Washoe County voters turned away at polls
K-Mart taxes groceries

Special web edition for the Ides of August
UPDATED 8-26-2006

Letters, below

RENO (8-15-2006) – I never vote early. You can't talk to folks that way, ask questions about how things are going, check to see if the Kathy Augustine obituary was posted. (At my polling place in Reno, it wasn’t until I asked. Then, the very defensive precinct boss dug through a box and found it.)

In this morning's Reno Gazette-Journal, Washoe County voter registrar Dan Burk noted that he was some 75 election volunteers short.

Compound that with the roughly 100 who reportedly did not show up this morning and what happened next became very predictable.

At both Mamie Towles School in northwest Reno and at the K-Mart at McCarran and I-80, two polling places were unable to open because someone "forgot the box" of precinct materials.

One man not allowed to vote at K-Mart was able to return later. Not so with several at Mamie Towles.

One gentleman became particularly irate at being deprived of his right to vote. Imagine that. (Remember, legal fees are automatic to winning plaintiffs in federal civil rights cases.)

Poll workers at both places said they had received no instruction on what to do in such situations, such as allowing the defrocked voter to fill out a provisional ballot.

All of this is eerily familiar to some of the cases of Washoe citizens being deprived of their votes in 2004. See the archive of indifference at BallotBoxing.US.

For a list of other polling places reporting problems and statements from the registrar and a bulletin from the Demolitioncrats, click here.

If the Repulsicans, Quillertarians (the Libertarian mascot is a porcupine), retro-Whigs, ScienCommunists, conservatively coercive crypto-Fascists or any other yahoo faction have a statement on all this, I'll be happy to post that, too. (For any who think Yahoo only means "search engine," you are seriously in need of taking a literature class.)

After the long-predicted meltdowns of 2000 and 2004, several enlightened liberals (it must have been them damned liberals because this involves more government spending and – gasp! – bureaucracy) called for increasing the budgets and staffs of election offices across the nation so that such voids of volunteerism may be avoided. We apparently have learned little and democracy continues to evaporate right in front of our chad-blurred eyes.

Back to the Future Dept.
Election Theft Y2K – 1988 warnings ignored


    UPDATE: Someone in authority saw this piece and had state tax guys investigate. K-Mart was chagrined and removed the offending item (cottage cheese, of all things) from the shelves until they could get their computers reprogrammed. As the K-Mart exec told me, they were well aware that taxing groceries is illegal and were sure it was a mistake — one, if widespread, could cost consumers a lot of money. If retailers and regulators will now be more vigilant as a result, then this election day serendipity will have done some good.

     Be careful out there.

ANOTHER REASON NOT TO VOTE EARLY. By kibbitzing at polling places today, I found out that the K-Mart noted above is charging sales tax on groceries. Which just happens to be illegal in Nevada. (The ghost of the sainted Sen. Mary Gojack, D-Reno, would pay me a mildly angry visit tonight if I failed to mention it.)

The tax in question was levied on a container of cottage cheese and two heads of Romaine lettuce. There could be no confusion that it applied to a pair of sweatsocks on the same ticket.

But just imagine a determined mother with an armful of kids who pays for a couple hundred bucks worth of both food and non-food merchandise. The odds are slim that she's going to question the tax at the checkstand, let alone recompute at home.

K-Mart management told me that they are well aware that such a levy is illegal and were working on it when I left.

The magic question: What kind of oversight is ongoing at the Nevada Dept. of Taxation to ensure that such mistakes are caught? Imagine how much in unjustified sales tax might be levied by one big box store in just one day. (Stay tuned to the Barbwire for more.)

How do those stuck for such a tax get a rebate? (Sen. Bob Beers, here's a chance for you to do your first thing this year which actually might be beneficial to Nevadans.)

If you still believe in that sort of thing, vote.

Be well. Raise hell.

LATE UPDATE: According to Reno's KOLO TV-8 news at 5:00 p.m., the registrar told them that all problems had been solved by 8:30 a.m. My information from the polling places I visited say it took until after 10:00 a.m.


