READER COMMENTS ON
"JUST IN: 'State Investigating Vote Irregularities in Waukesha County Going Back 5 Years'"
(28 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 4/14/2011 @ 10:14 pm PT...
Does anyone EVER get caught manipulating vote counts in America? I am just curious. I here lots of accusations, but are there any good examples of reversals as a result of someone actually getting caught?
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 4/14/2011 @ 10:15 pm PT...
Good morning, sunshine. It's been a while.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 4/14/2011 @ 10:44 pm PT...
David - "Caught"? Yes. Search "Clay County, KY" here at The BRAD BLOG for just one recent (but BIG) example. "Elections reversed"? That's another matter entirely.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 4/14/2011 @ 10:55 pm PT...
"There were "errors" but it doesn't effect the outcome ." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 1:27 am PT...
i am so proud of yourguide, pulling back the curtain on years of impossible results with common sense and 5th grade math
i am not making the 5th grade comment as a put down i am trying to make the point that this is not rocket science and we all have the skills to help break this open,if we look
and i am proud of brad for doing what actual reporters do and letting me know the details
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 1:28 am PT...
If Nickolaus survives this, she's going to get a really good job.
Just ask the
"Brooks Brothers" dry run of the teabaggers?
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 2:17 am PT...
Thanks for the mention! I've got a new diary on DKos tonight too, a Badger's perspective on Kathy Nickolaus' new explanations.
My follow-up blog on Kathy's explanation
I'd like to point out that she asterisk'd 8 elections, but only ONE of those asterisks had ballot totals listed on the election data, the Nov '06 election.
There are TWELVE (12) elections, 10 before Nov '06 and 2 afterwards that DO have ballot totals listed in the data, but all 12 do NOT have votes exceeding the ballot totals.
ONLY the Nov '06 election data has votes exceeding ballots, and only the Attorney General race was close enough for the mysterious 17,243 votes to flip it.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 2:17 am PT...
Wisconsin at the state level, I have read, counts turnout by comparing the number of adults age-eligible to vote to actual voters. I don't know if this started when they adopted EDR or when. This method is going to create a number that seems low or normal, but in fact "turnout" --- the comparison of actual vs. registered voters, even if you add in newly registered voters, will be higher. So it's important to understand what method the various counties are using to calculate turnout or at least use the same method and base numbers. It would be helpful if the results stated the number of registered voteers prior to election, EDR voters, and new total of registered voters in election results.
Sounds like Waukesha use spreadsheets sent by towns to county to be uploaded into the database. Without training and a very precise protocol, this in and of itself could be a huge source of errors, as well as a source of "errors" if you get my meaning. Especially when Waukesha provides no town by town breakout, it's the perfect place to have screwups. Without a protocol, it's a recipe for even unintended disasters.
Here's an interesting chart about the frequency of errors using spreadsheets:
Supposedly KPMG has estimated that losses total in the billions annually from spreadsheet errors.
But we have no well developed method and training for using them and cross-checking them for elections? Hmmm --- can you say "perfect incompetency ploy"? The sad thing is that absent malicious intent, if it's true that nobody has pressed for clear explanations on these results over 5 years, then there's a good chance there's spreadsheet error out there, perhaps some of it material, just waiting to be discovered (by an enterprising citizen, since nobody else is looking?), after Wisconsin has gone to the trouble of having paper ballots for everyone.
When Nickolaus referred to "manually entered" votes, I remembered that Wisconsin is one of the states that still uses HCPBs, so I went to the verifiedvoting.org website to see if any towns in Waukesha use them. The short answer is: NOPE.
Here's the link, though, to the database with that info. It seems that Brookfield uses Sequoia DREs with VVPATs, for example.
the verifiedvoting.org database allows you to look by county, and then see the town by town detail for that county. Here's a link to Waukesha County:
I also wondered why in 5 years the GAB has never wished to verify or understand the results that on the surface clearly call for further explanation.
Do they act as merely a receptacle of results given to them as twice-certified by town and county, or do they actively examine them? The town must certify its results (but...guess who does the certifying? Canvassing boards with the clerks and inspectors (moderators) on them, in small towns with nobody else and in larger towns, with two additonal "qualified electors" who are...picked by the clerks!).
