Black Box Voting, led by Bev Harris, pushed Democrats in Shelby County, Tennessee (Memphis) to sue the Shelby County Election Commission for an election in early August that they said was so flawed and filled with errors that it called the election results into question.
A local judge delivered a summary judgment today that they failed to provide enough evidence of fraud or intent to disenfranchise voters to require the Elections Commission's attorneys to even present a case. Many elections workers HAD presented depositions, and those documents did figure in the decision by the judge. But as we have often seen in the movies, when the defense attorney says that the plaintiff or the prosecuting attorney hasn't proved their case, the judge agrees and throws the case out.
We had a hysterical, conspiracy-laden diary that made the rec list here touting Bev Harris' efforts in early September. There was no "there" there.
As I documented in my previous diary, Democrat says no fraud in Shelby County, a Democratic member of the Shelby Country Election Commission wrote a public letter telling us that the allegations of fraud, intentional negligence and an attempt by elections officials to disenfranchise voters by Black Box Voting and Bev Harris weren't true.
Please go to the link to read the whole letter, but here's a few snippets.
As a Democratic member of the Shelby County Election Commission, I have been particularly concerned about the charges levied against the commission by Democratic candidates in the Aug. 5 election. Those charges have led to lawsuits and have seriously damaged the public's confidence in Shelby County elections.
Changes are being made so that the mistake that resulted in confusion election morning as to whether some voters had voted early will not happen again. Of the other matters alleged by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, we can explain the real circumstances of each. We look forward to our day in court and the opportunity to begin restoring confidence in Shelby County elections and the Shelby County Election Commission.
We have carefully considered all the charges contained in the complaints and are confident that no election fraud or conspiracy occurred.
So, in the latest update, a trial started on Wednesday, October 6th - yesterday. Bev Harris and her cohort, Susan Pynchon, were denied status as election experts.
Wow, I bet that hurt. But she's not an expert in identifying election fraud. What she's proven herself to be is an expert in self-promotion, and in deceiving people into believing that her charges have some evidence behind them! This was demonstrated, as I commented upon, in the diary from September 17th, when
the diarist praised Bev Harris as so valuable to our democracy that she's another "St Georges" on her trusty steed, "stick(ing) it to vote-fraud dragons big time."
Except she's never done that. And she didn't do it in this case. As other posters and I repeatedly explained in that diary and to the diarist, contrary to the assertion in that diary's title that - "Shelby County TN vote fraud documented" - it was, in fact, not documented at all!
What Bev Harris and BBV have done is found instances of potential vote fraud, and potential election fraud. And given those findings, we sure should, both as a nation and in every municipality, implement safeguards to protect our elections from those potential shortcomings and vulnerabilities. But she actually hurts those worthy efforts with her actions - she cries 'wolf' too often and too vociferously when she really has no evidence of any intent to commit election fraud and she has no documentation of any problems with an election so great as to call the results of the election into doubt!
And that's exactly what happened in THIS case.
Local Dems and BBV alleged in their lawsuit that
...there were big discrepancies in vote totals: Democrats allege that the Election Commission's count of participating voters shows 176,119 people, but the certified statement of votes cast lists a different number: 182,921.
"Thus according to (the Election Commission's) own records, 6,802 more votes were cast than individuals who participated in the August 2010 election," the lawsuit states.
John Ryder, an Election Commission attorney, says the plaintiffs have their numbers wrong.
"I've talked to the administrator and they have misinterpreted data that they have observed, which is a consistent pattern in the course of their complaint," he said.
But that was due to a misinterpretation of Bev Harris and her minions. Various depositions were filed by the defense that documented that although there was human error and several examples of misunderstandings by Dems and BBV, that there were reasonable explanations for those mistakes and discrepancies that BBV noted.
Goldin said depositions from elections officials, including civil-service employees with a combined 35 years of experience, rebutted claims made by the plaintiffs and proved there was no conspiracy or intentional effort to tamper with the election.
And the results of that trial? The judge said that there was no "there" there. The Election lawsuit was dismissed in a directed judgment to the allegations by the local Dems and BBV that the results of that election were "incurably uncertain".
(Chancery Court Judge Arnold) Goldin said that while "the plaintiffs' proofs certainly pointed out imperfections in this election" that the public should perceive as "negatives," they were unable to prove that they "rise to the level of fraud or illegality" such that results should be thrown out.
Goldin said Trustee candidate Regina Morrison Newman and her eight fellow plaintiffs, all of them Democrats, had not met "the burden of proving (that) fraud and illegality so permeated the election to make it incurably uncertain."
The ruling was a relief for the Commission, its employees and lawyers. Richard Holden, administrator of elections for the county, said many of the claims put forward were either flat-out wrong or misinterpretations of election data.
Holden and the Commission acknowledge a mistake was made in uploading the wrong database into electronic poll books, resulting in people who had early voted in the May election being told incorrectly on Aug. 5 that they had already voted. Some evidence, most of it anecdotal, was presented showing some voters were turned away without voting, but other evidence showed that 2,026 of 5,291 people who could have been impacted by the glitch did, in fact, cast ballots.
The error was uncovered early on, and precinct leaders were told to allow voters who might be incorrectly told that they'd already cast a vote in this election cycle to create a provisional ballot.
Holden said the independent auditors used to certify the election did account for the 4,753 votes Kempf said had not been reconciled properly at various precincts, and disputed the claim that data showed 3,221 more votes were cast than actual voters participated.
The Shelby County Election Commission had been telling us all along that the local Dems and Bev Harris had misinterpreted a discrepancy in vote totals on different lists as missing that weren't actually missing. They'd been admitting to us that human error DID factor in this race, but not to a sufficient degree to affect the election results.
And clearly they provided the judge with depositions and evidence to back up those assertions. Like I wrote in my previous diary,
There was a hysterical diary here a couple of weeks ago, screaming about how vote fraud was documented in Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee in recent August elections.
Bev Harris, infamous leader of BlackBoxVoting.org, filed suit, alleging all manner of problematic behavior that demonstrated, according to her, intent to disenfranchise voters, especially Democrats, and help Republicans win elections.
Except there was no evidence of any election fraud. There was no evidence of vote fraud either.