chain of custody

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Maine: Democrat wins Senate election after investigation reveals ‘phantom ballots’ for GOP opponent did not exist | Bangor Daily News

After mystery swirled around a contested southern Maine Senate district election for weeks, Catherine Breen — who saw Election Day victory slip from her grasp after an initial recount — is headed to the Senate after all. Breen, a Falmouth Democrat, was declared the victor on election night by a narrow margin over her Republican opponent, Cathleen Manchester of Gray. Manchester asked for a recount, which was conducted on Nov. 18, and the candidates saw their fortunes reversed, with Manchester squeaking out an even tighter win. Last week, Manchester was provisionally seated in the Legislature’s upper chamber, and Republican lawmakers had already taken to referring to her as “senator.” Democrats raised questions about 21 ballots from Long Island seemingly discovered during the recount, all of which contained votes for Manchester. Those ballots could not be accounted for at any step of the chain of custody for cast ballots, and state and local election officials disagreed about the total number of votes that should have been tallied from Long Island.

Full Article: Democrat wins Senate election after investigation reveals ‘phantom ballots’ for GOP opponent did not exist — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

Australia: Senate vote debacle: Recycling banned at polling centres as AEC introduces reforms | Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Electoral Commission has ordered a suite of changes prior to the re-run of the WA Senate election, including increased tracking of ballot papers and a ban on recycling at polling centres. Acting Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers told Parliament’s electoral matters committee on Wednesday that the debacle over the loss of 1370 ballots “is certainly the worst period in our history”. Mr Rogers said the AEC had made several changes in response to an investigation by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty and those changes would be in place for the fresh WA Senate election on April 5. Mr Keelty’s investigation identified numerous breakdowns in the handling and storage of ballots and he has said “poor leadership” contributed to the “disastrous result” that has forced Western Australians back to the polls. It has been estimated that the Senate re-vote in WA will cost $20 million.

Full Article: Senate vote debacle: Recycling banned at polling centres as AEC introduces reforms.

Editorials: What could go wrong on Election Day? | The Detroit News

“A Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” This was Ben Franklin’s description of the fragile product of the new United States Constitution, in answer to a Mrs. Powel, as he left the convention hall on Sept. 17, 1787. He could as well have been describing the country on Nov. 6, 2012. We share Ben’s anxiety as members of a growing number of worried computer scientists, analysts and election administrators who fear what will happen on Election Day. We worry that the nation will end up with no confidence in the election results, regardless of who wins.

Full Article: BenDor and Stanislevic: What could go wrong on Election Day? | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com.

Oklahoma: Tulsa County Judge Could Decide Who Wins Oklahoma House Seat | KOTV.com

A hearing will resume next week in a Tulsa County courtroom over the outcome of a special election for state House District 71 seat. Democrat Dan Arthrell and Republican Katie Henke are seeking to replace former state Representative Dan Sullivan. In that special election April 3, 2012, Arthrell won by three votes. Henke asked for a recount and on Wednesday, the Tulsa County Election Board certified Henke as the winner by one vote. After the board certified the election, two uncounted ballots for Arthrell were found inside a ballot box. The election board believes the two ballots were caught somehow, maybe on the edge of the drop box underneath the voting machine.

Full Article: Tulsa County Judge Could Decide Who Wins House Seat - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |.

Oklahoma: No ruling yet in recount in Tulsa House race | NewsOK.com

A Tulsa judge is expected to issue a ruling early next week after meeting Thursday with attorneys and candidates in an Oklahoma House of Representatives race being decide by a handful of votes. Initial results in an April 3 special election for the District 71 seat determined Democrat Dan Arthrell defeated Republican Katie Henke by three votes. A Wednesday recount requested by Henke found she won by one vote. But after the Tulsa County Election Board certified Henke as the winner, two more ballots cast for Arthrell were found under a ballot box. 

Full Article: No ruling yet in recount in Tulsa House race | NewsOK.com.

Oklahoma: Stray ballots found after Republican certified winner in Oklahoma House District 71 | Tulsa World

Tulsa County election officials certified a new winner in the razor-thin House District 71 election Wednesday – only to discover two more ballots that apparently had remained unsecured in election equipment for days and which would reverse the results again if counted. The whole mess will be taken to court on Thursday morning for Tulsa County District Judge Daman Cantrell to figure out. The day started with Democrat Dan Arthrell ahead by three votes in the April 3 election. At the request of Republican candidate Katie Henke, Cantrell ordered a recount Wednesday, which resulted in Arthrell losing four votes and Henke being certified as the winner by one vote. But several hours later, acting at the urging of Arthrell’s supporters, election officials reinspected election equipment and found two more ballots from the election – both for Arthrell, enough to swing the returns in the other direction.

Full Article: Stray ballots found after Republican certified winner in House District 71 | Tulsa World.

