From: user 9.
Sent on: Friday, November 9, 2012 9:25 PM



You may have admitted goofing up with your prediction a little too quickly.


Our prediction assumed that Obama would not get the turnout he got in 2008.  He didn’t.

Our prediction assumed that our side was more motivated to vote than Obama’s side.  We were.

Our prediction assumed that we would be able to turn out our vote.  We didn’t.  At least not on the national level.


So what went wrong?  The 3 biggest things I saw were:


1.     After the debates showed Romney to be an acceptable choice, post-debate negative advertising by Obama made him come across as a crass, partisan politician.  Then hurricane Sandy hit, and Chris Christie’s photo op portrayed Obama as a compassionate, by-partisan and engaged President.  Independents that had swung to Romney re-considered and democrats who were going to stay home decided to vote after all. 

2.     An inner circle of Romney advisors did him the same favor their predecessors did with McCain; they convinced him to “play it safe”.  Ryan’s message was diluted.  Romney did not raise Benghazi again.  He did not respond immediately to point out that Obama had once again made a promise, and then returned to campaigning while the hope was still unfulfilled; Sandy victims were suffering more each day and FEMA was AWOL.  More than anything else, the Romney team never posed the question, “What if Obama is re-elected?  Obamacare?  Fiscal cliff?  An emasculated military?”.  “Playing it safe” appears to be a very dangerous thing to do, judging from the Romney and McCain campaigns.

3.     Although democrat turnout declined below the levels Obama enjoyed in 2008, Romney’s turnout also declined.  This was primarily due the total failure of the ORCA Project on which the Romney campaign depended to manage his election day Get-Out-The-Vote effort.  At Bain Capital, Romney would never have gone along with a project like ORCA; top down, tightly controlled, inadequately organized and largely uncommunicated to the people who were expected to carry it out.  It is of little satisfaction that our own county is one of only 8 in the state of Ohio where Romney received more votes than McCain.



Following is an email I sent to our ORCA coordinator in Ohio (yes, only one for the entire state; 88 counties with over 100 volunteers in our county alone).  This was sent 4 days before the election, when the 5 day commitment was not kept.  I escalated it twice after that through other channels.  Our materials began to arrive 2 days before the election, and were still arriving late the night before the election a piece at a time in emails to each of the volunteers individually.


Note that question 8 below is an issue I raised when ORCA was first unveiled to us by Ohio’s Romney Campaign Director months ago, and repeatedly since.  I also stated at that 1st meeting that I considered ORCA unworkable and gave my reasons why I was of that opinion.  The issues I raised were never answered or addressed.




1, 4 and 7 didn’t happen. I think we need to get the loose ends tied up tomorrow. Let’s try to connect between 9 & 9:30 AM. Romney rallies and Obama demonstrations are fine, but I think this has become more critical.

Best regards,

Jim Woods

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]]
Sent: Sunday, October 28,[masked]:00 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: ORCA

Jim, do you have time tomorrow to discuss?

From: "Michael D. Byrne"
Date: Wed, 24 Oct[masked]:17:31 -0400
Cc: Scott Jennings , "[address removed]" , Danielle Frisa ,
Subject: Re: ORCA

Thank you – answers here --
1. by email approx 5 days before Election Day
2. Call [masked] to discuss
3. Call [masked] to discuss
4. by email approx 5 days before Election Day
5. Online, teleconference, and in person trainings all relate to this – visit http://www.mittromney.com/forms/ohio-election-day-operations-task-force-training
6. Report electioneering to [masked] or by pressing the help button in the Election Day app in your smartphone
7. In the emai packet you will receive 5 days before Election Day
8. Yes
9. Yes
10. Yes

To discuss scheduling of poll observers in Medina, please call me asap - 805–[masked] – we have over 80 signed-up from the County so far


From: "[address removed]"
Date: Wed, 24 Oct[masked]:43:04 -0400
To: "Michael D. Byrne"
Subject: Fwd: ORCA

I have no idea how to answer.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Jim Woods
Date: October 24, 2012, 10:35:58 AM EDT
Cc: 'Scott Jennings'
Subject: ORCA

Please feel free to forward this inquiry as necessary.

1. When will the poll observer credentials be received? In 2008 I didn’t receive mine until nearly noon on the day of the election, at the polls. That made it a little tricky with the election judges when I showed up without credentials.
2. When will the poll assignments be issued? I have not been advised yet of what poll I am assigned to, location, etc.
3. Are there special considerations? In 2008 I was only supposed to work the morning, but worked all day because my relief never showed up. Is there a mechanism for determining if there are no-shows? Are there backups to assign to fill in for no-shows? Are there any half-dayers who will need relief? Who will be overseeing the poll-army on election day?
4. When will the list of voters be received for “poll flushing”? This should be the last thing received to accommodate last minute additions, but absolutely must be in hand by 11/5.
5. Where is the list of election violations to watch for, and the contact list for reporting discrepancies?
6. What is to be done if Obama for America brings in bag lunches & refreshments for election officials, as they did in 2008?
7. Where is the contact information for other support the poll observers may need?
8. Has the entire system from data recording at the polls, to inputting that data into the system, to production of updated call lists and to generation of reminder calls from the phone centers been completely tested end-to-end, including under peak load? (In 2011 in Ohio the system would not accept data until 3:45 PM on election day, and due to much duplicative manual entry the first wave of reminder calls from the 11 AM flushing was not completed by the time the polls closed – any work done by poll flushers after noon was wasted. The system had not been tested).
9. Are there contingency plans (alternatives) if any single component of the above system fails?
10. Has duplicative manual processing been eliminated from the system? There is no sense to produce a list to key into a database to print on a list to key into a database.

It is now less than 2 weeks before the election and our experience with poll flushing in Ohio in 2011 does not instill a great deal of confidence in my or our volunteers.

I’ve had people who signed up and attended one or more of the telephone “training sessions” who have asked me to confirm whether or not they are all set up and ready to go, and I have nothing I to tell them.

Best regards,

Jim Woods

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy