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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Monday, December 03, 2007

Milwaukee Election Numbers Still Don't Add Up

When I saw the testimony of Neil Albrecht before Congress, I was surprised to hear all the numbers from November 2, 2004 had been reconciled.

I was interested because, I have wanted an explanation for why these numbers do not add up for some time now. I requested any correspondences between the City of Milwaukee Election Commission and any of the four parts of the Joint Task Force. The response was prompt (2 business days), free of charge and succinct. There are no records of any correspondences (electronic or otherwise) between the City Election Commission and the FBI, the US Attorney of Eastern Wisconsin or the Milwaukee Police Department. The only correspondences (electronic or otherwise) have been between the City Election Commission and Milwaukee County DA and there have only been 4. All four correspondences are emails. The emails were sent
March 3, 2006 at 2:58 pm,
March 3, 2006 at 6:28 pm,
April 3, 2006 at 7:27 am, and
April 5, 2006 at 10:12 am.

Based on these emails, I have questions about the "investigation" itself.
  1. How were the wards to "investigate" selected? According to the first email, the joint task force "investigated" the election records of only six wards. Those wards located at: Riverside High school (43 and 44), Rose Park Senior Center (wards 97 and 98), and Trowbridge School (wards 238 and 239). There are more than 50 wards with anomalous numbers that are off by more than 25. Three of those wards have a higher variance than found at Riverside High school (either ward 43 or ward 44). Why were the election records from the Cass Street School (ward 54) not investigated? Why were the election records from the French Immersion School (wards 192, 194, and 195) not investigated. Perhaps election records from other wards were examined. If so, the results of those investigation(s) would be hidden in the as yet unpublished, final report.

  2. Why were no inspectors questioned? The four emails make it quite clear the "investigators" only asked Room 501 for explanations. Ms. Edman and Mr. Albrecht are in the tough position of having to answer for a mess they did not create or administer. I don't envy that position. This is all the more reason to ask poll inspectors who were present: "What happened?". Again, maybe, election inspectors were questioned by the task force, but, if so, the results are hidden in the as yet unpublished, final report.
Here are some findings of the task force as described in these emails.
  1. The Task force proved the Optech IIIP Eagles scanners cannot count properly. The number of ballots passing through the scanner (as determined by hand counting the number of ballots) is MORE than the number of ballots the scanner claims to have counted (as reported on the machine tape total).
  2. The Task force proved the ballot boxes may have been stuffed. The question seem to answer seems to be how much stuffing (e.g. 186 or 470 in ward 44). Even with the most generous accounting for then number of ballots handed to electors (poll list + same day registrants + Sworn Registered Voters), the ballot box in ward 44 had more ballots in it than handed to electors.
  3. Even more election records (besides poll books) have disappeared. It is stated the email, that the Sworn Registered Voter list for about half the wards in the City of Milwaukee had disappeared by April 5, 2005. The Milwaukee Police Department is cited as perhaps having the records, but since no receipts were kept and the date the records were transferred to the MPD is unknown, this is unsupported speculation.
What we have here is a failure to count.
The explanation for the scanner not being able to count the number of ballots cast, is the unsupported, speculation "the ballot jammed". This is different than the miscounting error due to faulty programming reported reported during the September 12, 2006 primary election. This may be related to the miscounting counting error videotaped on September 12, 2006. Ballot jams was the same explanation offered for the documented miscounting in Germantown District #1 during the November 2, 2004 and April 5, 2005 elections. Since, the "ballot jams" has been offered as the explanation for miscounting on scanners from 2 vendors (ES&S Optech's in Milwaukee and Diebold AccuVote scanners in Germantown) in multiple elections perhaps we should test to see what happens when ballots jam in a context other than an actual election? I am NOT advocating dropping optical scanners in favor DRE touch screens. The only reason we KNOW the scanners miscount is because there are software independent records (the actual ballots) available to confirm or deny the software works as advertised. With DRE touch screen computers there are no pesky contradictory records. The DRE computer generates all of the records, so the records are consistent. But, consistent records are not the same as accurate records. I am proposing we test these scanners to find out how they really work so election officials in the polling places can handle machine and software faults appropriately.

