Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Monday, September 13, 2004
It wasn't an intended consequence of its interesting Sunday story, but The Plain Dealer put J. Kenneth Blackwell on notice: Don't
let Ohio be the next Florida...or else.
Blackwell wants to be govenor. If the guy runs the quality of election that Kathyrn Harris ran in Florida four years ago... Scratch that example. Screwing up enhanced Harris's career.
Blackwell might not be so fortunate. He does not have to run a glitch-free election to end up in the govenor's mansion, but he does have to prevent Ohio from embarrassing itself in a way that affects the outcome of the election and the course
of the nation.
Scott Hiaasen (yes, he's the son of Sick Puppy Carl Hiaasen, Miami Hearld columnist and author par excellence) and Julie Carr Smyth report that with three-quarters of Ohio's voters punching cards and hanging (NOT!) chads, results could go horribly wrong.
In the past Ohio has had voting irregularities to match Florida's and could have them again, especially in Cuyahoga Country, where Democrat John Kerry must win like Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes if he is to overcome the president elsewhere in the state.
``It's disgraceful that Ohio hasn't succeeded in replacing its hanging-chad punch-card machines,'' Ohio State University law professor Dan Tokaji told The Plain Dealer. ``We could lose upwards to 50,0000 votes as a result of this, which could very well spell the difference between victory and defeat.''
Blackwell believes the election will come off without having to resort to the U.S. Supreme Court counting the votes, as was more or less the case in Florida. Despite concerns about punch-card ballots (2.3 percent error comparied to 0.9 for electronic machnines), Blackwell blocked the use of new voting machines because of security concerns and the fact the systems, including those made by Diebold in Green, have not offered a paper record for the voter.
Did Ohioblog miss something here? There is no paper record for voters with the punch-card system. The voter punches a card, turns it into a poll worker and that's it. The voter might receive a sticker indicating he voted, but there is no record of for whom the voter cast his ballot.
To avoid having a Florida debacle, Ohioans should begin punch-card workouts immediately. The workouts must consist of strengthening the wrists and fingers so a solid punch can be executed. Simulate the voting-booth stylus with a similar-size
nail and punch holes first in paper and, ultimately, in cardboard, increasing the degree of difficulty as the wrist and fingers get into shape. Turn over the cardboard and make sure the hole you punched is through and through.
If Ohioans follow this regimin, they will be in perfect punch-card shape by Nov. 2. Of course, strength without knowledge can be useless. Ohioans who don't know their way around a voting curtain should ask for help. It might not hurt to have an eye exam before the election. Ohioans must inspect their ballots carefully to assure the chads have been punched into the next county.
Follow these simple suggestions and we'll all enjoy a rewarding election experience. Ohioblog thanks you for your exercising before exercising your right to vote.
- Steve Love
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 10:02 AM
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