Voting Problems, Fraud, Scandals Plague Polling Places Across America: Kentucky
KENTUCKY – November 24, 2018
The shortage of poll workers could not be resolved in Kentucky, even though the problem was announced a few days before Election Day. According to official data, there were about 15,000 people working, which was not enough to perform at the appropriate level.
Consequently, there were long lines and a lack of ballots, with no one to print them. The lack of people was due to a lack of wages, although it was officially stated that workers would receive from $100 to $300 for a 13-hour day. Apparently not many were interested in such a salary, and of those who did work, many didn’t receive their money or didn’t receive enough.
«It is a real challenge anymore to find poll workers,» Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw said. «People don’t seem to be as interested.»
Among other reasons, apathy and political fatigue were mentioned. Holsclaw added that her office recruits from local colleges, businesses, and senior centers in an attempt to fill the positions needed for Jefferson County’s 620 precincts.
For example, in Frankfort, the question of the polls workers’ absence arose a week before the election and no one was able to solve it.
Officials said the average age of a poll worker is 65 in Kentucky, but clerks say it’s more than the numbers.
«There’s been no change other than the atmosphere, «Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr. said. «The antagonism between the two parties is making a lot of people just feel like, ‘I don’t want to deal with this.’«
«I think it’s voter apathy,» Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw said, supporting his colleague. «We can only look at our ourselves for that.»
Apparently authorities didn’t think about the fact that people don’t want to work for so cheap when they can do their regular jobs for much more.
Because of the fear of interference in the elections from outside, the Kentucky authorities are also trying their best to refuse electronic voting, although in the same Jefferson Country all the poll stations were open for voting through IPads that produce paper records as well as through regular paper ballots.
And in Fayette County, the election was conducted entirely through electronic machines.
Despite the differences, voting officers in the state’s two largest counties insist their methods are safe, secure and accurate. And while Kentucky’s 3,700 precincts use varying machines and ballots, state officials stress that no piece of equipment that counts votes is connected to the internet.
«I’ve told everyone in our precinct election officers’ school: If you see a Russian with a screwdriver, tap him on the shoulder and say, ‘We’d like you to leave,’« Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger told state lawmakers before the elections. «There’s nothing that’s going to be hacked or manipulated in our equipment.»
«States that can’t verify their results through an audited paper trail are a ‘national security concern,’» U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Intelligence Committee in March, adding that election security is her agency’s top priority.
There seems to be a lapse in logic when they talk about interference in elections and announce a transition to alleged paper voting machines while still using electronic devices that are allegedly not connected to the internet.
It would seem there are no fears about interference through polling machines themselves, though, of course, we live in the 21st century when any technology can be hacked. Thus, the officials’ statements are rather strange.
Also, as a WDRB News analysis shows, 91 of Kentucky’s 120 counties use machines that don’t provide paper records, although in many cases those devices are meant for those with disabilities and aren’t the primary means of voting. Another 22 counties – mostly in eastern Kentucky – overwhelmingly rely on electronic voting machines.
Jefferson County is among just 6 counties that exclusively use paper-backed systems.
On the one hand, this way the state will be able to rid itself of the problem of broken voting machines. According to Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law told Grimes, each county today also must have at least 10% more ballots on hand than the number of votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.
As for the November 6 elections, there were almost no problems with the lack of ballots, except in isolated cases in some districts.
But on the other hand, to protect yourself from a lack of cars does not mean protecting yourself completely from all possible risks. No one can rule out outside interference such as stuffing paper ballots or identification forgery. Then the authorities would have to come up with something to justify those problems.
It seems like everything is well coordinated in Connecticut. The elections were fair, there were practically no lines, and there were even enough ballots to vote.
But, there’s a but.
The garbage. There was so much at the polls that it took two days to clean up afterwards.
This was confirmed by Election Supervisor Tonya Payne who witnessed this at one center. People threw bottles, cans, bags of chips, and empty bags on the floor. In addition, several used or unused ballots were seen lying trampled on the floor.
There was one clear violation in Fayette County where people had to wait from 15 minutes to an our due to a record turnout.
But, the problem there wasn’t really so much about voter turnout, but because the voting machines used were too old and worked slowly, thus causing long lines.
«I certainly heard my fair share of people saying the line was too long and they had to leave,» said Debra Hensley, a former Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council member. «A person who cannot vote is an error on our part.»
It’s a complaint that County Clerk Don Blevins Jr., the county’s Chief Elections Officer, has heard before. And he agrees.
«I can’t stand these machines,» Blevins said Wednesday. «They’re awkward to use, older citizens really struggle with the wheel, the user interface is just about as bad as it could be.»
The investigation revealed that the poll machines were bought in 2005 or 2006 and they were unable to take on a heavy load. County Clerk Don Blevins Jr., the county’s Chief Elections Officer confirmed it too.
“We were willing to compromise user-friendliness for security,” he said. “Now people are more worried about external threats,” such as Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Returning again to the topic of rejecting electronic voting, it is worth noting again that the authorities’ irrational approach is visible everywhere. If in some districts they are not able to cope with outdated equipment, in others they refuse it at all in favor of an even more unreliable and unsafe means of voting in the form of paper ballots.