THE PEOPLE’S AUDIT: Save Millions in Taxpayer Money + Secure Elections?? | Joe Hoft

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THE PEOPLE’S AUDIT: Save Millions in Taxpayer Money + Secure Elections??

Georgia Ballots

Reprinted with permission from People’s Audit. 

Whenever you talk to government officials about improving election security, they tend to complain about the “lack of resources”.

Well, I made a business out of eliminating waste and fraud along with scaling organizations. I believe you can always find ways to improve processes. With constant improvements in technology, it is just a matter of leveraging the latest proven technology to make things simpler and reduce costly errors with better monitoring of the transactions.

Along with better monitoring of those processes, you typically find some bad apples that need to be tossed because they refuse to stop wasting money or worse, get caught stealing it.

Every one of our business endeavors typically was self-funded in less than 3 months and it was a win-win because the waste we eliminated resulted in FAR MORE MONEY in the pockets of our shareholders than they ever had to pay to us for eliminating it.

Also, the employees of those same companies learned to love us because once they got over the habitual fear of change, we showed them how easy we could make their jobs by eliminating problems caused by recurring issues.

So how does that relate to elections?

Well, here is my Lake County, Florida Supervisor Election and former Florida Senator, Alan Hays proudly standing next to a baker’s rack full of undelivered voter information cards back in June 2022.

We know there were exactly 27,774 pieces of undelivered voter information cards in that rack because the Ladys of Lake County Election Team scanned every one of them. All the while Mr. Hays removed the chairs from the room so they couldn’t even rest while feeding them through the scanner.

I wish I could say he is a model public servant, but he has a nasty habit of blowing his top and yelling at you if you ask him questions.

So let’s say conservatively, the county paid $3 to print and postage each one of those voter information cards. That is $83,322 of Lake County taxpayer money this dentist-turned-mail-in election expert hauled off to the dump.

Was that one of the reasons why Hays got $195,000 in Zuckerbucks in 2020?

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Keep in mind. This was just one mailing and I’m not considering storage, handling, transportation, and shredding of this mail because that all depends on your local rates. I do hope they securely dispose of these since they could be used to steal votes. But he told us he wasn’t going to look at them till after the 2 election cycles (Aug 2022 Primary & Nov 2022 General) were complete.

We counted about 572 primary voters who were somehow still able to vote by mail in the Aug 2022 Primary while their voter information card sat in that rack as undeliverable.

Think there may be a problem with waste and potential fraud here?

As for mail-in ballots, you could conservatively estimate $5-$10 per mail-in ballot if you consider the special paper, folding, and stuffing into envelopes.

But it’s a good thing Leon County’s Supervisor of Election, Mark Early is married to Stacey Early who heads the elections division of Cathedral Printing in Orlando. Catherdral, a New York-based company whose CEO was a monthly contributor to ACT BLUE, purchased Fidlar Elections in 2017. Do you think Earley gets us all a FAMILY DISCOUNT on the 2/3 of the state’s mail-in ballots that are printed at Cathedral?

You would think when Mark Early was president of the Florida Supervisors of Election, Inc. he would be promoting best practices on dealing with bulk mail since his wife is a long-time expert on the topic. I would have no problem with nepotism if she were training other countries on these best practices because large printers are typically experts on them.

That is because major print companies must follow USPS CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) processes to qualify to send bulk mail.

In late September 2022, less than 2 months before the November General Election, The People’s Audit found about 100,000 undeliverable voters requesting mail-in ballots in that election. It was probably even higher than this number because this was just days before Hurricane Ian flattened and flooded parts of Florida.

Printers know which voter is undeliverable using the same type of software that we use. It works with the US Post Office to determine if the address is deliverable or not. It also corrects and correctly formats the address and most recognizably adds an extra 4 digits to the zip code.

If you ever bought anything online you probably saw a step asking you to confirm your address. This is the CASS Verification step most online retailers and Internet companies do. Here is an example from Google.

The software the printers use also has the capability of doing NCOA (National Change of Address) checks because the Post Office requires you to do these checks on your mail lists every 90 days to qualify for discount postage.

But in the printer’s contracts, that we looked at in multiple counties, the printer will state that if the address cannot be verified, they will just print the address as is and cannot guarantee it will be delivered.

But the one thing you can guarantee is the printer still charges the counties to check that address along with printing the item and applying postage to it. EVERY TIME THEY ARE ASKED TO BULK PRINT ANYTHING FROM THE ELECTION OFFICES.

So let’s go with a conservative estimate of $5 per mail-in ballot time for 100,000 requests that were showing to be undeliverable. That is about $500,000 that the printers still charged the state. Our election officials then haul around the bakers’ racks continuing the cycle of waste each election cycle. I wonder if the election officials get any donations from the printers to keep business as usual running.

On top of all this waste, there is a return service fee charged by the US Post Office on every piece of returned mail.

