Friday, June 19, 2009

Liveblogging the Fresno Count

Courtesy of NUHW's Paul Delahanty - direct link is here. I will update every 15 minutes or so.
NUHW: Fresno Ballot Count Good morning from the Fresno ballot count!

Today represents the official count of the ballots cast by Fresno homecare providers in an election that took place between June 1st and 15th in.Fresno County. The outcome of this election will determine whether NUHW or SEIU represents 10,000 Fresno homecare providers...

9AM --So, no wireless here at the County Office Building, so this is a mobile liveblog, forgive my thumbs!

9:15 AM -- Both sides fill the room. We're upstairs in a small, windowless 30' x 30' room. The ballots are rolled on two carts by the officials. Some of us are going to have to leave...looks like we're down to 18 audience members from either side.

9:30 -- A warm cheer goes up from the NUHW side, Toni Landin, an NUHW activist who was injured in a car accident during the election is wheeled in.

10:00 AM -- They are slicing open envelopes and the ballot counters are working at three tables with an obsever from each side.

10:15 AM -- We have official news. Just under 6,000 Ballots were received by the County. (Comment by Sierra - Looks like SEIU's claim of 5000 votes was out-and-out BS after all...)

10:45 AM -- Outer Ballot envelopes are still being opened.(The stamped envelopes that contain the secret ballot envelopes, which contain the ballots) Piles of green secret ballot envelopes are rising on each table. Conversations in Hmong, Spanish and English fill the room as the envelope opening machine whirs.

11:15 AM -- The ballot counters take a break..No secret ballots have been opened yet.

11:30 AM -- They are opening the green secret ballot envelopes by hand and making piles of ballots face down on the table. (For folks out there wondering...there's no counting involved in this process, just opening ballot envelopes by hand and removing ballots.)

12:00 PM -- They are still opening ballots by hand. Some of the ballot counters are breaking for lunch. Bear with us here, this process will take some time. This election is well on its way to breaking record turnout.

A big hello goes out to the NUHW supporters who've found some shade in front of the building.

12:30 PM -- More and more ballots are on the table. Still no news or ballot counts. Take out coffees slowly are making an appearence. Apparently this office building also has an affordable and friendly cafeteria. The grilled chicken and vegetables gets a big thumbs up as does the Turkey Breast Sandwich.

12:50 PM -- I'd like to take.a moment to thank Mrs. Hall of Fresno who hosted this blogger on short notice last night. Thank you and enjoy the Irish Dance Competition!

1:15 PM -- Here's the first official quote from NUHW, "With approximately 20% of the ballots sorted this looks like a close race."

1:50 PM -- Second official quote from NUHW: "With 30% of the ballots sorted this still looks like a close race."

2:05 PM -- The sound of ballots being unfolded is non stop. Envelopes are still being opened by hand. Folks on both sides have started standing up to watch the ballots sorted into piles.

2:15 PM -- Since you all don't have visuals...let me try to describe what everyone in the room is seeing. There's one table opening ballots and two tables unfolding and sorting those ballots into piles. There's no official ballot counting at all yet.Each side's observers can look from their position at the sorting table...but the ballots are piled up on the sort piles very quickly.

2:30 PM -- The last of the mail pallets with ballot envelopes are on the tables. All three tables are opening them.

Please go to Part Two for continuation of this LiveBlog...

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