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Ohio recount- Cuyahoga County ballots pre-sorted

Saturday 18 December 2004

Anomalies were found. Almost all of the witnesses that I spoke with felt that the ballots were not in random order, that they had been previously sorted. There would be long spurts of votes for only one candidate and then long spurts for another, which seemed statistically improbable to most.

From what they were able to get through, witnesses found that signature counts were very much different from the official recorded number of ballots.

At the time of the orientation, Jacqui Maiden stated that there will be no visual inspection of the remaining 600,000-some ballots in the county.

This is Jen Frigolette, coordinator in Cuyahoga County. We started our recount today, Thursday December 16, 2004. I have started composing a long description of what transpired, but it occurs to me now that I no longer have the capacity to finish in such detail.

So I want to get to you at least tonight/this morning a brief summary of what happened. (And as I am cutting and pasting now I realize that it is not quite so brief)

The recount process started out very smoothly. Our witnesses were instructed to arrive by 8am, when the mandatory BoE orientation would take place for all witnesses. There was a bit of a line, which I was near the end of at 8am. We were all directed to the media room, and at about 8:15am everyone was seated and the orientation began. We were each given a schedule with a brief description of what the recount would look like. The witness instructions were given with a description of the schedule, and then there was a question and answer period.

They explained that we would be following standard procedure for all county recounts. These rules had been signed off on by the County Prosecutor’s Office, of which a representative was present. Some of the important rules were the following:

Witnesses could not use cell phones, video or audio recording devices. Any witness found with recording devices would be immediately escorted out, with the ability to be replaced by a different witness. (of the same candidate).

All witnesses would receive a copy of the sheet stating the hand recount vote totals for each candidate in their precinct, as well as the computer count.

In the computer/tabulation room, we were allowed to have 2 groups of the five candidate witnesses. One group could watch the computer screen, while the other could witness the remakes of any ballots.

At the time of the orientation, Jacqui Maiden stated that there will be no visual inspection of the remaining 600,000-some ballots in the county.

Only ballots with holes punched through, with 2 or less chads remaining would be counted. Dimpled chads would not be counted, even if the entire ballot was dimpled chads.

Backward ballots should have already been remade but there were teams available to remake them if any additional were found.

Precinct selection was done on the basis of: only choosing precincts with 550 or more votes, and a cross-section of areas?one East side, one West side, one affluent, one non-affluent.

In response to the question “How are the ballots in order?” Jacqui Maiden’s response was “How they come out of the machine.”

The staff allowed questioning until there were more questions, and then they gave us a few minutes to organize our volunteers before the recount started.

At the beginning of the day, reports were that the process was going more smoothly and faster than expected. People arrived at our meeting room starting around 11am because they had finished couting their precincts at that time.

The actual 3% hand recount was finished by around 3pm, in my estimation. I can double-check this time. When this was completed, a Bush-Cheney representative (coordinator or attorney?) anounced that all the Bush-Cheney witnesses were free to leave, as there was nothing left to be discovered in the precinct log books. The precinct log books were then distributed, in alphabetical order, for the witnesses to check.

Anomalies were found. Almost all of the witnesses that I spoke with felt that the ballots were not in random order, that they had been previously sorted. There would be long spurts of votes for only one candidate and then long spurts for another, which seemed statistically improbable to most.

From what they were able to get through, witnesses found that signature counts were very much different from the official recorded number of ballots.

There was some confusion around 4pm, as volunteers started to wonder the importance of going through the signature log books of every single precinct. At this time Dora Rose was back and forth on the phone with Don McTigue and apparently submitting specific precincts of the log books that we wanted to check. After some confusion and then apparently a decision made by Michael Vu (the director of our BoE), per Dora Rose’s request, the alphabetical log books were taken away from witnesses, and replaced with only the log books of the 3% hand-recounted precincts, in addition to about 30 of the specifically-requested precincts. The volunteers began examining these log books.

Around 5:30pm, Attorney and Democrat Coordinator Dora Rose, Attorney and Green/Lib reps. George Taylor and Candice Hoke, the Bush Cheney attorney and Coordinator, and the Board of Directors met to discuss the process and what they were allowing for tomorrow.

