'It's up to the Voter and County Clerk: Machine or Not. Maybe Just a Tempest in a Teapot"
It's often said all politics is local!
Gil "Bo' Ortiz, our Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder is a quite careful man.
After relating to his election judges in training that he had narrowly won in a primary less than a few dozen votes, he went on to outline our well delegated responsibilities and a system of checks and balances that would, in its modern, computerized form, even be envied by Thomas Jefferson or any signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as of the Constitution of these United States.
From KOAA News online, Pueblo, Colorado Springs:
Thursday, Sep 29, 2012
Posted: Nov 2, 2012 10:49 PM by Jacqui Heinrich
A potentially new angle on the story of Secretary of State Scott Gessler's attempts to prevent the delivery of mail ballots to inactive voters, the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic:"
Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz is pained by the idea that his office would fail to send an election ballot to even one county soldier serving in the US Military overseas. He sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State Scott Gessler seeking an express prohibition "in writing " on sending ballots to soldiers overseas who are legally registered but inactive voters, Gessler:
"I want it on the record because this goes against everything I want to do as clerk," he told the Colorado Independent. "When in doubt, you send a ballot. I think of those soldiers not being able to vote. They're on the battlefield. This is not a comfortable place to be.
"Pueblo County, with its forts and training installations, has a high percentage of citizens who are members of the military. Ortiz said he plans on Friday to send ballots to all registered-voter service members- whether active voters or inactive voters- unless directed not to by Gessler in writing. Denver County has already mailed its ballots to both active and inactive military voters. In many cases, the ballots have to travel to far flung combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example, and then be mailed back fast to be counted in the November 1 election. Ortiz said he feels the clock ticking..."
Ortiz consulted County Attorney Dan Kogovsek on the matter and Kogovsek said that Gessler's interpretation of election law is just plain wrong, that it would force Pueblo County to violate federal law concerning mailing ballots to service members. [Pol l s emphasis] Kogovsek referred Ortiz to the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act, which obligates county clerks to send ballots to all "covered voters," which the act clearly defines as all eligible voters in the military; that is, not only "active" registered voters but "inactive" voters as well.
After consulting with legal counsel, I respectfully submit that your office's legal interpretation of governing law is incorrect," Ortiz wrote to Gessler. "Under the State Act, I am legally required to mail ballots to uniformed service members who are eligible to vote, whether or not they are inactive."
Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz to Gessler. We've talked a couple of times now about the opinion of a number of voting rights activists, evidenced by the temporary legislation passed in 2008 mandating mail ballots be delivered to all registered voters for the 2010 cycle, that the unequal classes of Colorado voters created by the "inactive--failed to vote" status in an all mail ballot election could be an unworkable violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Well folks, federal law also says soldiers get ballots. Is Gessler going to tell them they don't?
(Gil 'Bo' Ortiz:
(Gil 'Bo' Ortiz:Photo as Found on the Official Pueblo County Site)
But back to my perceptions and insight into the voting process:
One might think it redundant at first, but contained therein, his system sees to it everyone -- person or virtual -- does their job both effectively and efficiently.
Bo foresaw it, just as other County Clerks in Colorado did.
Therefore he laid in place, as would a professional bricklayer or contractor of any sort, a means by which the principles -- still Democrat and Republican -- see to the matter of signing off on anything remotely disputable.
Now, in early voting, a skeleton was raised and resuscitated.
Turns out now some people are convinced that machines didn't correctly register their vote to the correct party or candidate.
But the electronic machines are in fact accurate. Each and every voter has the options of reviewing the ballot as many ties as they see necessary before, like a good computer operator, in effect saving them.
In other words, this skeleton simply has no teeth, and is, in the end, a dog who's all bark and no bite!
Even if the person casting the ballot still feels the matter is subject to doubt, there is a provision in place to reference a hard copy reference printed out at the end of voting by the machines.
If that's not satisfactory, the voter is handed a provisional ballot, and may submit it instead, so each one can be assured that at end of a very long day, one way or another, what the voter has intended will eventually out.
