Sunday, April 30, 2006

worst election ever?

the good news about this week's indiana primary election is that the state has certified microvote macines! that means counties will not have to break state law by having voters use uncertified machines, nor will poll workers have to hand-count thousands of paper ballots (at least, we hope not). however, as doug notes, it sounds like the equipment was certified because it would've been awkward not to, not because the software was actually ready. here's how mary beth schneider explained it in the indy star:

Commission member Tom John stressed that the commission did not certify the equipment to help MicroVote.

The action was taken, he said, "for the sake of hundreds of thousands of voters who otherwise would have voted on pieces of paper" and would have had to wait weeks while the ballots were counted to learn the results.

that's all well and good, but there's only one good reason to certify the machines: if the machines work, they should be certified. if they don't, they shouldn't. maybe john thought that was implied in his statement, but it wasn't.

however, just because one issue seems to be resolved doesn't mean other problems aren't cropping up. the latest foul-up involves school board elections (again) in pike township, where voters are supposed to vote for three candidates but the ballot instructions say they should vote for four. oops. poll workers will put up signs telling people to only vote for three board members, and hope to configure voting machines to sound an alarm if people vote for too many candidates. matt tully has a column in today's star mocking the story. as tully says:

This one should have been caught. Election officials "proofread" and signed off on the ballot before it was sent out, and so did Pike Township Schools Superintendent Nathaniel Jones.

With the foul-up, there is now talk of post-election legal challenges. All because people couldn't count to three. People including the superintendent of schools. Is it any wonder Johnny can't count?

no wonder the job market for editing is so tough: everybody seems to think they can do it themselves. then we end up with ballots with the wrong candidates listed or other blatant errors like this. but enough about my job-hunting troubles; we're talking about the elections here.

marion county clerk doris anne sadler, who has overseen two or three screwed-up elections now and is tiring of it, will be looking for a new job, too:

5. You've said you're not running again for clerk. Are you getting out of politics to find saner work? And how much does the clerk's job pay?

Yes. At least for now. I love doing this job, despite everything and as crazy as that sounds. I love doing public service. At some point, if the offer was right, I might come back into politics. But for a while, I would like to get out in the real world and make some money. The clerk gets $78,000.

how my heart breaks thinking of sadler trying to scrape by on that meager $78k salary. let's hope she finds a job in the real world and starts making some money soon.

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