Friday, February 23, 2007

Express Times Weighs In on Northampton County Elections Mess

Managerial and technical problems are both identified as elections office problems in a powerful Express Times editorial published today. Unfortunately, the citizens' panel that has diligently worked on these problems is being resisted on three fronts: an overly defensive local registrar; a Department of State bureaucracy that ignores voters like PennDot ignores stranded motorists; and a voting machine vendor that has yet to answer serious questions about substituting cheap parts for those approved by the state. "This task force needs some backing from people with political clout -- the same officials who will scream the loudest if their election totals are delayed or botched." On the left sidebar, you can review committee minutes yourself.

18 comments:

Larry Kisslinger said...

All that needs to be done is to go back to near perfect mechanical machines! As always happens, knee-jerk actions of politicians caused zillions of dollars wasted taxpayer monies throughout the Country because of some "hanging chads" in Florida. Fix Florida or anywhere else with election problems is fine, but baby-with-bath water....????

Bernie O'Hare said...

Larry, VERY well said. We'd have to repeal HAVA, but we should.

Anonymous said...

someone needs to file a lawsuit that's about the only thing that will fix this

Bernie O'Hare said...

A lawsuit was filed by Dr. Alan Brau, a Northampton County physician. The Department of State demurred, and the matter was argued before the Commonwealth Court in November. I think an opinion should soon be released.

J. Spike said...

Larry I like your thoughts.

But Paper Ballots are even MORE flawless than the machines of old.

outside of the united states who use computers and machines to vote?

Paper in a box (The art work the media uses for election coverage!) is the most used tech outside the United States.

Anonymous said...

I'd feel much better if our elected officials used voting machine technicians to maintain their automobiles, aircraft, and medical equipment.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We don't have much control over the way we vote. That comes from the state and the feds. But we can insist that they start answering some simple questions instead of insulting every citizen in Northampton County by ignoring them. Our state bureaucracy has forgotten it is here to serve us. It's not supposed to be the other way around. It's that attitude that led to what happened on Route 78.

We do have control over our own office. And since DePaul can't accept the criticism of her office and adapt to it, she should step aside. She is a hard worker, but is in over her head. Perhaps the county could find another place where her talents won't be wasted. But she's bringing that office down.

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'hare, agree with you on HAVA being one of the biggest Federal blunders ever. Agree we should monitor but seen the letters and pleas made from Ms. Depaul, she didn't want nor create the problem as far as I read. She would've been more then happy to stay with the levers she stated this a hundred times. A victim hired to do a job. The county started the evaluation of machines 3 years prior. What could she have done. She tried to ensure the machines were good on the backside of the process. Then they outlaw those workhorse lever machines, delayed the certification process - another blunder. With millions of dollars of grant money on the line, breaking the law by using levers which could have caused a Federal lawsuit against the county cha-ching and the loss of millions of dollars. LOSE - LOSE for her. As I see it she created an entirely new election process in record time. Dag- I wouldn't want that job - it's hard enough without the constant brow beating she gets from you guys. I think she's more on the side you say you're on then you know. Of course she's defensive she's under constant attack. Not fair guys give her a chance. I think she's pretty darn tuff hanging in there.
BTW - Republicans will regain.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She should not be blamed for HAVA or the state or all the baloney w/ the new machines. If you've seen the letters, you should know that many were horribly written. If you've seen themn, you should know how wrong it is for her to advocate breaking the law.

And she defended those new machines at first, and disparaged those w/ concerns. She actually blocked email from Dr. Brau.

And then, when you get to the managerial aspect of her job, she really fails. She's been terrible. I've gone into detail about his before. She's very dedicated, but her talents should be used elsewhere.

Now you say, "BTW-REpublicans will regain." What the hell does that have to do w/ anything? Are you suggesting the examination of DePaul is some kind of R plot?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ohare,
I meant the majority of the house/next years presidential etc.! ?? What's wrong with you. I would hope you guys aren't doing this as a political plot to put someone in that torture chamber. I’d seriously question your intellect on that one. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. If you are though - stick another Dem and let them suffer. Oh, and just for your information I followed that process and saw Mr. Stoffa's press info, over and over he stated that he wanted to disregard HAVA and use the mechanical masterpieces and break the law. Where do you get your info??? He didn’t have a clue. And by the way have you checked your spelling lately?? Wow, not too good bud!

Alan said...

Good for the Express-Times!