When I returned to the security desk, a BoE staff person came up to me, in a frustrated voice, and told me that “The volunteers are done looking through the logbooks, and they want to go home. Can they leave now?” This woman was probably 5’1, African-American, with glasses on. She was wearing a green top. Unfortunately, I don’t know her name (it was suggested possibly Rosie) I can find out tomorrow. In my observation, the volunteers looked idle, but I foolishly did not go into the room and consult with each of them to definitively ascertain this.

I was concerned for the morale of the volunteers, in addition to the fact that many of them had been there for hours and were very tired. I didn’t want them to have to stay any longer, wasting their time and the Board of Elections time and money, if they were in fact done looking at the logbooks, since there was no further task they were instructed to do after that.

I interrupted the meeting with the attorneys and the Board, stating that our volunteers had completed their task and had nothing left to do. I asked if there was anything else the Board was allowing them to look at at that point. The woman with the blond hair and bangs (Gwen?) told me that there was nothing else, and that they would “release them” as soon as the meeting was done. I asked if our volunteers were free to leave, and she said yes. I returned to the room and asked Turo to make the announcement that if they were finished, any volunteers were free to leave, but before he and I could finish speaking, the board and attorneys returned to the room and made the announcement that they were finished for the day, instructing everyone to go home. I did not find out until conversation later that night that in fact many of the tables were NOT actually finished looking through the logbooks.

Tomorrow (Friday) the schedule is from 8am-5pm, with an hour break for lunch between noon and 1pm. The task for tomorrow is to inspect the voting machines of all 1400-some precincts, to make sure that the rotation of the ballots and the voting booklet of all the precincts match up. If they do not match up, there will be a form to fill out, and all the ballots from that precinct will need to be remade.

There is still discussion of a full visual inspection of the remaining ballots, or at least the under and over votes for President, but I did not have the final word on that last night. I also did not get the final word on whether or not the hand count and machine count for all of the 3% precincts added up, but I assume they did since I have not heard differently.

Other observations:

I was disappointed with the way many of the Board of Elections staff were treating the entire process. I instructed my volunteers, in emails and in person, to be nothing but cordial and respectful to the BoE staff. In our training that we made mandatory for any witnesses, Attorney and Law Professor Candice Hoke explained that the BoE staff are very tired?they have been working too long hours for too long, and haven’t had a break. She emphasized that we need to be conscientious and unflinching in our scrutinization, but also very understanding that these people are tired and probably stressed out. I was proud to see that our volunteers were being respectful. Unfortunately, as the day progressed I cannot say the same for all of the BoE staff.

For a good portion of the afternoon, I was stationed outside of the security desk, where I could see the entire room. I didn’t want to be confined to one witness table, and am not an attorney. We were instructed that only the candidate (if he or she chooses to show up) and the candidate’s attorney are allowed to circulate around the room, while the 20 witnesses must stay seated at the tables. I did not realize at this time that I could act as the candidate’s representative and circulate. Dora Rose explained this to me later.

At or around the security desk, there were about 2-3 security guards in this area at all times, and probably 1-2 BoE staff as well. The officer from the Sherriff’s Department and I struck up a friendly conversation. The BoE staff “gatekeepers” were often too busy to talk. As the afternoon progressed into late afternoon, I started hearing (firsthand) the negative comments. A staff person who had been observing for awhile said something like “This is madness—why can’t they get over it?” and “we need to stop working on this election and move on.”

After I started circulating around the room, I heard firsthand the questions and comments to our witnesses. “Why are you looking at the signature books? You aren’t going to find anything in them.”

I am very young and un-official looking, so I don’t think any of them realized that I was the coordinator. They were making these comments in a loud voice, as if to no one at all, but in my impression with the definite intention for me (and anyone in the general vicinity) to hear their disgust). This is unacceptable behavior. I understand that all the staff are tired and overworked. However, this is no excuse to be continually making derogatory comments to those citizens and taxpayers who are exercising their legal rights. If it is their personal opinion that the recount is unnecessary and somehow wasteful, then they have the right to express it, in a personal setting. But when they are making these comments in public, acting as an employee of the BoE, these statements become nothing short of intimidation.


