Extra/missing ballots a problem in Pennsylvania, not in Connecticut

In Philadelphia it is a problem to be investigated when there are several voting districts with a few more ballots than voters <read>

Philadelphia city commissioners are investigating an unusual series of over-votes in last year’s primary election – 83 voting divisions citywide where the official vote totals were bigger than the recorded number of voters who showed up.

In most locations, the discrepancies were small, just a handful of votes. In many instances, minor procedural mistakes could account for the anomalies.

But so far, the bulk of the over-voting has not been explained.

Until they understand what happened, the commissioners say, they cannot rule out the possibility of deliberate, illegal efforts to run up votes for favored candidates, with the perpetrators losing count as they tried to cover their tracks.

In Connecticut we have no confidence that such differences would be found or considered worthy of resolution or investigation. There is no requirement that voters be compared with ballots in our post-election audits and recanvasses. In fact, even though the Citizen Bridgeport Recount found huge differences in both directions (more ballots than voters in some districts, and more voters than ballots in other districts) there has never been an official recognition of the problem. Also unlike many other states we do not require voters to sign in, a significantly more reliable and auditable process than the check-in marks by poll workers – because officials and voters make sure the correct name is marked, and there is a signature which can provide some evidence in fraud investigations.

At a 20th Ward polling place near Temple University in North Philadelphia, only six people signed the poll book, required before they were ushered to a voting machine.


2 responses to “Extra/missing ballots a problem in Pennsylvania, not in Connecticut”

  1. hapless registrar

    Our lives are ruled by “There otta’ be a law”. Sometimes, common sense prevails as it should.
    This is a problem dealt with in the post election reporting. It is fairly common that the polling place book totals differ slightly from the tabulator totals. The Moderator report includes lines for how many names were crossed off as voting in person, by absentee, or by overseas ballot. It also contains lines for the public counter (Tape) total as having used the machine, or by hand count.
    It is the inherant duty of every registrar and/or Moderator to see that these numbers balance or at least to understand where any discrepancy evolved from. If the discrepancy is beyond the realm, than the moderator can request a recount.
    There are a number of stumbling blocks to these counts. Overseas ballots are counted votes, not on the polling books counted byu hand or by tabulator with absentees. Hand counted ballots are not part of the tabulator tape totals, but are reported on a seperate line. Absentee ballots not put through the tabulator for any number of reasons, will appear as part of the absentee totals, but again hand counted ballots are reported seperately on that report, whether counted centrally or by district.. Eventually, provisional and perhaps Presidential ballots are added to the mix.
    And then there are the polling books themselves. Names on the list may require a second line, with both lines crossed off as having voted. Checkers are instructed to cross off only one line, but mistakes are made and picked up upon close examination. This is also the case of mistakenly counting the cross offs for voters deleted from that book. On the end night reports, crossed off absentee and in-person voters are reported seperately and miscounts are not uncommon.
    All this is done after 14 hours of voting. Moderators and Registrars will take extra time trying to balance the books before releasing the checkers or reporting totals. Any discrepancies are then examined after the election until the Registrars are satisfied. Add to this the concern and ever watchfull press, candidates, and groups such as yours.
    The bottom line is that Registrars and Moderators recognize that this not good and take extreme measures to reconcile any of these differrences.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.