November 13, 2002

Case of the Disappearing Votes

Case of the Disappearing Votes - As I mentioned in an earlier post we've had some problems in our town. Here's What Maggie has to say:

The town clerk had told me "we didn't count the write-ins," after she tried
to convince me that Randall Forsberg wasn't running "legally."

When I got that latest message from RF which said that it was illegal for
the town clerks not to separate out the write-ins, I called the Secretary
of the Commonwealth. Well, I guess nobody knows their job. On the
website it says that a candidate has to petition for a recount, but she
called me back today and told me that I could do it. She also told me that
the town clerks in Somerset were going to sign affidavits saying that there
were no write-ins. So I went up and got the form, and it does require that
the candidate petition for a recount. It asks for the signature on the
form, so the town clerk called the S.O.C. for me, and she said she'd made a

(When I was standing in the office reading the form, the town clerk said
"That's going to be an expensive recount," to which I replied "You should
have counted them in the first place." She said nothing back.)

This has certainly been more of a learning experience than I expected! At
least I now know to tell the town clerk when I've voted for a write-in
candidate, and that I expect the vote to be counted!

So here's where we are. The form requires 10 people from our voting district to sign, and what you're signing is something that says you believe the count will affect the nomination or election of a candidate. Unfortunately, we do not believe that. What we do, now, believe is that our town has not been conducting the election(s) in accord with Massachusetts state law. Since they're willing to sign affadavits to the effect that there were no write-invotes and we know we put the votes in there, we know the law was broken. But until there is a count of those votes, we have no way to prove it; it's our word against theirs. But we can't affirm that we believe that count will affect the winner of the election.

You'd think the state would be interested to know whether or not their laws are being followed in our district. Is the request for the officials to sign affadavits the extent of their investigation?

Patti provided the following comments on a previous posts, but I thought I would elevate them into the blog because they apply here:

I have two complaints I must file with my town (offices are closed today, so I shall call tomorrow).

  1. The pen at my voting booth was so fuzzy, it was hard to write in Forsberg, but I did. New pens, please.
  2. The local paper that week reported 2,000+ votes for Kerry, ~600 for Cloud, and NONE for Forsberg.

WTF? Did my vote evaporate?

I just got the results for my town (Stow), and Randall Forsberg got 51 votes. I forwarded all the Senate vote results to the Forsberg campaign.

I also wrote to the Elections Commission and told them about the fuzzy pen that made it damned near impossible to write in a candidate's name and address. I asked them to ship new pens to Stow for the next election. I also asked them if voters can use their own pens, and if it had to be a special type (I mentioned that the answer to this question should be disseminated to all poll workers state wide).

We had the same problem with our pens.

Posted by James at November 13, 2002 12:30 PM
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