RECOUNT PROBES FRAUD
Barrow believes write-in ballots are fraudulent
By Phreddy Wischusen
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Charges of voter fraud surround the recount of ballots cast in the Aug. 6 primary elections.
On Sept. 5, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers accepted eight individual petitions from candidates to recount Detroit’s primary ballots. Those seeking a recount were required to pay $10 per each precinct they wished to see recounted.
The Board of Canvassers approved Tom Barrow’s petition to recount over 400 precincts, but denied his amendment requesting a recount of additional precincts.
Barrow said he filed for a recount because of “allegations of fraud, wrongdoing and criminal malfeasance by the city clerk along with unnamed others.”
Jean Vortkamp, candidate in the mayoral race; D. Etta Wilcoxon and Lucinda Darrah, candidates in the city clerk race; Monica Lewis-Patrick, Derek Muhammad, Francine Adams and Regina Ross in city council races, also petitioned for a recount.
Responding to a number of Barrow’s allegations of electoral fraud, the Board, led by Joseph Xuereb (R-Northville), moved to subpoena a number of people, including the printer of primary ballots, Detroit-based Accuform.
The Board also agreed to engage the services of Speckin Forensics to examine write-in ballots.
According to their Web site, Speckin Forensic Laboratories is an international forensic firm specializing in issues including: forgery, handwriting, sequencing of entries, examinations of medical and business records for alterations, additions, rewritings, ink dating and paper, typewriting, facsimiles and photocopies.
During the recount process, Barrow photographed numerous instances where he believes handwriting is identical for Mike Duggan in different precincts. He claims he has retained his own handwriting analyst who will examine the photographed write-in ballots to prove fraud occurred.
The Board has employed almost 50 people to recount the primary ballots. They have been at work every day in Cobo Hall, including Saturdays and Sundays since Sept. 9.
Unpaid challengers representing the different recount petitioners have been there every day as well, watching as the recounters examine each ballot, often calling out, “Challenge!” when they see what they believe is identical handwriting, or in an alleged 19 cases, where the name Micheal (sic) Duggan was typed into the write-in space on the ballot.
The Board decided the typed name for Duggan was admissible, believing it came from an AutoMARK machine.
According to verifiedvoting.org, AutoMARK is “an optical scan ballot marker designed for use by people who are unable to personally mark an optical scan ballot due to physical impairments or language barriers.”
As the Michigan Citizen reported previously, the AutoMARK machines were not made available for public inspection prior to the election as required by law.
The Board is responsible for inspecting all of the challenged ballots.
People from the Duggan camp have been present at the recount as well.
Many challengers believe Duggan supporters were receiving pay of a rumored $140 a day. This reporter met three observers with Duggan tags — all three denied they were being paid.
“As citizens, we want to see what is happening here,” said Vernette Byron. Another Duggan supporter, Alston Meade, is concerned that taxpayers’ money is being wasted during the lengthy recount process.
Barrow believes the number of used and unused ballots in the ballot boxes will not equal the number of ballots printed for each precinct.
Under subpoena, Accuform delivered to the Board on Sept. 16, the printing manifest of the order placed by the clerk for the printing of ballots.
That document revealed — for Absentee Voting Counting Board 24 — there were 600 ballots printed with 242 votes returned, leaving 358 ballots that should be blank and accounted for.
As of Sept. 16, the unused ballots had not been accounted for. Barrow released an email Sept. 18 saying 110 ballots were missing from Counting Board 24.
The Board of Canvassers will take up Counting Board 24, again, on Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. in Room D2-15 at Cobo Hall.
Also, the printer’s manifest references printing for “Aug. 3, 2010 election,” not Aug. 6, 2013. When Barrow and Wilcoxon pointed out the discrepancy at a Sept. 17 meeting, the Board dismissed it as a typographical error and proceeded without investigating further.
When the Board could not locate all the unused ballots from Absent Voter Counting Board 24, Tom Barrow, an accountant, chuckled and said audibly to himself, “a bookkeeper will get you every time.”
Additionally, Barrow alleged Duggan supporters were masquerading as Citizens for Fair Elections challengers. In order for non-poll workers to observe election procedure outside of public areas, they must be properly registered to a challenge group or identified as belonging to one of the two major political parties.
Citizens for Fair Elections was founded by Tom Barrow’s brother, Albert, and is operated by them jointly.
City Clerk Janice Winfrey’s office responded to the County Board’s subpoena with documents showing two organizations with the same name had been registered: Albert Barrow for Citizens for Fair Elections letter dated July 12, 2013 and Jason Gourley’s Citizens for Fair Elections in a letter dated July 16, 2013.
Clerk Winfrey had not responded to the Michigan Citizen’s questions about why she would register two parties with exactly the same name by press time.
Barrow charges the Citizens for Fair Elections group under Gourley’s application was fraudulently backdated and never existed.
The Detroit Elections Division cannot print any election ballots for the general election to be held Nov. 5 until the primary recount is complete.