Democratic voters in Florida must be the dumbest animals roaming the planet.
Some of them are too ignorant to figure out that punching more than one selection in the same race cancels both votes. They dont understand that not voting in a race means the voter couldnt make up his or her mind. And no matter how advanced the technology, they cant figure out how to cast a simple ballot - even if it means doing nothing more complicated than touching a candidates name on a screen.
With the experience of two elections (the 2000 presidential race, and this years Democratic primary for governor) featuring Clinton-era refugees (former Vice President Al Gore, ex-Attorney General Janet Reno), and with multiple ballot styles giving way to electronic machines, the greatest variable in Floridas election debacles remains the bonehead casting the ballot.
What a bunch of galoots.
Well, enough of the smug gloating. In spite of Georgias smooth 2000 elections, Gov. Roy Barnes, Secretary of State Cathy Cox and the Democratic-controlled Georgia Legislature caved in to hysteria, huffed and puffed and blew away all the hanging chads this spring. Last Tuesdays runoff election was the last time in Georgia when voters used the little stylus to poke a hole in a paper ballot, though only 6.5 percent of Columbia Countys voters took part in the historic event.
Starting with the Nov. 5 general election, Georgia switches to electronic voting, dumping the paper ballot and instead using touch-screen machines to cast ballots.
Uh-oh. Does this mean in just a few weeks, somebody else will be writing about what a bunch of maroons Georgia voters are? That we cant even figure out how to go from poking a paper to poking a screen?
Deborah Marshall says not to worry. Whether or not our voters are any smarter than those in Florida, our poll workers, she says, are better trained. They certainly wont be caught flat-footed when the polls open and the touch-screens are dark, like some Florida locales.
Thats not going to happen, laughs Marshall. Our poll workers will know how to turn the machines on.
The Georgia Secretary of States Office, in a memo to election officials, says The vast majority of problems in Florida seemed to stem from poor training. Marshall says poor training wont be a problem here. In fact, she spent Tuesday in Statesboro at a training session run by Diebold, the manufacturer of all of Georgias electronic voting machines.
The Florida machines were not made by just one manufacturer, by the way: They were made by whomever each individual county wanted. Different machines are used all over the state, and there are no uniform training standards for them.
In contrast, all 159 Georgia counties use identical machines, and two election officials from every precinct of every county are being trained by Diebold. I have every confidence in this thing, Marshall says. I really do.
The only people, then, who may not be confident are a few voters. Some point out there is no printout after the voter finalizes his or her ballot with the new system. Their vote is simply recorded on the machines memory, and the voters access card is locked from further use.
Without some tangible sign to prove the machine has accurately recorded their ballot, some of Barnes detractors worry that the boxes can be electronically hijacked to rig the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Those voters may be reassured to know that you can, indeed, get a printout from your electronic voting machine.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.