Questionable Voting Practices Caught On Tape; Voting Officials Seem More Concerned With Tape Origin

from the as-you-would-expect dept

A reader writes in to point out some questionable voting practices caught on videotape in Jacksonville, Florida. In the tape, a woman appears to vote twice, while an elections official is seen opening up a voting machine. It's not at all clear from the report what happened -- though, having the same woman deliver her optical scan ballot twice certainly raises some questions. Even though this was a paper ballot and an optical scan technique rather than a full e-voting system, the fact that the elections officer is able to open up a voting machine and do something to it without anyone saying anything disproves all the claims from people that "tampering" with an e-voting machine would be immediately obvious. All you need is an elections official saying that they need to "fix" something on the machine and no one's going to question what's going on. What's most interesting about this story, however, is that the elections officials seem a lot more concerned with how the security videotape got out, rather than what happened in the room. I'd like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and assume that whatever happened (even the same woman apparently voting twice) was legitimate -- but, even so, you would expect the voting officials to then come out and explain what happened, rather than get angry about the tape being leaked.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 10:55pm

    first?

    What is the usual procedure if one of these machines break? They only had one at my precinct. Do they wait for someone to come fix it or do they tell you to go elsewhere?

     

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      Lizzie, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      It is a sad fact that if a voter makes an error the vote is lost... They have three times to cast the vote...however once the vote is cast that's it..
      Say if they make a mistake on the first ballot and do not cast they may have a second ballot and so on... however this was clearly against the law to open the box. It is never to be opened like that.... written clearly in the law books ...

       

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    Alucardbsm, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 10:56pm

    hmm

    I bet she's just voting for someone else. They probably asked her to do it.

     

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    ScytheNoire, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 10:58pm

    of course, the Republicans want to find out where the video was leaked from. they don't want people to see them cheat. that would ruin all the mystery of their evil plans.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 11:02pm

      Re:

      whine whine whine scythe, I've seen firsthand repugnant democratic voter fraud and never any republican. Im sure theres republican fraud, but I wasnt looking for it, and everyone knows theyre probably far better at not getting caught. you are deluding yourself if you fantasize that the fraud is significantly skewed one way or the other.

       

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      Terran, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 6:29am

      Re:

      Democrats are just as bad and they do more than just cheat. If the evidence proves that they are cheating so be it, but just looking at a video isn't all the facts just stating that more evidence needs to be gathered before accusing anybody of anything. Democrats are always wanting to cast the blame on somebody else and say that they never do anything wrong. Just look at history and it shows that they are just like any other party out there.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      You whine about this constantly Scythe....Yet the Democratic party took the House and the Senate...Shut up now, your party won and you still piss and moan.

       

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      John Morse, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 7:46am

      Re: Republicans cheating

      Only an idiot with no knowledge of history would infer Republicans cheat at the polls. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black !!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2007 @ 10:59pm

    Which is the bigger problem? Voting irregularities that they are unable or unwilling to view as problematic? Or spy cameras watching people vote and gathering intelligence which could be used by sophisticated terror networks to cripple our electoral process?

    Never attribute solely to malice or stupidity what is so pervasively deranged that it must certainly be attributable to generous portions of both.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      Both are equally abhorant, however I think the camera in this case proved to be a benefit.

      However, this makes me think there should be cameras watching all the systems, just not able to see the screen.

      Of course then Scythe would bitch the Republicans were cheating with it....

       

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    Chris, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 12:02am

    just a deterrant?

    When events like the '03 election, the release of severly problematic voting machines, and further evidence of voting "conspiracy" arise, it makes me wonder if fixing all these flaws and problems will have any noticeable effect. It seems to me there's always been someone in the background pulling the appropriate strings to swing elections one way or another. So, even if we crack down on voting security, where less than half of the population votes, and probably less than a 1/3rd are well enough educated, I don't think we'll see a practical solution for a long time, if ever.

     

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    Chris, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 12:06am

    same woman

    In today's world I wouldn't be surprised if the incident of the same woman were really just twin sisters. It's not uncommon for twins to live far apart from each other, and in a rural enough area I'm sure they could even vote at the same location. Someone who want's to convince you srtongly enough will go to whatever means are necessary. Not saying it's what happend, but I wouldn't put it past someone either.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 1:00am

    The video of this voting fraud incident can be found at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4I7Q6MDiUo

     

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    Rob Miles, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 2:38am

    Probably what happened is...

    Either the woman screwed up and put the wrong piece of paper in, or when she put the right piece of paper in she didn't get the confirmation she was supposed to. She let someone know, and the official finally went to check it out. After finding her piece of paper, and another party verified that there was a problem, they took it out of the system and allowed her to cast her vote again so that it would be properly counted.

