Civic Design

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

California Ballots Still Being Counted

A combination of flaws in the Feb. 5 California primary ballots has resulted in a vote count that continues, according to the New York Times. It reports that “election officials say a combination of high turnout, technology flaws and millions of mailed-in and dropped-off ballots have led to painstakingly slow returns in some counties, with nearly 800,000 ballots remaining to be processed.”

Among the problems noted by the Times:

  • In Los Angeles County, 205,000 ballots were waiting to be tallied. Some 49,000 of those are being examined because voters failed to mark a bubble indicating the party they wished to vote for, but properly marked a vote for a candidate. (Some consider that “extra bubble” to be a design flaw that was incorporated when the ballot was adapted from punch card, but unnecessary for this election.)
  • Absentee ballots in Contra Costa County are being ironed so that they can be fed into the vote-counting machines.
  • Damage from warehousing the ballots, weather and mishandling by voters means that some ballots have to be handled with special, time-consuming care.
  • High turnouts are overwhelming the already-stressed election officials, who must juggle three major elections this year.

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