There's in effect absolutely no reasonable doubt left to convict a County Clerk of any avoidance or correct administration of the voting regulations.
Still, however, the computerized machine controversy has surfaced, rearing its ugly face to all via local media.
But plainly put, everyone has ample opportunity to cast ballots in any number of ways: the tin cardboard connecting the arrows, so also on provision, or even on the electronic models.
Considering that throughout the process every judge must sign off on each result with their opposite party counterpart, one finds in the end a quadrupled assurance of timely accuracy. This year there will even be not one, but two supervisors on site both Republican and Democrat.
For a voter of mere average intelligence the entire process has been streamlined and made as easy as possible.
With foreknowledge deriving from past experience, all official parties stand at ready to accomplish their electoral duties with ample preparation, and extremely well overseen.
But of course, some voter or other -- usually a disgruntled Republican in a twon heavily Democratic, will go to the media with allegations of a miscounted ballot.
What does Bo have to say about that?
Two things: the first in training and the second accordingly now in press statements now to local newspaper and the television and radio media.
1) During training, Bo intimates, that, if anything arises with respect to doubt about the electronic balloting process, simply get the worrisome person a hard copy ballot. In addition, he intimated that, although the machines are mandated by federal law, the local counties are paying for their purchase, upkeep and all training and troubleshooting. Not caring much for any additional expense to citizens -- which he and associates will have to chronicle -- he adds additionally that error by way of time will be rendered practically impossible by simple reference to cell phones, which judges are encouraged to carry, silenced but at the ready should a power outage occur, or electrically powered personal watch or one in the room fail.
2) Given the current allegations, Bo has given assurances that in the end every ballot must and will be tallied. No single ballot will go without responsible scrutiny. Come time to shut down, after the last ballot is cast in the room, current election judges have become freed of manual tasks like picking up and cleaning as, in effect, janitors. That means less hardship for workers and improved, less pressured enablement for all judges in counting and signing off on results once the ballots are counted, certified, and sent securely back to the office for tabulation.
What the public doesn't and needn't see is any insecurity at all among the assembled judges in various positions of power: Chief overseer, supplies, manual machine, computerized, doorkeeper at the exit, and so forth.
All are well prepared in class, and encouraged to visit the assigned site before election day. Plus they're encouraged to review, and review yet again, for the few days beforehand, the instruction materials.
Additionally , the schooling of various class of judges overlaps in such a way what given the failure of a single cog in the machinery, or any link in the chain, someone else immediately ready, and mobile associates available, will easily step into the appropriate role and accomplish the task at hand.
But at this point we return to the original premise. Do the machines make mistakes? The most astute among people in the process would without fail say that assuredly they don't!
Every computer user knows altogether too well that the computer seldom errs, but the programmers and operator sometimes do.
In this conundrum of allegations, although biased as a card carrying DNC member, I tend to feel that many of the reports come from insecure people, or worse a member of the opposite, Romney camp hoping to gain ground through publicity. The premise easily reveals itself as accidental, either party inspired, or seeking their few minutes of fame.
An official like Bo and all his counterparts in his or other parties stand at the center of a virtual hurricane of controversy. But come the final moment of decision I have faith he and others like him in similar roles will do their solemn sworn duties as either elected or American officials.
Some such controversial issues will not be decided in the end till months of the general election, and then at the uppermost legal level via the Supreme Court.
But even now ti's gotten local courts involved:
Of course the old adage applies: "Trust, but verify!"
Final analysis: the wisdom of our founding fathers in the creation of the Electoral College, assured this nation from the start that even with the high proportional of uneducated folks of their day electors would ably provide a capable decision, at least roughly proportional to the popular vote. None of these brilliant men foresaw the extremity of technology available in the second millennium. But, my friends, that same technology this authors will prove to be more blessing than curse.
Therfore, in the end the proper advice for the moment is GET OUT THE VOTE!
That said and well urged the next point comes to fruition more easily:
Count it ably and well observed and submit it accurately.
And I'll be on hand to help see to that.
So, Americans, it's now all up to you!