Scanners 0, Hand count 0, Officials 0, Press/Citizens 2

Connecticut has little reason to take comfort in New York’s latest election embarrassment.

Yesterday we had this story from the New York Daily News:  Board of Elections does nothing as hundreds of Bronx votes go missing <read>

More than six months ago, voting experts at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center detected an alarming pattern at one polling place in the South Bronx:

The tallies from the electronic scanning machines at Public School 65 included high proportions of invalidated votes.

There were two possibilities: Either huge numbers of voters had improperly filled out their ballots, or at least one of the scanners had gone haywire. The board did nothing. Actually, the board did worse than nothing. It refused to check — even when asked to do so by state election officials.

Using the Freedom of Information Law, this editorial page then demanded the right to inspect ballots cast at PS 65 in the 2010 primary and general elections — the ones that put Gov. Cuomo into office.

The board complied, marking what may be the first time members of the public in New York State have been given permission to look over cast ballots and review how they were counted.

All too predictably, we discovered that voters had done their part correctly, while one of the three scanners at PS 65 misread and miscounted votes.

Scanners 0, Officials 0, Press/Citizens 1

But that is New York, not Connecticut. Our ancestors sold wooden nutmegs to the ancestors of today’s New Yorkers.

Recall November 2010 when Bridgeport had a  problem running out of ballots compounded by problems hand counting and accounting for the the photocopied ballots. The Connecticut Post asked to count the ballots, Bridgeport complied and citizens counted them.  And the State of Connecticut, nothing. The “Official” Bridgeport results still stand.

By our count, 20 of 25 polling places had photocopied paper ballots, but even that number was never recognized officially. We are reminded of this by an article, also yesterday, in the Hartford Courant covering a talk by the Secretary of the State: Secretary Of The State Outlines Proposed Changes In Elections <read>

Merrill has been considering changes to the way votes are cast in Connecticut following the November 2010 election fiasco in Bridgeport where only 21,000 paper ballots were preprinted in a city of 69,000 registered voters and 12 of 25 polling places ran out of ballots.

Of course we do not expect an official system to recognize unofficial counts, we do expect a system that recognizes problems, and reacts by taking reasonable steps to correct errors. We cannot hold the current Secretary accountable for actions that occurred before she took office yet we would like to see a system that not only reduced the changes of a very similar disaster, but also one that can recover from a variety of similar and dissimilar disasters in the future.

Scanners 0, Hand count 0, Officials 0, Press/Citizens 2

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