Counting every vote, Part Deux

I saw this article in the SGV Tribune a few days ago. There are two key quotes. First:

Some absentee ballots are not counted because officials determine signatures on their mail envelopes don't quite match those in registrars' records. Of course, if you registered more than 20 years ago, you may not sign your name in quite the same way any more and your ballot might be tossed.


"People should know if their votes aren't counted, and why, so they can fix any problem they may be having," Bowen said. "And if your vote isn't counted for no good reason, there's a process to go to court and fix that, one that does not require a lawyer."

[The "Bowen" being quoted above is Debra Bowen, California's Secretary of State].

Both of these quotes relate exactly to what's going on in Rosemead today. Valid ballots cast by registered voters were being tossed out, and there's no way you'd have found out this was happening if not for John Tran's lawsuit. As Bowen says, there ought to be a process to fix this without needing to involve a lawyer, BUT THERE IS NOT.

A bill to achieve this goal is being introduced into the state legislature. Let's hope it gets somewhere.

It's ironic that, until Bush

It's ironic that, until Bush v. Gore, we all just assumed that voting was easy. Now, the closer we look at elections, the more problems we find with the system.

Data Issues

This is similar to the problem with using the Social Security database to verify someone's eligibility to work.

It's hard to keep a database up to date. Right now, I'm working in one, and I suspect no more than 2/3 of the database is correct - insofar as I can get an email, phone call, or letter through to someone.

That said, an election consultant told me that no more than 10% of a typical large database of random voter phone numbers is likely to be accurate. (That's why campaigns go after the likely voters -- those records are far more likely to be correct, because people fix their data at the polls.)

While this sounds "bad", it's to be expected. The average household moves once every 5 years. Over a lifetime, that works out to around 15 moves.

Another way to look at it is, 1/5 of addresses change each year. 20%. So, every year, you can "lose" around 20% of your data. It's a constant, losing battle.

This matter is scheduled for

This matter is scheduled for a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court starting on Tuesday, May 19. Because of the recent attention to absentee voting, I suspect the results may have far-reaching effects.

I hope it does. I vote

I hope it does. I vote provisional or absentee frequently, and have never called in to verify that it was counted.

I'm glad John is pursuing the suit.