Saturday, March 8, 2008


BURLINGTONPOL Friday 7 March 2007 --
Obviously the best place to get information is the grocery store.

Per Kurt Wright today in the coffee aisle- When the voting ended at Hunt School in Ward 7 Tuesday, Incumbent first term councilor Paul Decelles (R) had apparently beaten Democratic challenger Steve McIntyre 971-958- a mere 13 votes

... But... according to veteran poll worker Leo Grennen there were 50 ballots that our beloved Diebold optical scan counting machines had kicked out as unreadable. Leo, along with Linda Deliduka and one other lady whose name I can't remember counted them- and told Kurt that Paul had picked up 36 votes as a result, making the new totals 1007 for Decelles, 972 for McIntyre

... But...Kurt says, nobody phoned the new result to channel 17 or John Briggs at the Burlington Free Press. Briggs reported the same results I did on election night (possibly because he gets his copy straight off BurlingtonPol) and when Kurt asked whoever it is who's filling in for Jo LaMarche now about the extra ballots, the person didn't know anything about it. Regardless, McIntyre has asked for a recount which the city council will perform Monday. All city councilors should plan on attending the meeting to help count. It sounds like the spread after the recount will be closer to 30 votes than 13.
So, questions persist about the use of Diebold optical scanners. There have been duly noted formidable problems with them (in New Hampshire, for example, also in a city councll race). And can someone tell me why our city councilors are being asked to do the recount? Would they be disinterested and neutral? Aren't the JPs in our city supposed to do that? Or should all the Burlington ward election officials be called to do this recount? After all, they are sworn to be neutral and fair.

We all know that Diebold is dearly beloved of the Vermont Secretary of State, but the fallibility of their use in Ward 7 may be their undoing. Let's hope there is no cover up and a truly accurate recount and investigation is underway!


  1. Hey, thanks for reporting this! Not only are the Diebold opscans unreliable as you have shown (rejecting ballots) but also they are vulnerable to manipulation. Every independent study has recommended random audits on the opstical scan machines but for some reason Deb Markowitz disagrees with the experts and thinks they're safe and secure. She is wrong. In the movie "Hacking Democracy" it was prove that the optical scan machines can be rigged by the voting machine company (Diebold) with no way to find out it happened. We must have random audits in Vermont or our elections are a sham. See website below for more info.

    Gary Beckwith
    Vermonters for Voting Integrity

  2. Gary Beckwith, thanks for the comment. I am aware of VVI and its work.

    Owen Mulligan, newly elected Ward Clerk of Ward 6, and Director of Green Democratic Alliance, emailed me after a phone call with the Inspector of Elections in Ward 7:

    "This was not a fault of the machine.
    The 50 ballots that were rejected were because they
    had write-in votes. When they called Channel 17 they
    said the results were very unofficial because the 50
    write-ins could change the outcome given that the
    difference between the two candidates was only 13
    votes. So YES, Steve McIntyre is doing a recount and
    the Democratic Party is supporting it.


    So where does this leave us??

    Well, we need to get a copy of the official read out
    from the machine ASAP (City Hall on Monday.) Then we
    will need to compare that to the recount results to
    see if the machines tabulator results matches the
    paper ballots.

    So basically, this recount gives us the opportunity to
    find out if in this particular race the machine
    tabulated correctly, or not."

  3. I don't understand, why the write-ins counted on election night?

  4. According to the Inspector of Election I spoke to, the write-ins were counted on election night but the vote totals released to the media that night did not include the write-in votes.

    With a race that close, they probally should not have released the results until the write-ins were counted.

  5. It also goes to show how some media in this city jump the gun, in the rush to get out some results. Dontcha just love it how people get impatient and want "results" immediately?

    Thanks for the comments.

    There's a recount scheduled for tonight at City Hall Contois.


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