Monday, May 05, 2008

May Day / Cinco de Mayo celebration in Minneapolis a hit

Perfect Weather as Minneapolis celebrates May Day and Cinco de Mayo

The annual parade to Powderhorn Park was a big hit this year, the weather was perfect, the floats and marchers were festive and lively, and several prominent Democrats walked the route including U.S. Senate candidate Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak who led a "Minnesota for Obama" contingent prior to the Heart of the Beast puppet theater's magical season-welcoming festival.

It seems Minnesota may be more culturally and ethnically open-minded than some folks on the coast give it credit for. They elected Keith Ellison to U.S. Congress, the first Muslim ever to be so honored, and even at the local level they've elected Satveer Chaudhary, and they surprised pollsters and pundits on Super Tuesday by showing overwhelming support for Barack Obama's candidacy - and lately their female U.S. Senator has announced she's in Obama's corner, too. Maybe they're not as loony as the country thought they might be after putting Jesse Ventura in the Governor's mansion? Well, they know how to do a community festival and a parade right.

Not 10, not 20, not even 50! 200 Economists Denounce Clinton/McCain Gas Tax Plan!

That Clinton or McCain would engage in this type of pure political pandering is not surprising. It’s exemplifies the old Washington gamesmanship that we need to change. This may not be the single most irresponsible policy idea of the year, but it must've been formulated by somebody thinking only about votes, not reality. Let's drive up demand and keep sending money to big oil and middle eastern zillionaires. Obama's honesty makes them both look like old-school politicians more beholden to corporate interests than worried about what's good for the U.S.A. Oh. Right.

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Hillary Clinton To "Stick It" To Black Voters With "Nuclear Option"

Well, it's not like she's got the Black vote, so Senator Hillary Clinton - in a desparate attempt to gain delegates over Senator Barack Obama, is going to use what she calls "a nuclear option" which would certainly detroy the Democratic Party. Clinton wants Florida and Michigan delegates to be counted. Which is fine -- but Clinton herself signed a contract not to count or campaign in those states because they broke the DNC rules.

Even Clinton said a few months ago, that Florida and Michigan don't count. But now here's this nuclear option -- it's all about Clinton and to hell with the party.

These are the scenarios to watch for according to the Huffington Post:

Using the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the seating of two pro-Hillary delegations would provoke a massive outcry from Obama forces. Such a strategy would, additionally, face at least two other major hurdles, and could only be attempted, according to sources in the Clinton camp, under specific circumstances:

First, this coming Tuesday, Clinton would have to win Indiana and lose North Carolina by a very small margin - or better yet, win the Tar Heel state. She would also have to demonstrate continued strength in the contests before May 31.

Second, and equally important, her argument that she is a better general election candidate than Obama -- that he has major weaknesses which have only been recently revealed -- would have to rapidly gain traction, not only within the media, where she has experienced some success, but within the broad activist ranks of the Democratic Party.

Under that optimistic scenario, some Clinton operatives believe she could overcome several massive stumbling blocks:

-- Clinton loyalists on the Rules Committee would have to be persuaded to put their political futures on the line by defying major party constituencies, especially black leaders backing Barack Obama. Committee members are unlikely to take such a step unless they are convinced that Clinton has a strong chance of winning the nomination.

Former DNC and South Carolina Democratic Party chair Donald Fowler -- a Hillary loyalist -- would, for example, face an outpouring of anger from South Carolina Democrats if he were to go along with such a strategy.

-- A controversial decision to seat the two delegations, as currently constituted, would be appealed by the Obama campaign to the Democratic National Convention's Credentials Committee.

The full make-up of the Credentials Committee will not be determined until all the primaries are completed, but the pattern of Clinton and Obama victories so far clearly suggests that Obama delegates on that committee will outnumber Clinton delegates. Obama will not, however, have a majority, according to most estimates, and the balance of power will be held by delegates appointed by DNC chair Howard Dean.

Regardess, it's clear the DNC Chairman Howard Dean's in danger of losing control of the party. He'd better think of a "nuclear option" of his own.

Indiana's Incredible Shrinking Voter List - Email From Black Box Voting

I posted this as is. It's scary to know that Indiana does not have it's voting records intact. It's even scarier to learn that people don't seem to care. Why? Read below to learn the details of the problem, as to the lack of concern, your guess is as good as mine. This kind of voter records / recording problem hurt Senator Obama before in New Hampshire, with it's screwed up voting machines.

From: Black Box Voting []
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 4:41 AM
Subject: BBV report: Exclusive - Indiana's Incredible Shrinking Voter

In April 2008 when Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced the
release of "record high" voter registration rolls, with 4.3 million
voters set to vote in the Tuesday May 6 primary, he didn't mention that
a whopping 1,134,427 voter registrations have been cancelled.

Now, the voter rolls are supposed to be tidied up prior to each
election. Indiana's last general election was in Nov. 2006, and they
have had a slew of special and general elections since then. So how have
1.1 million voters -- 26 percent of the current statewide list --
escaped the voter registration cleanup squad? Who are these million
voters and where do they come from?

One quarter-million of them come from just two northwestern Indiana
counties: Lake and Porter. Lake County reports purging 137,164 voters
and neighboring Porter County cancelled out 124,958 voters.

Lake County, the home of Gary, Indiana, has spawned the Jackson Five and
a great old musical (The Music Man) and has been referred to as "the
second most liberal county in America." Lake County also has one of the
heaviest concentrations of African-American voters that you'll find
anywhere in the USA.

