Skip to comments.Absentee ballots' errors total 2% (Palm Beach voter alert!)
Posted on 08/30/2004 5:42:25 PM PDT by wagglebee
Here we go again.
Four years after the 2000 election fiasco, Palm Beach County's three-member canvassing board will meet Monday to determine the intent of about 300 absentee voters who incorrectly filled out their broken-arrow primary election ballots.
The canvassing board also will look at about 180 absentee ballots where voters either failed to sign ballot envelopes or whose signature differed from the one on file with the Supervisor of Elections Office.
In total, the questionable ballots make up about 2 percent of the 23,395 absentee ballots the elections office had received by Saturday, three days before Tuesday's primary election.
While there will be no straining of the eyes or dimpled or hanging chads this go-round, the broken-arrow ballot has led absentee voters to do some strange things.
Instead of drawing lines across to complete the arrows next to their candidates of choice, some voters have circled names; others have put check marks or poked holes through the paper ballots. Some voters had more time on their hands, with one cutting out each arrow with what appeared to be a craft knife.
One voter sent along a two-page letter blasting President Bush.
Another attached a campaign brochure.
Oddly enough, one voter stuck his ballot in the microwave to dry out after it got wet from the rain. But he overcooked it. The ballot was scorched, leaving two large circles.
Worried it would be rendered invalid, he attached a note to the ballot asking the elections office to send him another ballot if it wasn't acceptable.
Arrow ballot used often
Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore, who is still taking grief for her butterfly ballot design in 2000, defended her broken-arrow ballot, noting that it has been used in 33 states and the District of Columbia for decades.
But voter error is not uncommon, she said.
"We always get it every time we have an election," she said.
If voter intent can be determined, a second ballot will be filled out correctly and scanned by a vote-counting machine, LePore said. "It's not like they're thrown out and not counted."
The canvassing board, which consists of County Court Judge Barry Cohen, County Commission Chairwoman Karen Marcus and County Commissioner Tony Masilotti, will meet at 10 a.m. Monday in the lobby of the Supervisor of Elections Office to decide what to do with the questionable ballots.
The meeting will be broadcast live on the county's public access station, Channel 20. If the crowd is too large to fit in the lobby of the elections office, people will be sent across the parking lot to the county's Emergency Operations Center, where they can watch the meeting live on television.
Of the 180 ballots with signature problems, 64 didn't match signatures on file at the elections office, and four others had other unspecified problems. Others weren't signed at all.
Carol Ann Loehndorf, chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, said members asked to see the questionable envelopes, wrote down the voter names and on Friday called those for whom they could find phone numbers.
Local Democrats are pushing for the elections office to allow voters with signature problems to come in and correct their mistakes. The canvassing board will make the final decision Monday.
A memo from the Florida Division of Elections stated, "Once cast, the mailing envelope and ballot cannot be changed, cured, or in any other way manipulated by the voter, the supervisor of elections, or any other party."
"I read the order," Marcus said. "It says very clearly that once it's the property of the Supervisor of Elections Office, it can't be changed. Can you imagine the precedent if we let people?"
Marcus and LePore said the canvassing board will review each ballot closely and be fair.
"I can understand them not letting someone have a ballot back and make changes, but if you're talking a difference in signature well, signatures in the course of time change, and if they in fact signed it, I don't think they should be denied the right to have their ballot counted," Loehndorf said.
Creating a paper record
The 2000 controversy, coupled with the perceived problems with touch-screen machines, spurred Democrats to urge people to cast absentee ballots to create a paper record of their votes in case a recount is needed. Republicans have long urged people to vote absentee.
Elections officials will continue to open absentee ballots on Monday under the supervision of at least one canvassing board member.
So far, 23,395 ballots have been received; 37,563 voters requested absentee ballots.
A total of 4,304 people have voted early at elections branch offices throughout the county.
unreal.....another palm beach mess brewing
thats all we need
How dumb are some of these people??? If you see:
--- ---> George W. Bush
--- ---> John F. Kerry
How hard is it to figure out you complete the arrow for the one you want????
Then again these are the same people who didn't know:
---> George W. Bush
---> Albert A. Gore, Jr.
meant to poke the hole with your little pointy thing.
They approve these ballots and then they contest them. It is like any good contract, filled with hidden escape clauses.
Absentee ballots or absent-minded ballots?
Democratic Primary. Who are they going to blame for stealing the election this time?
Don't know if Florida's laws are different, or if federal law changed it, but we weren't allowed to open the absentee ballots for counting in Vermont until election day.
And what about the 20,000+ double-registered voters (largely Dems) who vote twice?
I don't suppose the Dems cry of "disenfranchisement" includes them.
People who are dumber than a pile of dog poop shouldn't be allowed to vote.
"others....poked holes through the paper ballots."
Made me laugh out loud.
Anyone too dumb to fill out a "broken-arrow" ballot has no business voting.
Unless, of course, if it's a military ballot.
I can just imagine opening a ballot covered in blood.
Or a definite Republican vote.
Life is a beach.
However, I question the timing of this . . .
At least without butterfly/punch cards, the democrat tactic of taking stacks of them and driving a nail thru them in batches of 50 will be a thing of the past. That is by the way precisely how you get dimpled, pregnant, and hanging chads.
It's probably FBI supervisors who couldn't connect the dots prior to 9/11.
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