Forum posts

  • *

    Foolish Greens and Left-wingers do not deserve recounts. They need to be prevented from getting any where near our ballots.

    They do not represent my concerns!!!!

    President Bush, Yeah!!!!!!!


    • Dear Bush supporter: These are not YOUR ballots. These ballots represent the votes of EVERYONE from a variety of political viewpoints. Why are you AFRAID of allowing the inspection of poll books. Poll books are kept for a reason, which is to validate that the votes which were cast were in fact done so by ACTUAL people, and not fabricated (that means, not "made up"). By delaying this natural process, allowed for and even encouraged under the RULE OF LAW which you righties love to quote, YOU are violating the RULE OF LAW. You obviously are incabable of any cogent (means clear and to the point) commentary on these very important issues. By the way, when our democracy fails because of the inability of citizens to guarantee a fair and accurate vote it WILL REPRESENT YOUR CONCERNS!!! (you seem to love exclamation marks)

      Fuck Bush!!!!!!!!Fuck YOU!!!!Racist NAZI asshole!!! (I threw that in because I figured it was language you might understand)

    • The only people who don’t want recounts are those who have something to hide.

      George stole Florida in 2000 .

      Different time and place, Rovianism and Diebold strike a partnership in Ohio 2004.

    • WHO would post a picture of TRICKY DICK????? How embarrassing, it could only be a Democrat, no self respecting (?) Republican would want anyone to even remember that crook.

    • *

      I would. Count more votes for President Bush, Yeah!!!!!!!!!!

      DUmmies!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soon the Democrat Party will shake Greens and Progressives off like fleas.

    • We at the Republican Party have won the election. Our RNC high command had instructed us to get the Republican voters out and discourage the Democratic voters in non-swing states so the national margin for Bush goes up. We exactly did that. This has lead to 3.5 million + votes for George W. President George W. Bush has a huge political capital. George W. Bush is a great leader. I think the Blacks and minorities should NOT be allowed to vote. It is because of the Dems they are allowed to vote. I guess we stand by strong moral values as President Bush is a very religious man. The Republican Party is a party of high integrity. We believe in truth. All our party workers are extremely loyal to the party. We work in the party like an army. Dems don’t do that and that is why they lost.

      RNC member

    • >>>They need to be prevented from getting any where near our ballots.<<<

      It seems to me that the Bush supporters (Blackwell) have had fair time to go over MY vote. Fair is fair wouldn’t you say? I expect you will say no. Fortunately there are laws to protect all voters from people with a mindset similar to yours. The investigations WILL go on. Why don’t YOU just GET OVER IT?

    • It is indeed a person of "strong moral values" who thinks that the Constitution should not be enforced (read Amendments XV, XIX, XXIV, & XXVI) . I expect nothing from a fine RNC member but what I read here: fear, hatred, racism, and fascism. Remember, WASP, you were in the minority 350 years ago, and you will again be in the minority in about 10 yesrs.

    • It’s obvious that you are an ignorant, uneducated Bush supporter. This does not surprise me. It’s become conventional wisdom that the less intelligent citizens in the country tend to lean Republican. You are evidence of the pandemic idiocy that has found methods (questionable methods, that is) to slither its way into political power. Really, the best word you can come up with is "DUmmie"? I’m comparing your posts to the other non-Bush supporters’ posts and it’s painfully clear that you really can’t think or express yourself on their level. Go on, live your life, gloat in the Bush victory—but the rest of us will still be able to spell in the morning... and get better jobs.

    • Your concern should be how to pull your head out of you know where. Maybe photons will reach your retinas and you can "see" Mr. Dittohead.

  • Hey bore, you need to get a new word besides "DUmmies"...get a dictionary, open it, read the words until you discover some you can remember, and expand your vocabulary. Otherwise we will all just have to just skip past your same boring posts like we all have been. Also, for your information DU stands for depleted uranium. You should look up some information on DU, you need to educate yourself, otherwise you are at risk for being labled stupid as well as just boring.

