Speaking of databases | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Speaking of databases

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 6:34 AM

The state can look up Sudafed purchasers on-line. You can't. But take heart, you can unearth matters potentially far more embarrassing.

You can find out whether Pulaski County voters participated in the Democratic, Republican or Green Party presidential primaries this year. Remember the old slogan: Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

The Democrat-Gazette has assembled the database from Pulaski County voting records. Go to this link on their website, plug in a name, and you'll find the ballot that person chose, if he or she voted in February. You'll also find a home address there should you care to drop a note of congratulations or condemnation.

For example, Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman, 1 Sunset Point, is listed as having voted in the Democratic primary. No records turned up in a search for either executive editor Griffin Smith or editorial page editor Paul Greenberg. Jay Grelen, at 135 Ridgeland Drive, Maumelle, voted Republican.

(The Arkansas Times' publisher and editor picked up the D ballot.)

I count on readers to mine nuggets to share.

Note: You can search by street. For example, I plugged in my own street name, Edgerstoune Lane, and found that all 12 February voters with home addresses on that street picked up the D ballot.

By way of comparisons, the split on ritzy Chenal Circle was 15 Democrats and 30 Republicans. (Better than I feared, actually.)

PS -- Susan Inman at the Pulaski County Election Commission wants to clear up a piece of misinformation in the D-G's posting and advertising. The database was built with information supplied by County Clerk Pat O'Brien's office, not by the Election Commission.

UPDATE: I did a little checking with O'Brien on account of numerous complaints from people who said they voted but didn't turn up on the D-G database. O'Brien went to the county's record and found, for example, that it shows, as Orval wrote, that Paul Greenberg indeed voted in the Republican presidential primary. Why it doesn't turn up on the D-G database is unknown. At least one voter who voted early is NOT on the county record, but that doesn't mean his vote didn't count. Election workers sometimes make tabulation errors and fail to properly note when a vote is cast. In theory, of course, it means that a voter not tabulated could vote again. O'Brien said the error rate is generally small.

O'Brien mentioned, by the way, that he didn't work with the D-G on this. Computerized voting records may be purchased as a matter of routine from his office, however, and manipulated as desired. Political consultants purchase them to reach frequent voters, Republican voters, Green voters, etc.

I've asked the D-G for thoughts on the gaps in the database and at least one reader whose wife was omitted said he thinks he has an explanation and will share it if he can substantiate it.


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