Entries Tagged 'Bob Litz' ↓

Commissioner Barth’s questions to Auditor Litz

These are the questions Jeff planned to ask Auditor Litz in the last County Commission meeting until the discussion got diverted;

Please consider giving specific and complete answers to these questions during the “election review” agenda item on November 18. My hope is that we can proceed in a calm, deliberative manner.

In the run up to the General Election two incorrect absentee ballots were discovered mailed to a relative and a friend of a Legislator. Rather than creating a potential political dustup I took those ballots to you quietly, asked you to fix them and to audit your ballot inventory to assure me that correct ballots were going to the correct voter.

When I asked you about incorrect absentee ballots during the Canvass on November 7 you responded that there “were only two of them” and that you “took care of them”. When pressed you ignored the issue.

Then on November 12 you told KELO TV that there were twenty incorrect absentee ballots.

1) Were there two or twenty incorrect absentee ballots?
2) Did you know election night that these wrong absentee ballots were coming in?
3) Is twenty the exact number or a general approximation?
4) If the issue was voters putting the ballot in a wrong ballot box how could that happen with absentee ballots?
5) The counting machines have a printer attachment that notes when it reads an error on a ballot. What do the machines say?

In the 2014 City Election wrong ballots were mailed out on absentee requests. When candidate Rebecca Dunn brought two of the erroneous ballots to your attention you threatened legal action against her. You then blamed the Secretary of State for corrupting your data base.

1) How many incorrect absentee ballots were counted in the City Election?
2) In a related matter, how many wrong ballots were handed out at the “Voting Centers”?

In the June “General Election Primary” wrong ballots were again mailed out. You accepted responsibility for printing wrong ballots and again pointed at data base issues. Going forward from there you tasked your staff with correcting the database before the November election.

1) How many incorrect absentee ballots were cast in the Primary?
2) Were you able to recall all the “printing error” ballots that were sent out?

These absentee ballot issues are 100% human error. Elections are a sacred responsibility given to our county. We must do better.

Thanks, Jeff Barth

 

There was some other confusion. Precinct 3-12 cast votes in Legislative District 9 and 11. It is not listed as a precinct in District 11 but if you go to the SDSOS website the results show Tom Cool won that precinct 6-5. Another reason folks are confused.

polling

Blockbuster!

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Argus Leader ED Board asks for Auditor Bob Litz to resign

While some of Litz’s and Gant’s missteps Tuesday Night (Wednesday morning) are solely their fault, there were other factors involved. Mostly the machines were not working properly, as promised by ESS&S. They are just too hyper sensitive, and the absentee votes should be counted last, not first. Also state law needs to change so that counties can count them in advance.

I also think the musical precincts are affecting the high number of absentee voters. I haven’t voted on election day at my precinct in years, I always absentee because I got sick of the stupid guessing game.

I will hopefully have an updated post about this later today from someone who assisted with the vote tabulation.

Still issues with voting

As I have pointed out several times after the municipal election and the run up to it, there were many issues with voting.

Besides the musical polling places every time there is an election, there are still problems with registration.

Last Friday someone told me that him and his wife recently moved into a new home and checked their voter registration to make sure it would be current. They are supposed to be registered in District 11, but were told they were in District 9 and voting at MariCar. This person pointed the problem out to Bob Litz and nothing was really done about it except they were told to still vote in District 9.

Last night they checked online, and they were still listed in District 9. So they went to vote at 7:30am this morning.  Fortunately, all the precinct workers knew him because his name (and his wife’s) was not listed on the voting roster!

They called the Auditor’s office to confirm that he was registered, but couldn’t explain the omission.  He had to fill out an Emergency Voting Card in order to vote.  He told me he felt sorry for the precinct workers as all the power – except lights – was shut off in there … no AC and the clock was stuck on 11:10.  He shared his story at public input this morning at the county commission meeting. (The video is not up yet, but I hear the CC was not to happy).

My conclusion all along after the municipal election fiasco is that heads need to roll on these mishaps, saying an election went ‘smoothly’ when it was an absolute disaster is just sugar coating the problem. We’ll see how things go tonight. Let’s just say, if Bosworth wins the Republican Senate ticket spot, we know something isn’t working correctly in the auditor’s office.

County Auditor Litz has a challenger

Tony

Tony Bartholomaus to Seek Minnehaha County Auditor Position

Sioux Falls, South Dakota—

On May 28th, 2014 Tony Bartholomaus announced his candidacy for Minnehaha County Auditor. Bartholomaus, 37, is married  and the father of two with his wife Ashley. He is employed as a personal banker in Sioux Falls. Bartholomaus, a Democrat, is a newcomer to politics.

“In light of recent miscues by the current Auditor I feel it is time to introduce myself to the voters and let them know they will have a choice when they vote for Auditor in November.”

