Wednesday January 30, 2008
If you’re feeling better about those SAT-flashback-inducing-optical-scan voting machines, today’s release by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz of an election-result audit should squelch that a little.
So here’s Alex Shvartsman, Ph. D. of the UConn Voting Technology Research Center, admitting that for every district – about 277 votes – the optical scan machines make an over count of one vote. AND HE DIDN’T KNOW WHY.
“There are some races where we don’t understand the discrepancies,” he admitted. An incredulous reporter asked the Ph. D. how that could happen. “It’s a good question,” Shvartsman replied, shrugging his shoulders and not offering an answer. He did it in a scientific way, though.
To top it off, the state contractors sent unprogrammed memory cards for 3.5 percent of the machines, which then spit out ballots as faulty.
But don’t worry, Bysiewicz said, in any hand recounts the errors will be ferreted out.
And then there are the numerically challenged election officials of Connecticut, many of whom can’t add columns of numbers, have illegible writing or/and send in incomplete results.
“Let me say that the University of Connecticut is very satisfied that our optical-scan machines performed very well and records showed very few discrepancies between machine counts and hand counts,” Bysiewicz said in a news conference this morning in the Capitol atrium, outfitted like a polling place, outside her office.
“There was no evidence of tampering, hacking or fraud,” she said of the memory cards, but then mentioned the 3.5 percent that had no valid information programmed. “This raises as issue of quality control.”
No fooling. Without ballot information, the machines rejected ballots.
At least Bysiewicz is recommending greater privacy zones around the voting booths, where people like your Blogster here instinctively look toward the person next door to cheat off … I mean search for answers from, in tender reprise of our nightmare SATs.
Even better, she’s recommending that near the scanners themselves, where voters deposit their ballots, only the electors should be allowed and poll workers should stay away unless there’s a problem such as the machine rejecting the ballot back out.
In case you’re wondering, there are 769 polling districts in the state. Currently there are 1,916,381 registered voters, including 675,563 Democrats, 408,746 Republicans, and 826,209 unaffiliated voters with the rest minor-party members.
I’m not sure if those minor parties include the rear-guard of “Lieberman for Connecticut,” whose namesake, Sen. Joe “No One Wants to Bring the Troops Home Faster than Me” Lieberman, a Democrat only when it’s convenient, will introduce his buddy, Republican Presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. John McCain, Sunday afternoon at Sacred Heart University.