Well, this item in the Examiner caused a few people to look at me strangely on BART when I burst out in hysterical laughter.
Ballots found floating in a pond at the Palace of Fine Arts! This is too rich for words. Where will elections materials turn up next, floating in the penguin exhibit at the zoo!?
According to a story on SFGate, the alleged ballot thief is a registered Republican known for representing himself in court and who has a website complaining about the court system.
So if this Karl Bradfield Nicholas is guilty of the charges against him, it's possible he is just a lone wingnut and not part of any vote fraud scheme. It's easy to see how dealing with the legal system on a regular basis could
make somebody crazy, and some of these Republicans may not be wrapped too tightly to begin with.
But that still leaves this other weird story...
...in which a local TV news producer apparently happened across an automatic ballot-counting machine on Wednesday afternoon on a sidewalk in the Tenderloin.
Supposedly just a harmless accident, and no connection to the case of the ballot thief, according to an election commissioner. Maybe so, but I'd like a full explanation anyway, if you don't mind.
Meanwhile, the votes on the 75 stolen and water-logged ballots may not be counted, according to SF Weekly (http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/11/stolen_ballots_fished_out_of_p.php) since the "chain of custody" on them was broken.
That's all well and good, but anyone who votes at that precinct and can produce a ballot stub that matches the number on one of the stolen ballots should be allowed to re-vote. Lone wingnut or not, innocent voters should not be disenfranchised over this "irregularity" if there is any way to reliably determine whose ballots were affected.
And speaking of integrity of the vote, I'd like to know exactly how the "chain of custody" and vote counting procedures at City Hall work, wouldn't you? More than that, I'd like to be able to watch them myself. Is there any reason why every step of this process cannot or should not be conducted under the surveillance of video cameras, streaming live to multiple independent websites accessible to the public and members of the media?
Call me paranoid if you want to, but somehow I'm less than 100% confident that elections in this town are being run as tightly and professionally as they ought to be. A requirement that the entire operation take place under the camera lens might be just the thing to reveal any other irregularities we ought to know about!