Monday, March 30, 2015

Reposts done; now returning to posting only new blog posts

I have completed all the reposts now and will resume my usual posting of new blogs approximately once every week.

I will also post a new table of context soon so it is easy to find old posts, especially since they're buried under a hundred and fifty old posts. This will be organized according to subject matter so it is easier to find than the chronological order automatically available by blogposts or their author tags. Many of these posts were not intended to be time sensitive so they are just as relevant now as when I posted them. I may also revise the style and take advantage of the different option they provide as well after experimenting a little.

Old posts have included the comments from Open Salon, which have been much more common than ones here so far. However due to technical aspects of Open Salon, when accounts were deleted all posts and comments disappeared, so some of the conversations may be one sided. Also they allowed people to change their names and they automatically changed with the comments so there are some examples where comments address a specific person and it appears to be addressed to another although few people used this option.

I also reposted a few posts from other bloggers with citations for the original blogger either with permission or under fair use. I knew the people that wrote them originally and they intended them to be public so I doubt if they would object, but if I'm mistaken and they contact me then I will change that. They're unlikely to get much attention here for now but at least they won't be lost.

Since I posted so many reposts so fast some of my recent posts were buried and they don't seem to have gotten as much traffic as a result of that. If anyone is interested the following are some of the most recent, including some that I think are quite good.

Saving Project Vote Smart and improving it or replacing it

The threat to police is greatly exaggerated

Wal-Mart Crime report February 2015

A Brief History of Cops Convicted of Murder

Jill Stein addressed many issues in 2012; “viable” candidates didn’t!! 2016??

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

Debtors Prison WTF~

I read these two articles yesterday with my teeth gritting. It seems that the corporate world no longer just want your house, your car  and your blood, sweat and tears, no, no,  they now want to put people in debtors prisons with common criminals. They want to lock up honest people who have done nothing wrong but but fail to pay their mortgages and car payments and credit cards because they are laid off and can't find a job in what even the President of the United States has said is the worse economy since the Great Depression. This is an outrage!
(Originally posted by Scanner on Open Salon, March 28, 2011, more details below)

This is what AIG of all companies, did to a man in Indiana

 In September 2009, Jeffrey Stearns, a concrete-company owner, answered a knock at the door from a Hancock County, Ind., deputy sheriff. The deputy was holding a warrant to arrest Mr. Stearns for not paying $4,024.88 owed to a unit of American International Group Inc. on a loan for his pickup truck.

After being handcuffed in front of his four children, Mr. Stearns, 29 years old, spent two nights in jail, where he said he was strip-searched and sprayed for lice. Court records show he was released after agreeing to pay $1,500 to the loan company. "I didn't even know I was being sued," he said, though he doesn't dispute owing the money. "It's the scariest thing that ever happened to me."

They are now in the process of training new judges in Florida in the proper way to jail people who cannot pay their debts. "Before we take a person's freedom away, we want to make sure there are procedural safegaurds" a state judge in Palm Beach County, Fla is quoted as saying. So now, not only are the prisons so overcrowed that there are lines of people waiting to get in, non-violent people, but we are going to put citizens in jail for owing a few hundred dollars on their credit cards. That are behind on a couple of house payments.
This country spent billions bailing out these same companies that now want to lock up debtors.  How many of these scumbags went to jail for bankrupting their companies? Not only did they they not get locked up, they were sent away with "golden parachutes" worth millions and millions of dollars that our tax dollars paid for. Now, we have to lock up law-abiding citizens for doing something that is minute compared to these very companies. If President Obama and his Justice Department let this happen, then he is as guilty as any one of those bastards. 

Wall Street Journal:

More than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who can't or won't pay to be jailed. Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties with a total population of 13.6 million people,
In 1833 the Federal Government did away with debtors prisons. States soon followed. In the United States, it is now unconstitutional to put someone in jail for not paying a legal debt. I know when I lost my house, my credit went in the crapper for the next seven years. I can't buy a pencil on credit and I agree, I shouldn't be able to. Just because my wife and I were unable to work, these companies deserve their money. They took my house, why should I now have to go to prison. I put thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours labor into my house.They seem to think a person is trying to screw them and this is just wrong.
It also looks kind of funny that Corrections Corporations of America, or CCA, the weasels that run a lot of the prisons in this country, are up to their necks in this. The building and the running of private prisons is now at an all time high and they are cramming people in jails already full to make more money. This company has over 60 prisons with over 90,000 beds and business is good, very good. This is the company that had to settle lawsuits for improper care and letting people die. For a fucking credit card bill. WTF~
More than a third of the states right now are letting this happen, with prison and corporate lobbyists in every state capital pushing for more. You cannot get blood out of a turnip, no matter how hard you squeeze. How does a person pay a debt back while they are in jail;. How do they get a job when they get out with a prison record. This my friends is going on right under our noses, yet we do nothing. We are letting these corporations get away with murder, literally, by locking up honest citizens who cannot pay their bills because there are no jobs.
There is something incredibly evil underneath all of this. I am not saying that it's a good thing to walk away from debt, but it seems to me that in a time when people are barely clinging to the barest of necessities, when unemployment rages on without an end in sight and unemployment benefits are being cut by states, and when the banksters got off with not so much as a slap on the wrist and most of our savings, it's a really, really bad time to be throwing people in jail for an unpaid credit card which was probably issued with usury interest rates and fees that exceed the credit limit (which triggers yet more fees).

                                                A Live Weasel Talking

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

The taxpayers bailed out AIG--and others. And the taxpayers support and feed prisoners. With more and more taxpayers out of jobs, not paying taxes..not paying debts..not bailing anyone all goes to a circle heading quickly down the drain

Satori1 March 28, 2011 09:28 AM

Doesn;t make sense does it?

If you are in how are you going to make money so they will let you out?

rated with hugs

Linda Seccaspina March 28, 2011 09:49 AM

Scanner, you and I could be sharing a cell soon. I want the top bunk!

David McClain March 28, 2011 10:02 AM

The guy in the video is talking nonsense. Bankruptcy has never been a taint for any business large or small. It's always been an "exit" strategy, that's precisely what it was designed for, it's smart business. Businesses get to write off bad debts when people don't pay and that reduces their profits and tax burden. They should be grateful to get the tax breaks instead of whining when they get what they asked for.

Putting people in jail means they can't continue to buy stuff from businesses and that will only increase their tax burden. These people are simply not intelligent and they'll succumb to Darwin eventually. CCA was behind the anti-immigration furor and they're just adding another group which is more smart business. Cannibalism among corporations is part of their nature.

Speaking from a moral standpoint, which they aren't capable of understanding, it's just plain wrong. Either way, it's not sustainable, we may have to get into another war to distract everyone. The inmates are drunk in the asylum. Thanks for a great post, I had no idea debtors prison was revived.

l'Heure Bleue March 28, 2011 10:05 AM

Satori1, AIG> Just saying that makes me want to puke. Yet they are locking people up.

Linda, I had to go to Wikipedia to even find out there were debtors prisons at one time. I guess it's now time for the big comeback!

Tor, you can have the top bunk, I'm afraid of heights. (and big guys named Bruno)

Bleue, if the Justis Department doesn't take this on and nip it in the bud, then Obama and his crew need to be shown the door!

scanner March 28, 2011 10:18 AM

I'd go to jail tomorrow if I'm afforded the same inprisonment as Uncle Madoff. ;)

Kidding aside.

When white collar crimes are prosecuted with the same vigor as those are re blue collar crimes, there will be more criminals than there are noncriminals.

