Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Get Local for 10/17: Endorsements, Endorsements, Endorsements

Get Local for 10/17: Endorsements, Endorsements, Endorsements

Tuesday’s Get Local feature (in addition to the supplements that pop up for stories that are just too juicy to wait) will eventually evolve to cover local matters other than just politics, but for the moment, it feels natural to cover elections and campaigns with state and national elections just around the corner. And boy, did today’s update catch me off guard. Good stuff ahead…


Regular Junkheap readers may remember some of the crap that went down during Maryland’s primary back in September: lost and delayed reader cards, late closings due to those cards, massive delays in voting, and questionable results. Ah, it truly was a great time for local elections. Well guess what? It looks like nothing’s been fixed, just in time for the real thing:

Diebold's new ExpressPoll 2000/4000 electronic poll book failed miserably in the September Maryland primary election. The poll book is separate from the Diebold TS voting machines used in the state. It contains all of the information on registered voters that was contained in the old paper poll books and it is used to check in voters. The failure of the e-poll books in Maryland, as well as the manner in which the problems have been “fixed” raises serious concern about whether they can legally be used in November’s elections.

According to the Associated Press a software patch produced by Diebold fixed one problem that plagued the equipment in Maryland's primary. Another problem, reported by the Baltimore Sun (article in archives) required a software patch that was produced by a Diebold sub-contractor, Advantech Co., Ltd., who was responsible for the e-poll books "losing synch".

The Sun goes on to say:
  • "The poll books contain a trove of information about each of Maryland's more than 3 million registered voters, and were designed to replace the cumbersome alphabetized binders filled with the same data. When a voter signs in at a precinct, the system marks him or her as having voted.
  • "When the machines stop talking to each other, different poll books at a given precinct might not agree on how many people have been checked in to vote.
  • "Underwood [Ross Underwood, the director of the ExpressPoll Division of Diebold] said Diebold was aware that Georgia, which uses an earlier model of the e-poll book, had similar problems during its primary in July, but had thought the problem was in the earlier model's hardware.
  • "Since Maryland reported its problems, Advantech concluded that was not the case.
  • "A solution to the third significant flaw likely will involve affixing a piece of polyester film [mylar] to the machine's hardware, so that a computer card that is programmed with a ballot for each voter makes sufficient contact with the e-poll book so that it can be configured."
According to the Associated Press article, Maryland Project Manager for Diebold, Thomas Feehan contradicted Underwood and said:

"The problem did not develop in Georgia, the only other state to use the machines statewide, because it did not use that field, Feehan said. When software was changed to bring up that field in Maryland, the company did not discover the flaw because it did not test enough names on individual machines, he said. "

"I would say it was an oversight," Feehan said."

Sounds like November 7th is going to be a lot of fun.


Now here’s a study in contrasts that just delights the hell out of me. Take a look at who got official endorsements in our Senate race yesterday. Ben Cardin, the Democratic candidate, received the full support and time of John Kerry:
U.S. Senate candidate Benjamin L. Cardin teamed up with his party's last presidential nominee, John F. Kerry, yesterday to build support among black business owners in Prince George's County, rally volunteers in Montgomery County and raise campaign cash at the Redskins game.

The appearances by the Massachusetts Democratic senator came as fundraising figures released by Cardin and his Republican rival, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, show that both candidates raised about $1.3 million during the five-week period ending Sept. 30.

Steele has raised a total of $6 million and had $2 million in the bank, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Cardin, a Baltimore congressman, has collected $6.4 million and had $1.6 million on hand, according to numbers provided by his campaign.

The figures provided yesterday are two weeks old and do not account for the costly TV commercial time both campaigns have purchased since then.

Speaking to about three dozen federal contractors, lawyers and local politicians gathered in Upper Marlboro yesterday, Cardin expressed support for locating government facilities in Prince George's, leasing space for government offices in the county and providing more opportunities for minority owners to secure contracts.

"Prince George's needs to be the first priority," Cardin said.

With the retirement of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D), Kerry emphasized the importance of keeping both of Maryland's Senate seats in Democratic hands as control of Congress is at stake in next month's election.

"People in Maryland can't be fooled by slick advertisements, by the rhetoric," said Kerry, seated between Cardin and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) at the company headquarters of Cool Wave Water. "You've got to send us Ben Cardin to fill [Sarbanes'] shoes."

In the meantime, who does Republican Candidate Michael Steele get? What political heavyweight (hee hee!) could he find to support his candidacy? That’s right: DON KING:
Boxing promoter Don King yesterday campaigned with Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in Prince George's County and Baltimore, telling black voters to support Mr. Steele's U.S. Senate candidacy even though he is a Republican.

"For black people, there can't be a fealty to party. That's not fidelity to truth," said Mr. King, a Republican.

With his trademark hair standing straight up, Mr. King appeared with Mr. Steele at a cafe in Largo Town Center and then on a street corner in West Baltimore. The two then visited a youth boxing center.

Mr. King criticized the state Democratic Party for not promoting black leaders.

"You don't have any black faces on the Democratic ticket," Mr. King said. "John Kennedy said sometimes party loyalty asks too much."
That’s right, the hair means he’s qualified. Also, I would contend that hair's not standing up nearly as much as it once did. Looking pretty lackluster, actually. I mean, look at the hair in its prime:

It just can't compare. And if the hair can't compare, what does it say about the candidate, I ask you?


Finally, the Democratic (Martin O’Malley) nominee for Governor and the incumbent Republican (Bob Ehrlich) faced off for their first televised debate last night, which got quite testy. WUSA 9’s webpage describes it just as well as I could: “Ehrlich portrayed O'Malley as a whiner who engages in class warfare and "drive-by attacks" on Republicans.

O'Malley criticized what he said are "two Bob Ehrlichs" -- one who made campaign promises in 2002 and another who didn't keep those promises after his election.”

Ehrlich’s a fine one to talk about class warfare. What a moron. You can find the debate in its entirety at the WJZ Baltimore website.

Posted by crimnos @ 8:39 AM