Thursday, November 04, 2021

Why NorCo's Vote Tally Changed Between Midnight and 3 AM

In this post, I will explain why NorCo's election results changed between midnight and 3 am on Wednesday. Before doing so, I want to tell you a little story. 

Although I rarely use my full name, I am actually the third (some might say turd) in a series of Bernie O'Hares who have infested eastern Pa. for the past 150 years. We're worse than the spotted lanternfly. 

The first in my line was my grandfather, whom I adored. As a toddler, I often spent weeks at his home on Cherry Street in Shenandoah. He would give me pocket watches, which I always broke. He also gave me American flags. At the time, I had a  blind girlfriend who visited me every day. We'd parade around the block taking turns waving the flag. 

Today, it is adults who drape themselves with American and Steve Lynch flags. Too lazy to march around the block, they instead hook them up to gas guzzling trucks and roar through neighborhoods, trying to draw attention. I was a little later than most, but I eventually grew up by about age 60. They're still children. I've long understood how things like elections work. They're still baffled. 

My grandfather was a lawyer back in the day when law school and even college was unnecessary. He was admitted to practice in 1906. He was described as a "firm and unyielding advocate of the principles of the Democratic party." That was back when the Democratic party still had principles.

As a Democrat, he was clobbered when he ran for DA in Schuylkill County. In 1928, he nevertheless decided to run for Congress. He was friendly with Al Smith, a fellow member of the Irish-Catholic diaspora who was running for President. Nobody liked Catholics then, but FDR said they were OK Early returns indicated Smith and my grandfather were both winning. My grandfather even received a telegram from Smith, stating "See you in Washington."

When they woke up the following morning, both had lost. Instead of claiming election fraud, my grandfather simply sent Smith a telegram saying, "Will not be there." 

I was reminded of my grandfather's experience when I received a comment yesterday about the change in election results between midnight and about 3 am on Wednesday. At midnight, three Republicans were ahead in the County Council race. At around 3 am (after I had fallen asleep), only two Republicans were ahead. A reader claimed chicanery was afoot: "Funny how the totals on the county official site changed with supposedly all votes counted at midnight. The good old boys appear to be at it again. Wonder why people don't trust the so called system. System for who, or should I say what?"

This comment comes from a person who obviously has only recently started following elections. Until results have been certified, it is the norm to see vote totals change. Moreover, in close elections like the County Council race, winners can often change. 

I  spoke with the two Amys (Amy Cozze and Amy Hess) yesterday afternoon. They run NorCo's elections office. Their day started well before 7 am on Election Day and continued past 3 am on Wednesday.  When I saw them, at around 2 pm, they were both back to work.  So was their staff, who really should be commended as one of the best and most people-friendly in the county.  

I asked the Amys to explain why there were changes between midnight and 3 am. 

First, although MIBs (mail-in ballots) received through Monday had been processed, about 500 additional ballots came in by 8 pm on Monday, both by mail and drop box. Those ballots were counted  after the in-person votes, and resulted in changes.

Second, there are 159 polling places manned by pollworkers who only work twice a year. When they bring in their returns at the end of the night, they are supposed to put the flash drives from each voting machine in an envelope. These in turn are plugged into a computer set up to recognize the voting machines in each district. Unfortunately, five elections judges failed to include the flash drives for each of the voting machines used in their district. As a result, some votes were missed and the two Amys had to look through all the supplies returned by these five elections judges to locate the missing flash drives.  Thankfully, they found them all. When they tabulated these flash drives, that resulted in changes. 

The results in each of these districts, incidentally, will be audited and compared with the paper ballot results. 

An attorney from the NCRC was present for the vote tabulation and raised no concerns about how things were done. Moreover, the counting was videotaped. 

The two Amys stress that election results are unofficial until certified by the Elections Commission. In a race in which only 15 votes separate 5th and 6th place, it is entirely possible that the leadership will change.  It might benefit Democrats. It might benefit Republicans. It will represent the will of the people. This will be determined during the canvass, or official count. 

Both Amys pointed out three additional items that might change results.

First, they have segregated 150 MIBs that were not signed or dated when received, but which were subsequently cured by the voter. The Elections Commission will have the final say on those ballots. 

Second, there are 150 provisional ballots. They could be counted, partially counted or disallowed by the Elections Commission. 

Third, there are 477 MIBs that failed to scan. The Elections Commission will have to decide whether they should be counted, partially counted or disallowed.  

So no, there were no "good ol' boys." There were two Amys, a very hard-working elections office and people like you, both Democrat and Republican, working at the precincts. Everything was done openly and will continue to be done openly. 


Anonymous said...

