Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Noon Election Roundup

Marion County Clerk Beth White has so far avoided a meltdown in her administration of this election, unlike the May primary disaster. That is not to say this election has not been without problems. At least three precincts opened up late. Numerous problems have been reported with the touch-screen voting machines. Election officials figured out the batteries on many of the machines had not been recharged. Other problems have been encountered in getting the scanning machines activated in some precincts. Voters are still able to cast their votes on a paper ballot; they just can't scan them into the machine before they leave the polling place. A more serious problem has arisen in several northside precincts where blocks and blocks of voters living on Delaware Street were mistakenly switched to different precincts, causing some voters to be turned away from the polls. There have also been complaints about locations of some precincts being changed from the last election. According to White's office, ten precinct locations were moved.

Marion County Republicans are already declaring White's performance a failure because of the problems with the electronic voting machines. “Beth White has let us down once again,” declared Marion County Republican Party Chairman Tom John. “How can you forget to charge the batteries for the voting machines? What does this say about her election day preparation plan?” “We paid millions of dollars for these machines. Then the Democrat Council, led by Monroe Gray, gave Beth White a quarter of a million dollars more in hopes of preventing another election disaster,” John said, “but now disabled voters cannot vote on these very machines.”

The Republicans say the lack of charged batteries renders all voting machines in the affected precincts unable to count ballots. "Such delays jeopardize ballot security and could lead to tedious and unreliable hand counts at the close of the day," they say.

“Marion County moved to electronic voting machines to ensure every vote is counted,” said John. “Thanks to Beth White, that is now in doubt.” John said Beth White needs to explain to voters why this happened and how it will be solved. John also said White owes the disabled voters of Marion County an apology. “Just because you found enough inspectors to actually open the polls this time isn’t enough. The voting machines actually have to work,” John said. “This is yet another example of how Beth White seems unable to adequately prepare for an election.”

Turnout will remain the key in today's election. There are mixed signals being received on the size of today's turnout. While some polling places in outlying townships report heavy voting, others in Center Township where I vote report little more than an average turnout of voters, which is a pretty low percentage. That may be good news for Greg Ballard and the Republicans.

UPDATE: With about 40 minutes to go before polls closed, I still have no real clear sense on what voter turnout has been today. Media reports are completely contradictory. It seems clear absentee voting was up about 50%, which is significant. Republicans don't have a handle on where those approximately 13,000 votes came from, although the vast majority were mail-in votes. Reports earlier in the day suggested a light turnount in Center Township, but I'm hearing reports many of those votes don't get cast until late in the afternoon and activity has picked up this afternoon in some of those precincts.

UPDATE II: Marion Co. GOP Chairman fires another salvo at Beth White's handling of today's election. He raises concerns about the integrity of today's election. He had this to say in a just released statement:

"This morning, more than 150 precincts opened without operational voting machinery. Sadly, this meant that voters left their polling places without the assurance that their ballot had actually been cast. Rather, our felllow citizens left having to hope that their vote would eventually be counted. While it is too early to tell the effect on specific races or the election in general, it is gravely concerning that the integrity of even a single vote could be called into question."

"Unfortunately, this is, once again, a direct result of Clerk White failing to properly prepare for this Election. White didn't perform basic tasks, such as properly charging batteries for the voting machines or training poll workers how to properly deal with these problems. We expect better from the person responsible for safeguarding our right to vote. Shame on you, Ms. White."

UPDATE III: Tom John says turnout today in Marion County will be about 25%-27%. That's very disappointing. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz claims the Republicans had an edge of over 1,500 in the absentee ballots based on their party identification. Mike O'Connor says turnout is heavy in Pike and Lawrence Townships. Still inconclusive as to where this night is headed.


Anonymous said...

Nice job, Beth White. Who would be responsible for firing her incompotent ass?

Joel Harris said...

This voter turnout that you are reporting is exactly what I wanted to see--and really what I expected. This is a protest vote. It is also indicative that Bart's get out the vote efforts are not working.

Assuming that the massive electronic voting weirdness is not a massive vote fraud effort, we should be in good shape.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope here i s alot of oversite when it comes to counting the votes from the disabled machines.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The reporting by area news media is very confusing. One reports a heavy turnout while another says it's just about average. The Star's Robert King can't find anyone who supports Ballard at the poll he is visiting. Others say people are coming out to protest higher taxes. Surely they aren't voting for Peterson.

Anonymous said...

I cast my vote at School 78 on E.Vermont (Center Township) at 2:00pm. I was only the 43rd to cast a ballot at that time.
This voting location was very well organized and the volunteers were very helpful.
One of the Clerks who lives on Gray Street and has lived in the neighborhood for many many years was doing a great job as well as the gal next to her.
No problems with the scanners at all.
I would have anticipated more than 43 voters by 2:00 pm but this was my first vote in this precinct so I don't know what the average turnout has been in the past.
Plenty of Ballard signs and about equal for Peterson.
My dad, my grandpa,my great grandpa and my great great grandpa all turned over in their graves at the same time today when I voted straight GOP with exception of Keller.
What does the turnout look like outside Center?

Anonymous said...

The Star's Robert King is visiting do or die Democratic precincts. I suspect the voting for Ballard is stronger outside of the area he has visited.

Anonymous said...

Did they not think people would notice that the area hit hardest by the prop. tax increase, and most likely to vote out the incumbents/Barty, is the area that's had some many voters sent to the wrong polling places?

Anonymous said...

I met an older lady while waiting to vote who just became a citizen because she wanted to VOTE. God Bless America!

Anonymous said...

So identifying who is voting isn't such a big deal is it?