Friday, September 22, 2006

Talking Sense

The Washington Post today has an atypically sensible editorial about the primary election fiasco last week in Maryland and how to address the problems as we approach the general election of November 7.

Echoing (modesty forces me to add "unconsciously") my comments of September 17, the Post says:

Most of the problems on Sept. 12 resulted from human error: officials forgetting to deliver cards to operate machines, judges not showing up, workers failing to remove memory cards. The one big equipment problem had to do with the electronic poll books (used by poll workers to check voters off as they come in) and not, as Mr. Ehrlich might have you believe, with the machines voters use to cast their ballots.
The Post also corrects the widely-held but mistaken belief that the human errors were attributable to the newness of the voting machines:
In fact, not only did the touch-screen voting machines work largely without incident across the state in the recent primary, but this was not the first time they have been employed. In the 2002 election, when Mr. Ehrlich became governor, four counties -- including the state's largest, Montgomery -- used these units. In the 2004 presidential election, every locality except Baltimore City used them. So why is this an issue now?
The fact that Montgomery County has been using these machines for at least four years makes the performance of its top election officials even more shameful.

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