West Michigan News Company

Election Investigations

Allegan County 2008 General Election Official Totals

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    We started investigating elections after the 2006 elections in Allegan county. Some of the more interesting videos and audio's that we took prior to the 2008 General Election are included under Election Media. From that evidence, we felt that it was imperative to run someone against Joyce Watts, the county clerk. We did find someone to run as a Democrat, but this person was persuaded not to run by an officer of the Allegan County Democratic Party. My first hand experience working with these people as their treasurer made it very evident to me that they were working hand in hand with the local Republicans. At the last minute, we were left with no one to run against her. It was decided that I would be the person to do it.

     The next problem came up with registering to be on the ballot. This is an extremely important step. If you register before the final day, the Party ticket that you are running on will have another  person running against you in the Primary. Since most people vote by absentee ballots, and those ballots are often opened behind closed doors, it is not difficult to make you the loser. We therefore showed up on the final day just hours before registration shut down. See the video below.

ClerkReg.mpg

    During the election, we passed out over 22,000 flyers to households all over the county. That a large portion of the total voters who actually voted. We told them what we had done, and told them to go to our web site and view the media we had. Statistics for my site when through the roof. I was the only Democrat running for a county wide seat, and the local Democratic Party was not endorsing me, but Republicans and Democrats throughout the county had my yard signs in their front yards, so we felt that we had forced them to change those ballots big time.  

    Right after the election, it did not take long for us to know that we had hit pay dirt. There was a recount called for in the Bailargeon - Cronin Circuit Court Race. Both Ira and I had attempted to become part of the recount group in either of these races. We were turned down by both groups. Nobody wanted us looking at those ballots. I went to that recount and Sue McRill from the Bureau of Elections forced me to stand against a wall at least 10 feet away from any table as a member of the press. When I took out my camera and put it on a telephoto lens, she threatened to throw me out. When 55% of the precincts could not be counted because of ballot and seal tampering, we positively knew in our own minds  that we had accomplished our task of forcing them to cheat the election big time.

      Where do we go from here with a government that will not obey the law on election night to allow us to see the ballots and the only known way of getting to them was the Circuit Court Judges’ Recount. No one would allow us to be on their recount groups, so we needed another method. We waited almost a year, and on August 24, 2009, we set out in four groups to deliver as many Freedom of Information Act requests to see the ballots with the hope that one would allow us in to photograph the ballots.

      The next video is a recap of the delivery of the ballots. One interesting thing to note while watching this video is the time it took from the first jurisdiction that had no word of what was happening to her in the City of Plainwell to the next jurisdiction at Valley Township, which took approximately a half hour to drive. The information went from Plainwell to the County Clerk’s office, and then to Lansing. The clerk in Valley had already received an email from the County Clerk’s office, backed up with a telephone call on the decision made by Brad Whitman from Lansing, which turned out to be wrong.

   The jurisdictions that we have gotten through at least once are all listed under the election heading with evidence published from our audits. We need volunteers to help work on both these and other jurisdictions. As counts are completed, we will post the entire database of ballots with the worksheets so they can be viewed.

     We have several issues:

1. Ballot totals that we photographed that were higher than the official totals attested to by all of the election workers in the poll book.

2. If federal, state, and local races are OK, and the school board races have large variances, I feel that is evidence that the people holding the ballots changed them, because the machine would only change the major federal and state races. The school boards are very difficult to get right, and if they were juggling with other races to get in line with the official totals, then it would make sense that these races would have large variances.

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