At the deKalb Recount

I spent yesterday and today as an observer at the deKalb county recount*. A few random observations:

The system is very good. Every step has multiple independent workers who check each others work. Each part is checked and cross-checked in a few different ways. There is simply no way for anyone to commit meaningful fraud anywhere in this part of the system. If there is fraud it is either far upstream (e.g. hacking the voting software, creating thousands of fake ballots) or downstream (e.g. hacking the counting software).

It’s one thing to see on TV that deKalb early and mail-in voting was predominantly Biden. It’s another thing to see a huge stack of Biden ballots next to a pitiful pile of Trump votes.

The Democrats and Republicans have common interest in this phase. Both sides want to be assured that all the rules are followed properly and a credible count is produced that everyone can believe. And for the most part, all observers followed the rules faithfully. GOP observers were definitely more zealous than the Democrats. Although most were fine, there were a few GOP bad actors. These came in two varieties. First was the kind who continually broke the observation rules, harassing and interfering with the counting, in the hopes of starting an incident. The second was the kind who came in determined to find fraud that they simply knew was there already, and was incensed at their inability to find it, which simply made them angrier and more certain of the fraud. Both kinds were jerks, but not more than that. (The GOP observers also seemed less trained on what the proper process was, and the rules for monitors.) During my shifts it never got bad enough that they were kicked out, but there were several expelled in other shifts and in other counties.

There were monitors from the Democrats, the Republicans, the Carter Center, the ACLU, even the Constitution Party. Sometimes it seemed like there were monitors than workers.

COVID precautions were very good. Masks and face shields were given to everyone. Informal gatherings were quickly broken up for social distancing. Multiple medical personnel circulated.

This is the first federal election the Carter Center has been involved with. They are hoping to serve as a credible 3rd party that everyone can believe in. Good luck, but it’ll never happen!

Congratulations to deKalb county. They recounted over 370,000 ballots by hand in a day and a half. That’s quite an achievement. I left feeling very positive about Democracy in Georgia.

* Technically it is not a recount. Since the original counts haven’t yet been certified, they aren’t counted, and so can’t yet be recounted. This is an audit, but every vote cast is being manually re-counted, rather than a sample.

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