“I get a great deal of pleasure in my current work helping my clients achieve financial success and stability. My current position requires attention to detail, financial expertise, a strong work ethic, a team effort  and, sometimes, long hours. I want to bring these same qualities of competence and hard work to the office of Minnehaha County Auditor and provide  the people of Minnehaha County the leadership the office needs..

“Unfortunately, the confidence the Auditor;s office enjoyed in the past has suffered under its current leadership . Recent ballot errors and election mistakes have been well documented in the press and at County Commission meetings.The Auditor’s office has a hardworking staff. And, just like the citizens they serve, they deserve the support and leadership of a competent Auditor  That is why I offer myself to the citizens of Minnehaha County as a choice… the right choice for Auditor this November.” said Bartholomaus.

“I do not enter this race naively,” said Bartholomuas. “The current Auditor has long political experience as a Democrat and as a Republican in Minnehaha County and it is never easy to defeat an incumbent. But I promise to work as hard as I can and to demonstrate by doing, my message of “restoring the tradition of hard work and competence” to the office of Minnehaha Auditor. I invite all Minnehaha County residents, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to join me in this effort.”

How has Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz’s attendance been?

bobby

I can’t speak for Mr. Litz, because I don’t work in the county administration office. But several people who do, say that they don’t see much ‘office time’ by Mr. Litz. There are plans for the auditor’s office to hire another employee. I can’t find the specifics of that position, but I was told that it was a ‘finance’ manager.

Now, I am not going to rail on Litz about perfect attendance, because I don’t know all the details (but if someone does, please forward it to me) but I would like to give some advice;

1) When you are you are an elected official who manages a very important department for the county, my advice would to at least put in 40 hours a week in that office. With the long lines in the department across the hall from you, can you imagine if our county treasurer didn’t show up very often? You would have a VERY irate public.

2) Why are we considering hiring another manager for the auditor’s office when we can’t get it’s head honcho to show up?

If his attendance is an issue, Mr. Litz needs to realize that this isn’t like his private business, he works for the taxpayers now. Show up. Work. Thank You.

I would also like to give a H/T to the county for posting their meeting videos online. Not sure how long they have been doing this, but I have been doing catchup. The videos are a little grainy, but the audio is perfect, and unlike SIRE, when you push play, the meeting starts immediately. BRAVO!

County Commission pulls a fast one on Auditor Bob Litz

As we just discussed in June, county auditor, Bob Litz (was doing his job) by shopping around for better interest rates on county bonds. Since Dougherty has pretty much a monopoly on bonds, not only in the county, but the city and state, it was wise for Bob to do some shopping around. But it seems, according to a story in the AL today, the CC (or should we say Dougherty) decided to vote on a bond consultant while Litz was out of town. Only ONE commissioner, Pekas, questioned what the hurry was to vote on this.

I have a feeling this had NOTHING to do with a ‘rush’ to get it done, or getting the ‘best deal’. This had to do with Litz being out of town and Dougherty continuing their monopoly on bonds in this state.

Can’t wait to hear Litz’s reaction when he returns to Dodge.

South DaCola ‘Thumbs Up’ to County Auditor Bob Litz

Thought I would never say that? Huh? Bob is my new hero for getting a second opinion about the monopoly Dougherty and Company seem to have on bonds, not only in our county and city, but also for our state;

While Litz’s approach of basically shopping around the county’s business is a bit unusual, he made a point when he said his job is to be responsible for the taxpayer.

Unusual, HE IS THE COUNTY AUDITOR! It is his job to make sure the county, and ultimately the taxpayers are not getting ripped off. But of course, this is coming from an ED board that has it’s heads so far up the elite’s asses in this town, it is not even funny anymore.

The bigger question here my be, “Has Dougherty been giving taxpayers a fair shake all along on bond sales?” Remember, Dougherty gets a COMMISSION on bond sales, not a flat fee. Think about that one.

To Bob Litz’s defense

I read the Argus Leader’s Wednesday article about the election result counting process and it seemed like a strange hit on Bob Litz and his staff.  Trust me, my confidence in Litz isn’t at an all time high. But I do know he really isn’t a complicated person who would devise a multi-level scheme to screw us all. He is also a little slow . . . counting votes that is. So what?! Do we need to know who won instantly. No. This isn’t Joker Poker on a video lottery machine. Bob’s quote pretty much summed it up;

“I don’t know what I could have done to speed anything up,” Litz said Wednesday. “My main thing is, I don’t care how long it takes. If I screwed up and I have to recount, it takes even longer.”

So I was curious if Bob really did FU, I asked a friend, Bruce, who volunteered Tuesday night to answer a few questions about the evening.

DL: So Bruce, why did you volunteer and what did you do?

Bruce: I love the process and wanted to see what I could do to help. I love being involved.  I was asked to be one of 8 resolutions judges.  These 8 judges are 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans working a two person teams.  The team responsibilities included verifying the military internet ballots, deciding voter intent on ballot marks, verifying blank ballots and guiding the machine operators when partisan, yes or no decisions needed to be made.

