Thursday, July 26, 2012

Here We Go Again!

Over the years, voting in Memphis has been an interesting thing, to say the least. Dead people voting, well criminals posing as dead people, people voting from outside their districts, felons voting, etc. tend to no longer surprise anyone. In the past, I helped uncover irregularities in the voting process in Shelby County and as a result, there have been many changes that helped ensure the integrity of the data. (You may remember the Roland V Ford race where several people got indicted and punished after I did my analysis.)

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." At some point, you would think the election commission would have figured this stuff out, but it appears that is not the case. Already this year, we've had issues of people being assigned the wrong districts, problems with the uploads of the participating voter lists in early voting, and now the possibility of more problems with the data from the EC.

Since no-one seems to know what happens to the votes when they are cast, what the process is for tabulation, or what safeguards are in place to make sure that a person gets to vote, if they are legally entitled to do so, and hopefully, only once per election, I felt compelled to raise the question.

I am politically active in several races, during most election cycles. Usually, I assist conservative, Republican candidates, but sometimes Democrats. Typically, my role is to do database analysis, create websites, robocalls (yeah, I know you were naked, dripping bathwater, when you got the last one), etc. This requires having access to the voter's history and demographics, which is available from the EC. This file contains voter's demographic information, and about 10 years of their voting history and is updated all year long.

Due to my familiarity with this data, I often run queries against it for different candidates, and sometimes I find stuff. Years ago, on a whim, I automated a web search on the voters who appeared to be 90 years of age or more and ultimately found over 10,000 dead voters who were still on the rolls. I raised that issue with the EC and was told I didn't know what I was talking about. Those have since been removed and I believe the EC is doing a much better job at purging those. I also looked at the age of the voters and found that we had some who were over 200 years of age. Well, those have also been cleaned up. But, I also noted that there appeared to be several duplicate voters in the database. I recently checked again to see if that was still the case, and to my surprise -  yep.  This time, I went a step further and checked to see if anyone may have voted more than once in a single election. It appears that has happened on several occassions.

For the public's edification and enlightenment, and hopefully for the EC to take corrective measures, I have created a webpage that shows three screen shots of a spreadsheet with elections highlighted, where the voter appears to have voted twice. I am not saying they did, only that the data appears to show they did. There is also a link on this page that will allow you to download the spreadsheet that contains the data.

Making this information public will hopefully cause the EC to do what is necessary to prevent this from happening in the future. It would really be nice to be able to walk in the voting booth and feel like everything was as it should be, and not be wondering when the lawsuits were going to start.

Here is the link -

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