Angle will go to court to seek re-run of GOP congressional primary
Disenfranchised voters used for a political Mulligan

For election results, go to these links to Nevada newspapers & blogs

UPDATE 8-21-2006: A report has arrived regarding a Storey County voter who was disenfranchised by ineptitude at a polling place. Stay tuned.

Wed, 16 Aug 2006 20:34:11

From a senior citizen/activist known to the editor:

I worked the polls and took Dan Burk's class. Everyone was told about the provisional ballots and to pick up the materials, etc. But I will tell you that a LARGE MAJORITY of the volunteers do not pay attention in the classes and the teachers have to answer the same questions sometimes 5 TIMES. I was there, and all you can do is groan loudly. They give you all the information in the classes and a book telling you what to do step by step. We need younger and middle-aged people with just a half an ounce of brains to work the polls. I really don't know how to give the American People the incentive to not only work in the elections but the polls. What does it take for the American people to take pride in themselves and their country and I don't mean the mean- spirited acrimony that this current administration has put out and the pitiful people that support it.

BARBWIRE RESPONSE: As I note in the column, above, the first thing to do is put more money into the process for voting machines and permanent staff. Ironically, the New York Times printed a column on our election day noting how the infamous 2000 Bush v. Gore decision may prove quite useful in equalizing and standardizing voting procedures nationwide — if our political leaders have the chops to use it. See:

Has Bush v. Gore Become the Case That Must Not Be Named?

The ruling that stopped the Florida recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush is disappearing down the legal world's version of the memory hole.

Free registration may be required.


Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2006 00:27:54 EDT
Subject: Re: Voters not allowed to vote
To: barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us

I just returned from a 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. stint as a polling place manager. I agree that there is something to be desired about the advance work of Dan's office and I have a long list of suggestions contributed by various poll workers.

Tue, 15 Aug 2006 21:29:45

How come the voter missed out????????? I have voted in Washoe County for 26 years and never----- I mean NEVER had a problem. I think their could be something wrong with the voter.

Doug L.

BARBWIRE RESPONSE: Several people who showed up at Mamie Towles School said that they could not return later in the day due to work commitments. No one knew to offer them provisional ballots. About 50 people or more now have smoking-gun civil rights suits which they can file and win against the county. [UPDATE 8-17-2006: I am now tracking a similar situation in Storey County — Ed.]

Tue, 15 Aug 2006 17:45:59

This is the first Nevada election in which I have voted.

I came to my polling place (Caughlin Ranch Elementary) with my sample ballot for scanning (a new procedure for me) and was able to vote without impediment. 

However, I was really surprised that I was never asked for any form of ID. I am used to having to produce my driver's license or other photo ID at polling places.

Any woman could have walked in with my sample ballot and voted in my stead.

How many people will try to vote for others in order to benefit their preferred candidate? I have no idea but it would be fairly easy to do under the current system.

We lived in Chicago for awhile. The motto there is to vote early and often (a cynical reference to votes being cast fraudulently in the names of people who really didn't vote and even some who had died).

Could this be the situation here?

Best wishes,

Shirley Beasley


From: pam duPre <<mailto:pdupre@washoedems.org>pdupre@washoedems.org>
Date: Aug 15, 2006 3:20 PM
Subject: Polling place delays in Washoe County
To: <mailto:pdupre@washoedems.org>pdupre@washoedems.org
Cc: Alison Schwartz <<mailto:aschwartz@nvdems.com>aschwartz@nvdems.com>

Hello Candidates and Staffs:

Below is a press release from Washoe County that generally addresses some delays that occurred in getting polling places up and running in Washoe County this morning. After speaking with Voter Registrar Dan Burk, I have some additional information.

As the release says, the most troublesome problem was that more than 100 previously trained poll workers failed to show up at their designated locations.  In addition, there were delays in delivering supplies to at least one location, there was a problem with city parks staff failing to open a locked facility on time, and there was a problem with the power supply in at least one school, but we were assured that because of battery back-up power the functionality of the machines was not impacted.  

Dan Burk told me he is already working on a comprehensive assessment of what didn't work this morning and will begin addressing the solutions immediately.  We've tried to help his office recruit more capable and reliable poll workers and will continue to do so.  

