RPV Concern About AG Recount Integrity

November 22, 2005

STATEMENT OF FORMER DEMOCRAT ATTORNEY GENERAL AND FORMER STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS MEMBER

-Regarding the Attorney General Election-

RICHMOND – Former Democrat Attorney General Stephen Rosenthal and former State Board of Elections member and Republican Delegate John H. (“Jack”) Rust issued the following statement today regarding the Attorney General election:

“We are troubled by the lack of transparency in a vote certification process that consistently has shifted vote totals in the attorney general election.”

“Election day is a public event open to observers. Local electoral boards were required by law to conduct canvasses at public meetings attended by citizens, the press, and observers from both political parties. After the local canvasses concluded, however, the State Board of Elections’ certification process has gone behind closed doors with little or no explanation to the public. In what should be an open and readily apparent vote certification process, the State Board appears to have ignored its role of managing the certification process and has allowed local electoral boards free reign to do so without public involvement.”

“After the initial election night count, the margin of victory was roughly 3,000 votes. In the ensuing time, that margin has decreased by about 90% to less than 350 votes. The public and both political parties have been provided little explanation by neither the State Board nor the local election boards for such a significant shift in vote tallies.”

“We agree wholeheartedly with respected political scientist Larry Sabato as quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “‘It’s amazing, that’s all you can say,’ he said. ‘The net changes are all going in one direction, toward the Democrat, which is unusual but possible.’”

“The statistical unlikelihood of such an odd occurrence raises concerns. More worrisome is the undisclosed process, not provided for in the Code of Virginia, by which some of these changes have been discovered. For example, the State Board of Elections notified both campaigns that 56 additional paper ballots had yet to be counted in Chesapeake. This number subsequently has changed multiple times. Apparently, additional ballots were counted last Friday. Then, after the counting was supposedly complete, the tally changed again on Monday with no explanation other than that an ‘error’ had been made. Last Thursday, the State Board of Elections reduced the vote total for Bob McDonnell by 10 votes in Fauquier County notwithstanding the fact that the Fauquier County electoral board had certified the higher number and without providing any explanation to the public.”

“It appears that the electoral boards in Chesapeake, Fauquier and elsewhere have unilaterally decided to re-open sealed envelopes or locked machines or to change vote totals without public participation and without being directed to do so by the three-member State Board of Elections or a court. Such renegade vote ‘counting’ falls outside the powers these boards hold under the law of Virginia and raises serious questions about the integrity of the process by which the vote total has changed since Election Day.”

“We call upon the State Board of Elections to manage and control a certification process that is fair and transparent to the public, press and both political parties.”

Paid for and Authorized by the Republican Party of Virginia

——————————————————–

I hope this is a passing concern. Local election boards need to follow the rules and just follow the rules and carefully follow the rules.


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13 responses to “RPV Concern About AG Recount Integrity”

  1. Count de Vote Avatar
    Count de Vote

    I agree that the process should be open and transparent. If things are not being done in that manner–they should be.

    Now, in the interest of “transparency” let’s also tell everyone that which Mr. Bowden has –somewhat….um..opaquely– failed to mention. The aforementioned Steve Rosenthal is a partner in the law firm of Troutman Sanders and is a partner of Bob McDonnell’s lawyer, Tony Troy.

    We should make every vote count and count every vote.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Thanks, Count. I didn’t know the D worked with the R. Don’t care, frankly. I care that our electoral boards and the SBE don’t soil this process for any reason of omission or commission.

  3. Count de Vote Avatar
    Count de Vote

    Sure you’re just interested–as we all are– in fairness. I would think you’d also be interested in full disclosure. Consider the fact that Mr. Rosenthal –a “D” when the Republicans see it to their advantage to so designate him– gave $1025 to McDonnell’s Campaign for Attorney General (in 2003 & 2004–that’s called making early reservations). He gave $250 to Deeds (in 2005 that’s called covering your bets). Some “Democrat”–with loyal friends like that, no wonder they’ve had some trouble winning.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Count, more, fuller disclosure is better. Thanks for the info.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Witness, the passing fancy of Republicans with reforming the voting system so that’s it’s not a crapshoot subject to all sorts of manipulation and anything-goes error! Limited time only!

  6. There always has been and there always will be a % error that occurs in any election when it comes to counting votes. Statistical error occurs in almost every quantitative analysis and any stats person will tell you that natural error occurs and it’s a basic law of mathematics.

    Anyway, the dilemma in the AG’s race is that the difference in votes falls well within the natural statistical error that one would expect.

    If 1,943,250 voted in the election and you use 0.0005 (a very low error rate) as your % error you would expect to have 972 mistakes (rounded up). Or, stated another way 1 error per 2,000 votes.

    Is this acceptable? I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to fellow blogger’s to decide.

    Rosenthal and Rust are implying that the Dem’s are picking up more votes than should be statistically expected. However, unless you know what the % error rate is (and you are satisfied with it) anything is possible.

  7. Media Ignore Mounting Evidence of Widespread Vote Fraud and Election Manipulation

    GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
    http://www.gp.org

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Contacts:
    Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, mclarty@greens.org
    Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@greens.org

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party leaders urged the mainstream media to cover evidence, including a report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that electronic voting machines can be manipulated without detection, along with other evidence of election fraud and obstruction.

