Last week, I wrote a blog entry about Michael Blake’s “shocking” voting history in Washington DC. Based on District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) records, it appeared that Blake didn’t cast a vote in the 2012 general election. Initially, it appeared that Blake, a White House aide at the time, didn’t vote for his boss, President Obama.
But because the DCBOEE public record contradicted records later obtained from NationBuilder, a national supplier of voter database information to campaigns, I inquired further with the DCBOEE.
Over the weekend, I reached out to Tamara Robinson, DCBOEE public information officer. This morning, Ms. Robinson replied via email:
“Mr. Blake cast provisional ballots in the November 2010 and November 2012 General Elections. For some reason provisional ballots are listed as “no history” in the voter profile.”
Ms. Robinson told me over the phone that because Michael Blake completed “same-day” voter registration and voted on November 2, 2010, he cast his vote via provisional ballot (i.e., an affidavit ballot in NY). Blake cast another provisional ballot in November 2012 because he had applied for an absentee ballot but showed up at his polling place on Election Day to vote in-person.
But why was “no history” placed in his voter profile public record?
Ms. Robinson responded that the DC BOEE interprets the Help America Vote Act‘s privacy protections to mean that voters who cast provisional ballots cannot be identified. Ms. Robinson said that the Board hopes to rectify how they handle the public release of voter histories. I informed her that in NYS , we simply record a person as having voted.
By the way, the information that the DCBOEE provided NationBuilder included Blake’s entire voter history without revealing whether he voted by provisional ballot or in-person.
As a political insider said to me earlier today, “maybe the DC election board is as screwed up as ours.” Well, that insider was absolutely right.
But now inquiring minds must now ask how this confirmed DC voting history affects Blake’s defense against the residency challenge now pending before special referees in Bronx Supreme Court, election part. Hmm.
Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.