As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Making A List And Checking It Twice

The Albany Project is all over the twists and turns of the NY-20 special election between Scott Murphy and Jim Tedisco. Both candidates have been listed as ahead today, with the latest reversal showing Murphy up by 83 votes. More important, a judge ruled that absentee ballot counting will begin Wednesday, despite a deadline for overseas ballots having been extended to April 13. The Tedisco campaign had been arguing for a delay in the counting, and Phillip Anderson speculates why:

It looks increasingly obvious what the Tedisco/Stone/Ciampoli game plan is. They are trying to delay the counting of absentee votes while they build a list of paper ballots to challenge. It will be much harder for them to challenge those ballots once they are opened and counted, so they are looking to delay that for as long as possible so that they can prepare a list of names to challenge before those ballots ever see the light of day.

Yep, that's got Roger Stone written all over it.

How are they compiling that list of names to challenge? Through polling.

A friend in Columbia County just got polled (Monday) about how he voted on his absentee.
He quizzed the pollster, and it was done on behalf if Tedisco.

Why poll? I suppose the GOP could claim either pure curiosity or that they're trying to decide how/where to target resources for their challenge. Or if the result is favorable, to create an impression of victory.

The concern would be if the poll results are NOT truly anonymous and become a basis for challenging ballots before they're opened.

Any other reports? This was in Columbia County.

UPDATE: Looks like plenty of folks have been polled about their absentee ballots. Since I posted this originally, I've received confirmations from about half a dozen folks. This message from a reader in Saratoga County is a representative example:

"I got a call on Thursday of last week about my father's absentee ballot. My father uses my address for mailing but actually lives in a memory care facility.

Anyway they asked for my father and when I told them he wasn't there but I was quite sure he had voted, they asked me if I knew for whom he had voted. I told them I couldn't disclose that (I actually don't know) but I could tell them I voted for Murphy."

So this has actually been going on since right after election day.

UPDATE: From another reader in Dutchess County:

"Funny you should mention that poll - I got polled a few nights ago.

Poll - Hi ***** how are you? We are conducting an exit poll in the 20th CD to see how people voted. Do you have a few minutes.

Me - Sure

Poll - Did you vote in the 20th CD?

Me- Yes

Poll- Did you vote in person or by absentee?

Me - Absentee.

Poll - Did you vote for James Tedisco, Scott Murphy, or Eric Sundwall?

Me - Wait - The order of your question neither makes sense alphabetically, or in order of how they appear on the ballot. You must be from Tedisco's camp

Poll - Ummmm ummmmm.

I voted for Murphy. Click."

It's possible, I suppose, that Tedisco and our pal Roger Stone have all the data they need to start challenging voters on Wednesday. I'll give them points for innovation in voter suppression, at the least.

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