Saturday, May 19, 2012

What's Happening With The Anchorage Election?

Recount Tally sheet Mayor's Race

A friend emailed me to ask what was going on since there wasn't much in the newspapers.  I was an observer the afternoon of May 10 and I've been trying to put together a post describing what it was like.  A brief preview
  • Observers were given total access to watch the account, take pictures, take video, ask questions (if it didn't disturb actual counting) and the counters were patient and thorough in answering questions.
  • Some counters were better than others.
  • There hasn't been a recount in a long time and those were for individual close races, not for the whole thing.  This one has only been for 15 precincts.  That means that except for very brief descriptions in the Municipal Code, there are not guidelines for how to do this.
  • Thus, a lot of what going on was learning by doing.  Different pairs of counters used different techniques.
City Hall Room 155 - Hand Counting Ballots

Inside "the Vault"
I had the feeling that while some security measures were in place, there were a lot of points where there process was vulnerable.   It felt like Alaska in the old days when everyone knew each other and people didn't lock their doors. I don't think anyone exploited the weaknesses this time, but the recount gives the Muni an opportunity to figure out how to lock all the doors and windows for next time.  Voting machines are too vulnerable to hacking.    The 'vault' (that's what they called it) where they stored the ballots, was actually just a small room on the ground floor with windows along the outer walls.  Using the word 'vault' was probably not a good idea because it conjures up an image of a windowless metal chamber with a giant lock on it. 

Since the Muni has posted a preliminary report  which identifies some sizable gaps in a couple of precincts between the voting machine count and the recount.  Not enough to change any race, but enough to raise questions that need to be addressed.  Some of the precincts were recounted a second time because of discrepancies between the voting machine count and the recount numbers.  

I was told that the newly elected school board candidates have had their swearing in postponed once again.  It won't happen this Monday and the following Monday is Memorial Day.

The Clerk's office is going to hold a press conference on Monday morning.  

Black Diebold bag with Service High ballots

Mel at Bent Alaska has been doing the very best job on the election and you can see her post on the recount that is much more detailed than mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.