Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Was that a poorly-run election or what?

Let's tour the mess. First, Montgomery County:

Police officers were dispatched to polling stations where election officials hadn't been able to reach precinct judges by telephone in order to instruct them to stay open an extra hour, according to Board of Elections lawyer Kevin Karpinski. He said that, in some cases, precinct judges were being asked to give voters a sample ballot and let them vote by filling out a sheet of paper indicating their choices.

At the county Board of Elections headquarters in Rockville, Alan Banov, a member of the county's Democratic Central Committee, barked orders into his cell phone as he spoke to colleagues in the field. Precinct "1332 is closing!" he yelled shortly after 8 p.m., after getting a report from a candidate who was at a polling place in Silver Spring. "There are people who are going to get disenfranchised -- that's all there is to it."
And now, how about Baltimore City?
In Baltimore, voters turning out early found locked doors and absent workers at polling places from Highlandtown to Mount Washington. Those workers who did report for duty on time struggled with a balky new electronic voter list, which at times erroneously declared a voter had already cast a ballot.
Though clearly not as egregious as the prior two, Prince George's appeared to have it's own problems as well.
State Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman said he had heard of problems primarily in Montgomery County and Baltimore, but also of some in Prince George's County, where some election judges didn't know the passwords to turn on voting machines in the morning. The Prince George's board of elections did not return repeated phone calls for comment.
And, of course, Howard County -- the land-locked little giant that's always trying to play with the big boys -- was not without it's own mishaps. As far as I can tell, voting itself went off without a hitch. But getting the results out was, um, not good.

The elections board set up this website, which I dutifully refreshed every few seconds, claiming that "Election results will be posted on election night 2006." Something that was totally untrue.

My local elections board let me -- and by extension, my readers -- down.

But at least we weren't handed a sheet of notebook paper and told: "Don't worry; your vote will be counted."

UPDATE: Both Evan and David Wissing call out the Board of Elections for poorly handling the results. I have a feeling we'll here from David Keelan about this, too. Really, it was not good.


Nina Basu said...

Ack!! I managed to fail to introduce myself last night. Sorry!

Does anyone know what happened in 5-11 (Claret Hall)? There were reports of machines not working and voters being re-routed, but I never got details...

mary smith said...

Maybe the volunteer blog 4 could run the next election. It would be cheaper, more accurate sooner, and more trustworthy.

FreeMarket said...

This debacle is a great example of why government should be small. These same clowns are in charge of education. Vouchers, anyone?