Support Accurate Vote-Counting on Nov. 6

Wisconsin Grassroots Network says:

Don’t stop when the polls close!

One final step to make sure the candidate with most votes wins!

  

Regardless of whether you suspect any past Wisconsin elections have or have not been stolen or lost to machine malfunction, you can take one important step to make sure that Wisconsin’s votes are accurately counted on November 6.

 If you live in a county with optical scanners, you can help to ensure accurate machine counts by staying after the polls close and taking the simple steps described below. The Wisconsin Grassroots Network will have informed the municipal clerks to expect some citizens to be doing this. Although the vast majority of municipal clerks are vitally interested in making sure their machines tabulate accurately, the Government Accountability Board (GAB) has discouraged them from counting votes to double-check their machines’ results. However, GAB has also said that citizens may see the ballots, and statutes allow county boards of canvassers to order hand counts to resolve any tabulations that appear defective. So, citizens can help local officials identify any possible machine malfunctions and give them some support for double-checking results by insisting on resolution of any anomalies before county officials certify the results. 

 Here’s how:

 Go to a polling place near closing time—your own polling place or any polling place in your municipality or county. You can try to do this alone, but it works better if you bring a friend or two. Bring a hand-held clicker-counter or a clipboard, paper, and pen on which you can make tick marks as you count votes. (Clickers work better for most people and are available at most office supply stores.) While at the polls, follow all instructions from the poll workers and don’t interfere with them, don’t take any photos until after the polls are closed, and don’t touch any election materials (votes, poll books, etc.) at any time. Sign in and introduce yourself to the Chief Elections Inspector (the CEI, who is the poll worker in charge). 

 Without interrupting his or her work, explain to the CEI that you will want to count votes for one candidate (choose Obama, Romney, Thompson, or Baldwin) by viewing each ballot as the poll workers examine it for write-in votes. You will look over their shoulders without interfering, but you will need their cooperation in allowing you to see each ballot clearly as they review it. They will be looking for and counting write-in votes; you will be counting the votes the machines should have counted, to check to make sure the machines tabulated accurately.

 If the CEI hesitates or says you must stay six feet away from the poll workers, explain that the ballots are public records and that orderly citizens have a right to view them. Encourage him or her to call the municipal clerk for guidance. Give the CEI a copy of these instructions, if that will help him or her understand what you will be doing. Polling places’ procedures differ, so do not insist if the CEI cannot find a way to enable your counting without disrupting his or her required tasks. 

 If the CEI agrees to allow you to observe every ballot to count votes, follow Plan A, below. If you are not allowed to view ballots well enough to count votes, or if you find you are unable to count, follow Plan B.

 

PLAN A

If you can view ballots

well enough to count votes

PLAN B

If you cannot view ballots

well enough to count votes

After the poll workers remove the ballots from the machines’ bins, they will review each ballot individually, looking for write-in votes that the optical scanner would not have counted.

As they do this, look at each ballot and count the non-write-in votes for one candidate, using your hand-held clicker or making tick marks on paper. Make tick marks by drawing one upright line for each of four ballots, and mark every fifth by making a diagonal line through the first four. Twelve votes would look like this:

If you brought a friend, you can both count the same candidate to double-check each other, or you can count for different candidates. One person cannot count for more than one candidate.

When you have viewed all the ballots, ask to see the poll tape from the machine, and compare your total to that from the machine for the candidate whose votes you were counting. If they match or are off by so few that it could be your error, inform the CEI that the match is successful, and thank him or her for the cooperation.

If your count and the poll tape differ so much that it is not likely to be your error, inform the CEI and ask that the discrepancy be noted on the inspector’s “Incident Log” as an “Other incident or irregularity.”

On Wednesday, write to the County Board of Canvassers saying that you, a private citizen, saw evidence that the tabulations from that machine were defective, and that you are asking the board to exercise its authority under s.7.60(3), Wis. Stats, to order a review and reconciliation of the votes in that municipality before the results are certified. Send that email or letter to your County Board of Canvassers, care of the County Clerk, on Wednesday. Be simple, straightforward, and factual about what you did and what you saw.

Note: You can also follow the instructions for Plan B, for the races you did not count.

Stay and observe the poll-closing activities anyway. When the poll tape is printed out, ask to see it. Tell the poll workers that you are interested in the rate of ‘undervotes’—how many voters appear to have left the ballot blank—in the presidential race; in the US Senate; and in any seriously contested race for US House of Representatives, if one is on the ballot in your area.

If the total votes cast for all candidates in an important race is very close to the number of ballots processed by the machine, thank the CEI for his or her cooperation, and you’re done.

If the total number of votes for all candidates in an important race is suspiciously less than the total number of ballots processed by the machine, ask that the discrepancy be noted on the inspector’s “Incident Log” as an “Other incident or irregularity.”

On Wednesday, write to the County Board of Canvassers saying that you, a private citizen, saw evidence that the tabulations from that machine were defective, and that you are asking the board to exercise its authority under s.7.60(3), Wis. Stats, to order a review and reconciliation of the votes in that municipality before the results are certified. Send that email or letter to your County Board of Canvassers, care of the County Clerk, on Wednesday. Be simple, straightforward, and factual about what you did and what you saw.

* * * * *

AND of course, no matter what happens, don’t forget to thank the chief inspector and the poll workers for their good, hard work! Our right to self-government depends upon the usually thankless and often stressful work these citizens willingly perform.

* * * * *

We are interested in your experience with this procedure. After Election Day, please let us know what worked well and what could work better.

WiGrassrootsNetwork@gmail.com

 

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Election Protector Instruction, November 6, 2013 PDF  

 

Link to the Video

"Vote Rigging in Wisconsin"

 

Stand up and "Protect our Democracy".

Save the date Saturday February 16, 2013

Saving our Democracy”

the theme of the

5th Annual Wisconsin Progressive Grassroots Festival.

 


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