Belinda T. March 28, 2011 10:22 AM

Dickensian, alright. Pure Evil. r.

Jonathan Wolfman March 28, 2011 10:23 AM

They're training for The Great Roundup.

Matt Paust March 28, 2011 10:23 AM

next they'll be putting the mentally ill in cellars and pay you one dollar a day...we have returned to the 17th century

Lyn LeJeune March 28, 2011 10:26 AM

It is being done to create fear.

Leepin Larry March 28, 2011 10:45 AM

I had no idea this was happening! Thanks for bringing this to my attention.


Susie Lindau March 28, 2011 10:48 AM

They are brewing the conditions that foment rebellions. Do they really think that popular uprisings can't happen here? No, we haven't reached that point yet...but we are going in that direction. Personally, no, I don't believe that lenders deserve their pounds of flesh...not when they are charging usurious rates and foreclosing on needy families. With 13% of the housing units in the United States VACANT we need to ask the question:

Where did all those people go?

sagemerlin March 28, 2011 11:06 AM

Belinda, are you kidding, the tennis courts there are in terrible shape.

Jon, it's just more proof that we are now run by corporations. Maybe we always have, but at least it wasn't so obvious.

Matt, 1/3 of the states and counting!

Elijah, isn't this the reason we had a revolution to start with?

Fett, the old dudes with the powered wigs now have $100 haircuts and think they are Gods!

Larry, exactly. But you can't fear any money out of my wallet. It's been crying the blues for a long time!

Susie, I didn't either. This to me is just so wrong.

Sage, we are now renters. We drive old clunkers and pay cash for everything. I wish I had always done this. It's freeing in a strange sort of way.

scanner March 28, 2011 11:16 AM Free room and board!!

Seriously it didn’t work before and it won’t work again; the only question is how much damage will they insist on doing before they learn the same lesson all over again? They will only make the deficit higher paying for the people in prison.

The last time I tried to beat blood out of a rock I thought I was succeeding until I realized it was my blood; the rock apparently didn’t have any.

zacherydtaylor March 28, 2011 11:22 AM

This is a lot of investigative research?, Scanner- and very informative for me. You know, I've come to tune off anyone who starts by saying "The fact of the matter is.." They are just not trustworthy to me. Good work, my friend.


FusunA March 28, 2011 11:27 AM

Well, if they want me, I ain't hard to find. Funny, over 2,000 bankers did time over the S & L debacle in the eighties. As far as I know, not a single Wall Street creep has even been arrested in what is a far worse drain on the people and the country. The too big to fail are now bigger than ever, while the little guy gets left holding the bag of s#*t. Our government is a calamity of errors with no end in sight.

Michael Rodgers March 28, 2011 11:33 AM

Where else could a system based on greed and self-interest, alone, end up? I suspect nobody is really surprised by this.

Rick Lucke March 28, 2011 11:44 AM

Yikes! I remember someone going to jail because they had a pile of unpaid parking tickets. Jail as big business. The power is scary.

zanelle March 28, 2011 11:56 AM

Jesus, I had no idea this is happening. So are all the execs from the banks who were bailed out going to jail? No, because they stole enough money to get away with it. Default on some loans or credit cards for a few thousand bucks, go to jail. Rob the nation of billions, retire early! Up is down and down is up.

This is why it's so important to pay attention and vote for decent candidates. This is why it's important to keep posting!

Maureen Andrade March 28, 2011 11:57 AM

I commented here once but it didn't show - anyway. I think you hit it on the head with the CCA - there is a lot of easy money to be made with government contracts - and with crime at an all time low criminals to house in these new facilities have to be found somewhere - why not the already down and out, right? Great topic to be shedding light on. Thanks. R

LammChops March 28, 2011 12:26 PM

I feel like I went to bed one night a woke up in the 18th century!


L in the Southeast March 28, 2011 12:33 PM

This sort of thing doesn't surprise me. It scares me, as it should everyone, but I'm definitely not surprised.

Duane Gundrum March 28, 2011 12:34 PM

That's the Catch-22 for normal people. If the ones that caused this mess were to be arrested you would also have to arrest the entire political system which would include elected judges. Banks own payday loan companies that screw the poor even more. Our system is so corrupt it is almost in disarray over anything. They in charge like it that way. We in turn by voting and paying taxes perpetuate our own misery. Great post Scanner........o/e r}++++++

older/exasperated March 28, 2011 12:50 PM

like others, I had no idea either. Man. thank you for bringing this out. Rated.

Michelle Coulter March 28, 2011 12:55 PM

Wonderful, isn't it?

~PFFFFFT~ People wonder why I want to become a terrorist.

Sheesh........try working in the system, and they'll eat ya up and spit it out!!!!!

Tinkerertink69 March 28, 2011 01:04 PM

Thank you for the heads up. I do find that there has been a shift into the land of Draconian implementation of law and punitive damage to working people with no prosecution of the wealthy who use this as a money generating opportunity. There is no economic justice until we change this skewed system. I'm so angry over this article I could spit. We bail out the rich banks, give tax cuts to those who truly don't need them and then send to prison those workers who aren't trying to scam the system, the system has scammed them. Ach this is such a mess.

GiWimpthinker March 28, 2011 01:07 PM

An outrage, isn't it? The Saturday New York Times featured another example--Countrywide suing and succeeding in having a debtor jailed for a year for following its advice and lying on a loan form.

Leon Freilich March 28, 2011 01:09 PM

This is really f*** scary.

...and you make a great point about sweat equity invested when they take a house, where's that calculation entered??? I understand debt needing re-paying, but as you say, debtor's prison is NOT the answer, there's a reason it was outlawed so long ago...

Just Thinking... March 28, 2011 01:11 PM

I think a lot of it gets down to the individual debt collectors crossing the line, similar with problems with IRS agents in the past.

So many issues here, including the right to sign a contract you cannot understand and the right to borrow money you cannot pay. None of the predatory lenders have been punished. There used to be a cap on interest, then it was called usury, at something like 18%, and that has been deregulated for a while. To our utter horror.

The best way to stay out of trouble is to want as little as possible, purchase only things you can pay for in cash, and not sign contracts for things you cannot guarantee to pay. Unemployment a whole other issue. As to debt reform, there are a lot of gamblers and stinkers out there who ruined it for the lot of us less than wealthy. I have known one or two. I still pay my debts even when I am told I may not have to.

Oryoki Bowl March 28, 2011 01:23 PM

Outrageous. Perpetrated by many who cling to the cloaks of religiosity but clearly have no use for their fellow man. Evil, yes...Lezlie is right...but I would go even further back in history. Great post, Scanner. R

A Persistent Muse March 28, 2011 01:57 PM

Everything I have seen about this over the last week or so has been tertiary sources; someone writes someone wrote someone wrote something happened.

The WSJ always shows up in the chian. Hard to accept the WSJ is a Murdoch rag.

I haven't dug very deep into this either. Probably would want to find primary source evidence before taking to an underground existance.

another steve s March 28, 2011 02:08 PM

My uncle went to debtors prison. My aunt was pregnant. Her child was born with Downs. She fed her two other kids over herself. Sad, sad. R

Sheba Marx March 28, 2011 02:22 PM

As Charles Dickens railed, via Ebenezer Scrooge, "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?". And the answer is still, sadly, "Yes, lots."

Jeanette DeMain March 28, 2011 02:26 PM

This is sickening...xox

Robin Sneed March 28, 2011 02:34 PM

I don't call Republicans conservatives anymore. I call them regressives. Great post, Scanner.

Sarah Cavanaugh March 28, 2011 03:45 PM

WTF indeed!

