FL-13: More Evidence of Ballot Design Issues

From the Miami Herald:

The same electronic ballot design flaw implicated in more than 18,300 Sarasota nonvotes might have caused problems for South Florida voters in two well-publicized Cabinet races. Both Broward and Miami-Dade counties recorded more than 34,000 nonvotes in their elections for attorney general and chief financial officer, according to election results from each county's Supervisor of Elections office. The problem was worse in precincts with many older voters. In both counties, the two Cabinet races appeared at the bottom of a voting screen with the higher-profile race for governor and lieutenant governor -- a contest in which seven sets of candidates nearly filled the screen. All races on the page were listed under a general heading.

QED in my estimation. Not software issues is Sarasota - ballot design issues.

The ballot flaw is obvious:

One explanation is that many voters assumed the governor's race was the only one on the page, touched the ''next'' button and moved on through the ballot without noticing the two races. In Sarasota, where the 13th Congressional District race also occupied the same page as the governor's race, experts have blamed the design problem for 18,382 nonvotes in one of the nation's most contested congressional races.

But Bev Harris and the Jennings campaign want you to think otherwise. They want to point away from their mistakes. But the real problem was the design:

[T]he high number of nonvotes potentially related to the design -- throughout Florida -- signals a need to re-evaluate some of the state's electronic voting technology, Ansolabehere said. 'In general it's a good rule of thumb to have one office per screen,'' said Ansolabehere, who is also a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ``It really minimizes confusion as to what you're doing.''

So, to be frank, case closed.

< Race, Mental Illness, and the Death Penalty | Bios and Open Threads >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    What, Dems can't read the ballot and Repubs can? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Lora on Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 12:10:39 AM EST
    From the Orlando Sentinel:

    The Sentinel reviewed records of 17,846 touch-screen ballots that included no vote in the tightly contested 13th District congressional race to determine whom voters selected in other major races.

    The analysis of the so-called "undervotes" examined the races for U.S. Senate, governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner.

    The results showed that the undervoted ballots skewed Democratic in all of those races, even in the three races in which the county as a whole went Republican.
    In the governor's race, for example, Republican Charlie Crist won handily in Sarasota, easily beating Democrat Jim Davis. But on the undervoted ballots, Davis finished ahead by almost 7 percentage points.

    Still sure it was just a "ballot-design" issue?