Nearby Porter County, the home of Valparaiso, is 95% white and went
solidly for Bush in the 2004 election. It's also got a lot of college

For whatever reason, these two counties had ... what ... massive data
entry problems? Exceptionally messy records? Lots of dead people who
climbed back into their graves? I truly hope we aren't going to see a
lot of disappointed voters on Tuesday, when they perhaps learn that they
were among the lucky million people who got purged.


Lake 137,164 48% (Gary)
Porter 124,958 115% (Valparaiso)
Marion 68,120 10% (Indianapolis)
Monroe 66,009 85% (Bloomington)
Tippecanoe 53,456 58%
Madison 42,952 47% (Anderson)
Hamilton 42,325 26%

Here's a picture map with the numbers and percentages for the whole

The percentage represents the ratio of the number of purges to the
current voter list. Example: If a location currently has 100,000 voters
on its rolls, and purged 53,000 along the way, we assign a ratio of 53%
to the purge vs. current list.

It would be nice to have the original quantities, it would make for a
cleaner number, but this is not available on the Secretary of State's
Web site, so I haven't got a tidier statistic for you, wish I did. I
also wish the time period for these purges was clearly indicated, but it
is not indicated -- nor can it be derived -- from available information
at Indiana's official election Web site.


It's always interesting to look for impossible numbers on election
night, like the "more votes than voters" situation that sometimes crops
up. It speeds things up to have a place to plug the information in. Here
is a spreadsheet -- quick and not too fancy, I'm sure you can improve on
it. It has every Indiana county, along with their official registered
voter statistics for the 2008 primary, and some historical data from
1992 to the present, along with links for the source documents from the
secretary of state:
(Excel file, 71 KB)

Here are links that may be very good to provide additional statistical
information which you can plug in:

And here is a link to the source document containing the cancelled
registration information used for this article:

Here's a quick spreadsheet with the Indiana voting machines by county --
you can get that on the Sec. State's Web site too, but it's not in a
database format. You can cut and paste these into your analysis sheets
if you'd like to get comparisons of results by county.


Another press release on the Indiana Secretary of State's Web site deals
with the $360,000 penalty he's hitting Microvote with for failing to
follow the law. Oh yes, and the Microvote Infinity voting machine, which
will be very widely used in the Tuesday May 6 primary, has been

That's not going to stop anyone in Indiana from using it, however. The
decision was that anyone who already bought these things gets to use
them -- despite the fact that these machines have been embroiled in
lawsuits in at least three places, one in Pennsylvania for machines that
just didn't work, and two in Tennessee where candidates have asked to
redo elections due to bizarre anomalies -- like vote totals that
wandered away in the wee hours of the night.

Microvote's insurance company declined to cover the firm, according to
yet another lawsuit, because the insurance company alleged that
Microvote was selling defective products. The judge ruled against the
insurance company, saying the product wasn't defective, it just didn't

I haven't plugged this in yet, but those of you who are comfortable with
spreadsheets can quickly add the voting machines by county to your voter
registration spreadsheet, using that voting machine spreadsheet I linked
above, to see how many votes all together will be subjected to

Ah, but we aren't done with Indiana voting machines yet. Indiana is also
fond of the ES&S paperless iVotronic touch-screens, the ones that lost
18,000 votes in Sarasota County Florida and were the subject of a
blistering report by Dan Rather. In Rather's report, he showed shocking
footage of the touch-screens being manufactured in a sweat shop in the
Philippines. Their quality control test was to shake the machine and if
it didn't rattle, it passed the test.


1. Do some public records requests to either the state or the counties,
and ask for their VRG-5 form, which is the NVRA tracking form on which
the number of voters purged must be reported.

For tips on how to do the records requests, here's our tool kit, scroll
down to the section on public records:

Post the documents and ask for any advice you need here, and report your
front-lines information for both Indiana and North Carolina here:

I'm pushing hard right now to get TOOL KIT 2008 done -- it's a
stripped-down model with emergency measures for the fall election.
Unless you tell me not to, I'll let you know as soon as it's ready for

2. Another useful form you can request: The CEB-9 form, which is the
Indiana County Election Report that must be turned in after the
election. Here's one, take a look at the information it contains:

3. If you are a number-cruncher, grab the spreadsheets here and wail on
'em during Election night. You can get additional historical information
from this site:
(Choose the drop-down menu "general by state" and select Indiana, then
choose the year you want. Confusion factor -- this site color-codes
Republican as blue and Democrat as Red. Has lots of good stuff).

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: People usually catch things like "more votes
than voters" weeks after the election. The dang Indiana information
doesn't break voter registrations out by party which makes crunching the
primary numbers a little harder. But you may still get the jump on some
red flags if you track this stuff as it's coming in on spreadsheets that
tell you what the stats are going in.


You'll notice that those projections often change -- sometimes
dramatically -- just an hour or so later. That's because we have learned
that they are paying elections officials (through their associations or
otherwise) to call and fax them the results off the voting machine poll

In fact, the National Election Pool (used to be Voter News Service) is
getting this stuff BEFORE the election officials and way before the
secretary of state.

The first number they quote is the adjusted exit poll number, and it
comes from asking people about who they voted for. The point here is,
when what you thought was "exit polls" suddenly changes, that is the
impact of those called-in poll tape results. Yep. That's the voting
machines talking, and when they say something different than the people
answering the exit pollers' questions, we should be looking at the
programming on the machine, not the exit pollers, for answers.

I expect to see early projections altered significantly as soon as those
poll tape numbers are called in to NEP.

So to recap, good things to do Tuesday:
1. Public records
2. Number crunching
3. Pray

Good luck to us, all,

Bev Harris
Founder - Black Box Voting

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