Of Recounts and Forensic Audits

Friday, October 01, 2021

I didn’t expect the 2020 election recount in Arizona to show much, but in Texas, I have skin in the game. I hold a fair expectation that I could pick up more votes than any other candidate.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, the County Government’s elected leaders (four out of five of them Republicans) and the county elections official (also a Republican), stood behind the accuracy of their election results. They even survived an attempted recall election, instigated because of their stand. Against them, the Republican majority in the State Senate paid $150,000 of the Senate’s money and another $5.7 million in donations for an audit, beginning with a company—Cyber Ninjas—that had no experience in doing similar work. Then when Cyber Ninjas could not finish the job by the contractual deadline, additional groups were hired in. For their money and efforts, out of over two million ballots, the Trumpistas got a report that showed that Democrat Joe Biden still won, but with 99 votes more than had been credited by the official count, and Republican Donald Trump still lost, but with 261 votes less. In the California gubernatorial recall election, the Democrats had to work very hard for their schadenfreude, but in Arizona, Republicans served them the opportunity as a gift.
For the record, I was not a candidate in Arizona. We completed 99% of our paperwork to be registered as a write-in candidate by the deadline, but failed to qualify by the margin of that other 1%. Nationwide, we received an average of 0.018% of the vote in states where we qualified as write-ins, so perhaps that shortfall cost us 600 votes.
In Texas I did qualify as a write-in, one of nine candidates to do so. Our American Solidarity Party ticket took 73% of all Texas write-in votes: officially 3,207. We finished in 5th place over-all, behind Trump, Biden, Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, and Green candidate Howie Hawkins. Ironically, Donald Trump won all 38 Texas Electoral Votes (by a margin of 5.5%), which means that the Texas ‘forensic audit’ announced recently would serve primarily to massage the former President’s ego. While Arizona only audited one county, which had gone for Biden, the audit that Texas plans will count three large counties which Trump lost, and one he carried. When asked why more counties weren’t included, a GOP state representative asked, “To what purpose?”

For my campaign, Harris County holds the most interest. The 2020 election brought Harris County a new elections officer, but only after the report submitted to the state by the outgoing official had shorted us by 422 votes. By that time, the incoming official could send us a letter confirming our votes, but it was too late to change the statewide count, which had already been signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. All by itself, those 422 votes could make me the biggest gainer in the audit of these four counties.
Considering that nationwide, over 150,000,000 ballots were cast and individually counted in the 2020 election, and that those results have now been challenged and re-examined more closely than after any election in our nation’s history, I can only conclude that we have a remarkably reliable count. No election was stolen. Gov. Abbott argues that the Texas audit is primarily designed to make sure that counts in future elections will be more reliable still.
Taking Gov. Abbott at his word, this should always be our goal. To that end, one suggestion I would make is that states should report every vote. In several states, we qualified as certified write-in candidates, but these states only report the total number of write-in votes, uncredited to specific candidates. We estimate that this neglect cost us over 800 votes each in New Jersey and Virginia, 700 in Washington, 400 each in Oregon and Alabama, 300 in Iowa, and another 600 split between Alaska, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. We got 762 votes in Tennessee with only some of the counties accepting the write-ins. Two counties in New York failed to submit our 86 votes to the state in time to be listed in the official tallies. In some jurisdictions, the scanning machines were not set up to even read the write-in line. We received over 42,000 votes in states with full reporting, and suspect that we got an additional four to six thousand in states that don't report write-ins.

Yet even more important to election integrity would be expansion of Ranked Choice Voting and a lowering of the barriers against third party participation. We must end the practice of gerrymandering, and we must consider a system of districts with multiple representatives and proportional representation. Until we do these things, even an endless repetition of post-election audits will fail to give us a certifiable democracy.

Celebrating International Daughters' Day

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Today has been International Daughters' Day. Fortunately, I have two very international daughters (and three international daughters-in-law)! Yet, one international achievement brings me a special level of satisfaction. My daughter Aileen served eight years in Brazil with the Mennonite Central Committee. She began at a pre-school, and then branched out to help mothers, all of them who were struggling economically, and many of them stuck in abusive situations.

Aileen feeling at home in Recife, PN, Brazil, 2005.

Visiting mothers and daughters.

Towards the end of her stay, she wrote Até Quando?: O cuidado pastoral em contexto de violência contra a mulher praticada por parceiro íntimo (Until When?: Pastoral care in the context of violence against women by an intimate partner, 128p. ISBN 978-85-7779-037-1). Published in 2010, it won the Counseling Book of the Year award from the Brazilian Association of Evangelical Booksellers. I am a very proud dad.

In researching the history of Daughters' Day, it began in India, intended to help combat the enormous loss of little girls to sex-selective abortions and infanticide. The 2011 Census showed that among children aged 0-6 years old, India had only 914 girls for every 1000 boys.  In Maharashtra state, the figure was 883.  Some villages in India report no girls born in an entire year. Although it is a world-wide problem, it is especially serious in India and China. While I was in China in 2004, the government was waking up to the problem of having 119 marriageable men for every 100 women. For any such society, a wide variety of problems present themselves. For example, more crime is committed by unmarried males than by any other demographic. A country could draft its extra males into the military, but then the neighbors get nervous. Today, in the Uighur areas of China, husbands are often placed in labor and reeducation camps, while Han Chinese 'uncles' are assigned to live in those homes. Are these situations connected? What does a society do once it gets so out of balance?

I am so thankful for all my sons and my daughters, and all my grandkids. There are so many reasons to be #ProScience #ProLife #ProWoman @AmSolidarity

Girls--daughters--are critically important for any society. We must take care and nurture them.
Today we recognize them.

