Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All 314 wards from November 2, 2004

All 314 wards from November 2, 2004

I have finally completed my summary of the records for the 314 wards in the City of Milwaukee for the November 2, 2004 election. The completion of this task suffered because I was spending time on testing things my clients were paying me to test.

For those who want to see the details:
Here is the information sorted by Ward Number.
Here is the information sorted by Polling Location.
Here is the information sorted by Variance.

The variance is the absolute difference between number of ballots distributed according to the summary page of the poll list and number of total ballots scanned as reported on the machine tape.

A variance of +/-1 should be considered a proper reconciliation because the instructions in the election day manual are confusing. Entering the correct number, one less, or one more are all reasonable readings of the election day manual. With this forgiveness 74 wards tied out exactly (variance equals zero) and 32 more tied out with a variance of 1. This is a reconciliation rate of just under 1 in 3 (104 of 314).

If you expand the forgiveness factor to single digits then 207 of 314 or just under 2 out of 3 reconciled.

This means the reconciliation errors are found only 107 of the 314 wards of the city.

In most cases the larger differences were positive in that there were more ballots scanned according to the machine tape than were handed to electors according to the poll book. Several differences, such as at Jericho Baptist Church, were negative in that there were more ballots handed to electors according to the poll book than were scanned according to the machine tape.

In a couple of locations with multiple wards and one optical scanner, such as wards 84 and 89 located at the German Language Immersion School, the differences in two wards are offsetting. This would seem to indicate the voter was registered using the poll book for ward 84 but was actually given a ballot for ward 89.

There is probably a short story such as this for each location, so I will have to concentrate on the locations with the most serious reconciliation problems.

Here is the summary of the 25 Most Suspicious Polling Locations. A suspicious location is a location with a ward whose variance is one of the 25 largest variances found in the city. This list is sorted from most suspicious (largest variance) to least suspicious (smallest variance).

Ward 192 of the French Immersion School was the worst with 640 more ballots scanned by the machine than ballots handed to electors. What makes this ward stand out even more is that the other two wards located at the school (ward 194 and ward 195) reconciled very well by comparison to ward 192.

The second most suspicious location is Jericho Baptist Church. The poll books for the two wards located at the church (ward 297 and ward 314) clearly have the incorrect number recorded on the summary page. The explanation proffered to me was that the number on the poll book was the total number of ballots handed out for the whole location. This is unlikely because the number in the two sets of poll books are not the same. The poll book for ward 297 records 1117 ballots handed to electors, but the poll book for 314 records 1124 ballots handed to electors. Moreover, neither 1117 nor 1124 is equal to the number of ballots scanned by the machine for both wards combined. The optical scanner for the church records 1140 total ballots scanned which is either 16 ballots too many or 23 ballots too many.

The number three location for suspicious numbers is Riverside High School. In this location there is not even enough information contained in the incomplete records to know what happened at the two wards located here. I have been told that the election at Riverside High School was chaotic. Chaotic or not being off by 470 in the ballot counts is inexcusable. The high number of voters is not an excuse either. Ward 44 at Riverside had 1947 ballots scanned. Ward 39 at UWM Sandburg Hall had 2100 ballots scanned. Ward 37 at the Enderis Playground Field House had 1918 ballots scanned. Ward 44 at Riverside High School has a ballot stuffing variance of 470 ballots. Ward 39 and Ward 37 by contrast were off by only -2 (two ballots less in the machine than handed to electors). There was more going on at Riverside High School than high voter turnout.

My next step is to investigate the originals for the five or ten of the most suspicious locations listed.


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