December 12, 2004
Important Notice for Recount Volunteers: Cuyahoga County Recount Takes Place Thursday December 16th. MUST SIGN UP TODAY!!!!!
RECOUNT STARTS DECEMBER 16 IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY
To everyone interested in the Cuyahoga County Recount:
THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY RECOUNT IS TAKING PLACE THIS THURSDAY DECEMBER 16!
As some of you might know, Cuyahoga County has over one million registered voters. Are we counting a million ballots on Thursday?-don't worry!-this is not the case. What happens is that 3% of ballots cast in the county are actually hand-counted. This adds up to about 20,212. So that is why the Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Michael Vu, hopes that it can be started and finished all in one day. He has set aside Friday as well, just in case we cannot. Now, if you are one of those people who has been dreaming of singlehandedly counting every single ballot in this county, you may get a second chance-if things are not adding up by the end of the recount, procedure says that they must recount everything. Now the people at the Board of Elections are tired. They've been working for a really long time. (most of us probably understand all too well how they are feeling) So we might want to expect that they're going to do whatever they can to make sure that those counts add up. They want to look good. They want their county and their Director to look competent. But most of all, they probably want to get some sleep!
That's where we come in as witnesses/observers. We need to make sure that we are scrupulously, fastidiously, conscientiously, relentlessly (yeah I'm a big fan of the thesaurus, but I can't stress this point enough) watching this count. We're going to be there if a BoE staffer thinks the number 5 comes after 3, if someone decides that they want to take some ballots home as a souvenir, and --yes, if you followed the Florida tragedy from last time-we're going to be pointing out those dimpled and pregnant chads! Sounds fun, doesn't it. So here are the details:
If you are going to witness/observe the recount on Thursday:
1. I need your full name, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Add my name to witness" in the subject line. I'd also love to have your phone number on that email (the one you can be reached at on Thursday). According to the BoE, in order for you to observe, you need to be named by a candidate in a signed letter received by Wednesday at 12pm. My deadline on this is 6pm on Sunday (yes that is tomorrow!)
note: if you are not sure if you can witness, give me your name just to be safe. We can have as many names as we want on the list.
Note#2: we are working on getting this deadline pushed back. This means that I NEED YOUR NAME BY SUNDAY AT 6PM. However, if it happens that you get a phone call at 7pm on Sunday from your friend in Pennsylvania who wants to bring in 20 volunteers, let me know. There is a slight chance we may be able to add names after this deadline, as long as the letter is received by 12pm on Wednesday.
2. No matter what time you can actually observe, you need to be at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (on the corner of E. 30th and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland) at 8am on Thursday morning. They are doing a mandatory, roughly one hour training for all observers.
3. We are having our own training Sunday at 2:30pm at the First United Methodist Church at 3000 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland (at the corner of E. 30th and Euclid.) The meeting will be in room 301 on the third floor. Parking is behind the building.
If you absolutely cannot come to this, let me know. I may be able to schedule another training on Monday or Tuesday to make sure that everyone can participate.
4. The actual recount will start right after the BoE training, probably around 9am. We are planning to have three shifts-9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, and 5pm-8pm. If it gets to be close to 8pm and the count is almost done, we will stay until it is finished. However, if we are obviously far from finishing, the recount will go in to Friday as well. If you have not yet done this, email our volunteer coordinators at Cuyahoga_recount@systemsforchange.com with the shifts you are available.
At the meeting with Michael Vu, he seemed hesitant to allow any type of video or recording device by the observers. However, he did say that the media will be allowed, but further back. I would suggest that if you have any contacts with local media, let them know the recount is occurring. If the witnesses/observers cannot videotape, let's have media there to do it!
We still need volunteers, so email/call/visit anyone you can think of who would be a good observer, and bring them to the training Sunday.
Thanks so much everyone. We are in the process of making history!
Cuyahoga County Green-Libertarian Recount Coordinator.