Would this, could this happen in Connecticut…we hope so.

Texas: Private election tabulating firm missed some votes at Ore City and New Diana <read>

Results overturned:

The original unofficial returns released Saturday night for the Ore City election showed Steve Heim leading incumbent Jeannette Orms by four votes, 48 -44, but the complete count showed they received 55 each, Ms. Weir said. Rather than having a recount or special election, either ofwhich would cost the city money, the candidates approved having the flip at a special City Council meeting set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, she said.

The delay also showed that Ore City voters renewed the one-fourth of one percent sales tax for street repairs by a vote of 79 to 26 in unofficial complete returns. The originally-announced count was 65 to 23

What happened?

The tie was discovered after Hart InterCivic, the firm tabulating the votes at the Upshur County Courthouse in Gilmer on Saturday night, originally failed to count the votes from one of the city’s electronic voting machines and some of the votes in the nearby New Diana bond election, Ms. Weir said.

She had discovered that the election returns she was given Saturday night did not match the total number of voters, and said she called the County Clerk’s Office on Monday to report it. A court order from 115th District Judge Lauren Parish was required to finish the count in the elections.

This is actually good news. The way we would expect the system to work!

While many would fault the system: For hiring a contractor in the first place. The contractor for placing a neophyte in charge. The neophyte for the error. But we ask for a pause to consider that the system actually worked the way we w0uld like it to:

  • A mistake or two were made. There are always mistakes. What is important is the system’s reaction to them.
  • The error was quickly discovered by officials
  • It was surfaced and corrected by officials

This is how the system SHOULD react. We should expect the system to find most errors and to surface them, not cover them up.  We rare sure this could happen in Connecticut. But we have seen instances where it has not.

  • We know of a referendum where a human error caused a machine mis-count (That is often the case. No machine mal-function. No fraud. A human error causes the machine to provide an inaccurate count.) Citizens, not officials noticed a discrepancy in the number of ballots counted vs. the number of voters checked-in. Officials recounted. A bit worse than this case in Texas – since officials did not notice the error.
  • Same thing in 2012, an error was discovered by officials in a audit. To their credit they investigated and determined the cause. Good but best would have been if they had checked the check-in counts vs. ballots – fortunately it did not change the winners.
  • But then we have Bridgeport 2010 – the Governor’s race hung in the balance – everyone in the State kneWe w that.  But the system did not work. There were many discrepancies between the check-in counts and ballots counted – if any checked, it was never surfaced by officials. The Secretary of the State was powerless to check or change the result. A newspaper gained access to the ballots and they were recounted with assistance of the Citizen Audit. Fortunately, the initial winner was correct – Fortunately, because the system has yet to officially recognize the correct results. Using that as an instructive example, the errors in Texas could happen in Connecticut, yet might not ever be corrected.
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