Here's another factoid: the GAB has not been around very long. The G.A.B. is made up of six former judges, nominated by a panel of four Wisconsin Appeals Court judges, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The six board members serve staggered six-year terms; one member's term expires each year. Both the Board and its staff must be non-partisan.
In a commentary titled “The Persistence of Partisan Election Administration,” Ohio State University law professor Daniel P. Tokaji states: “The best American model is Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, which consists of retired judges selected in a way that is designed to promote impartiality.”
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 2:20 am PT...
Sorry, the link didn't come through --- this should be the link to the town by town breakout in Waukesha ounty.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 2:27 am PT...
Man, I hate it when this happens. The quote about the GAB 's longevity is below:
The G.A.B. officially began work in January 2008. It was created a year earlier in 2007 Wisconsin Act 1, replacing the State Elections Board and the State Ethics Board.
So, it appears the elections in question ocurred in the time frame during which not one but two different iterations of election enforcement bodies existed?
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 6:50 am PT...
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 6:54 am PT...
I am kind of surprised nobody has taken note of this aspect of Waukesha County Board of Canvassers member Ramona Kitzinger:
(Waukesha County Democratic Party)On Tuesday night, I received a voice message from someone in the office of Clerk Kathy Nickolaus informing me of a Wednesday canvass meeting, which I returned the next morning and said I would be able to report into the canvass by noon, which I did. Normally the canvass would begin at 9am on Thursday, as has been the general practice for many years. No one explained why they were beginning the canvass on Wednesday, just to please report immediately.
Before this telephone call, I had not been contacted as the designated Democratic observer, and I saw no public notice of the abnormal canvass time.
These canvassing meetings are covered by public meeting law in Wisconsin, as per the linked document below that explains the certification process.
The board of canvassers is required to meet within 24 hours after the close of the polls to certify the election.
The meeting of the board of canvassers is subject to open meeting laws and is open to the public to observe the canvass process.
Municipalities that do not conduct their canvass on Election Night shall provide notice to the local media at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
Wonder how many of the municipalities met this 24 hour requirement? Looks like Waukesha County regularly does this meeting two days, not one, after the election. See for example the upcoming 5/4 agenda, for a small election and held the next day and note that it, like its 4/6 predecessor, is REVISED:
versus the scheduled 2/17/11 meeting on a Thursday after the Tuesday primary:
But click through the past primaries and general election meeting notices and see that they are held on Thursday following the election. The county website has given plenty of public notice --- wonder who attends, if anyone?
Wonder what the accepted definition of "the local media" is?
I don't know when this revised agenda appeared for Wednesday's rescheduled meeting. It certaintly is handy, again, for a clerk if meeting notices only have to be posted (timely or not) on the county website).
For the revised meeting time to be posted within 24 hours, it appears, it would have been posted election day morning.
This is certainly something if I lived in Wisconsin, I'd be making an issue out of. There is a reason for prompt reporting of results, and there is a reason, as we have seen in the Wisconsin state legislature, for public meeting notice laws.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 7:24 am PT...
Sorry for so many posts and the screwd up link, above, that turned the whole comment red.
I said that spreadsheets without extensive directions are a bad idea above, so I feel compelled to link in the extensive documentation around reporting of votes and many other election activities. You can examine a table of contents and find the area you're interested in (such as seeing what the state would ask the county and town clerks to do, as opposed to whatever Kathy Nickolaus took on herself to do).
In a section dated 2010, post-election activities, you can see that there is the creation of a data set and description (e.g. town results for Brookfield?) and you must hit save.
Then, there is the manual entry of this data into the category you created. The instructions do not describe SAVE when you hand enter the data.
I haven't read far enough to see if the data can be imported to this proprietary system which I believe was built by Accenture with a bit of controversy.
Entering the data for all these towns must be time consuming. Luckily, clear and delete modes are available if errors are made. The machine prompts, "are you sure you want to delete this election data?" or similar.
I don't have time to peruse this manual at the moment, and the caveat is always that what is in writing is not necessarily what really happens, but I think it's a useful document to examine to understand how Wisconsin elections are set up. Submitted to the "HIVE MIND" for consideration.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 9:54 am PT...