We bail out those lamprey parasites and they have the gall to arrest a man in front of his KIDS when he was obviously not aware of their action!?!?!? Where's the knock on the door and the friendly "let's work this out" convo?

Linda Treiber March 28, 2011 03:55 PM

"How does a person pay a debt back while they are in jail;. How do they get a job when they get out with a prison record."

Here in Florida you don't! There are thousands of people in Florida jails who will never get out of jail. Why? Because they don't have the money to pay for their incarceration. Yes, in Florida you pay for each day you spend in jail. Can't come up with the money, you stay in jail. How do you think they keep the roads clean and the ditches dug? It's all done with prison labor, paying off this debt! And now the rethuglican legislature just passed a law that allows people to pay them off, to get laws passed. This was in yesterdays St Pete Times. Evidently they are using the cockamamie story, that it allows them to be more " transparent". Only in fucking Florida!

Kenny1948 March 28, 2011 04:04 PM

stop whining. people who vote for politicians must learn to live with the consequences.

tbf, americans were enslaved in 1787, in perpetuity, by the constitution. great grand dad did it to you, and lincoln didn't fix it.

democracy is possible, the swiss seem to have stumbled into it, but america hasn't got it. looks like they're too dumb to even want it. look around you, it's not just debtor's prison, there's star chambers too, and war at the king's direction.

anyway, find yourself a local grandee and kiss his ass daily. the only job that's in demand is 'lackey.'

al loomis March 28, 2011 05:11 PM

Wow, I remember when they only threw you in jail for not paying your child support.

noah tawls March 28, 2011 06:30 PM

Excellent and disturbing point and I think besides your good post, Belinda's comment says it all.

marytkelly March 28, 2011 07:30 PM

They think the jails are crowded now, just wait! Where in the hell is this kind of thinking coming from?

SheilaTGTG55 March 28, 2011 07:38 PM

Debtor's prisons are archaic. I cannot believe they are going to start these again. But, what to do they control the media. We are locked into a two party presidential election that does not make much sense because it does not represent all of the people of America. Plus, there is not way for the average American to run for most elections with the amount of money it takes to run a campaign. This is truly a sad moment in the times of the United States of America. They send their jobs over seas. They take their houses and cars. Then they put them in prison and take them away from their family. It is just horrible.

Kimberly Rooney March 28, 2011 10:12 PM

I hadn't heard of this Scanner. Unreal. This is beyond words.

Kathy Knechtges March 28, 2011 11:19 PM

I predict
riots in the streets
if not
Thanks for your
excellent reporting and analysis
rated with love

RomanticPoetess March 29, 2011 12:56 AM

Yep, this is where we are heading my dear friend; What a country. R

Thoth March 29, 2011 12:57 AM

When did this country start moving backward? When'll it stop?
Keep after the hard right bastards, Scanner.

Leon Freilich March 29, 2011 12:21 PM

A collective WTF is definitely in order here! These guys crash the economy, take away jobs for people to be able to pay their bills, and then get to go after those who can't find means to pay their bills? Well, business for the prisons will be significant because I know many who can't do that right now. Sparking March 29, 2011 09:38 PM

Oh my God is this really happening? and now that Colombia is copying everything U.S. does that means soon here they are going to put us in jail for not being able to pay our debts.. which means... I´m going to jail... Sweet Lord.. I just hope I don´t get to share the cell with a crazy sexmaniac or what is worst with a crazy trasnvesty with a pair of scissors... I´m doomed... Im going to be a crazy´s bitch... I can´t be someone´s bitch... this is so wrong.. sooo fucking wrong.. I am a good person and I do not deserve to be sent to the wolfs to be torn to pieces.... oh but one thing I know for sure.. if they send me to jail just wait until I get out I will hunt them down and kill them with my own hands... you just watch and see me do it...

Mauricio Betancourt March 30, 2011 12:11 AM

This is really scary. Thank you for telling us about it.

I asked my lawyer recently if the IRS could jail me, he said no way, debtors prisons were outlawed.

But, after 18 years as an independant contractor, followed by 3 as an employee, I was then laid off. Now, I've been audited for the two years I was on unemployment.

The IRS determined I owe them $12,600 since my debt was reduced by a mortgage modification. WTF?

I bought a house said by the bank to be worth far more than I paid in 2007. I never had a credit card or even a car loan before that, because I did not like paying interest or having debt. So I paid for the house partly in cash. Four months later it was worth half of what I paid, so there went my $100,000. Today, it is worth less than I owe on my mortgage.

Unemployment was about 1/4 of my pay. I went to court to get a modification so I didn't lose the house and thus my life savings. The bank reduced my debt by about $90,00 over the life of my loan (instead of paying back quadruple, I pay back triple), and increased my mortgage from 30 years to 40 years.

Now, I got a certified letter from the IRS saying they audited me, and because my debt was reduced, I owe them $12,600 for 2008 & 2009.

My unemployment ran out last summer, and I am borrowing money each month to stay in my house. I owe friends about $10,000 and they can't keep floating me. I have no retirement, no savings, no equity, no nothing. I was much better off as a renter, which I did for 25 years before I bought. My accountant talked me into buying, he said I'd save on taxes. (My taxes were near 40% because I had no debt, no mortgage, no kids, no spouse...yet somehow everything I made was spent on the cost of living. I have not even had a vacation in 20 years, and my car is 17 years old!)

I was worried I'd lose everything, but after reading this I don't know where it will all end.

Indra Sena April 01, 2011 04:15 PM

Sarati Smith, I wouldn't give your troubles to a monkey on a rock. But, it will get better. I lost my house and car two years ago. I fought a law firm for 6 months by myself. I couldn't afford a lawyer. Finally, after another continuance for them to find some paperwork they lied about, I let it go. I got off the grid. I am in debt and will stay in debt for seven years, but I could care less. I sleep now because I let it go. I rented me a house in the country. bought me a decent ride off of craigslist for $800.00 and I don't have a worry. Just remember my friend, they can't eat you!!

scanner April 01, 2011 04:34 PM

Hey Scanner, thanks! Your story made me smile because I often think: well, if they take everything I'll be free, claim bankruptcy, and live in an RV, maybe on a beach (I live up in the mountains now).

I'll write all day, and read all night. I'll be free from obligations. I can do seven years debt, as long as I'm outdoors in nature.

I have been reading Song of the Open Road, for inspiration...

Indra Sena April 01, 2011 09:28 PM

I got an email about this- did you sign the petition?

Hayley Rose April 02, 2011 02:56 PM

Hayley Rose, no, but I would love to. If you have the link, it would be mush appreciated. Thanks!

scanner April 02, 2011 04:22 PM

Hi Scanner! I found it! I wanted to post it w my origninal comment but couldn't find it anywhere, pass it on :)

Hayley Rose April 02, 2011 07:55 PM

Originally posted at Debtors Prison WTF~ although it won't be available there much longer it can be confirmed by those who have access to Google archives or other archives.

Kenneth Sibbett posted under the user name, Scanner and was one of the most popular people on Open Salon. It will be a loss for his work not to be available to the public along with a lot of other good articles that are coming down soon. This is one of my favorites of his and I hate to see to go, even if I can't attract the attention to it that he did. Hope he's doing well.