So the numbers are so close the only sure winner is cra cra Zirinski, right? That is wild! Can this take weeks to decide?

Anonymous said...

We need to go back to mail in person, too many opportunities for fraud. If there is opportunity there sill be.

Anonymous said...

Is there an Election Commission meeting on Fiday? Is it open to the public?

Anonymous said...

As always - a clear, easy to understand accounting of what exactly is happening in out government. Thank you Bernie!

Also thanks to the Amy's and all of the poll workers across the county who volunteered their time to help the citizens make their voices heard.

Anonymous said...

Not again

Maxwell Anselm said...

The problem with you, Bernie, is that you keep using facts and logic to point out the obvious lack of fraud. Us folks crying fraud have moved past that! Our candidate won = no fraud. Our candidate lost = fraud. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

The usual stuff in elections

Anonymous said...

Once again, the new system of ever-increasing mail-in ballots, submitting, counting, verifying, etc. has demonstrated some difficulty (although less) of management due to a lack of manpower and time. We will never be fully satisfied to find results changed between going to bed and arising the next day. The ‘dark of night’ is a natural period of suspicion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"So the numbers are so close the only sure winner is cra cra Zirinski, right? That is wild! Can this take weeks to decide?"

Not weeks. In a close election like this one, the clear winners should emerge during the canvassing That's the official count and takes several days.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Is there an Election Commission meeting on Fiday? Is it open to the public?"

So far as I know, not yet. The office is quite busy at the moment. The canvassing (official count) will be underway on Friday and that is open to the public. The MIBs that failed to scan are almost certainly mostly Democratic, so they could be challenged by Rs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:29, That has been the norm in all close elections, no matter which system is used. It happened to my grandfather. It always happens in close races. It's called democracy. NC was able to tabulate the MIBs (excepting those arriving election day) by the time polls closed. Polls close at 8 pm, but the judges of election in voting precincts have a lot of things to do before they can leave, from shutting down the machines, printing out results and then posting a hard copy outside the precinct. Then they have to hand carry all supplies and the results to Easton. If a judge does not put his USB stick (an encrypted flash drive) in the correct envelope, elections officials have to go through his stuff to retrieve it. There are lots of things to do while simultaneously posting results on the web. But it gets done and fairly quickly.

Anonymous said...

Is typical of this county

Anonymous said...

Way to spout the party line.

Yes, nothing to see here.

Or in Lehigh where the Executive race was also stolen in the middle of the night.

Just a coincidence that it happened there and the county Dem party chair, who is also (coincidentally) Armstrong's second in command, would have been out of his day job.

No conflicts of interest, nothing suspicious.

All explained by votes from mail-in ballots and unguarded drop boxes (put in place not by legislation but by a partisan PA Supreme Court) that somehow aren't ever able to be fully counted until it is known how the rest of the vote turns out.

Why would anyone even question such a system?

Anonymous said...

I'm really getting sick of hearing hypocrites complain about mail in voting and counting ALL the votes. If they actually did mail in, they would know what it entails. Lynch cronies (Donnelly and Paulson aka Suzy Defranco, sister to Maryellen Defranco) both accepted their wins but blame the mail in vote for Lynch loss. They should step down if they don't trust the process but I don't see that happening.

Anonymous said...

@11:22 - Did you not read what Bernie wrote or is your tin foil hat too far down that its blocking your vision?

Shove your conspiracy theories - the whole process is played out in public with attorneys/representatives from both parties watching.

That you don't like the results and therefore don't trust what happens means that you can't acknowledge reality. This is a YOU problem. Get help or move to a country that isn't a representative democracy.

Too many whiny cry babies in this country anymore.

Anonymous said...

I really don't get why the mail in ballots cannot be counted by the time the polls close.

If these voters were actually showing up at the polls, the process would take much longer but their votes would be counted and tabulated by the time the polls closed at 8 pm.

That they are not being counted until 3 am in the morning to me indicates either incompetence on the part of the counties, or intentional delays.

There is no reason to extend the number of days needed to count mail-in ballots or to wait until the dead of night on Election Day to get them into the system.

What is needed is for the counties to accept responsibility for their failure to get the mail-in ballots counted by the time the polls close and fix the problem.

I would recommend training, training and more training.

And the same goes for flash drives not being returned in envelopes. I'm sorry, if this is continuing to happen it's a lack of proper training and a failure for those running our elections.

It's now been four elections under (more or less) the current process. This is a failure of county government, and not something that county residents should have to accept.

Anonymous said...

