Affidavit: Many ballot irregularities - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Affidavit: Many ballot irregularities

McCrory claims he found 877 anomalies after reviewing ballots

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Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 9:38 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - The absentee ballot envelopes have been reviewed, and around 900 have possible irregularities, a court filing says.

Bill McCrory, a supporter of seat 2 challenger Jim Brannon and who recently attempted unsuccessfully to intervene in the election challenge lawsuit, signed a court affidavit claiming he found 877 anomalies after reviewing the absentee ballot envelopes July 7.

Those range from questionable elector signatures and envelopes that weren't dated or time stamped by the election staff when they were received, the affidavit states.

But election officials said they aren't so sure those are missteps at all.

They took an oath of privacy pertaining to the ballot material that was reviewed last week, but said the alleged envelope anomalies could just appear that way to the untrained eye.

"That's certainly the big picture," said Dan English, Kootenai County clerk. "I just have to wonder if there was an inaccurate conclusion."

The biggest number of envelopes with alleged anomalies, according to the affidavit, is the 699 envelopes that didn't have the time stamped on them, and another 593 envelopes that weren't dated, violations of Idaho code, the affidavit states.

It's called time stamping, and must be done by the office when it receives the absentee votes "mailed or delivered to the officer," according to Idaho code 50-447.

But just because they're not time-stamped doesn't mean they're inadmissible, English said, as some aren't required to be.

The Secretary of State's Office classifies voters who walk in early to vote - not the ones who receive ballots though the mail - as their voting day, and therefore don't need to be time stamped.

Of the roughly 2,000 people who voted absentee leading up to the Nov. 3, 2009, city general election, just over 900 of them walked in early, meaning their envelopes wouldn't need it.

It's unclear if those are the same ballots McCrory entered as questionable pertaining to time stamping. He did not return messages from The Press. Brannon's attorney, Starr Kelso, declined to comment.

"The affidavit speaks for itself," Kelso said. "It is what it is."

Brannon is challenging his five vote loss to seat 2 incumbent Mike Kennedy for the Coeur d'Alene City Council. After dozens of motions and several court hearings, the county turned over the requested ballot materials for review. They're back under lock and key now, but McCrory's affidavit included photographs of several of the questionable envelopes.

"Anyone can say anything. They can take anything and turn it this way and that," said Deedie Beard, election manger at the time of the election, since retired. "I conducted that election, and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that nothing was illegal."

The affidavit said about 56 envelopes did not have bar codes, and 35 lacked labels.

The bar codes are akin to bar codes in a supermarket, essentially a convenience tool that allows the election staff to swipe in the received ballot through a computer, Beard and English said. If the bar code is absent or is only a partial that can't be read, the staff can enter the voter information by hand.

"It's great to have in a bigger county like ours," English said. "But it's not a requirement."

Beard's envelope was included in the affidavit.

The labels are the voter's name and address printed out. Beard said those too could be written by hand, and were not a matter of law. Idaho codes 50-446 and 50-447, which the affidavit cited, does not say that either the label or code is required.

The affidavit also pinpoints about 15 envelopes that had signature anomalies. Of those, either the signature didn't match the printed label of the voter, weren't signed at all, or had a "whited out" signature.

Included in the affidavit are photos of two envelopes where the signature didn't match the label name. Both appear to be from married couples with the same last name, where the female signed the envelope with the male's label, such as with Christopher and Debra Locke. Debra Locke signed the envelope on which was Christopher Locke's printed label.

The couples could not be located for comment.

But it could be a case of a common misstep made by married couples, Beard said.

When a couple each receives an absentee ballot in the mail, they can accidentally switch envelopes before signing and mailing them back. Their votes are mailed back separately, but in switched envelopes, and therefore counted.

"Every time we go to training the Secretary of State's office tells us time and time again to err on the side of the voter," English said of the allowance.

There are four examples in the affidavit that state the envelopes weren't signed. In each case, the envelope was signed, but under the line that only military and abroad voters are to sign. Regular absentee ballots have only one place for the elector's signature. For military and abroad, there are two, but they are only supposed to sign the second one which affirms they are indeed military or abroad.

There were several envelopes included under other types of anomalies, according to the affidavit.

The trial has been set for 9 a.m. Sept. 13.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • RadRevD posted at 8:35 pm on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    with every title and dollar added, they lose a measure of compunction.

  • LTRLTR posted at 5:36 pm on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    RadRevD: The couple voting from the Industrial Park is very suspicious given the family ties in that area to City Council.

    It is plain stupid that anyone would not realize that Industrial Way or Industrial Ave is not a residential area. The Hayden couple said in the Press they have been voting from that address for years. Plain laziness on part of the Kootenai Co. Elections Office. That is why we need a fresh Election's Clerk.

    It is funny how every government entity looks the other way when they go up in the food chain.

  • DeNiles posted at 4:29 pm on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    I guess the bigger question might be were all irregular ballots counted regardless of the candidate or were just certain ones accepted and others set aside? Is this just sloppy election management or was there intention to manipulate the final vote tally in a particular direction?

