My point is that there is no real way to tell if fraud happened, or what direction it took place in.
I worked as an election official in the election in California. One of the many things i've been thinking about this week, instead of working, is this: if things were different, and *California* were as close
as Florida, and the lawyers and/or police were interrogating *me* about my conduct during the election, what would they be asking me about, and what
would my answers be?
There were irregularities in my polling place. Some of them were directly my fault, others were caused by other workers --- but either way, because I was the guy in charge, i'm ultimately responsible for everything that
happened, whether it was directly due to my actions or not.
.There were three classes of problems:
(1) the polling place where I worked had *two* polling places in the same building. I thought this was a bad idea, but nobody listened to me; and it did cause confusion amongst voters about where to go. That,
combined with the tendency of people to sign in as soon as they get to the table without waiting for their eligibility to be verified, resulted in *4* voters signing the roster when they weren't listed in
the polling place index, and when they were supposed to vote in the *other* polling place; each of these four was not issued a ballot and sent off to the correct polling place. That's pretty straightforward, but it means the number of returned ballots is 4 less than the number
of signatures in the roster, which is a technical irregularity at the very least.
(2) Several people were issued and voted provisional ballots but never signed the roster. I'm not sure why that is; it was really busy, and it looks like I just forgot to make them sign. (All provisional voters
get treated as exceptions and thrown at me). This is unfortunate as it means they are almost certain to have their votes not counted. IN a situation like that which is taking place in Florida, one or more of them could claim that I didn't have them sign deliberately, in order
to deprive them of their right to vote; I can't prove that that isn't true, all I can offer is my word, as an honorable man, that the error was unintentional. In a charged partisan atmosphere, would that word be believed?
(3) Two voters got their ballot, walked down to the next spot on the table, and the person working at the ballot box took their ballot from them and dropped it in the box *before they got a chance to vote*.
After much internal debate I issued them new ballots, figuring that the completely-unvoted ballots could be spoiled later, and that it wasn't fair to deny them the right to vote because the election board
had screwed up. But there were potential problems with this: (1) what if they were lying? If we hadn't found unvoted-ballots to spoil at all, then they would have voted twice, and it would have been too late
to do anything about it; (2) what if someone else had deliberately dropped in an unvoted-ballot and we had spoiled it, while allowing the person who lied about doing so to vote twice; (3) what proof do I have
that I didn't chose to let those two vote out of some sort of subjective political criteria? I can say I didn't, and having done it once I was committed to doing it for anyone else with the same problem, but what *proof* is there except my word and that of the
other members of the election board, fewer than half of whom understood what was going on?
The point here is that these problems happen all the time. Elections officials have to make snap decisions based on their sense of honor and their understanding of the process. Elections are inherently flawed, to a certain extent, like *any* large-scale human activity;
and it doesn't require malice or partisanship to accomplish that.
I don't know what's going on in Florida. I do know that if a voter in my precinct accused me of election fraud, and the burden of proof was on *me*, I couldn't prove it. I believe the decisions I made were the right ones, but there's no evidence of that --- by their very nature,
it's impossible to have such evidence.
I also know that in the court of public opinion, the people working in the polls in Florida have been tried and convicted of election fraud *by both sides in the political debate*, without a chance to defend
themselves, and with the burden of proof being placed on the workers.
This is deeply torubling to me; I don't know whether they were guilty or not, and the media isn't giving me anything close to the level of detail I would need to determine that. But it is clear that there
*has* been a rush to judgement, and that that judgement, taken without deliberation and consideration of what actually happened, is manifestly unfair.
It makes me seriously wonder if I can continue working as an election official; I don't want to be involved the year the witch-hunt against volunteers comes to California.
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