Tuesday, September 19, 2006

THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS: FEMA ON THE HUDSON

UP FRONT News September 18, 2006
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”
THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS: FEMA ON THE HUDSON
(This article also appears on www.tomweissdemocratforussenate.blogspot.com)

The states of Florida and Ohio have already distinguished themselves as places where elections are stolen. Well, taking into account how at least some things are handled at the New York City Board of Elections, this City might soon find itself bring unfavorably compared with certain governments in Mexico.

Based on my telephoned and e-mailed description to the New York State Board of
Elections of the mismanagement at the NYCBOE taking place under Executive Director John R. Ravitz, the NYSBOE has advised me how to file a formal complaint, which will be done soon .

Shortly after I declared my candidacy as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2005, I registered with the United States Federal Elections Commission. Other than for routine matters, my first contact with them occurred several months ago when I called the FEC in Washington to report politically motivated criminal harassments against me by people associated with the Lenora Fulani-controlled Green Party of New York and by associates of (now soundly crushed in the Democratic Primary) “candidate” Jonathan Tasini. I was told how to submit formal complaints to the FEC and was also advised to submit complaints to local and state election authorities. As far as law enforcement is concerned, I have submitted complaints to the NYPD, New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and, since politically motivated violations of my civil rights are involved, to the FBI. The FBI complaint was made with the explicit approval of the NYPD.

My first effort at submitting my complaint to Mr. Ravitz by e-mail went nowhere because his computer system is programmed to reject e-mails that contain bad words. Since one of the people harassing me had used a very common used four letter word
that, even with its sexual significance, is probably known to the Pope, the word was included as a quote in the e-mail. When the e-mail was returned with an explanation that suggested that the NYCBOE cannot handle such language, I brought the complaint down to Mr. Ravitz’ office at 32 Broadway and personally handed it to his secretary, Vickie.

When a bureaucrat or elected official or corporate executive wants to cover up wrongdoing, his or her usual practice is to ignore written complaints. Despite a number of telephone calls from me to both him and to the Staten Island (where I live) Borough Office of the NYCBOE, there was no response whatsoever. It became necessary for me to call Frederic I. Umane, a Commissioner of the NYCBOE with an accessible telephone number. Umane did Ravitz’job for him and, stating that the NYCBOE does not have the resources to investigate such complaints, advised me to contact the District Attorney, which I have done. Mr. Umane’s assurance that they allegedly overworked Ravtiz would soon e-mail me was not borne out.

Things with Mr. Ravitz got decidedly worse after the publication on August 21 of a front page article in the Staten Island Advance about my Democratic write-in candidacy for the Senate. The article, a basically solid piece by the Advance’s political editor, Tom Wrobleski, headlined “With the stroke of a pencil, vote for anyone”, focused much attention on the write-in aspect of my campaign. Unlike many write-ins, I am a very serious candidate, who believes that the incumbent is essentially a Republicrat who has sold out the entire country by supporting the Iraq War and has sold out in particular the poor by, for example, her refusal to endorse the Bringing America Home Act and has sold out progressives by taking money from right wing media predator Rupert Murdoch. It took some time for The Advance to take me seriously but Mr. Wrobleski did a solid public service by not only reporting some of the reasons for my opposition to Clinton but also describing the realities and some details of write-in voting.

Mr. Wrobleski wrote, “Even with instruction from poll workers, write-in voters can still make mistakes in the voting booth, like spelling the candidate’s name incorrectly." He quoted Staten Island Borough James Molinaro as stating, “Get just one letter wrong, and the vote doesn’t get credited to you.” Since I am registered to vote as “Thomas F. Weiss” but also known as “Tom Weiss” I needed clarification. I first contacted the Staten Island NYCBOE office and, only after a number of calls, received an e-mail from Sheila Del Giornio, the Chief Clerk there, referring me to the NYCBOE Legal Counsel, but giving me only his telephone number at 32 Broadway. The first time I called the office of Counsel Steven Richman, the telephone was answered by a guy identifying himself as an intern, who interrupted me about four times, each time telling me it made “no difference” how my name was entered. Since, however, the technicalities were brought up by a seasoned political reporter and a borough president, I was not prepared to accept the off-hand response of someone with awful telephone manners who obviously didn’t really care. My later e-mail to Richman, containing as an attachment a copy of Ms. Del Giorno’s e-mail to me, was returned because the NYCBOE e-mail would not accept an attachment (and this one didn’t even have any bad words in it.)

I telephoned Mr. Umane, this time at his law office at the work number he had given me. Mr. Umane got me the answer, which is that either name is okay.Umane, however, did not like the fact that I had criticized Ravitz and included in his e-mail to me a defense of Ravitz that politically resembled George W. Bush’s defense of former FEMA Director Michael Brown, the Republican hack who apparently was under the impression that New Orleans is located in Afghanistan.

On Election Day I voted at a polling site in for the 10th Election District in the 61st Assembly District in Staten Island. When voting for a write-in, inside the voting booth, the voter is to push and hold a button at the top which is supposed to release a small sliding door revealing a space in which the voters enters the candidate’s name in writing. The door did not open. I ended up talking to one of the poll watchers there, who referred me to the coordinator there. He went over, checked the machine and confirmed that it was not working. He then advised me to complete an affidavit (the equivalent of a paper ballot) and the identifying information on a red-lined NYCBOE envelope and to return both to the poll watchers. I did so and the lady asked me why I had filled out the envelope. I said that the coordinator had told me to, at which point she re-referred me to him. His response was to become enraged and to throw me out of the building. As I left I told him words to the effect that it is not intelligent to be abusive to a voter, especially one who is both a candidate and a journalist.

A couple of days after the Primary election (which from my perspective is nothing more than a warm-up for the general election on November 7), one my campaign volunteers, named Theodore, told me about his experience at a polling place on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As suggested in the Advance article, he approached a poll worker to state that he was going to vote for a write-in. She told him that he could not do that in a prima- ry but only in a general election. That is approximately 100% wrong. Fortunately, my friend does not take uninformed crap from people and went to a supervisor and got to vote for me.

I later learned from another of my campaign volunteers who works as a poll watching coordinator that he had attended the NYCBOE training for poll workers and that there was only minimal mention made about write-in voting.

Based on a reasonable estimate derived from the those who not only told me that they intended to vote for me but would also publicize my media under-reported campaign and encourage others to vote for me, it is quite possible that several hundred people may have at least tried, any number of whom may have given up in the face of NYCBOE obstruction and/or misinformation.

We are now entering into the main phase of this campaign. I expect a great many more votes in the general election than in the primary especially since Mrs. Clinton properly disposed of the phony and pathetic Tasini, who, if nothing else, was a media-duping distraction.

Michael Sessions in November, 2005, after having been disrespected and ignored by the political establishment in the college town of Hillsdale, Michigan, ran for Mayor a write-in. He won by two votes. I am dealing with Hillary Clinton, New York City and State, and the NYCBOE. Good luck to me!

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www.tomweissdemocratforussenate.blogspot.com

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