    • RE: DUmmies - Depleted Uranium? Not in this context. I doubt the author of these comments knows anything about depleted uranium. DUmmies is shorthand for members of the Democratic Underground, imho.

      There have been some very significant comments made on this board. The fact that the RNC has mobilized like an army implies that they treat elections like wars. (... all’s fair in love and war?) Some of us DUmmies didn’t know that this was a war. We thought that the point of an election was to determine the truth about public support for an ideological viewpoint. This was naïve. War is about power, not truth. We foolishly treated our opponents as brothers with a different point of view, not as enemy combatants. Reluctantly, but inevitably, we must accept the rules of war as the public discourse. To echoe an old rock tune, "...they decided the shotgun sings the song..."

  • Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?

    • Interesting point, but if we follow it to the logical conclusion we come to the realization that we need Oswald like we need another hole in our heads. After all, that would leave Cheney in control, in name as well as in fact. Got to think these things through, friend. Nothing would change.

  • Good article, thats all, ignore the FReeper or whatever he is
    Better luck tomorrow, I think it’s too bad that so much of the populace hasn’t any patience for the full counting of votes.

  • It seems to me you are completely incompetent. I can barely understand your account of what transpired during the recount, just the barest gist comes across.

    There is no point in having a recount if we can’t send in at least one person with sufficient knowledge of the process, the law, and the perogatives of the witnesses to question and demand verification of anything suspicious.

    Next time send a lawyer or at least a competent law student as the coordinating witness, or don’t even bother. If there was fraud, the staff is going to walk all over someone who is young, mousey, and doesn’t know their rights as a witness.

  • The Republicans must be getting nervous. That explains why send their freeper whores to get on this website immediately to post their message and to harass the regular readers. I think we should see this as evidence that the RNC is verrrrry worried!

    • The Republicans have nothing to worry about. So far the election process and recount have shown that the Green Party and its conspiracy theory black helicopter supporters are only spreading rumors across the net about the election. The first stage after your candidate loses is denial which you guys are clearly in this stage, hopefully you will eventually be able to move on. Here are a few numbers that might be able to help you out and a little advice…

      Factoid One
      Ohio 3% Recount – 87 Counties completed out of 88 (hand counts only)
      Bush 87
      Kerry 0
      Green Party 0 (Sad thing still did not pick up any votes even with chads falling out)

      Factoid Two
      Conspiracy theories never prevail over the FACTS

      Factoid Three
      You cannot expect sitting on your butt and doing nothing, expecting the federal gov’t to provide you a handout will get you anywhere in life. The taxpayers of Ohio say “Stay the crap out of our state, and go back to Oregon were you all belong and conspiracy theories are actually a job.”

    • You say that your candidate won. Wonderful! I would think that that would make you very happy. I know I’d be happy if my candidate had been successful. Yet you seem so dreadfully angry. That’s such a shame.

      Now, about your choice of words..."factoid" is defined as "A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition". Given the context of your little dissertation, you might possibly have applied the word factoid to our allegations and had the whole thing make sense. Applying them to your points, however, make it appear that you are telling us up front that you are spewing nonsense.

      In any case, you seem to have missed the point of the recount. It’s not about denial or trying to change anything; it’s about attempting to ascertain precisely what happened in order to preserve our Constitutional right to fair and free elections. Serious issues regarding irregularities have been raised and documented, and it’s important to investigate and address them. Not just for "us", friend; this is for you and everybody else in America.

      So...stay the crap out of your state? Last time I looked this was the "United" States of America. To quote Woodie Guthrie, "this land is your land, this land is my land". Dig it?

    • You don’t really expect anyone to believe that the comments by the RNC member are actually from a RNC memeber do you? A trojan horse is easy to spot and intended to create a billboard for a snide reply by a Dem operative. This is just a little example of why you guys loose most of the time, you are only fooling yourself and preaching to the choir.

      A reality check and an honest evaluation would do much to advance your aspirations of leadership and political gain. Try conviction and honesty on, you might find it fits better than you think.

    • Are you this obnoxious in your private life?