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Post contested ballots on web

Let the public see what canvassing boards are up to
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,

In the governor's race in Washington state (USA), there are allegations that the canvassing boards are ballots counting votes for one candidate when they are either votes for another candidate or else not votes for either. Many canvassing boards have two members of one party and one member of the other; if two members agree that a ballot is a vote for a certain candidate, that's how it's counted.

I would suggest that all ballots which do not produce unanimous agreement among the counters should be scanned and posted on the web. Although the public's interpretation of the ballots might not officially be meaningful, if candidate Fred Jones beats Bob Smith by 120 votes and anyone with a computer can easily see that there are over 150 votes which were counted as votes for Mr. Jones even though they're marked Mr. Smith, the public outcry--while it might not 'officially' matter, would be sufficient to prompt change.

supercat, Jan 04 2005


       erm.. why not. although it might make more sense to change the system rather than treating the symptoms. How do other countries ensure the counting is non-partisan ?
is it easy to make an ambiguous vote in Washington ?
neilp, Jan 05 2005

       Votes are private and, other than viewing by officially sanctioned canvassing boards, should remain that way.   

       Further, I'm not at all sure the proposed public display of ballots solves anything.
bristolz, Jan 05 2005

       [nielp] thru numerous pop-ups etc., I gather that you're an Aussie. Washington State is not in any way close to Washington D.C., politically or geographically. Please forgive me if I am stating the obvious in a nauseating way.
Zimmy, Jan 05 2005

       You're stating the inaccurate... neilp's a Brit. Or at least, I think he is. However, I must confess that I wasn't aware that DC wasn't in Washington State. <hangs head in shame>.
david_scothern, Jan 05 2005

       Ballots are not marked with anything that would identify a particular voter. In theory, any ballot marked for a particular selection of candidates should be indistinguishable from any other ballot marked for that same selection of candidates, so there wouldn't be any privacy issues with posting pictures of contested ballots.   

       The problem in the present election is that in some areas ballots are examined by three people, two of one party and one of the other, who decide what it is. If the two people of the same party claim the ballot is a vote for their candidate, it is counted as such regardless of the markings it may contain. There are allegations that the counters have counted for their candidate some ballots which clearly were not.   

       Posting pictures of such contested ballots on the web would make clear whether such allegations were true or not.
supercat, Jan 05 2005

       It should be noted that [cat]'s description is a bit misleading. There are two partisan representatives that look at these ballots - one from each party, representing their party to make sure that the count is fair. The third person is meant to be an impartial judge of the intention of the ballot. Because most people consider themselves to be Democrats or Republicans, [cat] is implying that this makes them partisan and biased.   

       This being said, I see no major problem with this idea other than the advertising potential. Soon most questionable ballots will have "Want to see the results of the Coke/Pepsi challenge? Visit pepsiamerica.com" written on them.
Worldgineer, Jan 05 2005

       [supercat]. I applaud the efforts as I have been sniggering for ages over the 'Hanging Chad' episodes. My question is this:
If you have to scan the ballot paper to display it on the 'net then how do you know that:
a: The scannee has not tampered with it either intentionally or by flattening the chad in the scanning mechanism and b:
That a Paint Shop Pro Fiend has not tampered with the rendered paper.
+ from me though because the premise is sound (assuming only a small number of discrepancies!)

       BTW [neilp] is a brit currently in Oz. I think that he is the bro' of [jonthegeologist] (correct me if I'm wrong Jon or Neil)
gnomethang, Jan 05 2005

       In the Washington state election, the ballots are have ovals that are supposed to be blackened with a supplied pen so they can be read via machine. As to whether the ballots are altered before or after scanning, that is another issue. But there are allegations that ballots that are clearly not cast for a particular candidate are nonetheless being regarded as votes for that person. Since fill-in-oval ballots should be clear and unambiguous, it would seem any disagreement among the counters should be cause for concern. Posting the ballot pictures on the web would allow the public to see who if anyone was being unreasonable.
supercat, Jan 05 2005

       I believe the problems that lie in the registration process are far more critical than any chad or ink problems. The first thing we need to do is insure the voters are valid US registered voters from that district. Our system currently encourages voter fraud, even pays money to recruit voters. Voting should be easily accessed but recruiting should be outlawed immediately. This provides incentive to cheat for profit. Its bad enough idealogues are motivated to cheat. The idea that ID isn't required to vote flips my wig. Now, contested ballots should be thrown out and left out. It is the voters' responsibility to be sure the vote is clear and accurate the same as it is the speakers' responsibility to ensure he or she is understood.
I808, May 09 2005


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