Throwing School Mom in Jail~

What in the hell is wrong with this country? I ask this question again as I read about a respected member of her community who has never been in trouble being charged with a felony and convicted and sentenced to two years in jail on two counts of tampering with records. Her real crime. Wanting to get her kids the best education that is available in this country. Her real crime, her Zip Code numbers are wrong. That's all.!
(Originally posted by Scanner on Open Salon, February 7, 2011, more details below)

Kelly Williams-Bolar from Akron, Ohio  lied about where she lived to get her kids into a better school. The judge suspended the two years, but still sentenced her to pull 10 days in the county jail and do 80 hours of community service, along with various other cost-straining things like probation. She used her fathers address instead of her own to get her kids a better education. While this may be a lack of judgement by this woman who is herself a teachers aide and works in the school system herself, does she really deserve jail time?
She could very well lose her teaching license and her job over something that at most should have been a slap on the hand. I hate to yell "racist" here, but if there is another word, fill me in. African-Americans make lower wages, live in school districts with lower property taxes and therefore go to schools that in comparison to the white and affluent schools are a disgrace. It's true in Akron and just as true where I live. I've seen this first hand and I have yet to see one white person convicted of the same thing in my area of the country.
This is from the Columbian Spectator: 
According to a UCLA study, American schools are now more segregated by class and race than they were in 1954, when the Brown v. Board of Education decision was made. A Harvard study found that, while only 4 percent of white students attend schools where the poverty rate exceeds 80 percent, 43 percent of Latinos and African Americans do. In a country where school funding is determined by district property taxes, this means that the average student of color receives an education of considerably lesser quality than the one afforded to their white counterparts. The National Assessment of Education Progress has confirmed that this system produces better test results amongst white students countrywide. 

This isn't racist?  If public schools are mostly funded by state and federal governments, why should a person of color, and I mention Latin-Americans along with others in this, have to go to inferior schools. When my son was in elementary school I had to do the same thing, along with hundreds of other parents, both white and black, who carried their kids to school everyday. My wife or I carried him to a school in another district because the one that was in our area was over-crowded, under-funded and truthfully, the teachers were just better. Why should a parent be prosecuted for wanting to give their kids a better education?

The year after my son graduated from this school, they had a major crackdown and parents had to have proof their kids lived in the same school district. Not just an envelope like we used, but solid-proof  of some kind. But, not one person had to go to jail. Not one person to my knowledge was even charged. It was common knowledge. Even the teachers had their kids in the same school they taught in, which was just as illegal. Just because they taught there, the law applies to them as well.

Were is the common sense that should be the first thing used in something like this? The prisons are filled with these petty cases while people who use violence in a crime or sex offenders are running the streets.  Cells are filled with drug offenders whose only crime is they were caught buying pot. You want to laugh this is so silly but you can't. Since Ronald Reagan started the war on drugs, millions have been locked up and billions and billions of dollars spent building prisons. I read where we've spent over a trillions dollars so far on the war on drugs and we are worse off than we began. What a joke!

Fortunately, for Ms. Williams-Bolar, the Ohio-Justice and Policy center is taking her case pro-bono. Again, from the Columbian Spectator:

David Singleton, executive director of the center, called Kelley Williams-Bolar's case  "an injustice."''This case never should have been prosecuted criminally," Singleton told the Akron Beacon Journal. "That is the injustice in the first instance. 

"Now she's got two felony convictions and she's at risk of losing her job as a teacher, teaching special-needs kids. That's just way out of proportion to what it is she was found to have done wrong,'' Singleton told the Beacon Journal. ''Prosecutors have enormous discretion, and this is a case that, I would say respectfully, should not have been prosecuted."

An activist group has also collected over a 164,000 signatures to be given to the Governor to get him to pardon this poor woman. Who knows what will happen. Governors are a strange breed. Give them direct DNA evidence against a prisoner proving they are innocent and the will refer to the judge in a lot of cases, politics as usual. Nonsense! District Attorneys decide what cases come forward or not. Unfortunately their vanity often makes the decision for them. What has happened to that good old American Common Sense? I guess it has gone way of out-sourced jobs and the vanishing middle class of this country. Shame on us! 

 All info from these various sources:

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

I would do the same for my child if I had to.

maryway February 07, 2011 10:12 AM

I would do the same.. If she had been white would this have happened.
IT makes me so ill.

rated with hugs

Linda Seccaspina February 07, 2011 10:24 AM


an excellent and useful post.

Greg Correll February 07, 2011 10:30 AM

This is beyond stupidity. What an indictment of the courts. See Bonnie Russell's post today on Lindsay Lohan for further proof that the system stinks right out loud. (If any is needed.)

Boanerges1 February 07, 2011 10:31 AM

It is a terrible sentence. Mom's all over the world can relate to her and the kids probably spend lots of time at her Dad's house so what is the big deal. sigh.

zanelle February 07, 2011 10:35 AM

The funny thing is Scanner, before I saw where she was from, I was thinking to myself 'Only in North Carolina.' I'm from Ohio, and there's only one for this: retarded. Someone should give her an award instead of penalizing her.

Margaret Feike February 07, 2011 10:35 AM

When did Ohio turn barbaric? A disgrace to mankind.

Leon Freilich February 07, 2011 10:44 AM

In California, property taxes fund public schools so rich districts are in wealthy suburbs. So Rancho Santa Fe is like the best private schools and Oakland is a complete mess. Basic unfairness and segregation.

Janice Wood February 07, 2011 10:58 AM

If the system was fair and democratic it would provide a better education for all not just those in the privileged areas. If they throw people in jail for educating the poor then democracy will effectively be outlawed.

zacherydtaylor February 07, 2011 10:59 AM

Why is it that I get the impression that if this lady's child could slam dunk or rush for 100 yards a game that there would likely be no issue here whatsoever.
I agree--this is selective justice unless the judge is practicing "pour l'ecouragment d'autre".

Walter Blevins February 07, 2011 11:07 AM

I can only imagine this prosecution is to let the other blacks know that they will be next.
We have public education in this country but there is nothing equal about it.
Her only problem was getting caught in what many do not consider a crime of any concern.

Mission February 07, 2011 11:14 AM

Oh this is a disgrace. Thank you Scanner, for writing about this. It's beyond disgrace.

I've done this for my kids, my parents did it for me. There was a time when a parent could send their child to any school. I guess too many poor people were burdening the "better schools" with tattered and obviously poor children to allow that to continue.

I want to scream. Someone better step in for this woman AND her kids!

Foolish Monkey February 07, 2011 11:17 AM

I can barely believe this story, so sad that it is true. I hope the Governor has some common sense.


A Life of Healing February 07, 2011 11:23 AM

They're trying to do the same with me and I'm certain color has nothing to do with why I'm facing the possibility of doing time in jail.

It's about color alright! The color of money...prosecutors don't discriminate. They will milk the system any way they can. Regardless of facts. Including her personal history.

Belinda T. February 07, 2011 11:30 AM

The problem is, D.A. s are ranked by the number of convictions they get. Instead of throwing so many people in jail -- which costs states millions -- they should simply raise fines for revenue. Makes no sense.

Thanks for sharing this, scanner.

john blumenthal February 07, 2011 11:31 AM

This is just ridiculous. I have done this for my son.. And I'd do it again too!!!!

white and black February 07, 2011 11:36 AM

Belinda, I think the racism comes in being forced to do this to start with. I also had to do this, but I live out in the country. Not the suburbs where mostly white families live and their kids go to school. The judge was heard to have said he was going to make an example of her. To who? While you may be an exception, the fact is that most African Americans do make less money and do live in poorer parts of the city. Ride through the richer parts of town and then the poorer parts of towns. The difference is astounding. Then check the rosters. Most of the kids are kids of color, it's just a fact. Prosecutors discriminate everyday. Sit in a courtroom all and watch how they operate. Then check the prison system and see how many blacks are in prison in comparison to whites. It's unfair and racist!

scanner February 07, 2011 11:47 AM

It's a travesty.

