Ted Selker's guest blog: Brookline, Massachusetts, poll watching November 2006

By Ted Selker (MIT)
I watched one polling place in Brookline. The signage was excellent,
keeping canvassers away. The process inside was very organized with
an airport-like public guidance system. Each polling station had integral
lights and the exit/ scanning area was also well marked.

At some point the polling warden took a box of ballots out of the optical
scan machine. They showed me another box behind everything, full of the
nicely organized ballots they had already taken from the scanning machine.

This practice of having an unsecured ballot box that is constantly being
breached during voting day seems standard where precinct counted optical
scan ballots are mixed with scanning of absentee ballots. The absentee
ballots have folds in them which mess up the stacking of the ballots
inside the machine and the machine cannot hold a full day of ballots. I
have yet to see a polling place that has a secure way of transferring the
ballots from the Diebold optical scanners. At this particular polling
place, the warden took the box of ballots to a back room, another
poll-worker then went back into the room. The polling place warden then
came out, got a ballot marking pen and went to the back room again. They
soon came out with the pen. The other person spent at least 15 minutes
arranging the ballots out of site of supervision. The poll-warden visited
the ballot organizer at least twice during this time. I suspect that
everything was as it should be, putting the 200 or so ballots in the same
orientation. I find it extremely troubling that this must be done and I
don’t like it being done without supervision. Without a camera record
made to demonstrate that no marks are added or ballots compromised in such
a process, there is no way to attest that ballots are not being changed.