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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, 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.

Originally posted to DollyMadison on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 02:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Bev Harris was judged to not be an expert (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, raincrow, FreeStateDem

      The judge also ruled Monday that he would not treat as experts two of the witnesses the Democrats plan to call: Bev Harris and Susan Pynchon.

      The judge said

      "Their {Bev Harris and Susan Pynchon} qualifications for purposes of testimony in court, in this court's opinion, seem to be sorely lacking," he said, adding that Pynchon could testify to what she saw as a member of the Democrats' inspection team.

      Attorneys for the Election Commission said the women aren't experts because they have never received formal training in key areas such as computer systems.

    •  i'll said it before and I'll say it again (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, cyberKosFan, corvo, neroden, raincrow, laker

      There will be NO EVIDENCE in rigged voting when software is involved.  That is why it is so dangerous.  It needs to be open sourced software.

      You have old judges who dont know the forst thing about computers nor software making rulings on such matters.

      Now I am not saying that this is the case this time, I am saying it is and will be the case everytime.  Having software have to one and only say without paper ballot backup is a recipe for total disaster.

      FYI... and yes I am a professional software developer so I know this field well.

      The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

      by dark daze on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 03:01:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that isn't what happened here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I swear, did you even READ my diary before you commented?

        Your point has nothing to do with what happened in this case.

        If you want to rant about how vulnerable election results could be, do it in an open thread diary, not in mine.

        •  Well I was going to give you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, neroden, laker

          the benefit of the doubt until you posted this childish comment.  

        •  That's EXACTLY what happened here, Dolly. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dark daze

          Shelby County uses automatic election fraud machines.  There are no ballots.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:01:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, that is NOT what happened here (0+ / 0-)

            There is no allegation of fraud that was caused by the usage of voting machines.

            I KNOW that there were no paper ballots used in this election in this community.

            Perhaps you should KNOW what the allegations from BlackBoxVoting were and what the lawsuit alleged before you try to tell me what happened in this case.

            What happened in this case is that one vote record said one total, and another vote record said another total. It had nothing to do with any potential manipulation of vote totals, and was 100% explained by the BBV observers not understanding what the differing numbers meant!

            •  Oh, OK, so Bev made the wrong accusations? (0+ / 0-)

              All very well.  Barely worth reporting.  The real story is that Shelby County doesn't have elections.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:09:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's not MY fault (0+ / 0-)

                It's not MY fault that a diary stating that fraud WAS documented made it to the rec list here on DailyKos.

                So, you don't think that countering a terrible diary that made it to the rec list is important to the credibility of DailyKos?

                Thanks for showing that the ends justify the means to you.

                Bev made totally unsupportable accusations, and then asserted that she had documentation to back up those accusations, when in reality she really didn't.

                The topic is NOT what type of voting machines should be used. If you want to write a diary about what voting machines should be used and why, feel free to do so. That's NOT what this diary is about though.

                •  bullshit (0+ / 0-)

                  you have an underlying tone that all election fraud is somehow conspiracy , you even use the dog whistle word conspiracy several times.

                  Nice try but FAIL

                  The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

                  by dark daze on Fri Oct 08, 2010 at 08:26:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  a most ingenious paradox (4+ / 0-)

        I agree that in some circumstances, it's possible to rig an election without leaving any evidence.

        However, Bev Harris has been running around for weeks claiming that she found evidence. Facially plausible, but it doesn't seem to have panned out.

        •  Bev Harris (0+ / 0-)

          Bev Harris is nto and should never be the issue here. It's just shoot the messenger bs.

          Ask yourself this, why can you get an accurate receipt at the atm and not at your election?  Machines made by the same conpany?

          There is a reason there is no paper backups,  its simply because someone doesnt want paper backups.  Now ask yourself, why is that?

          The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

          by dark daze on Fri Oct 08, 2010 at 08:28:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  interesting stuff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The rehashes of previous diaries aren't the strongest part of this one. But it seems that Bev Harris had her day in court, and couldn't do much with it.

  •  it astounds me how (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, corvo, raincrow, Executive Odor

    it astounds me how little the average american understands about software, the very thing that now runs much of our society.

    one again

    Except there was no evidence of any election fraud. There was no evidence of vote fraud either

     there never will, its a simple few lines of code that can switch a perentage of votes, than at a certain time, simple delete itself. Results are fraudulent and yet there is not one single bit of evidence.

    The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

    by dark daze on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 03:04:55 PM PDT

    •  That's a dishonest post (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, raincrow, FreeStateDem

      Of course there can be evidence of election fraud.

      To suggest that there can never be evidence of election fraud or vote fraud because some fraud committed via software might not be detectable is not accurate.

      Will there always be evidence? Nope. But in this instance, there was no allegation of anything related to software.

      The allegation was that there was a vote count discrepancy that meant that there was vote fraud. But there was an innocent explanation for that discrepancy. And there were allegations that a significant number of voters were disenfranchised by the incorrect installation of a previous voter database, but there turned out to be no evidence of that either.

      •  maybe muddled? (0+ / 0-)

        I wish you'd try to give people some more space. It may not work for the people you're wrangling with, but it's probably easier for any lurkers to take.

        I'm out of here until after 10.

        •  Some uninformed people are muddled (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And some people consistently push conspiracy theories where none exist. Some people don't understand that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          And my diary isn't about software vulnerabilities at all!