I believe I read here that the county does not report election results with town-by-town results, but only giving the total for the whole county.
Of course this is the wrong way to do it, and it is a serious issue, becuase it makes it impossible for voters to compare the total from their town, as reported in their own town, and as represented in the county total. It makes it possible for numbers to be changed.
In fact, I would argue that the only reason for not reporting results town-by-town is just so that the results can by changed.
A naive person would assume that the way we do elections is to report the totals openly, at each level of aggregation. Sadly, we don't.
The right way to do things would be for each polling place to count their own ballots, and post results by taping them to the window, as they are done. If there are computerized voting machines, the actual paper tapes should be put up, so that voters and observers could see if there appear to be any anomalies like one machine with really skewed results, for example.
Towns should be required to do a similar process, by publishing their spreadsheets with results from each precinct/polling place labelled so that results from each precinct can be verified.
If the results have to be reported locally before they are reported more globally, this makes it hard to change the numbers, just because it looks like one side needs to get more votes from somewhere.
Like someone said above, this is fifth-grad-math. It's so obvious that it should all be done this way. That we don't do things this way makes it obvious to anyone who is paying attention and cares, that we don't really have free and fair elections in this country.
When will people wake up?
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 10:19 am PT...
We here at the Bradblog are *over the moon* proud of you and your "yourguide" for your astute, timely election analysis over at DKOS.
These are the very types of election anomalies we here have been tracking and screaming into the wind about now for...well...years. 'X' County with more voters than votes, 'Y' county with more votes than voters, impossible math, irreconcilable numbers, certified anyway - and no one ever even bothers to look! Even when directed there and TOLD what to look for!
A cruel fate for our clever statisticians and election forensics experts, having the math as proof; at the ready, on line, in spreadsheet and in debate, w/ tons of research at the ready - only to be shut out, shut up, called names, attacked, and / or banned from the (various) 'progressive' blogs where the data is most critical to the readership, imperative to understanding how their vote is (or isn't) cast.
You (and 'yourguide') have broken through some kind of Kossacian wall of silence on this complex, mortifying, imperative issue. Your posts are everywhere! We are so very grateful.
Thank you for giving a damn.
Thank you for writing about it so concisely.
Brill-yant. Keep it up...
And keep checking in w/ us, from time to time, would you? Let us know how it's all going...
new posts (karenfromillinois and I would love to know about them, as would many of us here, I'm assuming.)
...Very few issues are as important than securing the right that comes before all others - our sacred right to vote.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 10:43 am PT...
@ LoveofTruthGuy -
In fact, I would argue that the only reason for not reporting results town-by-town is just so that the results can by changed.
Bingo, sir! Precinct by Precinct results have become a thing of the past, in most municipalities - with different explanations as to 'why' they're not being posted, anymore.
In Sarasota FL after the now notorious CD-13 fiasco - Charlie Crist forced the county (read: my uber-partisan REPUBLICAN Supervisor of Elections KATHY DENT) to move from the unreliable, fallible, piece of junk touchscreen ES&S machines that lost 18,412 votes in 2006, to the DIEBOLD OP SCAN system with paper ballots that are counted ONLY by the machines.
During the Primaries in Jan 2008, I went down to witness (and film) Sarasota's count, only to find they weren't posting the precint-by-precint results anymore! The excuse was, "it's the new system. It doesn't release precinct-by-precinct, anymore."
Turns out that's bunk. I learned later it's possible to do on the Diebold system in question (tho' the vendors don't want these numbers released either, makes it too easy to track the anomalies)- but Dent and her office insisted that because we'd gone to "paper ballots"...observable counts from each precinct was no longer an option.
Not only do I have that bizarro exchange w/ Dent and staff on video, with me sighing intermittently from exasperation, here:
"DIEBOLD MANUAL OVERRIDE / Part 2 - OBSERVING THE LACK OF OBSERVATION"
That same night I filmed Dent's elections staff entering in election results BY HAND, on a CALCULATOR, without letting the observers know - when the modems wouldn't upload (wondering now if that's the 'entered by hand' thing that Nicholas keeps referring to.) This was done through a back door security hole in the program, a MANUAL OVERRIDE, that we didn't know existed at the time.
