CT: Glitches In ConnPost Article

ConnPost: “Glitches didn’t affect election outcome” <read>

CTVotersCount.org: “Not So Fast, Please”

A ConnPost article gives a broad brush feel good assessment of the election. We are not ready to agree that everything went fine. We have no reason to doubt that the results were accurate enough that the voters’ intent was realized in the results, however, we will wait for the results of the post-election audit and other analysis. Unfortunately, unless this audit goes much differently than the last three we will still be left with a level of uncertainty.

We also have some comments on the details in the article.

The Article says:

Some individuals filled in circles for Jim Himes on both parties.

“Those votes counted and would register under the Working Families party for qualification purposes.,” said Bysiewicz. She said the machines would not reject those votes unless the ballot was filled out incorrectly elsewhere.

There must be some confusion on the part of the Secretary of the State or the ConnPost:

Fact: For voters that fill in bubbles for a cross endorsed candidate twice, they should be counted by the machine as Himes Unk (Unknown). When only one bubble is filled in then they would be counted for Himes Dem or Himes Wkf etc.

So unless the particular machine was programmed incorrectly, the article is incorrect.

The Article says:

In Stratford, two districts were combined in one polling place which led to voters getting and voting on the wrong ballot…

Because of the Stratford situation, Bysiewicz said she intends to “strongly urge” Advertisement registrars of voters never to use the same optical scanning machine for two different districts.

“Every polling place has to have two machines,” she said. “I don’t know why they did this.”

As a result people were given the wrong ballots and voted for the wrong state legislators.

“We believe the machine accepted 50 to 75 of these ballots,” said Bysiewicz. “But the margins of victory were such that it didn’t impact any of these elections.” Stratford”s registrars of voters could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon. As a result it could not be determined where this took place.

This won’t solve the problem:

What is needed is two completely different checkin lines leading to two separate ballot clerks and optimally two sets of booths leading to two separate machines. If someone gets the wrong ballot then the most likely result would be rejection on one machine and the voter directed to feed it into the other machine. So, having two machines is not a complete solution. The solution must prevent the voter from getting the wrong ballot in the 1st place and not getting a wrong replacement if they need to try again.

500 voters upset with Democracy is not a good outcome:

For the 500 Bridgeport voters, Bysiewicz said she “feels heartbroken” they could only vote using the federally-mandated presidential preference ballot. That ballot only allows the individual who can show identification containing a legitimate address to vote for president even if they are not registered.

“Some people just want to vote for president,” said Joseph Borges, Bridgeport’s Republican Registrar of Voters. “I try to tell them it’s the state and local elections that are going to effect their lives and their pocketbook more.”

“We’ve tried to put the word out that if you registered through a group and did not get a letter acknowledging this within a week that you should contact your Registrar of Voter,” Bysiewicz said. “That’s why I’m a proponent for election day registration.”

Former Gov. John Rowland vetoed such a measure in 2004.

Several of the Bridgeport voters said they registered with ACORN and blamed the community group for their problems Tuesday night.

ACORN registrations in Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk are the subject of an investigation by the state Elections Enforcement Commission.

“Any failure of the Registrar of Voters to process the applications of eligible voters is at best an inexcusable mistake for which the registrar should be held accountable, and at worst is an example of voter suppression targeted against the low-income constituencies that ACORN represents, ” said Nicholas Graber-Grace, an ACORN organizer.

Borges believes the state needs to do something about groups that pay their people to register voters.

“It’s a major problem,” he said. “I’ve got stacks of applications that were not accepted because there is no number for the street address, no birthdate, no phone number…I want to see Election Enforcement come down harshly on this.”

Note: “Some people just want to vote for president,” said Joseph Borges, Bridgeport’s Republican Registrar of Voters. “I try to tell them it’s the state and local elections that are going to effect their lives and their pocketbook more.” – has nothing to do with this problem of the 500 voters who thought they were registered.

This is not a feel good result. There are many reasons why these voters could not have been registered: Voter error, ACORN error, Registrar’s error, and Other. It is worth investigating and correcting.

There are two problems that could be solved with one blow: election day registration. Clearly it could solve the problem of voter registration errors and the problems/issues surrounding Presidential ballots. But there is much more to say about election day registration, pros, cons, and what it would take to implement it well – the devil and the possibility lies in the details – a topic for another day.


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