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Some More Answers from BOEE  (DC)

Mike DeBonis   City Desk Blog  10 September 2008

Dan Murphy, spokesperson for the Board of Elections and Ethics, was kind enough to pick up his phone a few minutes ago and chat with LL about a few outstanding issues from yesterday’s primary.

Can all of the electoral troubles be traced to Precinct 141?

Yes, according to the statement distributed by Murphy (pictured) earlier this afternoon. The board claims a single cartridge from an optical-scan machine there registered the faulty results.

Is that the precinct which was outstanding until a few minutes ago? Or is it another one?

There are no outstanding precincts, Murphy says. The official Web results were d at 4:24 p.m., to reflect a full 143 precincts reporting, but the vote totals did not change; the results issued at 12:47 a.m. were complete. The issue with the precinct that seemed to be missing, he explains, has to do with cartridges issued to Precinct 4. That polling place, at the West End Library in Ward 2, was issued three voting machines—two optical scan, one touch-screen—with one cartridge for each. One of the three cartridges was initially not returned to BOEE headquarters for the count, but it was eventually retrieved and found to contain no votes. “It’s very likely that machine was not even used,” Murphy says. The 12:47 a.m. totals, though complete, did not register 143 of 143 precincts because of the missing, empty cartridge.

What exactly was the problem at the Reeves Center? Were the ballots rescanned? Or was data from the scanner re-downloaded?

Murphy could not say whether the ballots had to be re-scanned or not. He said he would provide an answer to LL. As for what exactly went wrong with the cartridge, Murphy declined to say, pending an investigation by the board and the system’s manufacturer.

Why weren’t the preliminary results given a once-over? Even a cursory glance would have turned up irregularities.

According to the board’s statement, “it is the Board’s standard practice to generate unofficial results reports, and to thereafter conduct an internal audit process to verify the accuracy of the results contained in these reports. During this process, it was determined that one defective cartridge caused vote totals to be duplicated into multiple races on the summary report issued by our office. The Board immediately caught and addressed this error, as is reflected in the last unofficial results report issued on Election Night.”

What was being discussed in the closed-door meeting that lasted most of the day? Who is in the meeting?

“What we were doing was looking at all the numbers, precinct by precinct,” he says. The meeting was attended by the board and its staff only, Murphy says; no one from the mayor’s office or from the attorney general’s office was there.

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