Thursday, April 03, 2014

Election Night Results Or the Lack of Results Would Be More to the Point

That’s what it is called election night. But somehow the DC Board of Elections couldn’t get it’s act together and report the results in any sort of timely manner. It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened when you had a total of 83, 040 votes or just 22.5% of registered voters voting in the election. It still took the Board of Elections over 4 hours to post any meaningful results.

The reason well they are just lame. It seems that five machines were not closed down correctly and that brought the whole process to a standstill. This from the Post:

At the heart of the delay, officials said, were five electronic voting machines from which results were not properly extracted. When vote-counters noticed the problem on the machine printouts delivered to election headquarters, they stopped releasing electronic results and fanned out across the city to check the machines and retrieve accurate counts. In the end, officials did not release enough returns to call the race for D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) until moments before midnight.

And this great line from the board’s executive director, Clifford Tatum:

“It took a little longer than what we’re used to,” Tatum acknowledged. But “we are confident that the results are accurate, which is what we’re always concerned about — accuracy over speed.”

He went on to add this as well: poll workers had not been trained well enough. Let’s stop and think on that one. Isn’t properly training poll workers the job of oh I don’t know the board of elections. And, why would the fact that five machines were not properly closed down, mean that the counting process for all the other machines (there are 300 electronic machines in all) stopped. To top it off there seemed to be little concern to inform anyone about what was going on at all. At the end of the night they seemed to pat themselves on the back (see the above statement) that they did a good job.

Don’t see how you get that out of what happened. It’s not like machines malfunctioned. This was because the people closing down the machines were not trained correctly. This is something that could have easily been avoided by training people correctly. It also sounds like the machines are much more complicated then they need to be but that’s an entirely different issue.

The Post has a great editorial about the whole mess that goes beyond just the issue of the machines but with the primary in general as well as voter turn out.

In at least recognizing in a very small part that things could have been done better:

Tatum said the board will focus on better training of poll workers before the next election and will consider asking the council for more money to buy newer voting machines that are easier to shut down without errors. The current machines were purchased in 2010 and 2012.

How much newer can the voting machines be? The question that needs to be asked is why these were purchased in the first place. If the machines are that complicated to extract results from a machine that is easier to use should have been selected in the first place.

All one can hope for is that come the fall these problems will be fixed

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