Many thanks for keeping the stove stocked during my absence. As far as I know, the all-hands-on-deck effort at the Board of Elections — or at Cobo/TCF Center, their seasonal setup — was successful, and we got all 40,000 ballot requests processed.
It was an interesting experience. I drifted between boredom and curiosity and the simple satisfaction of the paper-pusher or snow-shoveler, or any other task-oriented worker. The sidewalk is clear of snow. Everything in the Inbox has been moved to the Outbox. Tomorrow it may snow again, and the inbox will refill, but for now, the job is done. Go home and sleep.
And I left believing, even more fervently, that the president and his enablers pushing voter-fraud bullshit are the worst people breathing right now.
The training we had was on a need-to-know basis, probably for time conservation, so I’m making a few assumptions here. Day one was an orientation to the online version of the state Qualified Voter File, i.e. the registration database. We temps did one of two jobs – spotting or checking in. Spotting was taking a single application, removed from the envelope or printed from an online request, and looking up the voter in the QVF. Their precinct number and counting board was noted, in two colors of pencil, in the top right corner of the page.
Another set of workers sorted these pages by counting boards, and gave them to the checking-in people. That involved looking them up again in the QVF, comparing signatures on the application to the one on file, rechecking that they were in the correct counting board, assigning a ballot number and printing a label for the mailing.
I’d think, as I plodded through the sheer analog-i-ness of these chores, how they could be re-engineered. Why have human beings look up voters — so many of them! — twice? If the data was already attached to their QVF entry, why not let the computer do most of this? Colored pencils? What the heck?
I don’t know the answer, but I suspect it boils down to a combination of This Is The Way We’ve Already Done It + The Value of the Human Eye + Something Something Whatever, but my takeaway was this: You might game this system once or twice, but not in the numbers it takes to sway an election. I became an amateur signature analyst and sent through a few on the bubble, but I rejected plenty, and so did others. People’s signatures change over time, particularly when they were born in 1935. It’s impossible to send multiple ballots to a single voter, because once one ballot is assigned (it’s numbered), the computer won’t let you assign another. There might be a way to somehow crack this system and legit influence a major election, but I can’t figure out what it is. Its plodding, many-eyes, multi-step process may be the best defense. I’ve talked to smart people who point out that when you can deposit a check in your bank account by taking a picture of it, it should be possible to streamline this process, and they’re no doubt correct. But that’s a question for another election, and certainly not this one.
Meanwhile, the president came to Michigan yesterday and shit-talked the governor, the one who was the focus of a kidnap plot, what? Two weeks ago? The crowd responded with “lock her up” chants.
So now I’m back. Do I have anything for you to read? I’ve only started this, but it looks interesting. I’m always interested in making libertarians look silly, though.
The GOP/QAnon alliance. Mmm, great.
Me, I’m on to cleaning closets, taking a bike ride and whipping up a nice soufflé for Kate’s dinner visit tonight. Have a great Sunday, and I’ll be back later this week.
Oh! Also check out “The Trial of the Chicago 7” on Netflix. Far better than I expected. You’ll like it.