CA_Sacramento Nov 2016 Manual Tally
Citizens Oversight (2016-11-15)
This Page: https://copswiki.org/Common/M1716
More Info: Election Integrity
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Regarding the "Statement of the Vote" released by the Sacramento ROV, while there is granularity to the report, there are several admissions and omissions which undermine confidence in that report.
The most important admission is that manual tally is not being treated as a verification of votes, or even a genuine verification of machines. First, the original machine tally documents (printed out on receipt paper) are not included in the report, so there is no way for the public to verify the discrepancies reported, much less the quality of the original machine tally; second, the report states that if the 1% that is hand tallied does not match the original machine tally, only those 1% are re-scanned, and only the record regarding the 1% is updated.
Quotes indicative of common practice:
- [Precinct] 24739 [:] 181 voted “A” and “B” cards scanned, 219 voted “A” and “B” cards tallied.
- Ballots from auxiliary bin were not scanned when M100 was replaced.
- Machine Recount confirmed manual tally results. Computer results updated.
Even these high-level details don't match with the final per-precinct report (there 151 votes were counted, with no overvotes and only 3 undervotes--a whopping 31% of votes completely excluded from the results, with absolutely no explanation!)
- [Precinct] 8077380 [:] President of the United States
- Short 1 Vote for Hilary Clinton
- County Central Committee District 5
- Short 1 Vote for Richard Guerrero
- Short 5 Under Votes
- One Democratic ballot missing from initial computer count. Machine Recount
- confirmed manual tally results. Computer results updated.
The above is all that is recorded regarding the error handling process; there is no mention anywhere of quality of sample (e.g. spoiled, damaged, or modified ballots), special ballot (e.g. VBM, NPP or provisionals) totals and rejection reasons, discrepancies between signature and ballot counts.Furthermore, on polling night, this writer witnessed at least three scanning machines in use and received a verbal statement by the AROV that this was to reconcile a mismatch between the paper copies and data cards regarding number of ballots scanned; yet no reporting on any such activity exists in any of the known extant "Statement of the Vote" reports.
Such practices as above do not even account for which machines are bad, much less uncover missing data or other human errors or attempts at vote manipulation. Given that observations in other counties have both recorded huge numbers of modifications (e.g. whiteouts over particular candidates--some caught in-progress), as well as near 40% of ballots excluded from the manual tally (which seems likely the case here as well), it is clear that the amount of verifiable detail in the ballot reconciliation reports is insufficient to determine that the audit was even fully completed, much less done well.
In addition considerations of errors, the representative nature of the samples taken is also a major consideration; if the selection isn't random, then not only would the conduct run contrary to the law, the question would arise as to whether the procedure used likely uncover any manipulation attempts. The AROV's stated practice (from the precinct selection guidelines document available at their office, not online) is as follows:
"The AROV will use a variety of EIMS reports to manually select the precincts."
These reports, as witnessed by this writer, are spreadsheets printed out on 8.5x11in. paper, and marked with highlighter as to which precincts the AROV chose.
In spite of the assertion of randomness in the signed memo in the "State of the Vote", such process is not random. The AROV does state the goal of said effort:
"Using the reports, the AROV will select precincts that cover the majority of the contests on the ballot..."
However, what is not stated here is the criteria for any particular precinct, which, according to the verbal statement of the AROV to this writer (the only witness present, whom was also barred from recording despite being a public meeting) was middling population size of registered voters. In fact, in cross-checking based on the precinct reports given, these selections fit toward the lower end of population (55-364, average 203.27--wheras there are large numbers of precincts with near or over 400 voters, and even some near or over 600). Given that precinct results analysis across the country has shown a near-direct correlation between larger population and increasing vote percentage towards the same single candidates, any effort at all to make selections that do not include larger precincts is at the least unjustifiable if not negligent or worse.
As the manual tally is the strongest step in uncovering error in the vote, but the current practice does not even make attempt to determine causes of error, much less mitigate against them, the above practices do not yield the original intent of Elections Code Section 15360 (confidence in the the tally as given). It is clear that a change of the selection process and a greater effort at verifiable details regarding issues encountered during manual tally is warranted. Unfortunately, with a policy of barring all electronic recordings (this writer, for using a camera, was forced with the backing of the sheriff do delete recorded material and be barred from the premises), increased oversight by the courts appears to be the only way to achieve this.