Post Number: 7527
Best of Black Box? N/A
|Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:04 am: |
The box below was shipped from the secretary of state TO the town clerk. The pinkish label is a shipping lable and so is the label next to it saying "deliver to":
The rebuttal provided by state and archive employees to concerns about the particular slit shown above is that the label on the top is the only thing that counts.
I'll post a closeup photo of the top label further down. On the top label are the signatures of the selectmen and information about location and information about the ballots inside.
I chose the above photo because it provides a clear image of the SHIP TO labels and also shows the label on the box top that is said to secure the ballot box. I cannot tell from this photo whether the clear tape is on top of that label or underneath it, but let's give the benefit of the doubt and assume the label on top is further secured with clear plastic tape.
This is not a chain of custody. There is absolutely no way for any observer to tell whether the clear plastic tape (if it's over the top label) was affixed on the night of the election, by the town clerk after the election, by Butch and Hoppy or a person they met enroute, or in the vault in the middle of the night.
It is easy to get distracted with off-topic questions like "are you accusing Butch and Hoppy?" or to take at face value someone's statement that the tape was put there on election night.
THAT IS NOT A CHAIN OF CUSTODY.
The only item that even remotely resembles a chain of custody is the signed label on the top of the box. Since we have no idea when the other tape was put on, or who affixed it, that tape cannot be considered part of the chain of custody.
Furthermore, this taping of the label was not a consistent practice from box to box or town to town.
I think we can all understand that the town clerk would slit open the end of the box to retrieve shipped ballots.
That explains the slits that ONLY slit the two original shipping labels.
That doesn't answer the chain of custody questions revealed by the above slit. The questions raised by the above photo in my mind are:
1) Can someone get their hand into the slit?
2) Was the box slit secured by tape or anything when it came out of the van?
3) Was the box slit secured in any way at the town before pickup?
4) Is there any record of what the box looked like on election night and also, before pickup? In other words, do the signatures even match, is the tape in the same places.
5) If there is no tape securing the label at the top, it would be the ONLY thing securing the box since the sides are slit. If this label is removed, does it leave telltale evidence?
6) Does the slitting of the labels upon receipt of original ballots explain all openings on all ballot boxes?
Let's look into that a little further.