    If they hadn't, the voter in question (who is Black) may well have claimed that she was denied her right to vote. After all, if officials can't even check IDs to make sure the person voting is who she says she is without being accused of racism and/or intimidation, it's unlikely they could get away with "sorry, you voted wrong that's your problem." Anybody have any idea of what they should have done?

    And if I were the officials at that office, regardless of the reason for my actions I would be concerned about how someone got the security film in question. It's obviously someone who shouldn't have it, otherwise they wouldn't have remained anonymous. So the person is claiming something illegal happened (which it may well have), and uses proof he or she obtained illegally. If you allow that, you have to allow cops to present evidence of a crime that they obtained through an unlawful search.

     

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      Trojan John, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 3:07am

      Re: Probably what happened is...

      This isn't a court of law and nobody is on trial, so the standards are much lower. I don't care how they came by the evidence, or if they're the legal possessors or not. This does not negate the fact that questionable voting practices occured. Like if I break into my neighbour's home knowing he's a paedophile and I find child pornography everywhere, that doesn't mean that he's any less guilty, and it's assinine to insist that I am more culpable than him.

       

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        lar3ry, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 4:35am

        Re: Re: Probably what happened is...

        ... if I break into my neighbour's home knowing he's a paedophile and I find child pornography everywhere, that doesn't mean that he's any less guilty, and it's assinine to insist that I am more culpable than him.

        If that's the case you still have a problem. You broke into the house, so now it can be argued that YOU planted the child pornography there. In effect, you have now given the pedophile a chance to escape the charge.

        With regard to the suggestion that the woman put the wrong piece of paper in, then there should have been procedures that should have (1) created an "incident report" that something unusual occurred, (2) given the woman a second, provisional ballot in order for her to cast the "correct" ballot, (3) somehow rectify the situation with the "incorrect" ballot, preferably after the polls close. At this point, the incident is logged, and when somebody comes back and asks questions, there is the "incident report" that can completely explain the situation (with proper safeguards to protect the privacy of the voter and his/her vote).

        The fact that the official immediately got defensive and was more interested in how the video was obtained suggests that the official may have a good reason to be worried that he may have been caught doing something illegal.

        Finally, playing devil's advocate here, there may be a good reason why the official was suspicious of the video: everybody assumes that a date/time stamp, if found on a video, is definitive. It's not. Just like the "12:00" forever blinking on people's VCRs, it's only as accurate as the information that was programmed into the security camera. It is easy to splice together a bunch of unrelated scenes from a security camera with a bogus date/time set on it and "prove" that something illegal happened at a particular date and time.

         

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    And?, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 2:51am

    This is minor, there are much major problems

    Well I watched it, but it's minor. She complains about something with her ballot, they remove the ballot and get her to vote again, presumably voiding the first one? Otherwise the totally would be wrong.

    Yes it's an infringement, but it's not the major one.

    THEY CAN OPEN THE BALLOT BOX, IT'S NOT SEALED, SO THEY CAN FEED WHATEVER THEY WANT INTO THE COUNTER!

    Thats the biggest fattest security hole in that system. The optical counter WAS set in democrat districts in 2000 to reject and swallow out of alignment marks, and the calibration was set badly in those districts. While in republican districts it was set to spit any misaligned ballots back so they could be recast.
    This trick was discovered by Greg Palast.

    If they can simply open up a machine and remove the ballots and stuff a bunch of new ballots through the machine then it's a completely unsecured vote.

    SO WHY DOES THE GUY HAVE THE KEY TO BALLOT BOX?

    As for this comment:"Or spy cameras watching people vote and gathering intelligence which could be used by sophisticated terror networks to cripple our electoral process?"
    This was the buildings security camera, are you from Boston?

     

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    Anonymous Jerk, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 5:31am

    3 world voting procedures

    Makes me think of the presidential vote from Kenya in 2000 or 2001. The areas where the current president was guarenteed to have a strong following had their ballot equipment on time. The areas where one of the opponents was the favorite had their equipment mysteriously disappear.

     

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      aNONymous, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 6:45pm

      Re: 3 world voting procedures

      Yeah...I spent a bunch of time in Kenya (mostly Nairobi) in '05 and that is by far the most corrupt place I've been in my life--and I've been to some pretty f'd up places--I got pulled over for having a hot African girl in my car and they tried to shake me down for a ton of cash...when I wouldn't, they tossed me in the clink! Anyway.

      On topic: couldn't an anonymous release of these "illegally obtained" tapes be considered under the Whistleblower law?

       

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    Overcast, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 6:10am

    of course, the Republicans want to find out where the video was leaked from. they don't want people to see them cheat. that would ruin all the mystery of their evil plans.

    lol, you think it's just one party pulling the wool over people's eyes?

