Fireworks and Freedom of Information

The 4th of July fireworks boomed and flashed over the ball field that had been water sprayed everyday for the past week by the fire department so as to reduce the threat of an unintended disaster from a hot projectile igniting the parched grass on the hottest Independence Day in history. And the rockets red glare…flashed across the field as I read the face book message: “Check it out – asap”. ….the bombs bursting in air.

The mood of patriotism, freedom, and independence had evaporated for me much like the water sprayed on the scorched grass of the ball field. The Government Accountability Board and Kevin Kennedy sucked the life out of the Freedom of Information requests that had been sent to the County Clerks of Wisconsin to inspect the election materials of the June 5 recall election. The words of the letter where felt as the hot, dry air on a wilted flower begging for a splash of freedom and justice as detailed in the post. County Clerk Coverup – Vote Security Compromised

Gave proof through the night… A volley of cracks and booms echoed as I hit the link – “asap” link. My thought was something like “Oh, god. What have they done now?”. Had 14,000 votes been discovered in that dumpster in the Racine recount? Did Romney pick Walker as his running mate? Was Justice Prosser out choking his colleges again? Boom. Boom. Boom. No. What I was reading sent a cadence of mini-crackles up my spine in remarkable unity with the explosions outside. …that our flag was still there.

MEMORANDUM
DATE: July 3, 2012
TO: Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
Milwaukee Election Commission
Wisconsin County Clerk
Milwaukee County Election Commission
FROM: Ross Hein
Elections Supervisor
Government Accountability Board
SUBJECT: Public Records Requests: June 5, 2012 Election Materials
You are receiving this high-priority communication because it contains information that requires immediate attention.

It seems that Kevin Kennedy and the GAB had over stepped it’s bounds in guiding County Clerks to dampen down the green grass of the Freedom of Information requests. The fireworks of freedom would go on. Boom. Boom. Boom.

“As we have already informed clerks, the public records law is not within the jurisdiction of the G.A.B. (The emphasis and bold are NOT inserted by me, but appear in the memorandum)
“If your counsel requires legal advice regarding the application of the public records laws to these requests, including permissible chargeable location and other costs, and the impact of the requirement to maintain a chain of custody and the integrity of the June 5, 2012 election materials, your counsel should contact the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office as it has the authority to interpret and provide opinions or advice regarding the public records law.

As the smoke of spent gunpowder moved across the field outside where children slapped at mosquitoes that had survived the drought, I read on as the ground torch touched the wick of the climactic volley that scorched the sky with blinding color and explosions of popping pyrotechnics that may well have been heard all the way to Minnesota.

While there are some exemptions from production of certain records in the public records statutes, e.g., for copyrighted material, general trade secret claims do not automatically exempt production.”

What does this mean?

Since the programmable voting machines and private vendors replaced people as ballot counters, the holy grail of these private corporations, with no oversight, has been their hard fought and heavily funded ability to keep the secret of the programing hidden from the government, the courts, the candidates, the people. Boom. Boom. Boom. The freedom of information laws have shifted the defense of this secret from the private corporations and placed them squarely on the shoulders of the municipalities. (Again the bold and emphasis is not mine, but is inserted in the memorandum.)

Ultimately, each county and municipality is subject to the application of Wisconsin’s public records laws and individually responsible for compliance therewith. Failure to comply with public records laws does expose the counties and municipalities to civil penalties and potential attorney’s fees. It is strongly recommended that you each obtain adequate legal counsel to appropriately comply with these public records requests, as well as maintain the chain of custody and integrity of the June 5, 2012 election materials.

Clerks Failed to Keep Vote Record in Secure Custody

County Clerks failed to keep the record of your vote in secure custody. The record was sent out of state before the required 21 days required by law.
WI Stats. 7.23(1)(g) the record retention period for the removable memory cards is 21 days. Read the statute

The discovery was first made in Crawford County when the County Clerk admitted to me that the memory cards were not in her office. Read “Cartridges, Clerks, and Men in White Suits. The cartridges or memory cards hold the electronic vote count for each Edge voting machine in every ward. The information is the official vote count reported at the end of the night. Even though, these machines produce a paper role of the vote count, this paper trail is not counted or matched to the digital machine total on election night, in fact much to the surprise of most people, it is against the law to match the paper with the digital count. The digital information IS the count. The digital information is held on the memory cards. The memory cards were sent out of state before the 21 days dictated by the statute. The custody of your vote was compromised and if there had been a recall, you would not have had access to the memory cards since they were lying in the office of Command Central near St. Cloud Minnesota.

When the vote count was discovered to be compromised a Freedom of Information Act request was sent to all of the counties known to use the Edge voting machine and the memory card therein to tally the vote.

The parched grass of this “early send back syndrome” of memory cartridges was watered down by Kevin Kennedy when he responded with his fire hose – that election materials can be kept at a “remote location”. Yet the spirit of the statute is to provide for access to election materials in the event of an authorized recount and to allow citizens access to the records of any given election for a prescribed length of time; in the case of the recall election, 21 days. How, may I ask, did citizens have access to the records of the election when the materials were sent to a “remote location” that was over 300 miles away and out of state? That is just about as remote as your missing car keys.

So now, the action of many County Clerks is most questionable if not downright illegal, and since the “remote location” is across state boundaries, perhaps it is time for the FBI to launch a firework display. Boom. Boom. Boom.

…Oh say, does that star spangled banner yet wave?

The full Mememordum can be read Here -PDF to Municipal Clerks

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2 thoughts on “Fireworks and Freedom of Information

  1. as always, just excellent. i don’t say so enough and I apologize. The heat has kept me indoors, so more time to not just read, but to recommend on fb.

    keep writing.

    I need to do it, to. My comments are sometimes paragraphs long. I realized it should be a blog. I am closer.

    Yours is one of my favorites.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Fireworks and Freedom of Information | Occupy Wall Street Info

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