I would like to see a direct appeal to the Pennsylvania Department of State to make the whole certification process more transparent.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Anon 5:48,

1) Spelling errors. - I plead guilty to spelling errors in comments on this blog. My posts are usually error-free, and are corrected immediately if I notice them. When I'm commenting, I'm fairly lax and don't pay attention the way I should. But even here, spelling mistakes are a bad reflection on me. And they do bother me. Imagaine how much worse it would be if I sent letters like that to congressman, senators and the state! That's exactly what DePaul did. But what's worse is that it was often impossible to understand what the hell she was saying. She's a terrible writer, and her letters make the entire county look pretty silly. These observations have been made by Mr. Benner and Ms. Rosenthal, a Democrat and Republican. I don't think it's really that relevant to her managerial skills, and I won't make an issue of it except to say she's tough to follow.

2) BTW - Republicans will regain. I still don't know what you're talking about, even with your explanation. If you're predicting the outcome of the next congressional race, it really threw me because it is totally off topic. I don't know what it has to do with anything.

3) This is not a "political plot" to put someone else in the "torture chamber." It is an evaluation of our elections problems, and that includes both technical and managerial problems. The committee studying these elections is nonpartisan. DePaul does have at least one defender on that committee - Mr. Bradt. And I elections chair Garvin might give her a vote of confidence as well. I do not. I believe she has been way too defensive and has instilled the wrong attitude in her office. That's why no one could go to Nazareth. Everyone is terrified of making a mistake. I was in the office last week. The rank and file were very kind, very professional, but very much on pins and needles. Numerous manaagerial problems have been noted, from the high turnover to DePaul's disdain for voters. She publicly called voters seeking absentee ballots "lazy." She has sent me strange emails in which she refers to herself in the third person and talks about how great she is. There's something wrong. She's a very hard worker, and I'd hate to see her lose her job. But I'd love for her to find another position in the county where she would be truly happy and where she wouldn't be subjected to too much stress. She's a good person and I'm certain she means well but I think this is too much for her. This is no reflection on her. We all have different personalities. I'd be terrible at anything requiring me to deal with the public. But I think there are other people who could make that office very friendly and instill an attitude of helping people.

4) Stoffa never said he would disregard HAVA. In fact, I have quotes from him saying quite the opposite, and there are links to them in other posts on this blog. Your assertion that Stoffa advocated a violation of HAVA, is simply mistaken. I'm sure he would have liked to see implementation delayed, but he never once said he would ignore the law. DePaul, on the other hand, was quoted by Benner as making recklessly irresponsible statements to that effect, and to third poarties outside of the county. Benner properly told her she was out of line. Government officials do not instill confidence in our electoral process by recommendeing that elections laws be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Not going to keep arguing a stupid points Bern. You have your opinion and I have mine. Pardon the "off" the subject bloggers tag line. You ask I answered it’s a free country bud I can have my own agenda. I guess those who can, do and those who can't criticize – over and over and over again. Do you do this to everyone? – dumb question. Oh, yeh and she’d be better off somewhere else? Where’s that gonna be now?? Did you stop to think for a second that maybe she would’ve left but now that you destroyed this chick in the media she’s scre*ed? Brilliant. Unless, maybe, she can find some rich guy to support her. I’d volunteer but my girlfriend wouldn’t be to happy. Hey Bernie, my man keep up the good work and fight that good fight brother!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:48/7:02, wow, dude...you come across as a real douchebag. Are you really that douchey?

I think you & DePaul would make a great couple. I can't imagine your girlfriend's really all that happy anyway. So give some serious thought to you & DePaul, dude.

Peace out, my brotha from anotha motha.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:02,

1) No need to apologize for going off topic. It just threw me. I thought you were trying to make some point about the elections office.

2) When a government official does a terrible job, which even extends to blocking emails from concerneed citizens like Dr. Brau, are you suggesting that I must keep my mouth shut until she finds another job somewhere else? That's where you and I part company. I think I have an obligation to voice my concerns instead of remaining silent, as you suggest. And actually, she is her own worst enemy. My criticism is minor compared to what she has done to herself. Having said that, she is dedicated and hard-working. County Exec. Stoffa would certainly help her find something she likes, where her talents could be utilized.

3) Your girlfriend told me last night she doesn't mind one bit. Incidentally, I don't know many women who like being called a "chick." And I don't think any woman would appreciate the suggestion they need a man to support them. Thy're funny that way.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alan, Good to hear from you. The ET hit it on the head. The proposal you suggest is interesting. There actually is a term for it. It's called a "writ of mandamus," and is only infrequently granted. We're not there yet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Peace out, my brotha from anotha motha." Gotta' love that.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love you, Bernie!

-Your sista from anotha mista