Strangely, when you try to reconcile what the USPS charges the county for being undeliverable vs what the county records as undeliverable, it never seems to balance. Wherever we looked, the USPS seems to be charging for more items than the election offices are recording as undeliverable.

Is it because some ballots get harvested and counted in the elections or is the county office staff poor at manually reviewing all those envelopes and properly recording them?

Something does not add up here.

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How can we do better?

First and foremost, local election offices MUST adopt the same practices that companies use when dealing with bulk mail.

I AM NOT PROMOTING MAIL-IN BALLOT VOTING!

I still think mail-in voting is prone to fraud, but those election offices still need to mail out voter information cards, sample ballots, and notices along with keeping our voter rolls clean.

In my +20 years of building systems that clean organizational data, fixing addresses not only saves a tremendous amount of money that would otherwise get wasted, it also gives you more accurate ways to compare your data to other systems.

For instance, the people who are stored in the NCOA database are stored in CASS format.

If you have an address like “123 Main Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida” in your database, even though a human may see it is the same address, A COMPUTER WILL NOT MATCH the CASS formatted address which is: “123 MAIN ST, FT LAUDERDALE, FL.” Unless you tell a computer to ignore the case of the letter, it might not match just for being in a different case. That is why CASS CAPITALIZES the address. This makes it faster for the mail scanners to read them if they are all uniform and standardized.

So to reiterate, standardize your address for better matching:

  • 123 Main Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida = BAD!
  • 123 MAIN ST, FT LAUDERDALE, FL = GOOD!

If all your addresses are in CASS Format, the record matches with address changes, deaths, and felony charges will match more accurately.

So this small change will domino out into multiple areas. How do I know this? The reality is anyone who does anything with addresses in business and online retail knows this and has been doing this for nearly 20 years.

That is why it was so shocking to me to see election officials promoting mail-in ballots without even understanding the basics of mail. This is Fortune 500 standard practice in the private sector.

In the bulk printing industry, this knowledge would be the equivalent of a plumber knowing how to use a plunger to unplug a toilet. But you also don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how the waste allows for mail ballots to be stolen as well as a LOT OF TAXPAYER MONEY to be spread across multiple government agencies and vendors.

When we started with the Nov 2020 voter rolls, Florida had 694,187 Active Registrations with both of their addresses UAA (Undeliverable As Addressed). Or unreachable by mail because both their residential and mail addresses were bad.

Fast forward to today, and with the grassroots efforts in Florida using The People’s Audit, we cut that number in half to 356,548 Active UAA Voters.

So just think about how much Florida is now saving with this reduced amount of undeliverable mail throughout the state. If we go back to that voter card example and $3 per mail piece, that is over 1 MILLION DOLLARS PER MAILING!

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But wait…there’s more…

ERIC is now irrelevant. Why do we need to share our data with 3rd party left-leaning vendors when the election offices could easily check NCOA (National Change Of Address) in-house because all their addresses are already stored in the correct CASS format?

If the locals simply store the addresses using US Post Office CASS standards, they can easily acquire the same software they are currently paying the printers to charge them to use for EVERY SINGLE MASS MAILING.

That postal software requires you to do an automatic NCOA check every 90 days to qualify for discount postage. So the election offices would also know who has moved without the need for ERIC.

Also, this same software allows you to generate tracking IMB bar codes that will track that individual piece of mail to see if it is delivered or not..MOST IMPORTANTLY RECEIVE AN ELECTRONIC NOTIFICATION WHEN IT DOES OR DOES NOT ARRIVE!

The USPS discontinued the previous system in which these bar codes we optional on some mail in late 2023 and now ALL MAIL is being tracked with these IMB codes. So either we are having our elections office use them directly OR we are paying the 3rd parties to apply them to every mailing.

Why on earth are we also paying 3rd part left-leaning organizations to do our mail ballot tracking when this can all be done SECURELY within our county election offices?

And why are they wasting resources manually documenting returned mail MONTHS AFTER AN ELECTION HAPPENS? The election notification on returned mail would come back during the mail ballot stage weeks before the election and could immediately VOID THAT BALLOT so it can’t be harvested.

After reading this I hope you understand how wasteful and frankly unprofessional what elections officials are currently doing.

So in summary, what can local election offices do?

  • Stop printing, mailing, storing, and hauling undeliverable mail
  • Stop paying the printers to check and format addresses on EVERY MAILING!
  • Get rid of ERIC
  • Qualify for discounted postage
  • Get rid of all 3rd party ballot tracking software. This can be done DIRECTLY through the USPS Mail system as postage is being applied. TRACING IS NOW INCLUDED.
  • Work with USPS Professionals to bring this all into the security of your elections offices.
  • SECURE ALL ELECTION MAIL!

NO EXCUSES! Not only does this save taxpayers MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALLY, but it also cleans our voter rolls and secures our election mail.

And there should also be enough left over to pay your staff more and hire some cybersecurity experts at the state and local levels.

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