2004 Ballot Recount: Observer Report
- December 19, 2004:
Report by Green Party Observer
"There were a total of 143 provisional ballots that were rejected. The ballots were listed by last name, so I couldn't discern how many were from the three precincts that we dealt with..."
[The total number of ballots counted as valid for the three precincts was 1491]
"Mr. Payne said that a major problem was they had only four telephone lines into the elections office and that the phone rang constantly and that many of the poll workers couldn't get through with their questions..."
"The workers were helpful and cooperative"
Green Party Observer
December 19, 2004:
Report by Green Party Observer
Observer A counted voter signatures, including absentee ballots, in the poll books. That is, in the three counts below, the absentee ballots were added into the total number of signatures.
- Precinct 056 (Knox Township NE), Book Number: 056, pages reviewed 89, Total number of signatures 569, absentee ballots counted 30
- Precinct 015 (East Palestine 3-A), book number 015, pages reviewed 93, total number of signatures 553, absentee ballots counted 59
- Precinct 029 (Salem 4-C), pages reviewed 62, total number of signatures 392, absentee ballots counted 30
The verbal/manual ballot recount commenced at 9:30 AM, with an informative question and answer period preceding the recount.
The votes were tallied and any ballots that were not counted (because of over count or no vote for president) were shown to each witness. The results were as follows:
|Precinct||Candidate||Nov. 2nd||Dec. 16th|
|056 Knox Twp NE||Kerry||216||217|
|029 Salem 4-C||Kerry||200||201|
The poll book tallies are somewhat different because of over-counts or no-counts, or in one case with an absentee ballot, it had actually been tampered with, and a hole was filled with glue or scotch tape and then the vote changed. Of course, that one was rejected.
At the end of the day, when the machines had recounted the ballots, Kerry gained three votes and Bush gained one.
I asked to see the rejected provisional and absentee ballots. I asked if any had been rejected because they didn't have a reason for absentee ballot stated on their application, and he said that they called people when they got a ballot like that. Any rejected absentee ballots were not counted because they:
- Had been dropped off at a polling place instead of send in the mail or left at the Board of Elections Office.
- Were unsigned
- Sent back un-voted or over voted
- They didn't have the original signature
I asked John Payne, the director of the election office, what the procedure was when someone came into the polling location that was not his precinct. Mr. Payne said that each poll worker has a folder with the locations of all polling places for each precinct and their instructions were to help each wayward voter find his/her proper polling location. Whether each worker was conscientious couldn't be proven.
There were a total of 143 provisional ballots that were rejected. The ballots were listed by last name, so I couldn't discern how many were from the three precincts that we dealt with. The reasons [stated to me] for rejecting the provisional ballots were:
- They were unsigned
- Not registered voters
- Wrong precinct
Mr. Payne said that a major problem was they had only four telephone lines into the elections office and that the phone rang constantly and that many of the poll workers couldn't get through with their questions. It would seem to me that this should be a problem that is addressed before another major election.
It was an informative and educational day. The workers were helpful and cooperative with us as witnesses and with Observer A, who counted signatures in the poll books.