November 7, 2006
Noon report from the parallel election site in Franklin County, OH: machines break down, techies refuse to ID themselves (tho voters have to), huge response in the PE.
We are holding our parallel election at Whetstone Recreation Center, 3923 N. High Street, Columbus (Franklin Co.) Ohio. Franklin County uses ES&S iVotronic touch screen DRE machines. We’ve been rained on all morning.
By 10AM, there were over 200 parallel voters.
This polling site accommodates four precincts: 19C, 19D, 20A, and 20D totaling over 3,400 registered voters. I obtained the serial numbers for all the machines, and the names of each Presiding Judge.
19C – 901 registered voters and 5 machines;
19D – 1097 reg. voters and 6 machines;
20A – 533 reg. voters and 3 machines;
20D – 897 reg. voters and 5 machines
(Total: 3,428 voters on 19 machines)
National media arrived a little after 9 AM, interviewing folks inside, as well as our PE workers. Marj Creech gave a TV interview to CNBC. CBS also covered us. Info they provided includes Franklin County’s forecast that there will be 106,000 absentee voters and about 200,000 in-person voters.
This is the first parallel election where we brought a printed list of registered voters. This allows us to help people determine their correct precinct, and to note who votes both in the official and the parallel election. This document has proved very useful many times, so far.
Precinct 20A had two machines working at the Start of Polls. The third machine remained unusable until it was fixed and put back in operation at 8:20 AM. I called the Franklin County BOE and was put on hold for 21 minutes until finally transferred to Howard Hurd (sp), in charge of deployed machines in Franklin County. He advised he had not heard from the Presiding Judge, Carolyn Clinton, although she advises she spoke with the BOE about the broken machine.
The machine was tweaked by two older white guys who were very rude and hostile to questioning. They hid their name tags and refused to give their names to me.
Very loudly, so voters could hear me, I asked, “You’re public employees coming in and touching our machines and you’re not going to tell me your names?” They asked me to leave the polling site, even though national media was allowed inside the site with cameras rolling. (I’m using my Press Pass today from the Free Press.) I then waited outside for them to leave and photographed one of them before they both got into a car with Georgia plates.
Precinct 19D had a machine break down at about 8:50 AM (of six machines), after 25 votes were cast. It was tweaked by techies who put it back into operation at 11:30 AM. These techies were also older white men (different from prior techies) who got into a truck with Ohio plate number ETS 2756.
We’ve received a few reports of the machines not responding to Democratic selections. Voters had to push the button several times for it to finally light up. We got names and precinct numbers and if more problems arise, we’ll try to get people’s phone numbers.
Several early voters left because of the long lines. The early morning voting was well attended, and I was able to get pictures of the long lines.
Carmella Refice of 19C is a former poll worker who was shocked she couldn’t vote without ID. When she returned with her utility bills as identification, she complained, “This is terrible!”
Overall, the mood is very celebratory. I’m wearing my red, white & blue stars and stripes Cat-in-the-Hat hat, which deters the media, but voters and pollworkers love it. Some people are utterly surprised we’re running a poll, but most seem aware of the insecurity of these electronic voting systems. They’re glad to have a check on the official reports.
More to come later.
Central Ohio Parallel Election Project
Posted at Free Press.