Posted by Brian at 9:07 PM 0 comments  

Yes! You found the Dormant Blog of Presidential Candidate Brian T. Carroll

Thursday, March 07, 2019

I fully intended to resurrect this blog and began posting again when I made my last post, on March 10, 2016.  However, by the end of that month, life had taken one of those unexpected turns, and sent me in a new direction.  By the end of the year I had discovered and joined the American Solidarity Party, been elected to its state leadership team, and become a candidate to cast California's Electoral College votes.  

Throughout 2017, I wrestled with the decision over whether or not to run for Congress.  Then, during the 2018 California Primary, I did.  Running with only the evenings and Saturdays that I could steal from my teaching, and raising and spending only about $3,000, I finished fifth in a six-man race (1.3%).  By November, the top two finishers in that race had raised and spent over $20 million.  They spent almost $100 per vote.  Not counting the filing fees, my per-vote costs ran to about 50 cents.

I also attracted the attention of Party members across the country, who asked me to carry the Solidarity banner in the 2020 elections.  Until June, I am continuing to teach Spanish and U.S. History & Constitution at Farmersville Junior High School.  Then I am taking retirement so that I can campaign full time.  So far, two other candidates are seeking the ASP nomination, which will be decided during a convention this summer.

The American Solidarity Party "believes in the sanctity of human life, the necessity of social justice, our responsibility to care for the environment, and the promotion of a more peaceful world.  We cherish the individual rights and separation of government powers protected by the U.S. Constitution, and recognize the need for social supports and community cohesion.  We seek to bridge the bitter partisan divide with principled and respectful policies and dialog."

Most of the posts on this blog appeared between 2004 and 2012, while I described myself as a compassionate conservative Republican.  As I read through these old posts, I spot places where my opinions have changed.  At the time, I thought highly of Mike Huckabee.  Not anymore.  I want no part of a flack for our current Administration.  I considered deleting a few things, but decided against it.  Voters have a right to know how I think, and where I've come from.  Someday soon, I hope to have a campaign website available.  But for the moment, I invite you to browse through my past.


Posted by Brian at 9:47 PM 0 comments  

Testing Oneself for Idols

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It has been almost two years since I posted to this blog, but I was recently asked to present a devotional, and then asked to make copies available, so I am parking it here:

Tonight, I would like to share several verses that have helped me to process some of what I have been experiencing.
Genesis 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

"Here I am," he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
So Abraham corrected God, saying, "No, Lord, I know my doctrine and eschatology. Isaac and his descendants will inherit the Covenant, along with your blessings, and all of the land. His descendants will be numbered like the stars in the heavens. You can find that in Genesis, chapters 15 and 17, Lord. I also know how much you hate the infant sacrifices of the Baal worshipers." 
Or maybe your Bible says something different. 
In all of this, I am probably preaching mostly to myself, because many of you are way ahead of me. 
What I want to talk about is the idols in our lives, because sometimes those idols are very good things. In many ways, Isaac was the best gift God could have given Abraham, but God wanted to see if that good gift had become an idol in Abraham's life.
So God calls an audible. This is football terminology, and I don't watch much football. But sometimes, the team breaks the huddle with a plan, and they get up to the line of scrimmage, and for whatever reason, the quarterback decides to alter the plan. He communicates that with an audible. Then, in a stadium with 50,000 screaming fans, the team picks out his voice, and recognizes it as his, and obeys the new plan.
We pick up the story:
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
God is going to call another audible.
“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Many, many good things can become idols in our lives. Our personal understanding of doctrines can become idols. A church membership can become an idol. I can say, “I belong to the best church in town. I’ve been there 36 years, and it’s always going to be there for me.”

Well, maybe not.

I can say, “Our church gives 22% to missions, and our stableful of missionaries is lighting the world on fire for Christ.”

Well, are those missionaries ours, or Christ’s?

Another time, and another place:
Acts 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 
 (“I think that’s in either Deuteronomy or Leviticus, Lord.”)
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Once again, God is calling an audible.
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
Unquestionably, this audible thing opens us up to all kind of antinomian heresies. I think Jesus warned us about that, for example:
Matthew 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
But we also have these words from Jesus,
John 10:25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.30 I and the Father are one.”
I can’t know if you are listening to Christ’s voice. You can’t know if I am listening to Christ’s voice. But each of us has the job of determining whether we, for ourselves, are hearing Christ’s voice. The temptation can be very strong to judge others, and I think Jesus does call us to judge doctrines, like Health and Wealth, or Name it and Claim it—John tells us to test every spirit—but we have to be very careful to judge motives.
This comes from the Apostle Paul:
Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
But Paul, what if someone …?

Paul says, “It doesn’t matter. Christ is being preached.”

But Paul, what if …

Paul says, “It doesn’t matter. Christ is being preached.”

But what if …

Paul says, “It doesn’t matter. Christ is being preached.”

Paul leaves no wiggle room. We may find ourselves uprooted, and ministries taken from us that were sure God had given to us, but when God calls an audible, the only truly important fact is that God has a plan we don’t yet understand.
A final passage: 
Acts 11:19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
The church sprang up in Antioch, only because persecution had driven the believers from Jerusalem. This uprooting could not have been pleasant for the believers in Jerusalem, but it was God’s plan. I saw a similar thing happen in Colombia, when Wycliffe was evacuating the country. People who had been there for 35 years didn’t want to leave. Their identities were wrapped up in their ministries. Good ministries, but maybe it was time for God to shake things up, and move them somewhere else. Most of us don’t move very easily. I know I don’t. I need to accept that many good things have become idols in my life. It only truly becomes doable when we open ourselves to what God might be doing. I think I am at that point. I want to see what God has next.