Connecticut not alone in election adminstration challenges

MapSince the election on November 4th we have had all sorts of complaints about Connecticut election administration.  Claims that we are the slowest, with the most clueless election officials. And all sorts of cures proposed including more mail-in votes, electronic calculation of results, and reorganization of election administration.

We agree with that their are many problems. We agree with the general outlines of some of the cures.  Yet, we caution against knee-jerk reaction, and change without planning and analysis.

We suggest looking at the best practices from other states. Yet, we can also learn from the mistakes and foibles of other states. Often those employing some of those very cures proposed for Connecticut.

Lets look at the recent news:

11/17 NJ not so quick in reporting results  Using equipment from the same vendor as Connecticut, NJ has problems, delays, and investigations  of slow accumulation/reporting of results electronically. Then again, some other states below reported fast, with much less accuracy than Connecticut or New Jersey.

1/25 Mail voting: Not so fast, not so easy, not so simple Take Oregon and their all-mail voting, please.  A highly charged ballot question is yet to be decided. In fact they have just counted enough votes to realize they need a recount.  Here is the issue, some  13,000 votes were not counted because of possible signature mismatches.  So advocates contacted voters after the election to see if they actually voted and requested they come in and sign their ballot or show their signature changed..  We have some of our own issues with all this:

  • Just how good is their signature matching? Has anyone evaluated their methods. What are the odds they missed more questionable signatures? How many of those 13,000 should not have been questioned?
  • Does the result depend on which side got more voters to come in and sign (demographics can indicate how a voter might have tended to vote)
  • And we complain that some results in Connecticut were not available until Nov 5th?
  • PS: This problem will never happen in Connecticut as we never match signatures.  (See no evil…)

11/25 MN lowest turn out since 1986 Many claim, anecdotally and incorrectly, that no-excuse absentee voting is a panacea for increasing turnout. Apparently, anecdotally, it has not helped Minnesota all that much.

11/25 The Maine question: Will 21 mystery ballots change looser into winner? Connecticut has problems with ballot counts not matching check-in list counts, and a greater problem with some officials not checking that those numbers match.  At least in Maine there is a recognition that this might be a problem, especially if extra ballots are found after the initial count.

1/26 Electronic result totals not alwasy even close to accurate Here we go again with that electronic tallying of votes.  They only missed about one-third of the votes.  Fortunately, a news outlet found the error.  They say the problem has been fixed, yet sounds more like the error has been corrected in the results of this one election. They are not counting accurately in Kansas any more.

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