I still think that mail in ballots and drop boxes should be only for exceptional reasons. With the flexibility most folks have now I think work should rarely be an excuse. If all those folks that use mail ins have that busy a life that they can't show up at polls then they ought to re examine their priorities. Somehow everyone gets to their favorite activities but somehow voting in person is onerous or dangerous. Think it is similar to attendance at place of worship. Places packed on holidays or of interest if you want to get married or buried but rest of time "too busy". We Americans should ask the rest of the world how they find the time to get to the polls? Perhaps they have better ways. As for misplacing an important piece of information, what can I say? Yes they are volunteers but such an important task to complete with accuracy. Being in a volunteer status to complete a task should not get you a pass. When I volunteer, I do that with same accountability as a paid job. But maybe if it were a well paid position you would still have the same sloppiness. Who knows and it is probably only going to get worse. How do we push the reset button?

Anonymous said...

Armstrong get his win in the middle of the night--something funning going on in Lehigh county. Armstrong is from Whitehall and he did a good job learning how to be corrupt from HARAKAL--coverup sex problems from 2018 only coming out now also the big tax scandal with his sister Harakal and buddies are trying hard to cover that one too. Armstrong learned a lot in the corrupt Whitehall government run by Harakal and others.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I really don't get why the mail in ballots cannot be counted by the time the polls close.

If these voters were actually showing up at the polls, the process would take much longer but their votes would be counted and tabulated by the time the polls closed at 8 pm.

That they are not being counted until 3 am in the morning to me indicates either incompetence on the part of the counties, or intentional delays."

The MIBs that were received by election day were counted long before the polls closed, and those results were online at about 8:20 pm. But you can't count MIBs before they are received. 500 MIBs were brought in on election day and could be returned up until 8 pm. At that point, elections office workers were pissing accepting return from the polls and could not start counting them until they had received returns from those who voted at the polls.

The only incompetence I see is in your reading ability.

Anonymous said...

12:19 - You can take your idiot cap off.

Having the county Democrat Party Chair as your second in command in the county is a clear conflict of interest. If they weren't so ethically-challenged, Armstrong would have fired Hozza, or Hozza would have resigned when he accepted the position of Dem party chair. Situations like what happened the other night are why it's inappropriate for Hozza to be there as an employee also.

As far as the process, there is no excuse for all the mail-in votes not being in the system by 8pm. If those voters were showing up at the polls, it would be more time consuming but their votes would still be included in the totals shortly after the polls close.

The counties are not allocating their manpower correctly to process the mail-in ballots in a timely fashion. Jamming through a bunch of votes in the dark of night only breeds mistrust in the system. The counties need to stop making excuses and do better.

Anonymous said...

Mcclure won in 2017 with 22,477 votes. This election he receives 37,985 with almost 50% of that coming from mail in votes. The dead rose from the grave, the elderly who can barely write or remember this own names filled out ballots, and refugees who were just flown into the Lehigh Valley all came out in droves this electio to prevent the evil Steve Lynch from becoming County Exec.

Anonymous said...

If they are saying Bruno could get in, that must mean Heckman is pretty solid at this point? Who is the lawyer representing the democrats in this matter with the challenges??

Anonymous said...

Those that cry conspiracy theories adn spout the bullshit of fraud should have to put their tongue on the line. Claim what you want and feel free to challenge but unless you have a specific fact that you can reference you should have you tongue pinned inside your mouth. And if there is enough of a fact to cause a review once that review is done shut the "F" up and move on or have your tongue pinned.

These piss ants that lie, cry ,whine, threaten people because of the bullshit receive no repercussions currently but should be held absolutely and completely culpable for their pathetic expression of intentional stupidity.

Anonymous said...

@1:30 Quit your crap and wake up to reality. How about if a municipality change their entire polling process and only ran polls from 10pm to 6am. I bet you would be one of the people that used mail in ballots. A large number of people have problems getting to the polling place during the hours, work, kids, and every other excuse you can think of. And many of those are not changeable.

You say you volunteer. Volunteer at the polls next year.

Anonymous said...

From the vote for PA website for those that have not bothered to look it up. There are two types of mail in ballots in PA.

Mail-in ballot – Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason.

Absentee ballot – If you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness that prevents you from going to your polling place on election day, you can request this ballot type, which still requires you to list a reason for your ballot.

Anonymous said...

If you have a problem with Mail in ballot counting then complain to the governmental officials about the process instead of complaining about them counting afterwards! IT is the way they want so all the politcian sacks of crap and the whiners need to quit bitching about the rules.

Read this link and it will open your eyes:

It appears per the rules a board of elections can do nothing until 7am the day of election and the close of election for other actions. See the excerpts below.

