Election Stupidity and Snafus | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 25, 2006

Election Stupidity and Snafus

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2006 at 2:28 PM

Republican Jim Lagrone, candidate for secretary of state, says problems continue with the state's major election machinery contractor despite Secretary of State Charlie Daniels' assurances that things are improving. News release is on the jump.

LAGRONE NEWS RELEASE

A letter sent this week, via email, to Republican Secretary of State candidate Jim Lagrone from Dixie Carlson, an election commissioner for Crittenden county, outlined in detail how problems with the Ivotronic voting machines and lack of attention by ES&S personnel once again caused major problems with a special election held in that county August 8.  For that election there were nine precincts voting with just one item on the ballot.
  According to Carlson, when it came time for early voting election officials had to carry on with paper ballots printed locally - even though the election commission had sent the ballot information to ES&S in plenty of time to have the machines programmed before the special election.
  Said Mrs. Carlson in her letter, "A call was made to ES&S to find out when the PEBs (software information necessary to run the electronic machines) and flash cards would be received. They told us they were waiting for the ballot information. When (we) told them to look in the box that the PEBs and flashcards were in - that they had received three weeks earlier - they did so and declared, 'Oh, there it is.'  Because of this we only received the PEBs and flashcards in time to use for two and a half days of early voting."
  Says Carlson, "They didn't even look in the box to see if the information was there, and even then, should have called asking for the ballot information - but they did neither!"
  In addition to early voting snafus, Carlson told the Lagrone campaign that there were major problems with the machines on the day of voting, as well.
  "As far as the performance on the day of election, out of nine machines two jammed and two needed assistance from ES&S to work properly, and six of the machines had to be taken and closed out at the courthouse," says Carlson.
  "If this company had such difficulty in a small election with only one ballot item being conducted in nine precincts, how can we have any confidence in ES&S being able to correctly handle a major general election in eight weeks?" asked Carlson.
  Carlson told Jim Lagrone in a follow-up telephone conversation that a letter, outling these problems and concerns and signed by all three Crittenden county election commissioners, has been sent to the secretary of state.
  "I've also asked for permission to go back to using scanners for the general election, as it's my understanding that the scanners meet the criteria by HAVA. We don't want to just sit and wait until it's time for the general election and deal with these same problems all over again," she concluded.
  "Charlie Daniels is putting out press releases about how all of these problems have been cleared up and he's pleased and confident that things will run smoothly with the general election," says Lagrone. "Yet as of Aug. 8, it's evident absolutely nothing has changed.  County clerks and election commissioners all over this state are calling and writing to me, like Carlson, to expess their concern that the general election will just be a repeat of the primary and runoff - yet all we hear from the SOS office and in the media is how everything is good and how 'pleased' Daniels is with how things are going.
  "It's very disconcerting," concludes Lagrone, "because I know it doesn't have to be this way. Everyone should feel secure that their vote is going to be counted accurately in this very important upcoming election and I'm afraid that just isn't the case."

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