DL:  BTW, did you know Bob Litz or any of his staff before Tuesday night?

Bruce: I only knew of Bob in passing and none of the staff other than the quick visits to absentee vote.

DL: Back to Tuesday night, did you have many decisions to make?

Bruce: Each team sat at tables within site of the counting machines, we watched the process up close.  When a problem at one of the machines / ballots arose, we were asked to examine the problem and make a new ballot able to be run through the counters to register the voter’s intent.  The two of us had to recreate about 150 ballots before the tally could be processed.  I am not sure how many ballots were done by all the tables, but all were busy.

DL: What did you think of the staff, did they waste any time?

Bruce: I thought the staff did an amazing job.  You should see what people do to their ballots.  It was surprising how they mark them, fold them, tear them in half or creatively fill them out.  The staff knew how to deal with all the issues.  The equipment worked without issue.  You could tell this group had been doing this for a long time.

DL: What did Bob Litz do during this?  Could he have made it run faster?

Bruce: Bob did a great job of keeping everyone and everything out of the way of the process.  Just what a leader is supposed to do.

DL: Did you read the Argus article and if so what did you think of it?

Bruce: There is a reason I don’t read the Argus much anymore.  You could tell they know nothing about the process.  They were making issues out of the speed in which the process ran.  You do not make the machines run faster than they are designed.  I do not believe in rushing a process or skipping steps.  There were many boxes of ballots from many different sites.  As stated before, if people mutilate ballots, it takes longer to run count them.

DL: But what about the slowness of the absentee ballots.

Bruce: The absentee ballots were already opened when we started but they were done in a locked room away from us.  They were moved into position to be counted after all other ballots were done.  It took three hours to run all the regular ballots and then bring the absentees in after preliminary counts were noted.  The massive number of absentees were impressive to see.  These ballots were also folded for first class mailing envelopes and also for Auditor’s office absentee voting.  All of these had to be carefully run so they would not jam the equipment.  Besides, why should we rush the counting system?  Who cares?

DL: What do you mean?

Bruce: What difference does it make if we are done at midnight or noon on Wednesday if the totals are right?  If the office and staff folds under pressure to rush the job and we end up with a miscount mess like the Mitchell Auditor had in June 2012, what did we gain?  Isn’t the idea to get the count right?  Are we more interested in how fast we can get on to the drinking games or go to bed?  We need to make sure the count is right above all else, let’s not forget this.

DL: Would you do it again?

Bruce: It was a fun experience.  The staff was professional and their respect for the truth in counts impressed the skeptic in me.

DL: What was your general impression of the article written based on your experience?

Bruce: It was a hit job, written by someone with no experience in voting processes.  What I read into the article?  How about a publishing deadline was missed and the Litz office is being blamed for it.  We were very busy until 3:30am and did not see anything we could have done to speed up the process.  Before the Argus tells a professional staff how to do their job, they should learn how to do the job themselves.  It was a usual weak job of glossing over their own incompetence.

DL: Thanks Bruce for your firsthand reporting on the process.

 

UPDATED: Let the petition drive games begin

Minnehaha County Auditor’s office fearless leader, “Not sure if they have enough signatures. They won’t let me look in their minivan.”

UPDATED: BTW, my apologies to Litz. He apparently is telling the truth in this matter, according to the Argus.

I will admit, I am surprised the opt-out signature gatherers were able to get 5,400 signatures. I do know there was 35+ volunteers out there getting them. The problem is the short time they had to get them (20 days). As I told one of the volunteers the other day, “This is done on purpose to make it very, very, difficult for citizens to overturn legislation.”

You should always try to get at least 20% over your needed amount for a buffer. But like I said, time constraints are a bitch.

Shortly before a 5 p.m. deadline today, activists say they turned in about 5,400 signatures, more than the 5,334 they need.

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz didn’t count or verify the referral petitions today. That process will begin on Thursday. But his office did a rough, unofficial count and say the opponents might be thousands of signatures short.

C’mon Bob! You determined from a ‘rough count’ they were thousands short? I suggest that if Bob ‘Can’t get enough ballots to the precincts’ Litz deems them invalid, that the group ask for an independent audit agreed upon by both parties. How can you trust a county auditor that 1) collects his paycheck from the very county that is asking for a tax increase and 2) chased the petition gatherers out of the Republican booth at the SE fair? it is pretty damn obvious he has a bias in this matter, and his hands should be kept off of the petitions. I would also suggest the group have a representative sitting right next to the auditor reviewing the signatures. Remember this same office can’t even distribute ballots correctly, blaming it on a mini-van taking the ballots hostage. My confidence in the current auditor’s office is at a all time low, and his current support system, SOS Jason Gant, doesn’t know petition laws from a freaking hole in the ground. I guess he is too busy tracking people who are visiting his website.

Will the audit of these signatures be fair? I guess we will have to wait and see. I’m not holding my breath.