Augusta

Maine Miscounts and Strangeness

[From a message circulated Friday, Nov. 13 to election integrity lists]
After about 50 follow-up questions, the secretary of state's office finally conceded that someone

could go in to their office and ask to see their results sheets, beginning 3 days after the election. . .

When I asked if ANYONE came in to ask to look at results for this election,

both persons I spoke with said "No."

By Bev Harris

Maine has many of the best things in elections -- 200,000 votes are counted by hand, without the typical centralization of control that we're seeing nowadays; election administration is disbursed throughout 500 locations, and statewide hand counts are affordable.

Now for the bad news: I spoke with two different people in the Maine Secretary of State's office this morning. I was incredulous at some of the answers I received, which were both misleading and inappropriate. I wrote this quote down as she was saying it:

"We have not and do not give out results to anyone, we have 23 days to do this."

I spoke with Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state, and Tracy Willett, who I had to push very hard to get a last name out of.

Both confirmed that the ONLY results avaible to date come from the Bangor Daily News, and that this newspaper does NOT get its results from the secretary of state, but rather, from a volunteer network that calls in on Election Night. In fact, this volunteer network is probably the AP or Voter News Service setup, going by various names but basically, the reporting network for the news media which consists of local poll workers or elections people getting paid by the press to call in their numbers.

I pointed out to the Sec. State's office that the 2nd and 11th biggest municipalities in Maine both appear to have miscounts . . . or something.

Augusta appears to have a 27% overvote in the marijuana issue and no, I do NOT believe this is just some random difference in how they vote. That's because the variation in that issue averages about 1 percent when looking at all 500 locations, and rarely varies much more than that except in Lewiston, another apparently miscounted location. In Lewiston, it appears that there is an 8.5% undervote in the marijuana issue.

Now, I realize that the most high profile issue is the gay marriage issue, but the Augusta and Lewiston anomalies may reflect on the overall vote counting. Both use ES&S Optech machines. The miscounts may be due to ballot stuffing, or to a typo by the Bangor Daily News, or to a voting machine miscount, or to voting machine tampering. The miscounts of the marijuana issue may affect only that issue, or may be symptomatic of a problem affecting other issues like Question 1 (repealing gay marriage) or even all the issues.

I have made a formal request for the Augusta and Lewiston results to the Maine Secretary of State's office.
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