisors. I'm sure an election judge in your area could use a hand on election day. We are always scrambling for workers, I'm sure someone can use you. Further I would suggest you should determine if there is a precinct chair in your precinct for whichever party you subscribe to and consider applying for the position if it is vacant.
(that last one left a bad taste in my mouth...)

September 08, 2010 9:04 AM  

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