Oklahoma: New ballots found after recount in Oklahoma House race | RealClearPolitics

The results of a recount that changed the outcome of an Oklahoma House race by one vote have been thrown into question after Tulsa County Election Board officials reported finding two more ballots for the losing candidate Wednesday night. Earlier in the day, county Election Board officials recounted ballots by hand that were cast in the House District 71 special election initially won April 3 by Democrat Dan Arthrell 1,418-1,415 over Republican Katie Henke. The recount determined that Henke received 1,415 votes during the election, while Arthrell collected 1,414 votes, Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant said. With four fewer votes, Arthrell ended up losing the race by one vote, and the recount result was certified by the board. “It was eating on us, and we were thinking `There’s got to be a reason for this,’ ” Bryant said. Two technicians who work for the board looked through 15 precinct ballot boxes and found two ballots in one of them, Bryant said. “We immediately contacted the state Election Board and Secretary Paul Ziriax and the assistant district attorney that helps the Election Board with our counsel,” Bryant said.

Full Article: RealClearPolitics - Politics - Apr 12, 2012 - New ballots found after recount in Okla House race.

Oklahoma: 2 Ballots found After Republican Wins By 1 Vote In District 71 R | NewsOn6.com

Update: The Tulsa County election board said they’ve discovered two missing ballots. The ballots were found inside a ballot box that was not retrieved by a precinct official on the night of the election. There’s a meeting Thursday with a District judge to determine what happens next. Wednesday’s recount changed the winner from Democrat Dan Arthrell to Republican Katie Henke.

A recount changed the outcome of a state house race. Election Day totals had a Democrat winning by three votes – but a recount Wednesday put the Republican ahead by one. Republican Katie Henke been certified as the winner of the race. Democrat Dan Arthrell finished ahead by three votes on election night, April 3, 2012, but lost 4 votes in the recount at the Tulsa County Election Board office Wednesday afternoon.  Democrats want to know how it happened that the number of ballots counted on Election Day is different than the number of ballots counted Wednesday. 

Full Article: 2 Ballots found After Republican Wins By 1 Vote In District 71 R - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |.

Voting Blogs: It’s here – Global centralization of elections, privatized | GlobalResearch

In a major step towards global centralization of election processes, the world’s dominant Internet voting company has purchased the USA’s dominant election results reporting company. When you view your local or state election results on the Internet, on portals which often appear to be owned by the county elections division, in over 525 US jurisdictions you are actually redirected to a private corporate site controlled by SOE software, which operates under the name ClarityElections.com.

Full Article: It's here - Global centralization of elections, privatized.

Editorials: Justice Rears Her Head in Wisconsin As Kathy Nickolaus is Investigated by GAB | PoliticusUSA

In case you were wondering where justice was hiding in Wisconsin, she’s reared her head in Waukesha County. County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus will be investigated by the Government Accountability Board, which certified the Wisconsin Supreme Court election in question.

A former Dane country prosecutor will finally be looking into Nickolaus’ conduct. And by conduct, I mean misconduct, including open ballot bags with no secure chain of custody, voter rolls with tags that don’t match ballot bags, a canvas called a day early which took place with Nickolaus never telling the other canvassers about the “lost” votes for two days during the canvas and much more.

Full Article: Justice Rears Her Head in Wisconsin As Kathy Nickolaus is Investigated by GAB.

Oklahoma: Recount ousts Cherokee chief | MuskogeePhoenix.com

Bill John Baker was certified the winner late Thursday after a recount in the hotly contested election to choose the Cherokee Nation’s next principal chief. The final certified tally was 7,613-7,347 as Baker ousted incumbent Principal Chief Chad Smith.

“Honesty and transparency has prevailed, and the voice of the Cherokee people has finally been heard,” Baker said in a release. “I am humbled and honored to have been elected — and certified — as the next chief of the Cherokee Nation.

… A recount began in earnest earlier in the afternoon. It was delayed most of the day as officials argued about whether the integrity of the ballots had been breached.

Full Article: Recount ousts chief » Local News » MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK.

Oklahoma: Vaults breached twice, Cherokee chief recount still not under way | Tulsa World

Principal chief candidate Bill John Baker says testimony given during a Cherokee Supreme Court hearing today has proven that vaults holding the votes were breached between Sunday after the election and Monday morning.

“We just found that the vault has been breached twice since they said that they’ve locked it up and the envelopes have been taken out,” Baker said to reporters during a recess in the hearing today. “We’re going to go back in and see what the justices think about them saying they hadn’t breached the vault and the vault being breached twice.”

The Supreme Court hearing was to determine whether ballots were safely maintained and that the chain of custody wasn’t breached during the tabulation. In the hearing are four Supreme Court justices; both chief candidates; Attorney for the Election Commission Lloyd Cole of Stilwell, Election Commission chair Roger Johnson, Smith attorney Dean Luthey and Baker attorney Kalyn free; and seven members of the media.

Full Article: Vaults breached twice, Cherokee chief recount still not under way | Tulsa World.

