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Ack! Help, Marion County! There Are Republicans On My Democratic Ballot

VotingboothAnd now, we bring you a first-person preview of coming attractions from the World Of Election 2006.

Just moments ago, Girl TDW and her better half strolled on over to the City-County Building to cast their absentee ballots. Because voting's been on their minds a lot recently, and because they both work polls on Election Day.

Long story short, Girl TDW's ballot looked okay, but Mr. TDW's had a problem. A big ol' obvious problem.

See, he asked for a Democratic ballot, but where the Democratic state convention delegates should have been listed, the ballot instead included the header for Republican state convention delegates. The election official on duty printed a couple more ballots out, and each one bore the same glaring mistake.

Enter Robert Vane, the Marion County Election Board Administrator, who assured Mr. TDW that it would be okay to use the screwed-up ballot because there were no candidates on either the Republican or Democratic side for state convention delegate.

He said he'd just gone and looked it up to double-check.

And then he excused himself, leaving the bipartisan ballot in Mr. TDW's hand, to go call his election software vendor. Girl TDW made some snide comment about not expecting too much if it's ES&S. Mr. TDW ignored her and went off to cast his vote on the erroneous ballot.

So, there's the story. And here are the myriad questions it raises:

  • If Mr. TDW's ballot was screwed up, how many other people's ballots are screwed up?
  • Is this yet another ES&S flub?
  • Weren't all these kinks supposed to be worked out during the mock elections?
  • Is it happening across the state?
  • Most disturbingly, is it happening in other races where there might be challengers on the other side?
  • Let's say, for example, that there had been Democratic candidates for state convention delegate in Mr. TDW's ward. Would he have been able to vote for them?
  • We don't distrust Mr. Vane -- he seemed pretty helpful and frustrated, as you might imagine someone running an election that's already fraying at the edges would be -- but how could we be sure that there's no one on the Democratic side? We were left to take his word for it.

At the end of the day, what have we learned? Things aren't as they should be with respect to election software, and we bet there are going to be many more problems between now and Primary Election Day.

We've learned that we don't know who to turn to for help, although apparently Todd Rokita is holding his first election system vendor hearings -- sans legal public notice, we might add -- this afternoon. Because it's such an awesome public policy to weigh in on problems once they've gotten completely out of control.

And we've learned that something is rotten in the State of Indiana. As much as anything, voting is about public perception. If people can't trust the systems we have in place to register and count their ballots, they lose faith in the overall system of democratically electing our public officials. They begin to think their voice won't be heard, and they give up.

Well, we're not giving up. We're going to hold Rokita's feet to the fire. We're going to hold these vendors' feet to the fire. And we're going to do our best to make sure Hoosiers can trust not only the people they elect, but also the way those people are elected.


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We had Democrat convention delegates on the GOP ballot here in Hamilton County too.

Jeez. I was kinda hoping it was an isolated incident.

What's the problem, nobody complains when it chocolate and peanut butter.

I always thought it would be interesting to lump them all together anyway. That way nobody would know who was r and who was d. Wonder how red or blue things would turn out then?

I like the idea of an open primary.

Of course all of these are great ideas but the point is that the election system should execute the type of elections determined by our elected officials- it is not up to ES&S to make those calls due to incompetence or whatever.

But it is up to ES&S and other companies to provide adequate equipment for election officials to use to run the elections. I'm not saying there isn't fault at the local and state levels, but as the old saying goes, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

What I found interesting is that I just recently checked out the IndyGov's website polling locator for something and then decided to look up what the primary ballot would be for my precinct and lo and behold there were no Democrats listed for State Convention and I happen to know that that is wrong for my precinct. Things that make you go hmmmm....????

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