Cap'n Parrotdead February 07, 2011 11:53 AM

It is way past the time for correcting prosecutor to PERsecutor.

There are way way way too many instances where LE, cops & judges do these things to human beings. Unfortunately, THEY almost never have to answer for their crimes against the public.

XJS AND ME February 07, 2011 11:56 AM

They're making an example of her for the very same reason they're making an example out of me, scanner. I'm not black, but I do understand the politics that're played in courtrooms. That's why I'm risking the possibility of jailtime. I refuse to keep my mouth shut while the State has a team of lawyers, experts, and witnesses ready to slaughter me, I simply won't tolerate their portrayal of me as a violent person. Throw my ass in jail. I won't accept a plea because I'm not guilty of any crime. Period. If they want to waste time and money, I'll reveal every single detail of the case, including the narrative records inundated with erroneous info and outright lies.

What's really appalling, to me, is the underlying message is that we're treated like criminals and we have no rights from the get-go we're guilty until proven innocent.

Belinda T. February 07, 2011 12:10 PM

Absolutely not. I know a bunch of folks who have done this. But they were white and never got caught.

Sheba Marx February 07, 2011 12:17 PM

I called the Governors’ office to ask him to pardon her to clear her record and when I said she was sentenced to 2 years they told me it was only (1 week) completely oblivious to the fact that her record will show two years. Please call his office at 614 466 3555 and ask him to pardon her to clear her record!

PS did somebody say her name was Rosa Parks?

rockne1865 February 07, 2011 12:29 PM

I agree. I think she should get a medal rather than a trial.

rated with love

RomanticPoetess February 07, 2011 12:32 PM

I have no children but I would have done the same. This is just stupid. I know someone will pipe up and say that by putting her two kids in a different school it will keep two kids out who are in the district, but this isn't worthy of jail time. Unbelievable.

Geraint Isitt February 07, 2011 12:37 PM

Shame and outrageous ! Killing a fly with a cannon ball. The warped 'sense of justics' befuddles me to no end, Scanner. Thanks for putting up this. Shame! Shame! Shame!

FusunA February 07, 2011 12:41 PM

As if this country doesn't have REAL problems. And we wonder why the courts are so busy...this is disgusting.

BuffyW February 07, 2011 01:12 PM


Leepin Larry February 07, 2011 01:33 PM

"My wife or I carried him to a school in another district because the one that was in our area was over-crowed... "

Yeah, too many crows in my kid's school, too.

codger07 February 07, 2011 02:00 PM

codger07, you got me cuz! I bet you were the kid in school that told the teacher every time you saw kids talking. Did you clap the blackboard erasers too?

scanner February 07, 2011 02:04 PM

It's a sad day when we go after the good citizens .......people who just want better education for their children, a better chance in life.....And I agree with you, it reeks of racism.......Thank you for this post. Rated.

Lynn Lyra February 07, 2011 02:10 PM

I caught this story on the news and, I agree, their motives are suspect in criminalizing this woman's actions.

Sarah Cavanaugh February 07, 2011 02:58 PM

So what about the myth that only us sothroners (sic) are racists?

Matt Paust February 07, 2011 03:37 PM

I agree with you completely and thanks for the school system/poverty/race stats. People need to read that stuff. I hear too many people say that not only do they think that racism is dead, they think the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

By the way, do you know that Tim Wise is opening a conference in Elon (keynote speaker) at the beginning of April?

koshersalaami February 07, 2011 04:09 PM

So-called "stowaways" are a common occurrence where two school districts of widely varying quality are contiguous. In Boston, parents who can afford it rent apartments in next-door Brookline, where the schools are better, using them as mail drops but never occupy them.

The answer is portability of state educational funds, as many districts have empty seats some years and are full the next.

Con Chapman February 07, 2011 04:48 PM

Scanner how many black kids were you in public schools with? I hate to say something here that may come off racist but if I do not write facts then I am wasting my time writing and your time reading it. Many black children have severe behavioral problems and are extremely disruptive in the classroom as a result of being raised only by their mother and in many instances their Grand parents. Why do you think upwardly mobile blacks want so desperately to live in white neighborhoods and have their children attend white schools?

Having tossed that little bucket of cold water on the noble intentions of this post I feel that it is also imperative to add that when black children are raised and educated with white children there are no discernable differences in intelligence. The problems arise with the board of education itself who inundate black schools with the worst available teachers, fairy tales they euphemistically call black history, and then release upon the country hoards of almost full grown illiterate semi primates who shuffle about with their pants around their knees and an air of entitlement that used to only be reserved for the aristocracy. Many of them feel they are entitled to be considered artists because they are able to rhyme words with the proficiency of an average 4 year old and the animals of our poisonous capitalistic system are only to happy to capitalize on their delusions by recording the ranting's of these chimpanzees and marketing it as art. The target audience of this “art” just happens to be those black children that are still in school thus creating a self perpetuating system that keeps Americas prison economy flourishing.

Jack Heart February 07, 2011 06:18 PM

This case infuriates me beyond belief. Parents do this ALL THE TIME to get their kids into better schools because the system is so fucked up we can't provide EVERY CHILD with a great education. And districts turn a blind eye. I am certain it is racially motivated. And to find out that she is a special needs teacher who may lose her job...I am speechless. And really, really pissed off.

sweetfeet February 07, 2011 09:45 PM

And Jack Heart, I know plenty of kids with severe behavioral problems who are extremely disruptive. They come from a variety of racial and family backgrounds. No race, family, or economic situation has a claim on problems in school. I could be more more poetic, but now I'm really, really, really mad.

sweetfeet February 07, 2011 09:53 PM

I'm glad you publicized this, scanner. It is a shame, and does indeed smell of racism. One of my son's best friends used our address for awhile to continue attending the same high school when her family was in the midst of a move. No one ever challenged it!

And in the case you cite, the kids' address was their grandpa's? I fail to see what the problem was. Let 'em live with Gramps for the record--who are they hurting? Grandpa pays taxes!

SnippytheGrammarDog February 07, 2011 10:04 PM

Wow, Jack Heart. The baggage you carry is heavy indeed.

SnippytheGrammarDog February 07, 2011 10:07 PM

The public school I attended was 80% black. One of my daughters has a boyfriend for the last 4 years who is also black. The leader of the long island chapter of the Cribs is a regular visitor at my house and is more like a son to me than my daughters soft ass college boyfriend. I spent 2 years in state prison where 90% of the inmates were black. I was their dorm rep and they called me “Pharaoh”. I watched as they systematically rapped and robed the same type of pandering fools like sweetfeet and snippy the dog perhaps when you are less “angry” sweetfeet you can give us another example of how to write bad poetry if you would like give me your address I shall send some cribs over to run a train on you perhaps this will provide you with enough inspiration to write beyond the second grade level you usually write at. And as for snippy the dog yes the truth makes for very heavy baggage.The American Black Man will never follow any of you he sees your pandering for just what it is weakness .When you pander to him you become Tom Willis of The Jefferson's. The average white liberals penchant for condescending apologist whimpering towards the black man is the exact weakness that gave life to the strategy that Soros and his fellow elitists used to install the Obamanation and lose us the entire south. All party's concerned must be made to understand that if the black man wants a piece of this pie he will have to earn his stripes just like every other ethnic group that entered America. A 90% vote for a relative of Dick Cheney and George Bush who happens to be black is a rather inauspicious start to say the least.