Editorials: Grant Petty: Real ‘wake-up call’ is for ballot security | Wisconsin State Journal

Despite the title of Wednesday’s editorial — “It’s a wake-up call, all right” — the editors appear to be asleep at the wheel.

Referring to the Kloppenburg versus Prosser election mess, they make the valid narrow point that judicial elections should be abolished, but they fail to acknowledge the far broader ramifications of a tainted election system that is now used in all Wisconsin elections — not just judicial ones.

In view of the fiascoes in Waukesha, Verona and elsewhere, mere failure to prove that election fraud and/or incompetence might have tipped a very close election will not be enough to restore voters’ confidence in this and future outcomes. 

Full Article: Grant Petty: Real 'wake-up call' is for ballot security.

Voting Blogs: Kloppenburg Concedes Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Cites ‘Widespread Irregularities’, Says Problems Found During ‘Recount Should be Wake-Up Call’ | The Brad Blog

Citing a “cascade of irregularities”, thousands of tabulation errors discovered during the statewide “recount”, and tens of thousands of ballots found to be unverifiable or otherwise having been in violation of the secure chain of custody, Wisconsin’s independent Asst. AG JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election for a 10-year term on the bench to Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser this afternoon at a press conference held in Madison.

“Votes were found to be miscounted in every county in the State,” Kloppenburg said in her prepared remarks. [Her complete remarks are posted at the end of this article.].

Full Article: The BRAD BLOG : Kloppenburg Concedes WI Supreme Court Election, Cites 'Widespread Irregularities', Says Problems Found During 'Recount Should be Wake-Up Call'.

Voting Blogs: State Election Board Failed to Review Minutes from Waukesha County ‘Recount’ Before Certifying Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Results | The Brad Blog

Last Monday, May 23rd, Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), the state’s top election agency, officially certified [PDF] the controversial results of the extraordinarily close April 5th statewide Supreme Court election and its subsequent “recount”.

However, as The BRAD BLOG has learned, the agency certified those results without reviewing hundreds of official exhibits documenting wholesale ballot irregularities, on-the-record objections from the attorneys of the candidate who filed for the “recount”, and thousands of pages of official transcripts and minutes documenting the entire “recount” process from the election’s most controversial county.

Full Article: The BRAD BLOG : EXCLUSIVE: WI State Election Board Failed to Review Minutes from Waukesha County 'Recount' Before Certifying Supreme Court Election Results.

Texas: Candidate to contest election results in Port Arthur Texas | PAnews.com

After losing her bid for a seat on the Port Arthur school board, Julia Samuels is charging foul and plans to contest election results. Samuels told The News on Tuesday that she believes the Saturday’s election was riddled with irregularities, or even corruption.

“I would use the word “corruption” with ease,” Samuels said. “This has to stop.” Samuels cited several problems with the election process that she believes may have cost her votes, beginning with the accuracy of the electronic machines used to cast ballots. [Jefferson County uses ES&S iVotronic touchscreen voting machines]

“I never did trust the electronic machines,” she said.

Full Article: UPDATE: Samuels to contest PAISD election results » Local News » PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas.

Wisconsin: Kloppenburg campaign raises ballot bag security concern in Waukesha County recount | JSOnline

An observer for Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg objected Thursday to the security of bags holding Supreme Court ballots from the City of Brookfield because of a gap opening on the ballot bags.

They’ve raised similar objections four or five times in Waukesha County since the start of the recount, said retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley, who’s overseeing the county recount. In an interview, he agreed with objector Bill Hotz’s observation that the bag opening from Brookfield was the largest seen so far.

Hotz said poorly sealed bags or torn bags appear to be a common problem, but they were evident on five of six Brookfield bags that were counted first thing Thursday. He objected to the counting of those ballots where bags appeared to be open.

Brandon O’Bryon, representing Justice David Prosser, objected to the objection, saying Brookfield voters would be disenfranchised if their votes weren’t counted.

As has been the practice from the start, Mawdsley makes a record of the concerns and each objection should a challenge end up in court.

“There are several bags that appear to be improperly sealed,” Mawdsley said for the record. Kloppenburg’s campaign representatives took pictures of the bags in question. The Board of Canvassers agreed to count the votes, which can be identified separately if necessary.

Brookfield City Clerk Kristine Schmidt said that bags filled with too many ballots tend to tear when they’re picked up. She also said that on bags that she personally seals, she threads the seal through additional holes she makes in the bags so they can be pulled tightly shut and stay that way. Not every poll worker does that, and when the bags are lifted, a gap can open up.

She also testified, “I guarantee you these ballots were put in (a vault in her office) and not tampered with until they left city hall.” She said a highway worker took the ballots to the courthouse the day after the election.

Full Article: Kloppenburg campaign raises ballot bag security concern in Waukesha County recount – JSOnline.

Full Article: Kloppenburg campaign raises ballot bag security concern in Waukesha County recount - JSOnline.