          And I don't care if lurkers like the way I express myself.

          •  but the main value of a diary is to lurkers (0+ / 0-)

            We don't have to try to win popularity contests, but if you want to bring useful insights to Daily Kos, you do have to think about how lurkers interpret your posts.

            It's a hassle, because one can only hope that the lurkers aren't as set in their ways as some of the people who post. And it can be really hard to believe that people of ordinary intelligence and good will can leap from, say, "Bev Harris was dead wrong about Shelby County" to "I advocate blind trust in voting machines" -- but human minds really do tend to work that way. It's much easier to attribute motives than to hack through all the pesky details.

            You can post however you like. I hope you won't kid yourself that it doesn't matter how you come across.

      •  What was that innocent explanation pray tell? (0+ / 0-)

        In all the "there was no fraud" diaries, I have yet to see the innocent explanation published.  Perhaps you could do so?

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:02:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There were depositions given to the judge (0+ / 0-)

          Because the plaintiff's case was so weak, those depositions may or may not be made public.

          I have no right to publish them.

          That doesn't change the fact that the judge saw them and agreed that there was no evidence that the discrepancy was evidence of any potential fraud. If he hadn't seen concrete evidence that it wasn't fraud in the depositions, he wouldn't have given a summary judgment to the defendents, the Shelby County Elections Commission.

          And, as I posted above and in my previous diary, a Democrat on the Elections Commission stated categorically that there was no fraud - that it was a simple misunderstanding of what they were looking at by the folks at BBV.

          Myra Stiles wrote

          Of the other matters alleged by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, we can explain the real circumstances of each.

        •  for "more votes than voters," specifically? (0+ / 0-)

          Here's a possibility:

          Last week, they released a report in which they claimed that there were 3,221 more "votes cast" than recorded "participating voters."

          The election commission says those so-called "over votes" are connected to three-page long absentee ballots, and that the report misinterprets voting data.

          "So-called 'over votes'" is cringe-making (actually, those would be called "phantom votes" -- overvotes are completely different), but this basic line makes some sense. Think about a scanner with a public counter. You probably don't want the counter to increment only when a Page 1 is scanned (which wouldn't necessarily give the right result anyway); you want it to increment every time a page is successfully scanned. But if there's a multi-page ballot, the number on the public counter won't reflect how many people actually voted.

      •  # of voters disenfranchised (0+ / 0-)

        is unknown, but appears to have been larger than the victory margin in at least one case.

        I'm prepared to believe that there was no fraud, but the entire voting system is rotten and needs to be replaced.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:06:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, it does not "appear" that way (0+ / 0-)

          Please, you are clearly not well-enough educated on this topic to comment. Click on the links I provided above, read the information, then come back and comment.

          Also, here's a few more links.

          "The plaintiffs were unable to produce in court, did not produce in court a single voter who said they had been turned away at the polls," Giannini said.

          Meanwhile, the plaintiffs, 10 candidates who lost in the Aug. 5 Shelby County elections, are weighing an appeal.

          Their attorneys had completed their proof when Goldin dismissed the case saying they had failed to meet the standards for seeking to overturn the entire election.

          "This case started with innuendos and allegations that essentially alleged a conspiracy to manipulate the results of the election," Goldin said from the bench.

          What he heard in a day of testimony from the plaintiffs and depositions he read from election officials was that no one under oath who testified believed the problems were intentional.

          Goldin applauded officials for discovering within the first half hour the polls were open the wrong early voter list had been loaded into electronic poll books and moving quickly to correct the problem.

          "This was not a perfect solution, but 2,025 people voted," he said, referring to the number of voters who showed up as having already voted but were allowed to cast provisional or failsafe ballots. "It may not have been convenient but it worked."

          "We have heard absolutely no proof of the existence of any fraud or illegality, let alone such fraud and illegality that so permeated these elections as to render them incurably uncertain," Muldavin said. "That is the standard by which this case is to be judged, because that is the basis upon which the plaintiffs have brought this case."

          •  you are telling (0+ / 0-)

            you are telling someone they are not well educted enough on this topic?  lOL   when it is clear that you are not yourself.  Your are CLUELESS as to what the software vulnerabilites of election software are.

            You are example A of what I wrote aboute american not understanding software.

            The child has grown, the dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.

            by dark daze on Fri Oct 08, 2010 at 08:23:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  BTW, fun news from DC: (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know why our "leaders" keep trying to install systems which undermine the integrity of the voting process.  But the fact is if you have the "secret ballot" but don't have paper ballots, you don't have a real election, you have an open invitation to anyone who might want to commit fraud.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 05:09:11 PM PDT

    •  Again, this has NOTHING to do with my diary (0+ / 0-)

      I am not arguing, nor have I ever argued, for or against any particular type of voting machine.

      That has nothing to do with the bogus lawsuit that Bev Harris filed in Shelby County to try to overturn this election.

      It has nothing to do with the bogus diary that made it to the rec list in mid-September that claimed that election fraud had been documented - an assertion that was wholly unsubstainable back then, and has been proven incorrect in a court of law now. It was so out of line and unsupportable that the defense didn't even have to put on a defense - the plaintiffs didn't even come close to supporting their allegations!

      Nor have I ever denied that the POTENTIAL for vote fraud or election fraud exists.

      But the argument here isn't about POTENTIAL election fraud. It's about real election fraud. And it didn't happen in these Memphis elections in mid-August.

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