Catching Up – More Post-Election Fallout

Starting with three more articles in the Hartford Courant on Thursday:  An apology, a column, and an editorial. <read>

Uraina Petit the Working Families Party provided an apology: Hartford Registrar: ‘I Am So Incredibly Sorry’. You can read the article, our comment online was:

Apology accepted. There is more work to do. There is accountability ahead. Yet, we should all appreciate what it takes to apologize in this situation,and take responsibility for what happened. Sad to see the majority of comments are so vitriolic and completely devoid of understanding.

Next was an opinion piece by Dan Haar, business reporter, delving into election administration Get Rid Of Hartford’s Voter Registrars. Haar has some very good insights on the business beat. We suggest he keep that day job, and observe election administration more closely to provide more appropriate diagnosis and cure.

For the most part this  piece gets the problems right. Its also correct that regionailization is key to facilitating many improvements. Beyond that it is a complex system, that needs coordinated improvements that actually end in a result that fixes more deficiencies that the problems and risks it adds. Electronic reporting of results will not fix anything with missing pollbooks. Although electronic pollbooks are a good idea, they do not eliminate paper copes, necessary as backup in case of power outages etc. They do not eliminate updating the voting lists with those that have voted absentee. We have a centralized voter registration system already, it needs improvement in several areas, including not mysteriously throwing voters off the list. Electronic returns can help but they still require care and verification and counting of the votes first. Yesterday, Alaska, in a very close Senate race still had at least 40,000 absentee votes to count (they don’t even know how many they have not counted). The nations largest jurisdiction, LA County, professionally managed, like all of California, still has another 20 days to finish counting absentee ballots which account for about 50% of their votes. Can this state of steady habits wait 24 hours for reasonably accurate results for offices that will be taken in January? The IRS gives us 3.5 months to do our taxes, yet many of us and many businesses can’t get it done in time!

And another large editorial. Electronic Vote Counting Was Coming Anyway, But Registrars Must Go

Once again, we favor regionalization and hope the next attempt at electronic reporting by the Secretary of the State is a winner – providing accurate, timely results, in a way that is workable for officials.  We doubt that alone will get results as quickly as the Courant would like, yet provide the accuracy everyone needs, and the detailed statistics activists need to evaluate those results. We are not as enamored as the Courant of election integrity, accuracy, and claims of speed in other states.

More to come over the next few days.  There is no need for a rust to judgement. The Legislature starts in January. We will not be able to accomplish much good, and could create havoc in attempting too much in a year, or two, or more.

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