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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Op/Ed: Burying Heads in Detroit's Recount Sandbox Fail Fixing Problems with Michigan Elections System


An IU News & Talk Op/Ed

What's happening in Detroit is a travesty of the highest order. Definitive statements of fact not fiction is necessary to wake up masses at this point. Michigan System of fair and just elections is at risk.

Since March 2013 our alternative news resource - Independent Underground News & Talk - has followed the election process leading up to Detroit's August 6th Primary and beyond. After a contest where "The People" demand answers on if Michigan's largest city election was performed with the highest ethics expected by a functional society; others demand silence.

Wayne County Board of Canvassers Majority Decisions Add To Existing Election Integrity Questions 

Wayne County Board of Canvassers (WCBOC) Chair Carol Larkin and Vice Chair Krista Haroutunian. Canvassers Larkin and Haroutunian have made a series of highly questionable decisions impacting the ability to determine if alleged fraud and mistakes occurred in Detroit's Primary Election on August 6th.

Canvasser Leatha Larde to date is the sole member of this body raising motions and points of clarity about Detroit's Primary Election August 6th. Canvasser Joseph Xuereb to date has been absent during meetings involving Detroit's recount taken place at Cobo Hall. 

The video below recorded on September 17th, Canvassers Larkin and Haroutunian effectively shut down an investigating how twelve computer-generated absentee write-in ballots with candidate Mike Duggan name misspelled as "Micheal Duggan" appeared in one precinct.

Detroit Public School (DPS) Building Engineer Maurice Badgett, Sr. provided testimony before WCBOC upon subpoena. Badgett's entire statement to the WCBOC was interjected when Chair Larkin abruptly adjured the meeting on September 17th.

Bagdett, Sr. testimony noted The William Beckham Academy in the DPS district was not a precinct location or election ballots transfer point. Anonymous resources informed Independent Underground News & Talk, Detroit Public School Security personnel destroyed security film normally retained for a period of 90 days. 

Richard Dooley employed by Sodexho Alliance was also 
subpoenaed to give his statement before the WCBOC's September 17th. 

Dooley, represented by legal council at the hearing testified that he did not see or hear anything unusual at school location on August 6th. 

Soxexho Alliance was granted a contract with DPS for all of districts' school properties remote site management after a merger with Universal Ogden Services in 2000 including security at the William Beckham Academy.

Investigation Of Unauthorized Election Challengers Entering Polling Location/Write-In Ballot With Consistent Handwriting Styles Halted

During September 17th WCBOC meeting, Canvasser Leatha Larde made a motion to refer for further investigation the charge that unverified election challengers entered Detroit Primary Precinct locations on August 6th.

Unauthorized challengers worked for an organization dubbed as "Citizens for Fair Elections". The "Citizens for Fair Elections" group failed to file the proper paperwork required by Michigan's Statutory Laws to send volunteer or paid election challengers in polling locations, CFFE workers used unauthorized credentials to query ballots cast for Detroit Mayoral Write-In Candidate, Mike Duggan.

Canvasser Larde motioned for the unauthorized election challenger issue to
 be sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for review. However, the motion failed by a 2 to 1 vote, lacking support from Chair Carol Larkin and Vice-Chair Krista Haroutunian.

Questions exist why write-in ballots with remarkably similar handwriting styles was found in at least one canister opened for review by WCBOC's.

On Monday, September 23rd WCBOC Chair Carol Larkin read a letter forwarded on behalf of Robert D. Kullman with East Lansing consulting firm Speckin Forensic Laboratories as testimony before the board and public members in attendance at the meeting.

Chair Larkin recited the following statement on Kullman's behalf, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“My microscopic examinations of handwriting features of each entry on each of the 19 ballots and my side-by-side comparisons of like letters and letter conbinations between the 19 ballots revealed ... there are a number of significant differences between the 19 ballots,” Larkin read from Coleman to the board.
It is unknown if Kullman's statement read by WCBOC Chair Larkin was notarized documentation or the reason the forensic handwriting expert was unable to give his conclusions in person before the Public Board.