    Get stabbed from the left by the democrats and stabbed from the right by republicans.

    They don't care, long as they stay in power.

    Here come the flames~~~~

    But you notice something...
    Out of the last 5 presidential elections it's been either a Bush of Clinton in Office?

    Ol' George Bush
    Bill Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    'Dubya' Bush
    'Dubya' Bush

    Now watch... Hillary for two terms and then Jeb Bush for two terms.

    Just coincidence, huh?

    Why you think Ol' Jeb's not running this year - otherwise, it's perfect timing to. The republicans will put up some loser with ZERO chance of winning - just like the Dems did in the last two elections. Gore was too fanatical to elect and Kerry was too stupid.

    I bet the republicans will put in someone like Gulianni who is just not going to motivate the right at all. Then Hillary for 8.

    After Hillary's 8, the dems will put up another loser vs. Jeb Bush. Then Bush for 8 more years.

    Laugh now - but just watch.
    In any event it doesn't matter, the whole of Washington's laughing at us and the rest of the world. It's not going to last forever either, tension's are getting awful strong everywhere, and only so much tension can build before something snaps...

     

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    ogman, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 7:07am

    Wow, if anyone were looking for proof that the internet is occupied only by the far right and the far left, this discussion would provide all that they would need.

     

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    Overcast, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 7:31am

    Yeah, I agree. They state it's illegal to video tape the election room..

    I think it should be the opposite - it should be REQUIRED and then the videos made available to the public on the web.

    If they want the voters to trust them, they better start giving us some evidence or proof of it.

    And I agree Ogman - people are so partisan anymore, they refuse to see the problems with both parties.

     

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    TheDock22, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    Hillary who?

    After Hillary's 8, the dems will put up another loser vs. Jeb Bush. Then Bush for 8 more years.

    Obviously you don't follow the presidential elections, Overcast. Hillary is losing to Obama in the polls right now. Obama will probably be the next democratic candidate, which I'm all for. He's a very good public speaker and extremely knowledgeable in what he wants to do with the presidency.

     

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    Sean, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 8:05am

    Everyone Cheats!

    Can we please get past the idea that only one party is responsible for cheating? If the stakes are high enough, just about anyone is capable of cheating, no matter their party affiliation.

    As has already been mentioned, the larger question is why the voting process is plagued with security flaws, including the absconding of surveillance video.

     

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    Worried, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    If anyone, Republican or Democrat thinks it is okay for video tape of people voting is fine to make public, they either have an agenda of intimidation in their plan, or are uneducated as to the history of voting.

    I would like to know if the two incidents are really separate or if she tried to vote, it didn't work, official fixes the roller, then she gets to really vote.

    I do not trust web spin these days.

     

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    ogman, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    Overcast - Looks like we agree on more than one point. Since no actual vote is shown being cast, I agree that the voting procedures should be videotaped and the tapes should be made public immediately after the voting is complete. The more public oversight of this process there is, the better, especially since the process was somehow sold off to corporate interests instead of being maintained by the government.

    By the way, from some of the responses, I get the feeling that a few of you may not have actually watched the video. It's worth taking a look.

     

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      Sean, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      While I agree at first blush, videotapes would also make voter intimidation a lot easier. I think it is fair to assume that it goes on.

      For example, if I know that a certain segment of society (that is easily identifiable by some physical characteristic) will vote for a certain party 80% of the time I can use the video footage to target my intimidation to specific precincts or even persons

       

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        ogman, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Sean - I can't imagine how video footage, like the type shown, would give any assistance to someone wishing to intimidate voters that they could not get from sitting outside the voting station and watching who went in.

         

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          Sean, Mar 1st, 2007 @ 5:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're right. My thought was someone can anonymously review videos from any precinct they wish regardless of time or place.

           

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    ogman, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 11:43am

    TheDock22 - You have references for the claim that Obama leads Clinton? I looked and although Clinton's lead has shrunk, and may shrink more, right now your statement is not true. If I missed something, let me know.

     

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    mark, Feb 28th, 2007 @ 1:19pm

    I get so sick of hearing about these playground rules for determining who's right or wrong. The whole idea that the person (or method) of outing the wrong is more evil than the wrong itself is complete garbage. You don't want to get caught doing something wrong, don't do it. Better still, when you get busted, don't try to lower the rest of us to your childish belief that ratting you out was a bad thing to do. Grow up already!!!

     

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    Lizzie, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 8:09am

    Leaked tape in Florida

    Hi,
    It's after the election in Jacksonville Florida and guess who won.. As no surprise it was Jerry Holland. What concerns me is that I work for the elections office and am very concerned about the tape that shows Mr. Holland opening the box....
    mmmm... and he is going to get away with it..what a shame....

     

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