Does the Sworn Registered Voter List, "close the gap"?
In the March 3, 2005 email Mr. Albrecht speculates the missing 186 voters handed a ballot could be on the Sworn Registered Voter List. This he states might be an explanation for the appearance of ballot box stuffing (more ballots counted than handed to electors). He offers no evidence though that there were 186 people from ward 44 who registered to vote at City Hall 13 days prior to the election. some questions on this "answer":
  • Is the Sworn Registered Voter List for ward 44 one of the half that have disappeared?
  • If the list exists, does the Sworn Registered Voter List for ward 44 have 186 people listed?
  • If the list exists and has 186 voters on it, why weren't these sworn registered voters given a voter number like everyone else?
  • If the list exists and is short, were these same election inspectors allowed to corrupt subsequent elections?
  • When did this meeting with the MPD about Sworn Registered Voter List occur and why is there no record of it or results documented? I did ask for such records and was told none exist.
  • How is it ward 39 located at Sandberg Hall of UWM handled more electors (2100) than ward 44 or ward 43, but manage to have every single number reconcile nearly perfectly?
More missing records !?!
It was not reported until July 2007 that many of the poll lists for the November 2, 2004 election had disappeared. The explanation offered was the poll books were lost by the MPD sometime during the 2 years the records were unavailable for inspection. Since, there no receipts were issued or demanded, there is no way to confirm or deny this speculation on the poll books. The Sworn Registered Voters list though disappeared sometime on or before April 5, 2005. This assumes the lists were created at all. Within 5 months of the election it was known that vital election records had gone missing or had not been created. I don't remember any prosecutions of election official for negligence in performing their duties. These emails support my speculation that the task force focused on voter fraud (e.g. Kimberly Prude) instead of election fraud. The task force is and was majoring on the minors". But, the bigger question though is what other records are missing?
  • Has anyone on the task force bothered to look?
  • Or, is the complete catalog of missing records hinted at in the preliminary report contained in the as-yet unpublished, final report?
As usual the more questions you ask the more "answers" you get and the more answers you get the more questions you have. The official explanation though remains constant:
"Mistakes were Made"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is some pretty good work, you should stick to this type of actual conruption investigating. Don't waste your time (and that of others may I say) on percieved inperfections in the system. there is so much low hanging fruit just ripe for the picking. Boy that was bad but true. Don't let your personal paranoid demons get in the way of actually doing some possible good. They say the obvious is the hardest thing to get a grasp of. Well there is plenty in Milwaukee (and Madison) to keep you busy for a while, starting with the elections board.

Tue Dec 04, 12:37:00 PM CST  
Blogger John Washburn said...

There is plenty here in Washington County as well.

What bothers me about the Milwaukee situation is that the election records are still available to the public (citizens and reporters) until January 11, 2008.

Everything I am hearing is that the final report of the Joint Task force will be published during the week of January 13, 2008.

This is the week after the records are unavailable to the public. So there will be no way to double check the work of the task force.

I am told this is just a coincidence.

Tue Dec 04, 02:13:00 PM CST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Will they be checking for out-of-state IDs at the caucuses?
The major presidential campaigns are flooding the state with hundreds of field staffers, and there's at least some concern that those operatives could show up for the Jan. 3 precinct caucuses and distort the outcome of the opening test of the presidential nominating season.

Spokesmen for the leading campaigns reject that suggestion, saying there are strict rules banning operatives brought into the state from actually participating in caucuses. They note that the number of operatives potentially involved is far too small to have an impact on the outcome of caucuses, which are likely to be settled by an estimated 150,000 people on the Democratic.

Sat Dec 15, 10:05:00 AM CST  

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