Screwy Ohio Ballots

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THE PLANK MARCH 4, 2008

Screwy Ohio Ballots

We'll see if tonight's result is tight enough for it to make a difference, but the way the vote is administered in Ohio is a big mess, thanks to still-unresolved efforts to reform the ballot technology after 2000 and 2004's chaos. You can find a (rather technical) explanation of the problems here, but perhaps the most unfortunate situation is that apparently (Ohioans out there, let me know if I've got this wrong) the paper ballots have a stub along the bottom that says "Vote Will Not Be Counted If Removed" -- except that it actually does have to be removed, and the poll workers' manual instructs election workers to tell voters to tear it off, provoking alarm among those voters whose elementary school teachers taught them to follow simple written instructions. From Ohio Daily Blog:

I have heard reports that the poll workers can be less than clear in
explaining what is happening (saying "No, I don't know why" and "Yeah,
that confuses us too" and such).

Who designs these systems?

--Eve Fairbanks

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