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Primary vote counting

Last night on the Howard Dean blogforamerica I blogged that mistakes/irregularities in data entry at the 36th District Democrats in Seattle were found. This is true. I must say that emotions and attitudes really got out of hand last night after the mistakes had been made clear. This resulted in several unnecessarily hostile exchanges between Amy Hagopian and me. I apologize for my part in that. At the end of my post yesterday, I stated that Kerry people may have been stealing delegates from Dean. I have no evidence of that. It was wrong of me to draw that conclusion and I apologize.

What my partner and I saw and experienced last night and today (in finding these mistakes) made it clear to us that there is no system in place for double checking or verifying the delegate allocation or data entry numbers. When it became clear that I was not going to walk away last night, we did begin a review of the sign-in sheets – we finished most of them.

Today I went back to the 36th District Democrats HQ location to recount the delegate allocations and to check those numbers against the data in the spreadsheet that the 36th District Democrats were using to tally their delegate allocations. (Thanks to Allyssa Pluts for coming down – it was good to have your support and thanks to Martha Jackson, Peter House, and Judith Hines at the 36th District Democrats for checking the delegate allocation sheets against the data entry).

While we were waiting for the paperwork to arrive, I had a short discussion with the 36th District Democratic Chair. She told me that the individual campaigns and the State would go over everything with a “fine-toothed comb” once they received all of the documentation from the District level. After speaking with the District Chair, I decided to speak with the Dean for America Campaign Director here in Washington State. I called Betty Means (DFA-WA) to find out if it was true that the campaign would be double-checking the data. She said no and that a review by the state level democrats would only happen if a person from each precinct filed a formal complaint with Paul Berendt, the Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. Betty Means also let me know that such a review would require a lot of additional work and was clear with me on the fact that John Kerry had won Washington state. I understand all of that and can accept it. My concern is NOT about who won Washington State (Howard Dean won the 36th District). I am concerned about the lack of accuracy at the district level. There is no ‘proof’ of accuracy in reporting.

Specifically, I have decided to write Paul Berendt a formal complaint for several reasons – you may wish to consider this in your precinct as well;

1) February 7th, 2004 – I found that 3 of the four delegates in the precinct where I live (36-1699) had been allocated to the wrong candidates and, additionally, found that 2 delegates were incorrectly allocated in the precinct where I was the acting PCO (36-1700).

2) February 7th, 2004 – We found an incorrectly reported sign-in count for my precinct (36-1699) – the sign in count was under reported by 9 people. In reviewing 36 additional precincts we found that 22 precincts were under reported by a total of 42 people and 14 precincts were over reported by a total of 22 people. As you may be aware, sign-in counts can drastically affect the viability of a candidate (15% requirement) and the final allocation of delegates.

3) February 8th, 2004 – Two 36th District HQ workers found four additional errors in the data entry of the delegate allocations after a short period of data review.

4) Based on the information in items 1 thru 3 above, I believe that there is, at the very least, a BIG problem with data entry accuracy. We should also consider possible errors that were made in the calculations at the precinct level, which were never double-checked or reviewed at the 36th district level.

I believe, based on this information, that our entire district should have it’s data picked through and audited. In fact, I believe that the entire state should be audited. Since there is no system in place to truly verify or validate the results, the numbers that are being offered as ‘final’ should be checked. I do not feel that there would have been a review at the 36th District had I not been there to notice the initial mistakes and make the argument for accountability and accuracy. Unfortunately, what I believe doesn’t count here.

The only way we are going to get an accurate accounting or review of the data and data entry from every precinct, caucus, and district is if one person from each precinct writes a formal complaint to Paul Berandt. Why some system of checks & balances wasn’t in place is mind boggling to us.

No one could tell me who was reporting the delegates from each district or to whom they were reporting at the state level.


–dannylovejoy, from comcast

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