    “Why won’t the media cover the GAO report?”, asked Gwen Wages, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. “Just as major newspapers and broadcast media ignored indications that intelligence of Iraqi WMDs and collusion between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda had been cooked before the U.S. invaded Iraq, they’re now ignoring the destruction of American democracy.”

    After Election Day, 2004, Green presidential candidate David Cobb http://www.votecobb.org led efforts to investigate widespread reports of vote obstruction and manipulation by Republican and Democratic officials in Ohio and New Mexico, especially targeted at African American and young voters. Unlike 2000, the major U.S. media dismissed evidence compiled in 2004 by the Cobb campaign and revealed during hearings led by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and other Republican election officials used various means to fix the election’s outcome.

    Greens cited recent news about election manipulation, covered in independent print and Internet media:

    The GAO’s 107-page report, released publicly on October 20, confirms that electronic voting machines are not secure, can easily be hacked, and often use secret, in-house software that is neither certified nor adequately inspected. The report supports many claims widely dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’ that George W. Bush was placed in the White House through a fixed election in 2004, repeating the 2000 election theft. Mainstream media ignored the report’s release.
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05956.pdf

    Voter Action http://www.voteraction.org
    reports that New Mexico election officials have refused to allow the voter plaintiffs in a law suit challenging the results of the 2004 Presidential Election (Patricia Rosas Lopategui v. Rebecca Vigil-Giron, et al.) to inspect electronic voting machines. (“Plaintiffs Blocked During Discovery Phase of New Mexico ’04 Election Lawsuit”, The Brad Blog, November 12, 2005.
    http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002008.htm

    Investigations by journalists Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman exposed electronic vote manipulation to prevent passage of four election reform proposals on the ballot in Ohio, after the outcome on November 8 was inconsistent to the point of statistical impossibility with polls of voters conducted by The Columbus Dispatch. (“Has American Democracy died an electronic death in Ohio 2005’s referenda defeats?”, The Free Press, November 11, 2005.
    http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1559

    The Green Party has called for voter-verified paper ballots to provide an auditable record of votes cast on computer voting machines, and for voting machine source code designed to be open for public inspection and verification before and after an election.

    MORE INFORMATION

    Green Party of the United States
    http://www.gp.org
    1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
    Washington, DC 20009.
    202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
    Fax 202-319-7193

    “Federal Efforts to Improve Security and Reliability of Electronic
    Voting Systems Are Under Way, but Key Activities Need to Be Completed”
    United States Government Accountability Office, September 2005
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05956.pdf
    http://www.gao.gov/htext/d05956.html

    “Deep-rooted Voting Irregularities Persist, Watchdogs Say”
    By Catherine Komp, The News Standard, November 10, 2005
    http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=2585

    “Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings”
    By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Axis of Logic, November 1, 2005
    http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_19846.shtml

    “None Dare Call It Stolen: Ohio, the election, and America ‘s servile press”
    By Mark Crispin Miller, Harper’s Magazine, August, 2005
    http://harpers.org/ExcerptNoneDare.html

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Let’s be real.

    The purpose of the posturing here is to create a rationale for contesting the election in the General Assembly if the recount goes against McDonnell.

    The hope is to cast doubt on the recount process so that it won’t look like McDonnell and the Republican legislature are stealing the election from the people if Deeds wins the recount and the legislature declares McDonnell the winner in the political process of a legislative election contest.

  9. criticallythinking Avatar
    criticallythinking

    John Conyers didn’t lead a hearing. John Conyers has no power to lead a hearing, because he is not the committee chairman.

    He has press conferences where he only invites Democrat congressman, has witnesses that aren’t sworn in, and they call the administration names and make baseless charges without evidence.

    The Washington Post once referred to these meetings as “Playing House”.

  10. RightsideVA Avatar
    RightsideVA

    Do you guys remember back during the 2000 Florida re-count when the board took the ballots and went behind closed doors? I remember the Republicans standing outside the door dressed in Khaki’s and blue button down shirts demanding to watch what was going on. Maybe we need to get a band of these guys ready to go see whats going on…

  11. Uppity Daughter Avatar
    Uppity Daughter

    Tony Troy and Steve Rosenthal are both former Democratic AGs. McDonnell is fortunate and smart to have them in his corner. Their firm is also the home of Sean Connaughton.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Troy and Resenthal were never elected by the people. Each served without any particular distinction for very brief periods when Attorneys General Baliles and Terry resigned to seek the governorship. Of course, they have both used this fortuitous happenstance to carve out lucrative careers as lobbyists.

    Loyalty or devotion to principle have not been career highlights for either.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    Steve Rosenthal is not a Democrat or a former Democratic Attorney General. Just because the BM says he is does not make it so. Steve has always been a Republican. That is why Mary Sue Terry hired
    him – to help in outreach with Republicans in the General Assembly. He was an attorney in the Dalton law firm (that of former Republican Gov John Dalton).

    Don’t take my word for it. Ask Mary Sue Terry, Lane Kneedler, Mark Bowles, Claire Guthrie Gastanyaga or anyone else who was around when he was hired in the AG’s office. MST appointed him as AG when she left to run for Gov. That does not make him a Democrat. Never has – never will.

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