PINELLAS CITIZENS FIND DUPLICATE BALLOTS IN TRASH-Andrew Stelzer

12/17/04

The skepticism towards the nations voting systems has been most clearly shown by a group of citizens in Pinellas county. They have been investigating that county’s voting systems, found shredded ballots in the garbage behind an elections supervisor’s office on November 18th. Leonard Schmiege is a spokesman for the citizens voting verification group.

ACT “We went up to the supervisor of election office

The group didn’t contact the Pinellas supervisor’s office with their find, instead they got a letter from Ion Sancho, the Leon county supervisor of elections. Sancho confirmed that by law the duplicate ballots must be kept, and that although the law does not require it—even mistake duplicate ballots should be kept.

ACT “He said…

Lori Hudson, the Deputy administrator for the Pinellas county supervisor of elections office says mistake duplicate ballots are destroyed in Pinellas County.

ACT “If there was a duplicate ballot where a mistake made, then those duplicates have to be destroyed, and shredded and placed in dumpster. They may also be test ballots, they go through the machine..the other possibility. I don’t know what happened, but this is why we do that.

While Schmige didn’t think the ballots in question had gone uncounted, he points out to the may other problems Pinellas County has had this year, including missing ballots and improper vote tallies sent to the state, as reasons why he will continue to look for flaws in the system.

ACT “It doesn’t look like any of the major political parties has told the public how the elections went. Did we solve the problems—no. can we be proud? This info needs to be researched by paper..lets not just sensationalize..lets get the low down and get em fixed.

Hudson has spoken with Schmige and the CVVG group many times.

ACT-Hudson “We certainly don’t have a problem with this group, they did a test, I would tell you that it’s a bit much when they go through the trash, but I think its starting to get to an area that isn’t too healthy.

Schmiege says he was frustrated that he want allowed to speak at a canvassing board meeting, and while watching vote counting processes, citizens were kept behind a glass window and not allowed in the room with those counting the votes.

ACT “We assume that the supervisor of elections did what they good, but like Reagan said trust but verify. The parties said we will have observers, etc. they didn’t do it.�

Hudson says that she believes the Pinellas county elections office has made a significant effort to be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

ACT-Hudson “I think people are trying to look for suspicious activity, he knows the phone number and location I’m surprised that he didn’t came and talk to us. BUT THE TRUST IS GONE I cant speak to other supervisors, we f=don’t see it rep or dem, we want to have fair an accurate election…we don’t see it as partisan

To get in touch with the Citizens vote verification group, log on to www.cvvg.info, or call 727-490-1431

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