Jack Heart February 07, 2011 10:49 PM

If every parent who did this same thing for their children were thrown in jail, there'd be no room left for the murderers, for God's sake! That judge needs to be removed from the bench. Idiot.


L in the Southeast February 07, 2011 11:58 PM

Originally posted at Throwing School Mom in Jail~ although it won't be available there much longer it can be confirmed by those who have access to Google archives or other archives.

Kenneth Sibbett posted under the user name, Scanner and was one of the most popular people on Open Salon. It will be a loss for his work not to be available to the public along with a lot of other good articles that are coming down soon. This is one of my favorites of his and I hate to see to go, even if I can't attract the attention to it that he did. Hope he's doing well.

Election Season: Let's discuss the process

Sometimes the place to start when discussing an election is not the Candidates but rather the Process by which the Candidates are "whittled down" prior to that Tuessday in November that election officials dread, political junkies salivate over and the Media swarms about.

(Originally posted by Mrs Raptor on Open Salon, August 13, 2010, more details below)


With the exception of two jurisdictions in the United States, one just outside of Washington D.C.  in Maryland and one somewhere else that I can't remember off the top of my head, you must register to vote.   In some states that means that you can walk in on election day, register and vote all at the same time.  In other states there is a 7 day period between when you register and when you are able to vote.  In some states it is a 14 day waiting period.  In still other states there is a 30 day period between when you register and when you can vote.   In every instance where there is a waiting period between registering to vote and voting there is a way around it.   Yes,  I can, and will, tell you how to circumvent the waiting period.  Simply walk into your local polling place and ask for a form called an "Election Day Change Of Address" form.  Fill out the form, give the form and your application to vote to the election official and you should be issued a ballot.   You can register to vote in any Secretary of State office, County Clerk office, City Clerk office or Township Clerk office.   Please be certain that you check with your Secretary of State office to be sure that you are registering before the "cut off date" for the election if you want to vote.  If it is after the cut off date, and you want to vote, do an Election Day Change of Address.

Voting Absentee:  

Every state has slightly different procedures for voting absentee.  For instance, Texas allows (or did) in person "absentee voting" in the two weeks preceding an election.  Michigan will send you a ballot to your home after you fill out the proper form.   In Washington State, unless the law has changed again in the last couple of years (which it could have) everyone votes by absentee ballot.   Check with your Secretary of State website, County, City or Township clerk with regards to the requirements in your particular jurisdiction with regards to absentee voting because each state is different.

Military and Overseas Voting:  

MOVE, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, allows election officials to e-mail ballots to members of the Military, their dependents and voters who are outside of the United States (such as a student attending college in Australia).  In May I wrote a post about MOVE so I am not really going to say a lot about it in this particular post.

Public Accuracy Testing:  

In every jurisdiction where there is an election there must be a public accuracy test 4 to 6 weeks before the election.   There will be a notice in the paper for a couple of weeks prior to the Public Accuracy Test (PAT).  Normally the only people who show up to PATs are election officials.  However, the reality is that in most places, your election officials would absolutely love it if you, the voting public, came to the test and witnessed that the machinery is accurate, sealed, etc...

What happens to the tabulators between the PAT and the election?  

THey are locked in a closet that, by law, only the clerk of the election has the key/access to. 
What about tabulators with wireless modems?  

 According to the Federal Election Commission, wireless modems may not be placed in tabulators.  Nor may tabulators which modem in results be plugged into a phone line other than for the purpose of modeming in the results after the polls have been closed and everyone has voted.

Election officials:

When you go to the polls you see all sorts of people running around the place doing all sorts of things.   Some are election inspectors, some are the election chairs, some are the local clerk of the election, some are poll watchers and some are poll challengers.   Each has a different job on election day.

  ~ Election Inspectors~  

These men and women are the people who check you  in, give you your ballot, keep the press from harassing you while you are inside the polling place, answer your questions (or direct you to either the Election Chair or the Clerk of the Election) when there is a question that the inspectors are unable to answer.  Election inspectors must, by law, (a) apply for the job of election inspector, (b) be equally divided between political parties, (c) have been certified every two years, (d) be willing to disclose their political affiliations and provide a copy of their certification to any voter who requests it, (e) work a very long day for very little pay.

   ~Election Chair~ 

The job of the election chair encompasses everything that the election inspectors do plus a few other duties.   Election Chairs also "police" the parking lot to ensure that the media doesn't interfere with people coming to vote and that there is no electioneering (that is, campaigning) going on in the parking lot, sign all of the paperwork at the end of the night, seal the ballots that have been voted and those that have not been voted in the locked cans, call the police as needed, answer questions from both election inspectors and the public, hand out Provisional Ballots, supervise poll watchers and poll challengers and generally "troubleshoot" on election day.   If you look around the polling place on election day for the person who is busiest you will find that the busiest people have one of two things written under their name on their name tag... "Election Chair" or "Clerk".

   ~Clerk of the Election~  

If you live in a rural area you are much more likely to see the Clerk than if you live in a metro area.  In all instances though the Clerk is going to be someone who has been elected by the voters.   Either your County Clerk, your City Clerk or, if you are in a state with townships, your Township Clerk.  In a metro area your clerk is likely to be tied to their office answering queries from election inspectors, State officials, the Press and the voting public.  In rural areas your clerk is likely to be acting as an election inspector.

   ~Poll Watchers~ 

Poll watchers are not election officials.  They cannot answer questions from voters.  Their entire purpose is to *watch*.  They are not, typically, volunteers from political parties.   They can ask questions of election officials but they cannot ask questions of voters.

   ~Poll Challengers~  

 Poll challengers are people sent by political parties to challenge voters randomly.  When you are a voter whose right to vote is challenged all you need to do is get out your driver's license (or other photo ID) and prove that you reside where you vote.   If you don't have photo ID (election officials can accept passports, driver's licenses or state issued ID cards as proof positive that you are who you claim to be and do, in fact reside where you claim to) you need to produce 2 non-photo documents... a bill for a utility, your voter identification card, etc...  Believe me, there are loads of things accepted... including the registration and proof of insurance to your vehicle (assuming that you drove to the polls).

What happens before the polls open on election day:  

The very first thing that happens when the election officials get to the polling place on election day is that they are all sworn in.  They swear that they will uphold the laws of the state and the Constitution and fulfill their duties as election officials to the best of their abilities.

The second thing that happens is that the Tabulators are turned on and what are called "Zero reports" are printed.  Zero Reports are written confirmation that the totals for all races for the election are set to -0- .  The election inspectors present at that time all must sign all of the Zero Reports generated.   Those reports are left locked inside of the tabulator until the polls close.  Only the Clerk of the election and the election chair have keys that would allow anyone to mess with either the machine or the ballot box and neither one of them will give up the keys.   When I was the one with the keys... there was absolutely nothing that would have induced me to give up the keys to the ballot box or the tabulator... including the threat of death.  (Gives a whole new meaning to "From my cold, dead hands" doesn't it?)

The third thing that is done is that the election inspectors are given their assignments, poll watchers are confined to their 4 foot square of space that they are allowed to stand (or sit) around in all day and poll challengers are assigned a particular election inspector to "pal around with" and ask questions while they are in the polling place.   Both poll watchers and poll challengers must, by law, be identified as either "Name": Poll Watcher or "Name": Poll Challenger.

The last thing that happens before the polls open is that the Election Chair or the Clerk says, in a loud voice: "Hear ye, hear  ye: The Polls are now open!"

Next up:  During the election

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

If you have a question about the process... ask. If I don't have the answer, I am certain that I can find it or direct you to the correct person to answer it for your particular state.

