Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Norco Official's Solution to Election Woes - "Let's Go to Florida"

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAs you know, we've got mega problems at Northampton County's polls. Voting screens promote straight party voting. Machines jam. Voters not listed on poll books are sent packing without being offered provisional ballots. And Registrar Deborah DePaul insists her office must perform a time-consuming manual tabulation of votes. New technology designed to increase public confidence has incredibly had the opposite effect.

Our new high-priced Director of Administration, John R. Conklin, has a suggestion. He wants elections workers to tour Broward County in Florida, the land of hanging chads. He claims elections there go off "pretty much without a hitch."

Excuse me?

What the hell is he smoking? Broward County is the source of all the controversy concerning the Bush/Gore presidential contest. Those hanging chads ended up hanging Gore. They eventually led to the federal requirement that we use touch screen voting machines. Yet Conklin wants elections officials to tour the very county that screwed up a presidential contest. Seriously, is this dude nuts? Northampton County officials have a penchant for idiotic statements, but Conklin's remark has to qualify him as nitwit of the year.

It's getting cold. Conklin must miss Florida. Maybe he has a job interview. But if he wants to visit, he should do so on his own dime.

And contrary to Conklin's assertion, Broward County elections have remained a source of controversy. In November, there was no process for poll workers to report problems and no central database for machine problems. Problems with touchscreen machines kept at least one precinct from opening on time, and litigation is threatened.

This is by no means unusual in Broward County. In 2002, a software error resulted in the loss of over 100,000 votes. Oopsie! In 2004, 134 ballots simply failed to register in a special election for a state house seat with a 12 vote margin of victory. Between 2002 and 2005, there have been at least eight such screw-ups.

On top of everything else, Broward and Northampton County are in two different states with completely different election laws. And Broward County uses ES&S Votronic touch-screen voting machines while Northampton County uses Advanced Voting Solutions.

The Express Times has its own suggestion. Either Advanced Voting Solutions is failing to remedy system flaws, or Registrar DePaul "is ill-equipped to handle the task." This problem must be identified and corrected immediately.

And it doesn't require a trip to sunny Florida.

26 comments:

Greendogdem said...

Wow it took ms Depaul close to 6 weeks to admit there is a serious problem. Nothing in Hava required Northampton county to get electronic voting machines.

Anonymous said...

Ms Depaul is incompetent, period. Check the letters section in the Morning Call today. A voter wants to know what happened to their write in votes! Whoops! why bother counting those?!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hey GreenDog, HAVA is the reason for the new machines. It requires voting machines that are handicapped accessible, and the lever machines failed on that count.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:47, That's weird. In the primary, I purposely wrote in two strange names for committeemen to see if they'd show up. They did. Perhaps the letter writer screwed up. 9 times out of 10, when there is a problem with a computer program, the human operator is at fault. I've seen that searching titles.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie, you know there's a TV show called "What not to wear"
Well, The Northampton county folks are going to Florida to guest star on "What not to do when running an election!"

Anonymous said...

Hey, why aren't all you people listening to Ralph on WGPA this morning? What's wrong with you people, are you liberal commies?!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:30, This is one liberal commie listening to Ralph. He's doing a nice job. Unlike me, he knows what he's talking about.

Anonymous said...

If that is Ms. DePaul in the pic, I say let her run the whole Damn county!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:07, Ms. DePaul is actually a very attractive woman, but she is not the lady in the pic.

Anonymous said...

Is that Naked Lehigh Valley Blogger?!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:55, She refuses to share her pic with the world.

Dem Fly on the wall said...

That girls is too fat, can't be me!

Bernie O'Hare said...

DemFly, I'm going to have to come up with my own picture of you and post it. Pay no attention to those guys with cameras outside your house.

Greendogdem said...

They also could have gone with paper ballots or optical scanners

Bernie O'Hare said...

GreenDog, You're right.

Greendogdem said...

Florida machines also missed one of the other Hava requirements it seems specially in the 13th congressional district a reminder that you didn't vote in a specific election.

pissed off patricia said...

I cruised over to see what was up and your post caused me to laugh out loud. Yes siree, if you want to learn about voting with no hitches, no better place than my sunshine state. Is this guy insane? We still have one election down here that is in doubt from Nov and god knows what the hell else is messed up.

This is like asking Don Rumsfeld to teach you how to fight a war.

Bernie O'Hare said...

POP, What disturbs me is this is the guy getting the big bucks, close to $80k, as well as a county car.He must really miss Fl.

john stoffa said...

Bernie , John Conklin does not have a county car.

Bernie O'Hare said...

John, OK, I stand corrected on that point. But please don't send these jokers to Broward County. WE've got enough problems.

n'hamptoncountian said...

Mr. Stoffa, sir...please don't send them boneheads to Broward County...I'll leak the story to John Stewart at Commedy Central's The Daily Show...I swear I will.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To n'hamptoncountian, How about if he sends you and me down the Delaware River in a burlap bag instead?

john stoffa said...

gonna send you both to the moon with Alice

n'hamptoncountian said...

I'd prefer my own burlap bag, Bernie. But better yet...

Ringalingaling. Hello, Mr. Stewart? Do I have a story for you!

Anonymous said...

This is my first ever BLOG comment, Bernie...here are my reasons for saying what I did regarding the Broward best practices (I agree that all jurisdictions have issues, especially FL since I lived there for three years):
1. Operationally, the election monitoring process takes place at a large venue in many of the FL counties...in Broward's case it was in the county EOC (emergency operations center)...they have a large county-wide 411 call center which during election day reverts to routing voter questions/concerns to SOE (Supervisor of Elections) personnel located at the EOC (Northampton County received complaints that many phone call attempts were ringing busy during the General Election);
2. Broward EOC also has a large GIS (geographical information system) mapping interface with the 800+ polling places in the county. They color code track by precinct on a large displayed map several operational items which help the SOE keep tabs on trouble areas (i.e. all precincts must report when the judge of elections arrives on site, when the equipment is ready, when the precinct opens, when the precinct closes). This technology gives everyone a great management overiew of the election operation.
3. The County is divided into regions and equipment service techs and regional SOE managers respond to assist SOE folks who are at each precinct if they can't figure out an equipment problem or voter issue by themselves.
4. Each SOE election person at each precinct has a cellular phone (leased by the County for the election only, personnel phone calls are the responsibility of the individual), the numbers are assigned to specific individuals who can talk to their regional manager or to the SOE personnel at the EOC...It all follows a chain of command structure...

I'm not saying the election results and touch screen machine performance are stellar as you and fellow bloggers have historically and correctly written...BUT, I do like the operational portion of their process that I think works well...and could improve that part of Northampton County's election night...okay, a trip is probably not what the local folks want to see and I'm fine with that...when you have ~1.2 million voters (compared to ~100,000 Norco voters, many of whom DO show up to vote for an election, it is quite a sophisticated operation that operationally works well. Bernie, I look forward to your disagreement...Happy New Year's to you and your family!

Bernie O'Hare said...

To John Conklin, Thanks for your comments, John. And folks, those comments really did come from Conklin and Stoffa. I appreciate them especially since I called John Conklin "nitwit of the year." But 2006 is over so we have room for many new candidates, including me.