Or, how a bunch of people who believe all the world is a conspiracy turned the life of New Hampshire town clerk upside down:
Jennifer Call’s eyes searched the office for nothing in particular. Her arms waved and her fear spilled out.
“This is where I grew up,” Sutton’s town clerk said yesterday. “This is my hometown, this is where my family is, and all of sudden, my name is being splashed across the internet as this horrible person. And the frightening part is, I don’t know these people and they don’t know me.”
Call wants the nationwide army of boisterous Ron Paul supporters, believers in more conspiracy theories than Oliver Stone, to know that she’s committed no crime.
Not treason, as the dozens of phone callers screamed. Not fraud, as the dozens of e-mails charged. Nothing.
Human error, by someone unknown, caused Call’s office to claim Paul received zero votes from the town during Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary.
Paul actually got a whopping 31 votes.
Out of 920 cast.
Launch an investigation. Alert the media.
The mistake was corrected early the next morning, but that hardly mattered. The Paul machine, upon reading the number in print, quickly went into counteroffensive mode.
As I suspected, what happened in Sutton was simple human error:
Call, 35, arrived at the Pillsbury Memorial Hall Tuesday morning at 7 for the start of a marathon day. About a dozen or so staffers coordinated the effort, guiding voters, counting votes, rechecking totals.
Paul’s 31 votes got lost in the shuffle, lost in translation between moderator Greg Hill’s voice and Call’s pen.
The slot next to Paul’s name on the original return sheet said 31, but a space on Call’s return, next to Paul’s name, remained blank.
“He’s (Gill) reading off his results, I’m writing them down on the return,” Call said. “I don’t know why it was blank. I don’t know if he skipped over it or if someone interrupted him to repeat the last name and it got skipped, or maybe I missed it. It was that simple.”
Simple ? Yes, but not if you’re a “true believer”
“Most of the these people are not rational,” Call said.
You got that one right.