Saturday, September 23, 2006

The End is Nigh

According to a member of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, 10,059 out of around 11,700 provisional ballots were counted by Friday afternoon. However, a new programming problem arose in the State's MDVoters software. They have to manually research 200 voters to prove their party affiliation so they can be sure that voted the correct ballot in the correct precinct. Nevertheless, the Board will resume counting at 1PM on Saturday and hope to post a final provisional count on the Board's website by 5PM.

Meanwhile, the Gazette reports on the election follies in our sister county of Prince George's. Apparently, they have almost finished the machine tallies there. However, reports of irregularities will not calm those who fear that close races were stolen:

The Board also finished counting the thousands of provisional and absentee ballots, meaning the only step left is to certify the election, which will be done today.

The 47 cards, which officials began counting Wednesday, had been left accidentally in machines from 26 precincts. Elections administrator Robert Antonetti said the Board could not retrieve them on election night because they were locked in the buildings where they had been used.

But as officials uploaded the cards in the warehouse at the Board’s headquarters in Upper Marlboro, they noticed some irregularities with the machines holding the cards. Most of the problems involved 12 machines from a precinct in Landover. Tamper tape, which is supposed to be sealed over the machines to show that they have not been disturbed, was not in the right place on some of those machines.

Board attorney Robert McGinley said proper procedure had been ‘‘blatantly not followed” in that precinct. The Board even called one of the chief judges from that precinct on Thursday to testify on the matter.

But McGinley said there was no actual evidence of outside tampering in those machines. The problems were logged, and the votes from those machines were still counted.

‘‘We’ve noted all the concerns,” McGinley said. ‘‘We have documented well ... any irregularities found in these machines.
Although the Gazette claims that the results were to have been certified by close of business on Friday, they are still not posted to the Prince George's website.