Riverside County, CA Citizens Observe 1% Manual Tally Election Audit on (Tom Courbat; 6/13/06)

These photos were taken yesterday, Tuesday, June 13th. We had 10 observers to observe the 5 tables of 4 counters each for the 1% manual tally. Yesterday in Riverside was very unlike our experience in San Diego County's Mayoral recount last year where we were allowed to stand directly behind the counters and view what they were viewing, hear what they were saying, and record what we saw. Cameras and video cameras on tripods were perfectly ok.

In Riverside, we were told to remain behind barriers (tables set end to end) that were about 10 feet or so from the tables of those who were conducting the tally. (See the photos) They sat close together and two had their backs to us, so we could see very little. They were instructed to speak very quietly and thus we were not able to hear what they were reading or saying.

We were allowed to video tape, but not with a Tripod that would have assured a steady hand so the focus on the paper trails would have been sharp enough to create a clean permanent record on tape. We were told the reason for the no-tripod rule was that it made the counters "nervous".

We could video tape so long as the tally was going smoothly! Any time a problem arose, the counting team raised a plastic flag on their table signaling the need for another employee to assist in resolving the problem, and we were instructed to turn off the video tape until after the issue was resolved. We were never given a report on what the problem was, nor could we hear the discussion.

When we would ask management staff to interpret what was going on, they were generally either rude or provided very short, basic and unhelpful answers. We were told we should just watch and we could learn everything we needed to know. We have some of that dialog on videotape as well.

This experience was not unlike what we went through on Election Night at the Central Tabulator. We were again restricted to an area where we could not observe the data input devices and the associated error messages. We were never informed of what problems were occurring, or what was done to correct them. The monitor for the Central Tabulator was turned such that those in the Press Room could view it, but it could not be seen by the members of the EOP, submitted by the parties and groups, and approved by Barbara Dudnmore.

We were specifically excluded from the press room, and the press that were in there had no cameras or video equipment, so it was another wasted day in Paradise.We have full video of everything and of nothing. It will clearly show what COULD have been taped, but for the arbitrary and capricious nature of the RoV. If someone knows how to FTP it to the Website, I will be glad to do so. In the meantime, here are some still pictures to get your juices flowin'!

Tom Courbat, Riverside, CA