MrsRaptor August 13, 2010 06:38 PM

I'm impressed beyond belief that you come back with a comprehensive post like ya feeling?

Nikki Stern August 13, 2010 06:53 PM

Bonnie... I am nowhere near "done"... this is just what happens before the polls open. next up, what happens after the polls open and finally what goes on after the polls close.

Nikki... I'm doing good. Mostly. I spent 28 years as an election official... this is just skimming the surface.

MrsRaptor August 13, 2010 10:32 PM

Jane... there are a couple more coming on this subject. I will post them as I finish them. May take me a few days though because I can't sit up for long yet.

MrsRaptor August 13, 2010 10:51 PM

Thanks this is long overdue the mass media and the government should have done more to explain this process to the public a long time ago. The fact that we have to rely on people like you to inform us about the process indicates that the powerful institutions can’t be trusted to explain this to us and that we need election reform.

I’d be interested to know more about experiments with instant runoff elections and computer balloting with paper back up if you’re familiar with it.

Well deserved rate!

zacherydtaylor August 16, 2010 11:34 AM

Originally posted at Election Season: Let's discuss the process although it won't be available there much longer it can be confirmed by those who have access to Google archives or other archives.

Mrs Raptor, is a native American that has spent time in Michigan, the Dakotas and Canada and was a poll worker. She posted this on Open Salon years ago, but Open Salon is closing and I thought it would be a good idea to continue making this available so I saved it and reposted it under fair use. This is some of the things that could be kept in mind when enacting election reform. Even Jimmy Carter has admitted that our system has major problems that should be addressed. I suspect that Mrs. Raptor would agree that it wouldn't hurt to confirm these details with local poll workers, even though I see no reason to doubt her. This is because many polls across the country have different systems and some of them may have changed since she wrote them, so even if you're in the same are she worked that isn't guarantee that they haven't changed since then.

MOVE: Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act

Changes to US election law with regards to absentee voting have been made pursuant to the MOVE  (Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment) Act.  The following are changes that take effect for the August 2010 Primary elections and all subsequent elections.

(Originally posted by Mrs Raptor on Open Salon, May, 3, 2010, more details below)

The following comes from the Michigan Secretary of State, however it applies to All voters covered  under MOVE.

Voters Covered Under New Laws:  Voters covered under the MOVE Act include:
1)         A member of a uniformed service on active duty who is absent from his or her city or township of residence. (Voter can be inside the United States or outside the United States.)
2)         A member of the Merchant Marine who, by reason of service in the Merchant Marine, is absent from his or her city of township of residence.  (Voter can be inside the United States or outside the United States.)
3)         A spouse or dependent of a member of a uniformed service or a member of the Merchant Marine who, by reason of the active duty or service of the member, is absent from his or her city or township of residence.  (Voter can be inside the United States or outside the United States.)
4)         A civilian voter who is outside the United States and is eligible to vote.
Actions Clerks Must Take to Implement The MOVE Act:  All actions must be taken for the August 3, 2010 primary:
·         Electronic transmission of voter registration application forms and absent voter ballot request forms.
·         Electronic transmission of blank absent voter ballots.
·         Processing voted absent voter ballots issued via the Internet:  Voters who receive an absent voter ballot via the Internet must print the ballot, mark the printed ballot and return the marked ballot by mail; the electronic submission of voted absent voter ballots is not permitted.  The votes on such a ballot must be transferred to a regular optical scan ballot to permit the tabulation of the ballot.  Standard ballot duplication procedures must be employed.  County and local clerks must be prepared to train their election inspectors on the ballot processing steps involved.
·         “Absentee Ballot Tracker” system:  The new federal law requires all states to develop a “free access system” that allows a covered voter to determine whether his or her absentee ballot was received by the city or township clerk. 
Important Notes
·         The new federal law expands the use of the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to include primary elections held to nominate federal offices and special elections held to fill federal offices.  (The FWAB is currently used for regular elections held to fill federal offices.)  The expanded use of the FWAB does not go into effect until December 31, 2010.
·         The new federal law removes the UOCAVA requirement that a single absentee ballot request serve as a request to receive absentee ballots through the subsequent two federal election cycles.  With the removal of this requirement, absentee ballot requests received from UOCAVA voters must be honored for every election held through the end of the calendar year.
Additional Information:  Additional information on the implementation of the federal MOVE Act and the related state level legislation will be provided as it becomes available.  The information will include specific instructions on sending FPCA forms and absentee ballots via the Internet; processing voted absent voter ballots issued via the Internet; and using the QVF AV module to satisfy the new “AV tracking” requirement.

A couple of notes from Me: 
First... "Statewide Lookup" sites are sites available to election officials which allow them to print poll lists, verify voters, print voter registration cards, create voter master cards, etc... in the performance of their job.  These sites are not available to the general public.   
Second...  "Standard ballot duplication" requires 3 election inspectors.  One republican, 1 Democrat and 1 additional election inspector.  
Third...  QVF is short for "Qualified Voter File" and is a listing of every duly registered voter in the state.  Local clerks only have access to information with regards to voters within their jurisdiction.  County clerks only have access to information with regards to voters within their County.   Only state-wide election officials have access to the entirety of the QVF.  
(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Thanks for the notice! Those who fight for the right to vote should have the right to do it from anywhere we send them!

Andy Heizeler May 03, 2010 12:45 PM

Timely. Thank you.


Jonathan Wolfman May 03, 2010 12:46 PM

Andy, when I was an election official I did everything legally possible to ensure that every voter (regardless of their physical location) was able to and encouraged to vote.

Johnathan... the more informed voters are with regards to both the process and the candidates the more likely they are to participate in the election process.

MrsRaptor May 03, 2010 01:10 PM

I'm with Andy, but not just the people fighting. I was in Germany,and we have outposts everywhere. We all should have our right to post!

scanner May 03, 2010 01:33 PM

Scanner... one of the primary reasons that MOVE was necessary is because, as we have all seen multiple times since the 2000 election, it often takes extra time, and can be difficult, for military, overseas and absentee voters to obtain an absentee ballot and vote.

I must admit that I was rather known to "bend the rules" when it came to allowing (and getting) people to vote. Nothing illegal but definitely bending the rules... Such as maintaining an absent voter list and sending out applications to vote absentee without voters requesting them first.

MrsRaptor May 03, 2010 01:53 PM

Good to know the rules -- I am with Andy here.

gal80 May 23, 2010 11:46 PM

Originally posted at MOVE: Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act although it won't be available there much longer it can be confirmed by those who have access to Google archives or other archives.

Mrs Raptor, is a native American that has spent time in Michigan, the Dakotas and Canada and was a poll worker. She posted this on Open Salon years ago, but Open Salon is closing and I thought it would be a good idea to continue making this available so I saved it and reposted it under fair use. This is some of the things that could be kept in mind when enacting election reform. Even Jimmy Carter has admitted that our system has major problems that should be addressed. I suspect that Mrs. Raptor would agree that it wouldn't hurt to confirm these details with local poll workers, even though I see no reason to doubt her. This is because many polls across the country have different systems and some of them may have changed since she wrote them, so even if you're in the same are she worked that isn't guarantee that they haven't changed since then.

The election process: Election Day & closing the polls

Please read Election Season: Let's discuss the process prior to this post so that you have a more complete overview of the entire process.

(Originally posted by Mrs Raptor on Open Salon, August 16, 2010, more details below)

After the polls open on election day, no matter if it is a primary, general, school or special election, there is a whole lot going on.   People are being checked in, people are being given ballots, people are voting, people are recording information, they are answering the phone, they are troubleshooting and a whole lot of other things...


