Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The 51st appeal should be dismissed

I've previously shown that, much like Gore's recounting schemes in 2000, no rational method of recounting could possibly lead to a Lucas victory.

However, in the latest irrational method, it is argued that the one precinct wasn't really overvoted, it was just a math error. At least I guess that's the argument, I can't read the blog in question.

Of course, the suggestion that entire precincts should be thrown out for overvotes is stupid. To disenfranchise an entire set of voters because of trivial mistakes makes no sense, and I simply cannot believe RPV ever seriously considered that as an option.

Each precinct gets a certain number of votes assigned to it, regardless of how many delegates show up for the precinct. If 1 delegate showed up, or 500 delegates, the Lake Ridge precinct would cast the same number of votes -- the only issue at the convention is how to apportion those delegates.

So if there are too many votes in a precinct, it doesn't change the number of votes cast, just slightly changes who those votes go for. And as I've noted before, if you removed 3 Gill votes from Lake Ridge, the effect on the total is imperceptable. Of course, the overvotes could have been extra Lucas votes -- you just can't know.

The procedure at the convention was pretty tight. To vote, you had to show your badge to two people, one from each campaign. In the Lake Ridge precinct, the Lucas representative was Jane Beyer, no stranger to conventions. A voter would show the badge, receive a ballot, and then mark the ballot and place it into the box, all under the watch of the experienced Lucas election monitor.

To throw out an entire precinct of voters just because the Lucas election monitor allowed overvotes would reward the Lucas campaign for the failings of their own appointee.

And worse, it would set a precedent that could easily lead to more errors, both benign and purposeful. All a campaign would have to do is to cause overvotes in their opponent's stronger precincts, and get all those votes thrown out.

The most likely reason for the overvotes is that a few people voted in the wrong precinct. In this case, Lake Ridge HOA members likely voted in the Lake Ridge PRECINCT -- the other precincts covering the Lake Ridge community were undervoted.

Given how carefully the name tags were controlled, it would be near impossible for NON voters to vote. And given that the ballots were numbered and labelled and HELD BY the experienced election monitors, and given that those Lake Ridge ballots were marked and dropped in the box UNDER THE SUPERVISION of an experienced Lucas election monitor, there's little possibility of ballot box stuffing without the election monitor's knowledge.

Of course, it is also possible that the front desk mis-reported the number of people registered for the precinct who showed up.

Some have suggested with no evidence that the overvotes were deliberate. That makes no sense.

Suppose you wanted to get extra votes either by stuffing a box or by sending your people to the wrong precinct to vote. You would NOT choose the Lake Ridge precinct. That district had the 2nd-lowest vote-weightings (.53), meaning an extra ballot there was worth less than almost every other precinct. BTW, the lowest was Bethel (.41), also a precinct Gill won handily.

You would send people FROM those precincts to precincts where the ratio was higher, like Springwoods, which was undervoted by two and where each vote was worth 1.88 votes.

However, if you were a Lucas election monitor trying to minimize Gill's support, you would let his delegates vote wrongly in the Lake Ridge precinct, to minimize their weighted vote.

Meanwhile, if you were moving votes to other precincts, you wouldn't risk overvotes in your stronger precincts. You would have chose a precinct your opponent was stronger in.

But if you were trying to generate overvotes to call a precinct into doubt, you'd choose your opponent's largest strongest precinct (largest because it's easier to slip in a couple of misplaced voters), and put your best, most trusted operative in charge of monitoring that precinct.

And if you were going to vote people in the wrong precinct, you would put your best monitor in that precinct, and choose one where your opponent had a weak monitor. But in Lake Ridge, the Gill election monitor volunteer was a neophyte, while the Lucas monitor was a veteran political operative.

I don't believe anybody purposely moved voters around. Lake Ridge being a place as well as a precinct likely confused some delegates, and with 80 people in that line, even a pro like the Lucas election monitor could be expected to mess up checking the precinct names on every badge.

Or, it's possible that the people counting the number of delegates who showed up for each precinct messed up, and there are no overvotes at all in ANY precinct. The discussion has assumed that the check-in was perfect and it was the election monitors that messed up -- but it could well have been the check-in people who messed up counting for the precincts.

As I said, I think it was all just human error, and since 5 overvotes, even if taken from Gill, didn't effect the outcome it should be a moot point.

However, if you are going to argue that there was a purposeful attempt to change the election results, given the circumstances the finger should point directly at the Lucas camp, not the Gill camp.

And if I were the election monitor of an overvoted precinct, I'd be apologizing profusely, and be profoundly embarrased at my error, rather than trying to use it to drum up support to overturn the election because of my mistakes.

Given that the total vote count was fewer than the number of registered delegates, that the only precinct with a huge overvote was also the precinct with the longest line and with veteran Jane Beyer manning the ballot box, the idea that the Lucas campaign expects to have THAT precinct thrown out is absurd, and should be rejected quickly and decisively.

Lucas lost because she signed up 511 delegates, but only 292 of them bothered to show up. I don't know why, given her approach to get "true-blue republicans". My guess is that she turned off a lot of her delegates with her decidedly negative attacks before the convention. BVBL I think can also take some credit for that.

(Edited to remove specific names to emphasise the argument, not the person).


Anonymous said...

haha .... the appeal should be dismissed because you re-wrote the RPV ruling in your head?

That's pretty weak. You usually have a decent argument.

If you disagree with the RPV ruling, go change RPV so this ruling will be different in the future.

Charles said...

I have no confirmation that the RPV made an official ruling. There was a lot of talk about what the RPV suggested to the convention, but there was no formal ruling reported.

The Elections committee made their decision based on all the inputs, and the convention chair heard the appeal of that ruling but that appeal was withdrawn before it could be voted (which may itself have been a mistake, if they are trying to re-raise the same issue without having raised it to conclusion at the meeting).

I haven't found a line in the RPV plan that says you should throw out precincts with overvotes. And it wouldn't make sense.

In fact, as others have pointed out, the only reason we know there were problems in three precincts is because the absolute numbers don't add up. In fact, there could be people voting in the wrong precinct in OTHER precincts as well, or if you believe non-voters voted, voting in other precincts.

It would be remarkable if the RPV plan had a rule that only gave relief for one trivally-caught error, when that same error could be rampant throughout a convention but simply not caught.

BTW, in 2000, in Florida, there was a district before the judge which had more vote cards than there were people who were checked off in the book. That wasn't considered a major gaffe, people do make counting errors, and it did not lead to all the votes of the district being tossed.

BTW, if the RPV actually did rule in the end to throw out a precinct, I would expect a voting rights challenge by the delegates who were disenfranchised, and I would expect that to win.

The appeal should be dismissed because it would be inherently unfair to throw out people's votes because of an error made by election volunteers that on it's face didn't effect the outcome (pretend the 5 overvotes are all for Gill, remove them, and he still wins).

The argument for throwing out an entire precinct would be that if 3 overvotes are known, there could be more. But that argument would suggest throwing out the entire convention, as if there were overvotes detected in multiple precincts, there could well be overvotes in every precinct that weren't detected.

I don't mind telling the RPV when they screwed up. The RPV screwed up when they rejected the people who applied for registration after May 21st but before the convention.