A little bit of nonsense in well intended proposed law

The Government Administration and Elections Committee recently passed H.B. 6330, AN ACT CONCERNING TECHNICAL AND MINOR REVISIONS TO ELECTIONS RELATED STATUTES.

Three years in the making, it revises some of the law to take into account that we vote with optical scanners rather than lever machines. Many of the changes substitute text for “he”, change “registrar” to “registrar of voters”, and “machine” to “tabulator” etc. Reading and writing such can be a bit boring, raising the potential for errors.  One paragraph on page 27, that we had previously not noticed, caught our attention:

After the changes, in essence it says: “If you cannot fit all the races or candidates on a paper ballot…then use a paper ballot”

Here is the final text that would become law:

(a) Voting tabulators shall be used at each primary, provided, (1) if, because of the number of offices and positions to be voted upon at a primary, there is an insufficient number of vertical columns on any ballot to be used in a municipality, the vote in such municipality at such primary for such offices or positions as the Secretary of the State determines shall be taken by paper ballots, and (2) if, because of the number of candidates for any office or position to be voted upon at a primary, there is an insufficient number of horizontal rows with respect to such office or position on any  allot to be used in the municipality, the vote in such municipality at such primary for such office or position shall be taken by paper ballots.

Here is the full text with the old and new language:

(a) Voting [machines] tabulators shall be used at each primary, provided, (1) if, because of the number of offices and positions to be voted upon at a primary, there is an insufficient number of vertical columns on any [machine] ballot to be used in a municipality, the vote in such municipality at such primary for such offices or positions as the Secretary of the State determines shall be taken by paper ballots, and (2) if, because of the number of candidates for any office or position to be voted upon at a primary, there is an insufficient number of horizontal rows with respect to such office or position on any  [machine] ballot to be used in the municipality, the vote in such municipality at such primary for such office or position shall be taken by paper ballots.

Hopefully, the final bill be will be corrected before it is enacted.  In any case, we can rest assured that we will continue using paper ballots.

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