Ohio is not enough. Gotta do Maryland too! Oh shucks... It's not even a swing state.
Excuse my sick wry humor today as our country is once again victimized by shoddy technology. Do we want this in November 2006? Or November 2008? Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, you can't think this is good for our democracy.
2004 was not enough?
If you're following Ohio... check these out:
How do you do a recount without a printout?
Some election printers left no backup data
Monday, September 11, 2006
Plain Dealer Reporter
Paper printouts in Cuyahoga County's election machines are supposed to be backup records if someone disputes vote tallies on the electronic memory cards.
But what happens in a recount if the printer malfunctions or - as happened last May - election workers load paper incorrectly, leaving machines without a paper record?
The Ohio secretary of state's office says the solution is to print out the vote tallies from the memory cards to create a new paper record.
That solution robs voters of an independent backup record - a paper printout from a memory card is guaranteed to match what's on the memory card.
"Aren't you defeating the purpose of the paper trail?" Bob Bennett, chairman of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, wondered during a recent meeting.
The secretary of state's office is not happy about the solution, but spokesman James Lee said it's the best option available after poll workers fumbled so badly in operating the machines in the spring primary election.
"Once that occurs you have to look at the facts. . . . and the evidence as it exists," Lee said. "That's what you're seeing here . . . the election officials attempting to make the best out of a bad situation."
So on May 26, as Cuyahoga County elections officials grappled with how to conduct a recount in an election where the paper record was flawed, Judy Grady, the director of elections at the secretary of state's office said in an e-mail they should reproduce the paper record from the memory card.
Reproducing the paper record seems to conflict with Ohio law, which requires a "voter verified paper audit trail" in electronic voting machines, according to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office.
"The law clearly directs that for recounts, the paper trail is the official ballot of votes cast on electronic voting machines," said David Lambert, head of the civil division for the county prosecutor's office.
"While the secretary of state has broad authority to issue advice and directives to county board of elections, that authority does not include giving advice that runs contrary to the statute."
The elections board has asked the secretary of state to formalize the re-creation policy in a directive.
Lambert said Ohio's administrative code mentions the issue of the paper trail being lost or destroyed, but "it doesn't tell you what to do in those cases."
Cleveland teacher Bill Ritter does not like what the county did in his case. He ran for the 14th Ohio House District against Mike Foley, executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, and was declared the winner in the unofficial count.
But after the official count, Foley was declared the winner. Ritter requested a recount, which showed him losing by 176 votes. But that recount involved some machines with missing or damaged printouts.
"They opened canisters and there was no paper inside," Ritter said.
The Board of Elections generated new printouts from memory cards. Ritter said workers had problems re-creating the paper trail, with some printouts remade more than once.
"There's no way that they know what the votes really were," Ritter said.