Being the only one to film it, observers had all left, press utterly flaccid (as you will see in the video to shameful ends) - I walked home from my board of elections...weeping.
Without precinct by precinct results, poll books w/ signatures, number of overall ballots cast - we, the People, can't verify ANY of their numbers.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 11:01 am PT...
We need an accurate count of ballots cast(paper trail), so I think a recount (hand coount) is needed to see if the ballots cast coincide with the total vote count. I've got a suspicion that there's going be a total of 14000 votes more than ballots cast
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 11:28 am PT...
Thank you Jeannie and all for the time and effort you have put in for US.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 11:36 am PT...
jeanie forwarded me this letter,and this warning stood out to me,
The infrastructure needed for election theft has become progressively more sophisticated and efficient. The off-site “processing” that, to our knowledge, pioneered in Ohio in 2004, has now been deployed in many more states. This mechanism allows real-time targeting and calibration of manipulations, which was not possible with pre-set, memory card-based rigs. So under-calibration (as occurred in 2006 and 2008), as well as over-calibration, are a thing of the past. Using the off-site processing scheme, aka “man in the middle attack,” votecounts can be altered surgically and elections stolen with a tidy and tiny numerical footprint. Election theft will become harder and harder to detect—unless someone is motivated to seriously investigate the off-site, out-of-state IP networks now “processing” our votes.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 4/15/2011 @ 12:42 pm PT...
David @1 asks:
Does anyone EVER get caught manipulating vote counts in America?
David, I would highly recommend that you read Brad Friedman's earlier article, [UPDATED] Clay County, KY Election Officials Found Guilty of Election Fraud, Vote Buying
The subtitles to the piece read:
Convicted high-ranking officials include a circuit court judge, county clerk and school superintendent
Each face up to 20 years in broad conspiracy that included manipulation of electronic voting machines...
BTW both Republicans and Democrats were convicted --- further evidence to support Brad's oft stated axiom: "It's not about Left or Right. It's about right and wrong."
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 12:56 pm PT...
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 1:00 pm PT...
wether it was manipulation or just an inaccurate result..frankens recount changed the machine result to the real world physical result
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 1:07 pm PT...
@ Ellen B~! Thanks for that info / just adjusted my news feed re: Sequoia's history of failed modem uploads vs. Diebold's...I had implicated the wrong bad privatized vote counting corp. Still amazing - different vendors, same (convenient) problems.
@ Molly - Thank you so much for the shout out. Means the world, really...will assuage some of the anxiety I get on my upcoming commute, reading the paper and trying not to weep openly on public transportation...again. xoxo!
@CTWatcher - good GAO info, thanks! Looking into them, next. Oh, and I too was wondering about the "rushed" reporting of results (1 day early) that took poor Ramona so off guard. You're 100% right. WTF?!
(*Highly recommend the link KarenfromIllinois provides above...it's Jonathan Simon's open letter to the media re: election fraud, and it's *wonderful*. Would be great if everyone here could help circulate. Jon Simon is one of the most respected election forensics experts - and perhaps my favorite human.
The first time I saw him speak, I was riveted by his heartbreak. Within a year of following CD-13, I understood it, firsthand. Here he is, speaking eloquently on this issue at PACE UNIVERSITY with Mark Crispin Miller and Bob Fitrakus...
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 4:43 pm PT...
Digital evidence is evidence of digital code in use. This is all perfectly legal. It's a law or something we're pretty sure. Look it up. We did. Or so we say. Just saying.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 4/15/2011 @ 7:05 pm PT...
Is this new number less than .5% of the total vote now? If so, is Kathy Nickolaus going to have to find a few more votes?
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 4/17/2011 @ 7:01 am PT...
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 4/17/2011 @ 5:00 pm PT...
29 hrs to discover the missing votes? Its a CRIME SCENCE ... the goal of this crime is to prevent a recount for the entire state.
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 4/18/2011 @ 1:02 pm PT...
I pray that the MSN covers this woman, when she is dressed in an orange jumpsuit and frog-marched out of court