Primary Proved Value of Paper Ballots


Guest Columnist

Today’s Fred Grimm column in the Miami Herald (9/28/08) attacks the current Broward voting system.  He feels optical scanning is as bad as punch cards.

Grimm wants to bring back the electronic system.

He points to the Pedro Dijols  versus Mardi Cohen [Levey] screw-up which means the preprinted ballots will have the wrong name on them.   This is certainly not a good situation but it arises not from the voting system but from an incorrect legal ruling. 

Sorry Fred, you’re pointing the finger from the wrong direction—perfection.  It does not exist in voting any more than it does in newspapers.

The problems with the punch card system were obvious and legendary.  The problems with the electronic system were not obvious.  And that was the basic problem.  Because the software was a secret no one could tell if the results were accurate.  In other words “you can’t figure out what we’re doing, therefore, we must be doing it right.

Let’s understand that all elections have flaws and in a close election minor flaws are magnified.

The August judicial election in Palm Beach between Circuit Judge Richard Wennet and lawyer Bill Abramson illustrates the problems and the solution. 

A bunch of ballots were misplaced. When found the results reversed the victory from Wennet by a couple of dozen to Abramson by an equally razor thin margin.

In our primary Dijols and Levey [Cohen] were only a few votes apart with Levey [Cohen] ahead. 

Both of these elections allowed the candidates to have supporters review the paper ballots and add up the numbers.

No one is challenging the numbers.  The lawsuits are about legal issues.  

As a lawyer I can assure the reader that  there is always something to go to court about.

Confidence in the numbers is the polestar for confidence in voting/democracy.  It’s the notion that, push comes to shove, unlike in electronic voting, anyone of us could count the ballots.  Few of us will ever bother.

 But its knowing that we could that makes us feel the scalawags are under control. 


One Response to “Primary Proved Value of Paper Ballots”

  1. S. Only says:

    Hallelujah! You finally wrote something that makes sense.