Paper Says 'Handful' of Zero Vote Totals Also Recorded for Clinton on City's Old Lever Machine, Before Offering Readers an Advertisement for New Electronic Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2008, 2:31pm PT  

The conspiracy theorists at the New York Times today tell us something is amiss, but proceed to ultimately tell us nothing about why it happened, suggesting that all is just fine...and that it'd be even better if the city "upgraded" to new electronic voting machines...

Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.

That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district.

City election officials this week said that their formal review of the results, which will not be completed for weeks, had confirmed some major discrepancies between the vote totals reported publicly — and unofficially — on primary night and the actual tally on hundreds of voting machines across the city.

In the Harlem district, for instance, where the primary night returns suggested a 141 to 0 sweep by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the vote now stands at 261 to 136. In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.

So how did the numbers change from 141-0 to 261-136 and from 118-0 to 118-116? No confirmed explanation is given, but some lazy guesswork about how votes are counted on NYC's old lever voting machines is proffered by local Election Officials, and dutifully passed on by the Times who --- before proceeding with a misleading "ad" for new electronic systems --- soothes our concerns by informing us that an unspecified number ("a handful") of districts also reported zero votes for Clinton in the original, unofficial tallies...

City election officials said they were convinced that there was nothing sinister to account for the inaccurate initial counts, and The Times’s review found a handful of election districts in the city where Mrs. Clinton received zero votes in the initial results.

“It looked like a lot of the numbers were wrong, probably the result of human error,” said Marcus Cederqvist, who was named executive director of the Board of Elections last month. He said such discrepancies between the unofficial and final count rarely affected the raw vote outcome because “they’re not usually that big.”

The Times then goes on to inform us that, though all of this is probably just business as usual in the Big Apple, "for those inclined to consider conspiracy theories, the figures provided plenty of grist."

Despite what the irresponsible leaders of the Daily Kos and other such self-destructive supposedly-Progressive blogsites enjoy suggesting, The BRAD BLOG, takes no position on whether such matters are the result of evil-doing, computer error, human error, or anything else, unless we can actually prove such things.

(Side note with hat-tip to reader "BY": We just saw that Election Fraud Self-Dillusionist, Markos Moulitsas himself covered this matter earlier today, and reveals his ignorance about all things Election Integrity, in this point he makes in re: one of the items in the NYTimes story: "That paragraph sort of implies that the voting machines don't spit out paper ballots? That should be SOP for these things." Um...geez Kos, read the paper lately? No, NYC's machines don't "spit out paper ballots", they still use lever machines, which seems like something someone as authoritative as you pretend to be on such matters really ought to know by now. We'd even go so far as to say that familiarizing oneself with facts before writing about them should be SOP for these things, eh?)

For the moment, the New York Times offers little evidence for anything, even while it draws a bead on those big nasty lever voting machines (NY is one the last places in the country to still use them), as somehow the root of the problem, as exacerbated by "human error", of course.

It's worth noting here that Election Integrity folks in New York have been in the midst of a pitched battle with the state, NYC, and even the Dept. of Justice as they try to ensure that NY's move to "upgraded" voting systems will include paper ballot systems.

Notable then, is a graphic that runs along with the Times article (reposted at bottom of this article) explaining how tallies are collected from NY's lever machines and then --- for some reason --- collected on a computer. Those tallies are then given to Associated Press (instead of to election officials), which demonstrates that yes, computers do come into play in NY's system, and could as well be the root of the problem, along with human error, bad lever machines, or anything else.

That same graphic goes on to compare NYC's system, in use for decades, to Cook County (Chicago), IL's system --- implemented in 2006 according to a member of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project and John Gideon of --- to report that "Discrepancies with the unofficial result are common" in NYC, over in Cook County, where they only recently changed to electronic voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems, "Discrepancies are rare."

In addition to the absurd comparison of systems in use for decades, versus a system in use for just a couple of elections, it also caught our eye, since we recall hearing of one problem after another in recent Cook County elections. Suggesting discrepancies as "rare" in a county that has only been using these new systems for a couple of elections seems odd enough, but a closer look at the reported problems on those systems seem to point out that they are not so "rare" at all.

Here's just a few of the issues revealed during a quick search for Cook County in's "Election Problem Log" database (a collection of problems as reported by mostly MSM outlets) over the last election or three there:


Voting was delayed at a number of Chicago polling places, and voters were turned away for many and varied reasons: touch screen voting not working...Several of the delays were at least one or two hours, some prompting orders to keep locations open later in the evening.


An investigative panel has found that "'technology failures in multiple areas' and a lack of testing triggered a spiraling series of glitches that left some results unclear for days. "Although technology problems occurring on Election Night constituted the primary cause of the reporting delays, operational shortcomings in the process leading up to Election Day also played a role in failing to understand and thus mitigate the risks," the report said.


Serious data transmission problems slow the vote tabulation. David Orr is investigating whether it is Sequoia software, hardware, or both.


Sequoia touch screens have failed...By 1:40 pm, the election office had received over 100 complaints.


Reports from voters. Vote-switching on Sequoia touch screens AND the paper print of the votes. Problems ejecting the voter access card. On demand printers not working - voter couldn't vote. Polling places late opening. Voter access cards not accepted by the machines. Voter given incorrect e-ballot. Printer jams. Touch screen machines broken down. Voter card stuck in the machine.


Vote-switching on the Sequoia touch screen. "Corrine Stoker pushed the button for one candidate, but her voting machine showed she voted for the opponent."


Vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate switches to Republican candidate. "Alignment keeps going out. Voters complain," a poll worker complaint filed Friday said. "They recalibrate. A couple voters later, they complain. They recalibrate. They complain, etc. For two days straight."


More Sequoia touch screen malfunctions. Trouble reports filed by voters and polling-place workers during early voting show glitches ranging from broken equipment to calibration issues with touch screens. "Screen goes black, beeps," reads one form. "Card will not lock into the unit," reads another.

Other than that, Mrs. Land-of-Lincoln, the play was great, and Cook County is a wonderful role model for New York City!

As is too often the case these days, the reporting of the New York Times on this, and other matters, is just this side of worthless.