  • taxpayer posted at 3:17 pm on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    taxpayer Posts: 321

    this ongoing court case will solve nothing

    just another reason why every single election in america should be done the same way, federal, state and local at all levels of government, and not left up to local governments on what they can afford to do

    money has to come from the feds to make sure all governments have the money to run every election the same way everywhere

  • RadRevD posted at 12:17 pm on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    Thanks LTRLTR for the delineation of errant non-resident voters.

    How many others are there? Any felons? The couple voting from the Industrial Park is very suspicious given the family ties in that area to City Council.

    I once suggested online voting. Do we need to vote at city hall and dip our thumb in the ink to preserve integrity? There still wouldn't be proof of residency required. The system is broken and strewn with loopholes to permit non-residents to cast ballots. Perhaps we should accept the inevitable, stop the charades, and embrace the coming Unlimited Hereditary Monarchy of the New World Order.

  • straight up posted at 10:47 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 929

    No need for explanations at this stage.

    I have to place my trust in the judge to determine the validity of mistakes, oversights or if fraud was committed.

  • Dan English posted at 10:32 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    Dan English Posts: 153

    Dan, I do remember exchanging some emails back before the Primary about some election calendar items.

    I'm sorry but I must have missed the one you are referring to. If you would please send it along with any background information I will be glad to check into the answer and let you know or meet with you.

  • Dan English posted at 10:29 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    Dan English Posts: 153

    Dan, I do remember exchanging some emails back before the Primary about some election calendar items.

    I'm sorry but I must have missed the one you are referring to. If you would please send it along with any background information I will be glad to check into the answer and let you know or meet with you.

  • WannaBe JD posted at 10:25 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    WannaBe JD Posts: 110

    Let me get this straight, absentee ballots are returned to the elections office UNSIGNED yet they were counted because the benefit goes to the voter?

  • Dan Gookin posted at 10:02 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 680

    Mr. English, you have still not returned my email asking how your office listed 10,000 people as voting in the 2006 East Side Highway District Levy election when the official results tallied far less. Those 10,000 people included thousands, including myself, who do not live in the East Side Highway District. I have examined the poll books and found them to be accurate, however I sent you an email asking about the computer data, which showed the erroneous 10,000+ voters. That email was sent months ago. Why haven't you answered?

  • LTRLTR posted at 8:36 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    I have become very disappointed with the Election's Office too.

    The military man who lived once in Post Falls was allowed to vote in Coeur d'Alene in 2009. According to the State Election Registered Voter web site, he is now registered to vote in Post Falls for 2010.

    The married couple who live in Hayden was allowed to vote in Coeur d'Alene in 2009 using their Industrial Park address, that everyone can recognize as a non-residential area even County Employees. Their information has since been changed on the State Election Registered Voter web site to vote in Hayden for 2010.

    The lady living in Canada for years,who married a Canadian, gave birth to Canadian Children, was allowed to use property in a family trust and the home of relatives in Coeur d'Alene as her personal residence for voting purposes seems very wrong to me.

    Obviously, the Kootenai County Election's office has since made corrections in their office after the flaws were revealed by others thanks to a very close election.

    Dan, I will not be voting for you again. My trust in our election system has been broken.

  • uncle fester posted at 8:24 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    uncle fester Posts: 831

    Lets face it Kennedy didn't win but was allowed to be seated. The system didn't work and now just continues to not work. For the people that say just let it go, Kennedy must be your candidate. I would love to see Kennedy kicked out and made to refund his salary.

  • curiouser posted at 7:51 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    curiouser Posts: 78

    This is amazing. Those lawsuit people need to get over it. Clearly they have a desired conclusion and are working backward to "prove" their point. How would a husband and wife signing each other's envelope mean Brannon actually won?
    Did they even ask anyone in elections WHY all envelopes are not the same (ie "irregular?") Or is this a "don't confuse me with the facts" problem?
    And words like "stuffing" or "fraud" have no correlation with missing date stamps. Use your common sense!!

  • Dan English posted at 7:19 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    Dan English Posts: 153

    And I would be glad to have either of you or anyone else stop by my office and visit with me directly. I will do my best to answer any questions or concerns that you have that I'm able to. There seems to be a lot of incomplete or innacurate information circulating around about the election process that I would like to clear up firsthand if given the chance.

    We work hard to ensure your votes do count and I believe they do.

    I would also be glad to walk through with you in person, RadRevD, the federal voting laws that protect the on-going voting rights for U.S. citizens living in other countries both military and non-military.

    Even if you don't agree with my answers or I can't answer all of your questions, at least we will have given each other the courtesy of making our best honest attempt to communicate.

  • straight up posted at 6:42 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 929

    The question that begs answering is why does it take an outside third party to audit ballots to find errors?

    What was the County Clerk's Office doing?

    I want my vote to count and I have serious doubts now about any election that has been facilitated by the County Clerk's Office.

    My automatic "Yes" vote for Dan English each election cycle is in serious doubt this time around.

  • RadRevD posted at 6:28 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    more likely slop that permitted stuffing with irregular ballots. Weren't some of those absentee ballots mailed to distant, non-military addresses and to people no longer residents of Coeur d'Alene? It's a blurred line between slop and fraud. My vote no longer counts!

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