Tuesday, August 24, 2004

We must move on to the rest of the canvass

Forced to take a non-support position

Some important revelations came out of day-2, see below. One thing is clear, we must move on to the other areas of the canvass, or we will run out of time and be forced to take a non-support position on the canvass.

Who has the authority to approve the canvass?

With one exception, all of the people working in the room are temporary employees of the clerk and none have been legally appointed by their political party to serve as a canvass board member.

The GOP representative, Al Kolwicz, is the only party-appointed canvass board member. Does this mean that Kolwicz alone has the authority to approve/disapprove the canvass?

We have learned what we can from the precinct canvass

We have exhausted what is to be gleaned from the examination of the precinct materials. We can conclude the following:

  • The temporary workers have not been instructed to follow a consistent auditing process. Consequently, their work-product is not uniform. This means that no scientific conclusions can be drawn from their effort. The method that my partner and I used for the first precinct on day-1 is very different from what we used for the last precinct on day-2. I am confident that what we would do on a fifth day would be even more different.

    There is no cross-team communication, so there is no group learning going on. It is as though a canvass has never been done before.

  • The procedures, training and forms used in the precinct are defective – they are error prone and do not produce a comparable result across precincts. These must be perfected before this system is ever used again.

  • There is no list of (voter, ballot number) pairs – the poll book. The poll book is needed to verify the counts of voters and ballots. Just knowing that some person was assigned some ballot from some precinct is not good enough. Only eligible voters can be issued ballots, and the ballot that they are issued must be a ballot for the precinct where they are eligible to vote. The data available do not support this verification.

  • The numbers of errors discovered during the precinct work casts doubt the accuracy of the count of voters and the ballots. The system is not suitable for use in an election where there is a small difference in vote count between the winner and the next highest vote earner. There is too much variation to support a high degree of confidence in the precinct results.

  • The nomenclature used on the various documents is ambiguous and inconsistent. For example, on the Colorado Canvass Report, the term “Ballots Cast” is used instead of “Ballots Accepted by Scanner”. This likely means that different teams have interpreted these terms differently. This will cause great confusion when we attempt to conclude the canvass.

We must move on to the rest of the canvass

At least three times today I asked the supervisor to suspend working with the precinct data, and move on to the other areas. I asked when we will begin to verify the absentee, early, provisional, and emergency voters and ballots. I also asked when we would see a copy of the abstract of votes, and when we would begin to verify that all votes are correctly counted.

I was told by the supervisor that we’d start these after we complete the precinct work. I complained that we will run out of time needed to verify these areas.

I was told privately by team members that the team has never looked at these areas in the past.

It is vital that all voting methods be vigorously verified. After all, a very sizeable percentage of votes originate from non-precinct voting sources.