Monday, June 11, 2007

(Lack of) verified voting hits home

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt's, D-N.J., verified voting bill is tanking. The key voting rights groups say it's worse than nothing, after all the meddling in committee since January. It now deserves to be abandoned the way the immigration bill was last week after the GOP nuked Sen. Bob Menendez', D-N.J., amendment.

Ocean County needs the intended bill more than ever, to prove no one preprogrammed an outcome on the machines. It was supposed to ensure voters see and verify their votes on paper ballots that could be used in recounts. BlueJersey featured this quote in Ocean County's GOP that was in an Asbury Park Press story on the Republican freeholder primary losers.

(Bob) Haelig, who has been around the block, who first ran for public office in 1965, says the Republican machine in Ocean County "makes the Democratic machine in Hudson County look like Sunny Brook Farm by comparison."
Note the comment from Jim33:
The biggest and most brazen NJ corruption of all is the Ocean County GOP, where George Gilmore has run a well laundered machine for 11 years and essentially owns the county by sending the money towns and school boards overpay his law firm for "work" back to the local GOP races. And all Christie can find in all of Ocean County is one obscure Dem mayor who admitted he took a $5,000 bribe from a builder to smooth the permit process. Give me a break!

Gilmore is said to be close to Kyrillos, who is said to be a friend of Christie's. Fat chance of an investigation, but just look at the relatives of key GOP loyalists now staffing the Ocean County elections office and you'll grimace. Oh, and Gilmore made himself the head of the county election board, so don't bother contesting it, either. Conflict of interest? Not much. Won't matter as long as most of the county pays no attention to politics, just marks the first R box they see. (Note from Molly: Good point. What if Pena's team had been in the first column?)
Now another quote from challenger Suzanne Pena in Handleman's column:
"About the only thing that really surprised me was that our opponents were completely silent. It's as if they knew it didn't matter. The end result was going to be what it was going to be ... they didn't even bother to have signs made up."
OK. Let's look at one more thing: Vote machine trouble last November at certain polls.
Ocean County ... learned that votes from a single machine in Barnegat were counted twice — and some were also added to vote totals for the U.S. Senate, county freeholder and county sheriff races in Lakewood. ...

The error didn't affect any election outcomes, said George Gilmore, chairman of the Board of Elections. (Now, why would Gilmore, also chairman of the county Republican Party, say that in a tight races decided by fewer than 11 votes?)

"I think this is a serious issue that the county cannot, and I'm sure will not, let go," (Democratic challenger Dolores) Coulter said, adding she was troubled the Barnegat machine affected tallies in Lakewood.

Election officials uncovered a doubling of all votes cast on the Barnegat machine and later found that an overcount of some 75 votes for the U.S. Senate, county free-holder and sheriff races had been carried over by the computer system into tallies from Lakewood. The problems, they said, all stemmed from a fault in computer software provided by Sequoia Voting Systems, the Oakland, Calif.-based supplier of voting machines for Ocean County.
When you whisk away all the smoke, you see the real problem is that no one can verify in any way at all how many votes truly were cast for anyone, except those who are willing to take the GOP party boss' word for it.

Update: Presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich today pulled his support for Holt's bill, HR 811 in this Congress.

And Ellen Theisen gives seven grave concerns about Holt's bill.


Anonymous said...

Does Ocean County have a voter integrity organization?

Anonymous said...

Are u gonna do more on this?