What is really happening?   

The first step after you enter the polling place is filling out the Application to Vote.  Each state has forms that look a little different but the picture below (pardon the poor quality of the photo) contains all of the information that must be on each application according to the Federal Election Commission.

The application above is actually from an absentee ballot application, however there is not much difference between the two applications other than the fact that the application to vote Absentee is a longer form.  Each application has the date of the election, the poll book number (voter number) the ballot number, ward, precinct, voter's name, date of birth and address.  Additionally, there is a place for the initials of the election inspector who handed you a ballot as part of the "paper trail."   When you sign the application you certify that you are a duly registered and qualified elector in that particular jurisdiction and that you are making an application to vote.

When you hand your application to vote over to an election inspector (we will get to electronic poll books; for now I am sticking with the paper version) the inspector will check what is called a "poll list" -- that is a listing of all of the registered electors in that particular ward/precinct/jurisdiction -- and mark in some way (we always used highlighters) that you have been in to vote.  They may also ask to see either your driver's license or your voter registration card to verify that you are, in fact, who you say that you are.

After you are "checked in" you are passed down the line to receive your ballot.   Someone double checks where you live by looking at your application and determining what ward or precinct you live in and then, assuming that there is a booth open, they hand you a ballot (in a secrecy sleeve) so that you can vote.  
At that point your name and ballot number are typically recorded in the Poll Book (again, part of the paper trail).

After you have cast your vote, you return your ballot to the secrecy sleeve, take it to the ballot box and how you have voted is recorded by the tabulator.   The tabulator does not record the number on your ballot nor is there any way to tell who voted what ballot after they enter the ballot box.  (All of which completely ignores the fact that the average election inspector doesn't care HOW you vote... they care that you CARE enough to vote!)

At the end of the day, the time for the polls to close arrives and either the election chair or the clerk will say "Hear Ye, Hear Ye, The polls are now closed!" That does NOT mean that everyone who can vote has voted.  You see, if you are inside the polling place at the time that the polls close you absolutely must be allowed to vote.  That's the law.

After everyone who is in the polling place has cast their ballot the top of the tabulator is unlocked and the "Ender Card" is run through the tabulator.  At that point the tabulator prints, underneath the zero report that was printed and signed by the election officials just before the polls were opened, the first of three reports of the number of ballots cast and who/what they were for (or against).  Then the ballots are removed from the ballot box, placed in a "ballot bag" that is locked and sealed and then placed in a "ballot can" that is also locked and sealed and then locked in a closet that only the clerk of the election has the key to.  The only legal reason to open a ballot bag or ballot can for 22 months from an election is by either order of the board of canvassers or orders from a court.

What happens if there are problems on election day?  

Other than mechanical failures, the place to start, although by no means the "final authority" on the matter, if you encounter a problem on election day is with the Election Chair.  If the election chair cannot help you they will refer you to the clerk of the election.  If the local clerk of the election cannot help you, or you have a complaint, you need to contact your county clerk or registrar (depending on what they are called where you live).  If you do not feel that your complaint/problem has been handled properly, call your State Election Commission and file a report with them.  The State Election Commission will investigate and attempt to resolve the problem.  Additionally they will notify you of the action taken, or rather they are supposed to (If you live in Ohio and Blackwell is still the Secretary of State my advice is to skip the State Election Commission in favor of a courtroom...)

Modeming in results: 

After the polls close and the reports have been printed, the tabulator (if you live in a state that allows modeming in of results) is plugged into a phone line and the tabulator calls the results into the County Clerk.   The only time that a tabulator should ever be plugged into a phone line is when the tabulator is calling in those preliminary results.

If you live somewhere that leaves the tabulators plugged into a phone line please do yourself and everyone else where you live a favor and file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission because that is illegal.  As in "United States Department of Justice prosecution, 10 years in prison for every election official where the tabulator was plugged in, plus some rather stiff fines" kind of illegal.  The FEC is not messing about when it comes to tabulators and you are as capable of pitching a fit about illegal activities in polling places as I am.  Matter of fact, when it comes to illegal activities in a polling place, a complaint to the FEC from you is going to be acted on a whole lot faster than one from me in most cases.

What happens if there is a mechanical failure?  

As rapidly as is possible, the election officials will get a spare tabulator, remove the card from the tabulator that had a mechanical failure and seal it in the new tabulator.  Sometimes spare tabulators are in that Election Closet and sometimes spare tabulators have to come from another polling location.  If tabulators come from another polling location, they are tabulators with no memory cards in them and without memory cards the tabulators are incapable of storing information.

What is the minimum number of tabulators?  

 The minimum number of tabulators that your particular polling place needs depends entirely on the number of precincts and the population.  If you live in a place where you have a population of 10,000 people and one precinct then the minimum number of tabulators needed is 4.  If you live in a place with 3 precincts and a total of 10,000 people your polling place must have a minimum of 6 tabulators, and (personally) I would make sure that there were a minimum of 8 plus at least 4 "spares."  (From MY perspective, better to be prepared and not need the extra tabulators than to not be prepared and either have a riot or have people waiting for hours on end. )

Next up:  What happens after the election?   

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Please feel free to ask questions. If I don't have the answers I can direct you to someone who should.

MrsRaptor August 16, 2010 02:49 PM

I was furious yesterday at the way early voting was handled in Palm Beach County. When my husband and I arrived at the polls, we learned that we are not the informed voters we thought we were. Let me be honest with you, I'm a registered independent. I usually refer to myself as a conservabral or a liberative. The issues, not the party, are important to me.

For years, I've avoided voting in primaries because I find Florida's law that one must declare an affiliation archaic. As my home state of New Jersey demanded the same declarations of affiliation, this thorny policy has been sticking in my side for many years. However, in New Jersey, it was possible to choose at the polls.

Imagine how embarrassed and frustrated we felt when we were told that we had missed the 29 days in advance cutoff. We were not allowed to vote for governor/senator/etc. Oh, sure, we could cast a vote for the water management district. Who cares about that?!

With all the election coverage in the local papers, there was not one article explaining this policy. Two votes yesterday may not have made a difference in the final outcome. Consider though how many other "two votes" were lost because voters like my husband and me were unaware of this law.


Donna Carbone August 16, 2010 04:04 PM

Donna, declaring a party preference 30 days before the primary is a completely unnecessary holdover from the days of "Jim Crow Laws." The only time/place where it matters is when it is the Primary for a Presidential election and even then the memory cards in the tabulators are programmed to know the difference between "democrat" and "republican" candidates and slot the votes into the proper place.

There is no earthly reason for there to still be those kinds of laws on the books at all.

MrsRaptor August 17, 2010 01:01 AM

Good job I’ll be back to look into this more when I have more time.

zacherydtaylor August 18, 2010 11:59 AM

Originally posted at The election process: Election Day & closing the polls although it won't be available there much longer it can be confirmed by those who have access to Google archives or other archives.

Mrs Raptor, is a native American that has spent time in Michigan, the Dakotas and Canada and was a poll worker. She posted this on Open Salon years ago, but Open Salon is closing and I thought it would be a good idea to continue making this available so I saved it and reposted it under fair use. This is some of the things that could be kept in mind when enacting election reform. Even Jimmy Carter has admitted that our system has major problems that should be addressed. I suspect that Mrs. Raptor would agree that it wouldn't hurt to confirm these details with local poll workers, even though I see no reason to doubt her. This is because many polls across the country have different systems and some of them may have changed since she wrote them, so even if you're in the same are she worked that isn't guarantee that they haven't changed since then.