Ability To Conduct Election Recounts In Michigan at Peril As Mistakes Made During Detroit Primary Surfaces 

For state voters concerned about integrity elections in Detroit and statewide, a measure passed by Michigan's House of Representatives Thursday, September 19, 2013, by a 95 - 9 vote is designed to add up to an 115% usage tax for conducting future recounts. House Bill 4833. Michigan's Senate Chamber has not taken action on the measure, this week.

In a letter send out on September 17th, obtained by an anonymous resource by IU News & Talk, details how city poll workers are required to attend meetings throughout this week to review errors made during August 6th Primary about tallying of poll books. The letter cited poll workers failing to attend one of scheduled six meetings would risk losing employment opportunities in future elections. 
Detroit's Department of Elections under the guidance of City Clerk Janice M. Winfrey August 6th. 

 Detroit Department of Elections 9.17.13 Letter
Photo Credit - Anonymous Resource
The appearance a letter acknowledging mistakes were made on behalf of certain poll workers employed by Detroit's Department of Elections presents a controversial turn in the City's on-going August 6th Election saga. 

On August 27, 2013, State Elections Director Christopher Thomas and the State Board of Canvassers was summoned to eliminate confusion when WCBOC made its' first attempt to certify Detroit's Primary. 
Director Thomas in a September 3rd statement to the Detroit Free Press cited Michigan's Board of Canvassers decision to certify the City's Primary corrected a problem should not have occurred.
“This process has stopped the most massive disenfranchisement in the history of this state,” Michigan elections director Christopher Thomas said. “What this board did and what this board agreed to was to correct a problem that should not have occurred.”
So, how did Michigan's Board of Canvassers under the authority of Director Thomas manage to certify an election were some of Detroit's Poll Workers erred to tally write-in votes in the poll book unless explanations were given on behalf of these errors?

According to Receiving Board Guidelines provided by the Michigan Department of Elections - last updated October 17, 2012, Corrective Action is required to rectify poll book errors during or directly after an election.

"If the number of name entered into the Poll Book does not balance with the number of ballots counted by the tabulator, a full explanation must be recorded in the Remarks section of the Poll Book. If no explanation was provided, the Receiving Board inspectors should assist the election inspectors in determining the cause of the imbalance and instruct the election inspectors to fully document the cause in the Remarks section of the Poll Book. The remarks must be signed by both the election and Receiving Board inspectors."
According to a statement made to Independent Underground News & Talk by Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey on August 21, 2013, all poll workers with the City's Department of Election were properly trained and prepared to execute their duties.
"We instruct our poll workers to use tally marks just for they don't lose their way in counting," Clerk Winfrey stated. "Sometimes when you are counting large numbers you can forget if I am at 37 or 47, so if you use the tally marks and then go back and count your tally marks it's a way to check your work, if you will."
A comment made on The University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs website by a person named Chris Thomas reveals more questions than answer exist if poll workers were properly trained to tally write-in votes in poll books, and others who might not have been instructed how to perform this task of high importance.
"Regarding training, it is clear the precinct inspectors were trained as there are roughly 615 precincts and 179 didn't use hash marks. Why the 179 didn't use them remains to be seen," Chris Thomas wrote."

Tossing Outstanding Evidence Aside WCBOC Is Set to Certify Detroit Primary Unless A Court of Review Rules Otherwise

Despite outstanding questions about Detroit's August 6th Primary Election, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers is set to certify and end any further investigations into all of the above matters by Thursday, September 26. 

One of the eight former named Detroit Primary Ballot candidates requesting the recount, Tom Barrow, on September 24, 2013, filed a lawsuit against the WCBOC.
"We have just served the Wayne County Board of Canvassers with a lawsuit demanding that they open the absentee cases and compare the number of ballots to the number of names of people who sent them back!!" former Detroit Mayoral Candidate Barrow wrote on Facebook. Also account for the unused ballots from the printer." 
A judicial hearing will be held Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 9am ET by Judge Robert J. Columbo. The hearing is scheduled will determine if all the absentee voter canisters used during Detroit's August 6th Primary be opened to compare the number ballots received in comparison to official poll book tallies and the handwriting recorded on absentee voter applications.
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