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Ballots with incorrect bar codes

By On

Who is Royce Buckingham - and why does he think he needs to prevent democratic processes from taking place? This guy - a lawyer in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office - is one of three members of the Canvassing Board. At this morning’s hour and a half long board meeting, he continually tried to stop any of the dozen concerned citizens from speaking. The irony is he violated normal processes himself by not asking the other two board members, Carl Weimer and Debbie Adelstein, if they wanted to allow citizens and candidates to speak.

That minor ballot glitch? Well it took the board most of this morning to reject plan B, modify it into plan C and adopt it. Even the final plan is a little ambiguous on citizen observers watching all the processes. Pete Griffin, the Election Supervisor, just does not like observers looking “over the shoulders” of his staff. Pete seems to forget that observers are part of state law. We can trust the citizen observers - some of them at the meeting - to insist on watching all.

Those 9,211 ballots with incorrect bar codes will be hand corrected starting Tuesday morning - and with safeguards in place to ensure personal privacy and full public observation of the process. The board did allow any of the dozen citizens in attendance to speak during the first half of the meeting. The board then recessed so staff could type up the plan C and reconvened to tweak, discuss and approve it.

Bill Geyer had concerns the plan did not allow for observers to watch all stages of the ballot corrections. Yes, we were finally allowed to speak. Bill was concerned that “... a raw ballot is going to be marked in some fashion” by staff to enable it to be processed by the computer and neutral observers should watch this. Pete Griffin again objected to observers at all stages. The board discussed and decided to amend the plan to increase observers presence. Hmm - imagine that, Royce. Citizens had some valuable ideas to contribute.

No reporters there at all. The Herald has minimized this issue throughout - even though the Secretary of State was strongly involved most of the day Friday nudging our local Auditor’s office to be more careful with correcting these ballots. Sam Taylor is now back from a long weekend out of Dodge and we can hope for a report in Tuesday’s paper as he has phoned Marian Beddill for information on the meeting.

Royce Buckingham. What a confused guy. Two stories from this morning’s meeting that are worth telling. First, after the presentation by Debbie Adelstein of what the plan B was, Royce asked several questions that showed he did not have a clue what the problem was. He has been on the canvassing board for years but he did not know what a “header barcode” was and did not know that the precinct and splitter information is printed on each ballot. He even asked if the security envelopes needed to be marked. No, Royce, just the ballots. And the barcode is at the top - head - of each ballot.

Then, after the recess, when one gal went up to the lectern to ask a question, Royce informed her that he had checked with prosecutor colleagues during the recess and the board did not have to accept any public testimony. He again did not check with his two fellow board members. And neither spoke up. She said she just had a question but he told her to save it and ask staff later. So, she stepped over to Shirley Forslof, sitting about six feet away, and whispered her question and Shirley whispered an answer. Before the gal had reached her seat, Royce looked at Shirley and quietly asked if it was information the board needed. Shirley told him no, it was just a question and she had answered it.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]