(1.1) The county board of elections shall meet no earlier than seven o'clock A.M. on election day to pre-canvass all ballots received prior to the meeting.  A county board of elections shall provide at least forty-eight hours' notice of a pre-canvass meeting by publicly posting a notice of a pre-canvass meeting on its publicly accessible Internet website.  One authorized representative of each candidate in an election and one representative from each political party shall be permitted to remain in the room in which the absentee ballots and mail-in ballots are pre-canvassed.  No person observing, attending or participating in a pre-canvass meeting may disclose the results of any portion of any pre-canvass meeting prior to the close of the polls.

(2) The county board of elections shall meet no earlier than the close of polls on the day of the election and no later than the third day following the election to begin canvassing absentee ballots and mail-in ballots not included in the pre-canvass meeting.  The meeting under this paragraph shall continue until all absentee ballots and mail-in ballots received prior to the close of the polls have been canvassed.  The county board of elections shall not record or publish any votes reflected on the ballots prior to the close of the polls.  The canvass process shall continue through the eighth day following the election for valid military-overseas ballots timely received under 25 Pa.C.S. § 3511 (relating to receipt of voted ballot).  A county board of elections shall provide at least forty-eight hours' notice of a canvass meeting by publicly posting a notice on its publicly accessible Internet website.  One authorized representative of each candidate in an election and one representative from each political party shall be permitted to remain in the room in which the absentee ballots and mail-in ballots are canvassed.

Anonymous said...

Tinfoil caps wrapped to tight upon ones head causes many different variations of thought. See your shrink with that cap wrapped just as tight for a diagnosis to catch your symptoms early.

Anonymous said...

Drop box is easy and convenient. I carried three ballots into the 911 center - only one fewer than Tom Wolf's wife. Nobody was watching. Nobody reviews video and it's probably the quality footage you'd expect from a NorCo operation.You're nutty if you think otherwise. Mine were legit. But stuffing that box for any reason isn't a problem.

Anonymous said...

November 5, 2021 at 7:36 AM

You are an ass

Anonymous said...

8:09 no he is not the ass you are the ass and a stupid on at that.

Anonymous said...

But stuffing nine thousand fake ballots are. That’s how much McClure won by.

There was no election fraud, Lynch was just a bad candidate, with no moderate Republican support, and sorry to break it to you extreme “Faketriots, but there are a lot more of us than you.

Look up Edward Durr, a Republican truck driver who ousted NJ democrat incumbent Steve Sweeney last Tuesday.

Pretty sure a guy like that would have beat McClure if he was a candy.

No one likes a radical, hate-spewing lunatic like Lynch.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:09 and @1:42. Give yourselves both swirlies and do us all a favor.

Anonymous said...

maybe they should stop releasing numbers till all the votes are counted or say what the votes are and what percentage has been counted like they use to

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't know what planet you've been on, but elections offices have always released results as they are known. That's why my grandfather went to bed in 1928, thinking he had won, only to wake up and learn he had lost.It's called transparency. Open government. If elections offices shut the doors and kept you out until results were tallied, you'be be screaming corruption.

You are yet another illustration of Bonhoefer's Theory of Stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Did nobody bother to pay attention to the rules further up in this blog. You all are arguing over something our politicians have put in place and have not intention on changing. To make it simpler for the slow and the stupid.

1) Election boards cannot start reviewing/canvassing the mail in and absentee ballots until 7AM on election day
2) they cannot start counting the ballots until the canvas is complete.
3) Even if no ballots received had to be reviewed or canvassed they could not start counting until 7AM election
4) Then they have 8 days to complete counting.

The easiest way to change the law to help with counting would be to allow elections boards to canvass/review the external ballot envelope prior to election day and make it mandatory that they do. Then they could start counting/processing those mailing/absentee ballots right along with the in person elections. And make it mandatory that the only ballots that can be left to count after midnight election night should be the ones that open to further review. And a full accounting of all votes cast, in person, and by mail must be tallied at mid night. With a further accounting of any outstanding ballots with must be tallied. This way at midnight you would either know the winner for sure or know the margin of potential change.

Anonymous said...

@ 11/04 11:08 Like when Youngkin's kid tried to vote in VA. He should have been arrested on the spot and thrown in jail pending trial for attempted election fraud. Or like the politician in Florida who openly stated he had one of his interns fill out his ballot that is why his address was wrong. Both the politician and the intern should be in jail for election fraud. Or like the republican out west who cried fraud about someone filling out hies dead mothers ballot but then we found out it was him who did it. Until we ferret out these piss ant election fraud asses we won't know what the big picture really is. Any and all cases of election fraud should be an immediate 1 year sentence in federal prison with it being a federal crime as well that gets permanently affixed to you.