Archive for December 24th, 2019

Christmas Eve 2019

This will be the last Christmas Eve of the decade. Are you Ok with it? I am.

Billy Pierce who on twitter is:

Candidate for Libertarian nomination for Harris County, Texas Tax Assessor and Voter Registrar 2020. Christian, Traveler, Sailor. Emotional baseball fan.

Mr. Pierce tweeted me this on my take on the Harris County Ballot Board going through the provisional ballots:

Marc – what’s your take on the ballot curing process? Is it fairly administered? Is it overly burdensome? Does it impact the outcome of elections? Does it respect the voting rights of members of the public? I’d like to understand your perspective.

I was able to see it all. Listen to all of the conversations. I got to ask some questions. I got to look at the provisional ballot affidavits. I could not touch them though. I could make notes on them.

First of all, curing the ballots is making them healthy enough to be counted. Got it?

It appeared to be fairly administered. The Ballot Board is made up of 5 Dems and 5 GOPers.  Maybe they ought to include a Libertarian.

Is it burdensome? For the voter it is because they have to fill out an affidavit and include Texas Driver’s License number, last four digits of social security number and other stuff. If the issue is voter ID and you don’t want to go find an accepted ID, you have six days to find one and come back to Voter Registrar’s Office to submit an ID.

The rest of the affidavits are divvyed up amongst the Ballot Board members to process various technicalities.

There were a few affidavits that were not signed by the Election Judge, but the Ballot Board chief honcho stated that they weren’t going to reject a ballot because of an Election Judge screwup. The sense I got was that they were going to cure as many as they possibly could.

A lot of them were mail ballot issues.  Folks were on the list to receive mail ballots but they voted at a polling place, so the Ballot Board had to check to see if their mail ballot had been received by the county.  If it wasn’t, their vote was allowed.

Let me give an example of a ballot that was rejected. Voter A listed an address in District H. The data base had her address outside of the City of H-Town but in Harris County. She voted the provisional ballot. The Ballot Board saw that last year her address was in District H, but she moved it to outside of the city. She voted in 2018 at her location out of the city. They decided not to let her vote count in the runoff since she had already cast a ballot from outside of the city. Got it?

I didn’t take a head count, but my recollection tells me more ballots were accepted than rejected. That was certainly the case in District H.

Can the process impact the outcome of an election? Only if it is an extremely close election.

The District H election would be considered extremely close. For awhile I was in a state of angst. After I figured out the process and realized how many provisional votes still had to be counted, I figured that the votes would have to break lopsided in the other direction to lose. Possible, but unlikely.

There were a few issues that could have been avoided if the election judge had paid attention to the process involving voting centers.

And once again, the Ballot Board doesn’t get to see an actual ballot.  Just the affidavits or mail ballots still in their envelopes.

All in all, it is a process that is needed to make sure all votes are properly and fairly counted. I have a better appreciation.

I think I have covered this on Christmas Eve before. The gift opening deal. Some folks open their gifts on Christmas Eve. Some open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day. Some folks wait for Christmas Day to open their gifts. Our family waits for Christmas Day. How can you open on Christmas Eve if Santa hasn’t arrived? Oh, well.

Have a safe Christmas Eve.

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