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."
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.