City Desk

Communications Blackout from BOEE

LL has been trying to reach to reach anyone in a position of authority at the Board of Elections and Ethics all day to no avail. Spokesperson Dan Murphy has not answered or returned numerous phone calls made by LL. Just now, he was told by a very kind, very polite BOEE receptionist that, "I was told to tell you that they are in a meeting." Asked when that meeting would be over, she said, "I'm not sure."

The last official communication between the board and any media, near as LL can tell, was late last night, when Murphy briefed reporters in the lobby of One Judiciary Square. There he explained that an erroneous tally from one precinct, with its polling place at the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs, were responsible for bad numbers in citywide and Ward 2 races.

From LL's point of view, the explanation might make sense, now that it is clear that the bad precinct, 141, was a Ward 2 precinct. (The Reeves Center is actually outside the precinct, in Ward 1, leading to much confusion.) Also, there is no evidence, as LL reported earlier today, that new numbers were issued this morning. The most recent numbers, posted on the BOEE site at of 12:46 a.m., count 142 of 143 precincts, with one outstanding in Ward 1 Ward 2.

Lots of unanswered questions:

  • Can all of the electoral troubles be traced to Precinct 141?
  • Is that the outstanding precinct? Or is it another one?
  • What exactly was the problem at the Reeves Center? Bad optical scanner? Were the ballots rescanned? Or was data from the scanner re=downloaded?
  • Why weren't the preliminary results given a once-over? Even a cursory glace would have turned up irregularities.
  • What is being discussed in the meeting? Who is in the meeting?
  • Why has information been so scarce? Why is the spokesperson been behind closed doors all morning instead of being a spokesperson?

Headed down to One Judiciary! Throw your additional unanswered election questions in the comments.

UPDATE, 3:15 P.M.: Shortly before 3 p.m., Murphy emerged with a stack of statements. He was prompted to do so, LL is told, only after Channel 9's Bruce Johnson stormed, with a cameraman, into the back area of the office here. (LL arrived after all this went down.) The statement essentially reprises Murphy's explanation last night, that "one defective cartridge caused vote totals to be duplicated into multiple races." The board stands by the most recent results, and board chair Errol Arthur says both the board and vendor Sequoia Voting Systems are reviewing how the error occurred.

After passing out written copies of the statement, Murphy retreated into the office, only to return to read the statement out loud before the cameras, LL is told. He answered a few brief questions then left.

A few minutes ago, a gentleman named Dan Rene of PR firm Impact Strategies left the board's office suite. He directed reporters' questions to his boss, who did not immediately respond to inquiries.

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  • http://dcdl.org KCinDC

    Looking at the DCBOEE results you link to, I think you meant "Ward 2" when you wrote "with one outstanding in Ward 1."

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Mike DeBonis

    I dunno...it shows "13/14" next to the Ward 2 races. Ward 1 races show "16/16." What are you seeing?

  • http://dcdl.org KCinDC

    Right, therefore it appears the Ward 2 races are the ones that have a precinct outstanding, not Ward 1 as you wrote.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Mike DeBonis

    Oh, you're absolutely right. That was a complete typo. I thought I had said "Ward 2" originally and spaced. Thanks for catching it.

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