These are the polling locations that reportedly experienced problems of one sort or another:  
(the press release mentions 10 and there are 11 locations on this list)

Holy Cross Catholic Community—5650 Vista Blvd, Sparks
Rock Church – 4950 Vista Blvd
Mendive Elementary School – 1900 Whitewood Dr , Sparks
Whitehead Elementary – 3570 Waterfall Dr. , Sparks
Diedrichsen Elementary – 1735 Del Rosa Way , Sparks
Greenbrae Elementary – 1840 4th St. , Sparks
Roy Gomm Elementary – 4000 Mayberry Dr. , Reno
Billinghurst Middle School – 6685 Chesterfield Ln , Reno
Plumas Gym – 475 Monroe St. , Reno
Virginia Palmer Elemantary – 5890 Klondike Dr .. Sun Valley
McQueen H.S.  – Robb Drive, Reno

Pam duPre', Executive Director
Washoe County Democratic Party
330 E. Liberty , Suite 100
Reno, NV 89501
775-323-VOTE phone
775-348-8686 fax

Media Contact: Mike Wolterbeek
For Immediate Release, tel. (775) 328-6145
Website: www.washoecounty.us 06-142
All Polling Places Up and Running Smoothly in Washoe County 

RENO, Nevada. Aug. 15, 2006. All polling places in Washoe County were up and running smoothly after a rough start at 10 of the 93 locations, according to Dan Burk, Washoe County's Registrar of Voters.

"We estimate 35-40 people weren't able to cast their ballots due to a delayed start of operations at those few locations," Burk said. "If someone couldn't cast their ballot at one of those polling locations we encourage them to return to their polling place, and we also welcome them to come to the Registrar's Office to cast their ballot before 7 p.m. as an alternative."

The Registrar determined that pursuant to a provision in NRS, anyone who was unable to vote this morning at one of the 10 locations, and for whatever reason cannot go vote at their assigned polling place by 7 p.m., will be allowed to vote at the Registrar of Voters office at Ninth and Wells using an Absentee Ballot before 7 p.m. tonight.

The delayed starts ranged from 15-90 minutes, and all 10 of the polling places were up and running smoothly by 8:30 a.m. The cause of the delay was primarily due to poll workers not showing up as scheduled.

"I apologize for the inconvenience to the affected voters and encourage all voters to get to their polling places and vote today," Burk said.

Burk said at the majority of polling places people were finding the process faster and easier with no struggle with waiting or long lines.

"There was a rush of voters this morning and we expect a steady turnout throughout the day with another rush this evening," he said. Voters are encouraged to vote before 5 p.m. to avoid the evening rush.


Mike Wolterbeek
Washoe County Public Information Officer
PO Box 11130
Reno , NV 89520

State of Nevada
Secretary of State

ALBINIANO UPDATE. KRNV TV-4 anchor Joe Hart's feature on critically ill eight year-old William Albiniano will probably air this Wednesday, August 16, perhaps on the 6:00 p.m. newscast.

As I've noted several times, the family has been missing house payments to pay for the seriously ill boy's medication. Still no word on whether or not he can be covered by the much-ballyhooed Nevada Checkup health plan for children.

Don't forget that the yard sale fundraiser at Dee's Used Furniture in Sun Valley has been rescheduled to Sept. 9 to allow more time for donations. Anyone wishing to contribute items may call (775) 771-4951 or (775) 303-0606.

As always, a complete list of donation locations and Janine Kearney's front page Tribune story about William's case will be linked to the web edition of this column at Barbwire.info.

Please help if you can.

Be well. Raise hell.


   Lisa Albiniano, William's mother, was called by doctors at Cal-Davis at 4:00 a.m. Saturday, July 29, 2006. She was ordered to immediately take her son to Washoe Med ER, as his blood pressure and heart rate were spiking. (Thank heaven someone at the hospital ordered tests notwithstanding the family's financial straits.)

   William was treated and sent home. Mrs. Albiniano continues her round-the-clock efforts to save her son's life.

Complete info about William's case




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Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and webmaster of JoeNeal.org. His opinions are strictly his own, as always. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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