These news reports here, and here, detail races still being counted or recounted as of today. Folks, tomorrow is the second Tuesday since the election! What used to take a day or two to count by hand, at the precinct in your local gym, church, or civic hall, can now take weeks, as ballots drift in through the mail.
Mail voting is inevitably producing a system in which votes will continue to appear endlessly. I know, for example, that during every election ballots from previous elections get turned in because people still have them–they just haven’t looked through their mail lately. But with a statistical loss rate the USPS will also inevitably find ballots too-late to be cast. Effectively disenfranchising a few more voters.
In Florida, Kathrine Harris’ old seat now looks heading to a recount as well, with an unprecedented 18,000 undervotes on ES&S Touchscreen voting machines… the question will be what’s there to recount. In Camden County, SC, a set of absentee ballots looks like they’ll go uncounted in a hotly debated race. I could keep writing all day, and never cover all the races adequately.
Ten days after Election Day, the outcome is still in dispute in a handful of close contests for the House as election officials count and recount ballots from absentee voters and those who were challenged at the polls.
Election officials in North Carolina and New Mexico hoped to have certified results late Friday, while a dispute in Ohio over a new voter identification law will delay results in one race until past Thanksgiving weekend.
Elections in Louisiana and Texas will go to runoffs in December.
In California today, the “… staff is now counting as many as 5,000 absentees that were rejected by the county’s scanning equipment because they were mismarked or torn.” In King County, Washington, it was reported that a large percentage of ballots were “duplicated.” What this means is that county workers, or temp workers, are going through by hand and duplicating ballots. Some truly ridiculous ballots show up year after year, so this is not an easy task.
And many of these counts that are still going on, that’s just a first vote count. Most cut-off days for certifying the vote occur before Nov. 28th. So if a first count is incomplete, how do you begin a recount that matters? With a close count this is not just a matter of conjecture, there will be mandatory recounts if races are within a certain margin. Recounts are a whole lot easier if the first count is already complete before the deadline for the Secretary of State or County Auditor to certify the election has come and gone. Vote-by mail systems can so screw up the vote counting system that a close election may not have time to conduct a fist count, let alone adequately audit the system before Nov. 28th.
Vote-by Mail systems have lots of unintended consequences. But this never-ending first count is a big BIG flaw in the system.
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