Election observers denied voter data for audit

Multnomah County observers are denied direct information for current Elections Audit
By Janice Dysinger
Voter Integrity Chair Multnomah

Letter to Multnoamh County Commissioners:

To the Honorable County Commissioner Chairman Jeff Cogen, County Commissioners Deborah Kafoury, Barbara Willer, Judy Shiprack, and Diane McKeel,

Friday,I spoke to the Multnomah County Elections Representative, Mr. Eric Sample regarding the Audit that will occur starting on Tuesday Nov, 23, 2010 at 9 AM. He was kind enough to forward the Administrative Rules document. The Honorable Mr. Scott has informed me that I am to communicate with Mr. Sample as his spokesperson. In our conversation, Mr. Sample indicated that there would not be an audible announcement of the count, per Mr Scott. I asked for a written tally on a board as Washington County is affording their observers. Mr. Sample said this would not occur either. Mr. Sample further stated that we would not get the count other than on the SEL798 form that the honorable Mr. Scott fills out the following day as he did in 2008.

When I have questioned their reasoning they informed me that this is not a recount, only an audit so they don’t have to follow the rules of the recount. In every other regard of operating these boards they are following the recount rules.

I am very disappointed as I don’t know how I am to do my job of an observer. Per page 5 of the attached Administrative rules: it states the purpose of the observers is only to “assure the integrity of the process” I ask you: How can I assure the integrity of the process if I don’t know the totals? Indeed with out the totals there is no integrity of process. The honorable Mr. Scott does not want me to hear from the counting board, see their tallies, only a report that he generates the following day.

The Administrative Rules go on to say on page 5 that the test is to be done in accordance with 254.529. Section 254.529 does not describe the process of the hand count tally itself, only the direction to take if the result is a certain percentage, the time of the hand count as well as the storage and security of the ballots.

The Administrative Rules do say the elections official shall report to the Secretary of State on SEL 798, as soon as was possible but no later than Dec 2nd, 2010, along with the required worksheets.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a lawyer, but the only statute I could find regarding the Hand Count or Counting Boards was in 254.485 http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/254.html

254.485 Tally of ballots; test of vote tally system. (1) Ballots may be tallied by a vote tally system or by a counting board. A counting board may tally ballots at the precinct or in the office of the county clerk. In any event, the ballots shall be tallied and returned by precinct.

(2) If a vote tally system is used, the county clerk shall repeat the public certification test described under ORS 254.235 (1). The test shall be conducted immediately prior to scanning any ballots. The test may be observed by persons described in ORS 254.235 (2). The county clerk shall certify the results of the test.

(3) If a counting board has been appointed, the tally of ballots may begin on the date of the election.

(4)(a) If ballots are tallied by a counting board, after the tally has begun it shall continue until completed. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, a counting board shall tally without adjournment and in the presence of the clerks and persons authorized to attend.

(b) A counting board may be relieved by another board if the tally is not completed after 12 hours.

(5) A counting board shall audibly announce the tally as it proceeds. The board shall use only pen and ink to tally.

(6) For ballots cast using a voting machine, the county clerk shall:

(a) Enter the ballots cast using the machine into the vote tally system; and

(b) In the event of a recount, provide the paper record copy recorded by the machine to the counting board.

(7) A person other than the county clerk, a member of a counting board or any other elections official designated by the county clerk may not tally ballots under this chapter. [1979 c.190 §270; 1995 c.607 §45; 1999 c.318 §37; 1999 c.410 §58; 2001 c.965 §23; 2005 c.731 §5; 2005 c.797 §68; 2007 c.154 §44; 2009 c.592 §3]

#5 of this statute states the counting board shall audibly announce the tally as it proceeds.

This statute was in place before the Administrative Rules were written.

I would please ask you to require The Multnomah County Elections Director, the honorable Mr. Tim Scott to tell the counting boards follow the statute by audibly announcing the results of every count they make. This will allow the citizens to do their work and observe the integrity of the process by hearing the counting boards results as they count.

Most Sincerely,

Janice Dysinger
Voter Integrity Chair,
Multnomah County Republicans