Also in today’s L.A. Times, a frightening story in which election results are changed by electronic voting machine problems – and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.
Although some Orange County voters cast the wrong electronic ballots in the March 2 primary, potentially altering the outcome of one race for a Democratic Party post, Registrar Steve Rodermund said he will certify the results of the election today.
In a report circulated late Monday to the Board of Supervisors, Rodermund acknowledged for the first time that his office’s failures could have affected a race … and gave ammunition to critics of electronic voting.
The report said 33 voters out of 16,655 in the 69th Assembly District received the wrong ballots and were unable to vote for six open seats on the Democratic Central Committee.
The candidate who finished seventh in that contest, Art Hoffman, trailed sixth-place candidate Jim Pantone in the final count by 13 votes. However, 99.7% of Orange County ballots were cast properly in the primary, Rodermund will tell supervisors today before certifying the election results to the secretary of state.
There are election-day issues in most elections (as we all can remember from 2000, right?) But e-voting machines are a particular problem, as presently constituted, because without a permanent paper trail, the votes – stored as records in a database – must be taken on faith.
In Florida, we could at least go back and try and figure out what happened. With paperless e-voting machines, there’s just no way.
There are a lot of things that can make e-voting work; open-source software and ISO9000 audits are two of the ones that I support.
Paper records are another, and I’d like to invite you to email California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and suggest that he require them before electronic voting machines can damage another election. In this election, things worked out amicably.
In the case of the 69th Assembly District seats on the Democratic Central Committee, The Times analysis estimated that 19 to 38 voters had miscast ballots. Neither Hoffman, leading at one point, nor Pantone said they planned to challenge the outcome. Democratic Party Chairman Frank Barbaro said the party would resolve the inequity internally so the county wouldn’t face an expensive election.
We probably won’t be so lucky again.