Election snafu

8:07 AM, May 4, 2006   |    comments
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It was our first touch screen voting in Cuyahoga County. And election problems ranged from technology to personnel to planning. By the election director’s assessment, first touch screen voting went “fairly well,” with “only” 20 per cent of poll workers not showing up, leaving or not knowing how to do their jobs. “It could have been much worse yesterday if we hadn’t strategized well in advance of the election,” Elections Director Michael Vu said. With a $12 million annual budget and $20 million in new touch screen machines, staff began planning for this election last June. But 7,500 temporary poll workers got only three to five hours of training. Nearly 24 hours after the polls closed, the vote here was still not counted. Hamilton County – Cincinnati - was completely counted shortly after midnight. But on the streets, the reviews of election planning were not so favorable. “We sacrificed to go and vote and then the count is not correct or something goes wrong … that definitely needs to be fixed,” one voter said. Because all the results weren’t available Wednesday morning, another voter said, “I still don’t know if I have to pay additional tax or not.” The biggest delay is the hand counting of absentee ballots. A machine could not read them. Touch screen voting went “better.” The biggest glitch was the disappearance of 70 memory cards that record votes. There is a paper backup so the votes did not disappear. And losing memory cards is better than losing paper ballots. “In the punch card world, if there was a punch card ballots missing we would never be able to recover those votes,” officials said. The director says most people who didn’t have problems with touch-screen voting like the new system and he promises a smoother Election Day in November.

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