Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

California Prop 8 Election Irregularities Surfacing

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on November 14, 2008
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The Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) Community and its supporters nationwide are mourning and organizing in the wake of last week’s announced 52-48% passage of Proposition 8, which eliminates the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. But an accurate count of the votes may not yet have occurred, according to early indications.

The integrity of an election takes time to investigate, and it’s far too early to draw conclusions. However, consider the following:

Around the world, exit polls are used to determine the need for investigation of elections. In the U.S., the National Exit Poll (NEP, also known as Edison/Mitofsky) now adjusts results to match vote counts before issuing its final polling numbers.Election Defense Alliance downloaded NEP numbers from the internet on election night, however, before poll results were changed to match the official vote count.

This is the exit poll from early in the evening of election night. There were 2,168 respondents, and they break down as follows (a “yes” vote is a vote againstsame-sex marriage):

Yes on Prop 8, 48%
No on Prop 8, 52%

Yes on Prop 8, 48%
No on Prop 8, 52%

View actual screen capture

This is the exit poll from later in the evening. There were 2,240 respondents — 72 more respondents than in the earlier poll — and they break down in a very different way:

Yes on Prop 8, 53%
No on Prop 8, 47%

Yes on Prop 8, 52%
No on Prop 8, 48%

View actual screen capture

This discrepancy should be ringing alarm bells. Something doesn’t add up.

Because exit polls adjusted to match election results are of limited usefulness, this year independent exit polls were conducted in several states by a group including Ken Warren of the Warren Poll, Jonathan Simon of Election Defense Alliance, and Steve Freeman of Election Integrity. This team is still analyzing results of their exit polls, but Simon told Velvet Revolution that their California exit polls, some of which were conducted by Judy Alter and Protect California Ballots, tend to corroborate the findings of the above exit poll that show a defeat of Prop. 8.

What is proven by discrepancies between exit poll results and official vote counts? That an investigation must be conducted to determine whether the vote count is accurate.

Further indications of problems with the vote count are already coming in from multiple sources, including incident reports from voters and election observers. Among these are indications that disenfranchisement targeting communities likely to have a high proportion of ‘no’ votes on Proposition 8 led to huge numbers of provisional ballots being cast. Because each provisional ballot must be individually determined to be qualified before counting, hundreds of thousands throughout the state remain uncounted to date.

Hundreds of thousands of vote-by-mail ballots also remain uncounted (see above link). When the initial counting is complete, it is certainly possible that the results of Proposition 8 will be reversed. But we can’t sit around waiting to find out.

Right now, in election offices in every county, procedures that affect the election results are underway. While the votes are tabulated by computers that have been shown again and again to be riggable and hackable, to drop votesflip votes,break down and all in all produce untrustworthy election results, some of the election processes can and must be observed by the public. These include:

  • Mandated 1% manual count of all paper ballots cast (this increases to 10% for any race that is within 0.5% of a tie in a given county)
  • Mandated 100% manual count of ‘paper trails’ from DRE/touchscreen voting machines
  • Reconciliation of number of votes with number of voters, and
  • Auditing of other processes to determine accurate counting.

We at Velvet Revolution are recruiting volunteers to observe at county election offices beginning immediately. Volunteers will be trained via conference call this Sunday, November 16, at 4 p.m. To sign up for training, email us with your name, phone number, and county or counties where you would be willing to volunteer. We ask that all volunteers be prepared to give at least four hours over the next couple of weeks. We hope that most will be able to volunteer significantly more time. If you want to volunteer and are unable to attend Sunday’s telephone training session, give us your contact number so we can tell you if there is another training opportunity. The training will be conducted by Tom Courbat, founder of SAVE R VOTE (Riverside County) and Emily Levy of Velvet Revolution.

Please note that this training is specific to California and to observing many of the auditing processes set up here by Secretary of State Debra Bowen following herTop to Bottom Review of California’s voting systems. However, we encourage voters everywhere to flock to their local election offices and observe post-elections processes. Democracy cannot take care of itself. It needs us. It is us. In California and around the nation, our names are being called right now. Come on down!

Sign up for free volunteer training in California today! (Your long distance phone charges apply.)

Don’t Give Up — Give Time!

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