Friday, September 07, 2012

Assembly Work Session Hears Judge Hensley Again on Voting Problems

I went to the Assembly work session today with Judge Hensley, the consultant who investigated the problems with the April 3, 2012 Municipal election.

I got there twenty minutes late.  Actually, I thought this was going to be a two hour follow up on the earlier working group with Assembly attorney Julia Tucker.  So I was surprised to see Hensley and most of the Assembly there.  Hensley was finishing his report as I arrived and then took questions.  There was no amplification and the Judge spoke softly facing away from the audience.  Plus something (heating?) was making a lot of noise. The whole meeting took about 30 minutes.  You can listen to the Municipal recording of the meeting.  [You have to go to Archived Videos and Agendas.  Hensley's Report Worksession is at the top today, but will move down as new videos are added.  You can also try one of these:

MP3 Audio 

MP4 Video
 (there's only audio on the video)]  

The written report and the supplemental can be found:

June 30, 2012 Report 
July 24, 2012 Report

You can see other documents relating to the April 3, 2012 election at the Municipal Clerk's election page.

Hensley's Report Overview:

He said his first question was to determine if someone tried to manipulate the outcome of this election.  The answer is no.

Second task, if no one intentionally tried, how did it happen?  Someone took their eye of the ball - leadership in the Clerk's office for sure and while the Assembly had the right to expect the Clerk to run the elections well, clearly the Assembly needs to keep some oversight.  

Basically felt that the key problem was the failure in ballot allocation in not realizing that turnout would not be like 2011 or 2010.

I don't really think that there was anything terribly significant said that you couldn't find by just reading the reports.  The audio is just 29 minutes so if you really want to know, you can listen to it. 

I didn't feel the Assembly was particularly deep in their questioning.  Flynn did ask about the variety of ballots (there have to be different ballots because there are so many small special service districts that have elections.)  Johnston asked about training for workers.  Traini, Drummond, and Jackson-Gray asked about the voting machines. 

New metal seal for ballot bags and voting machines
After the meeting I spoke with the Clerk and a staff person.  One change they have worked out already is to get more secure seals.  They are metal and it will be very clear if they are tampered with and they are numbered so people can't simply replace them with another tag.  (I believe someone said the old plastic ones were also numbered.)  They are also hoping to reconstitute the Technical board to hand count random ballots for at least three precincts. 


  1. IMO the problem with the replacement of the anti tamper seals really didn't have anything to do with whether or not they were numbered.

    Didn't management instruct and enable the circumvention of the security protocols by distributing unused seals? If these previously used seals were numbered, were distribution and use logs kept? Has this aspect ever been explored on the record?

  2. Anon, I too heard stories of election workers being told the seals could break easily by accident and they were given extra seals in case that happened.

    In part I'm just reporting, so it's out there. My sense, though, is that with the plastic seals, they were easy to break and replace. These look like they would be a lot harder to break - it would have to be intentional - and the numbers, if they are recorded and monitored, would mean you couldn't break one and replace it with another one.

    Perhaps any voting machine that had a broken seal should have to have its ballots hand counted. I'm not sure what to do about the bags that have the ballots.


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