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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work Dept.

Here's an interesting story from yesterday's LocalNewsDaily.com -- they finally have a winner in that Clackamas County commissioner race:

As of Monday, Nov. 20, [Lynn] Peterson led [Larry] Sowa 64,442 votes to 63,188 – a difference of 1,254 votes. According to County Clerk Sherry Hall, that’s a deficit from which Sowa could not recover, with fewer than 500 uncounted ballots remaining.
What's most interesting to me is not the outcome -- it's the fact that nearly two weeks after the election, there were still "fewer than 500 uncounted ballots remaining."

For crying out loud, people, how long does it take to count 500 ballots? Why doesn't somebody in the elections office take a break from tallying up their PERS pensions, get off their duffs, and count the darn things? This should have been settled the day after the election.

People complain about the crooked voting machines in some states. Out here the problem seems to be of a more human dimension.

Comments (12)

Jack, it's Clackamas County... be glad someone there had enough time to do anything not meth-related.

Clackamas County lost one of the best when John Kauffman hung 'em up and took the same gig in Multnomah County. My understanding is Kauffman got tired of having to run for office every four years and moved to Portland where Director of Elections is an appointed position. He's an elections geek and, as we learned here during the 2006 primaries, a very competent one.

Wow. That is pathetic.

A reader e-mails with this:

The time it takes for them to count ballots is not a reflection of their effort. When I contacted them a week after the election, I found them close to rummy from the long hours they had put in.

Because of the weather around and on election day, the office received many ballots that were soaked and needed special care before they could be counted. More significantly, the system builds in a delay to permit, for example, the verification of signatures. If a signature does not appear to match the signature on record, then the office must give the voter 10 days within which to respond to the concern about the signature. As a result, the office can't finish counting until just about two weeks after the election.

One of the things that happens is that people turn in their ballots to the wrong counties, which then take a while to find their way to the right county. So these ballots may have just arrived.

But yes, Clackamas County's efforts on this are baffling. Pretty much all last week they said they had "between one and four thousand ballots left to count." It drove me nuts.

Maybe it's not the people so much as the system -- a very screwed up system. When the state legislators get back from Maui and finish gutting the ethics commission some more, maybe they can fix it.

There's an old saying about design tradeoffs that probably applies here: "Fast, good, or cheap. Pick two."

At my previous job doing manufacturing design, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the basic truth of this saying.

When talking about election systems, the design choices are probably more like "Fast, Accurate, or Easy". Vote by mail is a system that's Easy to use, so there's one choice made. Of the other two, I hope we all prefer Accurate results to Fast results.

Jack: was the cheap shot at "PERS pensions" really necessary? For people still working, there isn't really a problem anymore. See http://tinyurl.com/y3933l for confirmation.

You could have this...


IMHO, better to get it correct. Paper ballots and Oregon election law (that make sure all eligible ballots are counted) take time. You want speed, go to Flordia. :-)

there isn't really a problem anymore


"Jack: was the cheap shot at "PERS pensions" really necessary? For people still working, there isn't really a problem anymore. Seehttp://tinyurl.com/y3933l for confirmation."

>>>> I looked at the report, and would
like to know who is now picking up the 6%
member contribution--the members themselves
or the employers?

Also, if one is 55-65 years old, does the
member have to pay 100% of the group rate
for premiums if he/she wants health insurance coverage.

TIA, Nick

I wonder what Mr. Kauffman will do when I ask that he verify 25 signatures for which I knowingly will not have asked the SoS permission to gather? (Just as I successfully did in the past.) I'd like to have any Oregon tax authority inducements to save confined, for private and public people alike (as if they are supposed to be genetically different), to investments in Oregon incorporated or unincorporated entities with a predominantly Oregon resident ownership and operation. (I cannot tell you how freaky it is that we have Oregon tax inducements to facilitate the aggregation of capital to invest anywhere other than at home. Issuing bonds to do more of the same is even more freaky. The notion of divide and conquer -- public/private -- has worked beautifully to mess us up.)

The investment plans would have to qualify so that individuals could claim any piece of Oregon's favorable tax treatment on their personal income taxes. It would mirror the fed's view of raising capital the funnel to big remote entities that would be more inclined to threaten to leave unless they get their own corporate tax breaks. (Now, I can't think of PERS specific thing in the statutes that could be used against this play.)


On the PERS legal matters, I say let Mr. Hartman, in YOUR personal self-interest, lead a subset of the class of "window retirees" down the black hole called FINALITY. I did my best to explain the folly.

My little signature gambit will allow me demand a declaratory judgment at the stage where the SoS would have to decide to either prepare a ballot title or not (either way), that is I can even demand a declaratory judgment if he does direct the AG to draft the ballot title(s) -- thanks to the Sizemore ruling and the risk that the OEA might jump me in some dark ally later. He can't deny me this possibility by merely refusing to enforce legislative policy, as with M47, which I can also drag in. You see, I will not yet have formed a PAC, thus my individual free speech rights will have to be addressed directly, and will not be clouded by the notion of a judicially contrived limited liability provision in the forced formation of a PAC where no limit on personal liability is provided in the statutes.

If the PERB/OIC wants to act like a bank, with all Oregonians as either the guarantors or depositors, then let them act like a local bank! Each individual can make their own voluntary personal choice with their own private savings if local investment is wise.

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