Skip to comments.Dems, Republicans Spar Over Marion County Vote Issues
Posted on 11/07/2006 11:00:29 AM PST by digger48
INDIANAPOLIS -- Democrats said they might go to court to force polls in Marion County to stay open late after complaints about machines not working at dozens of precincts Tuesday morning.
Voters were able to cast ballots, but votes were not counted right away, 6News' Julie Pursley reported. Voters and precinct workers said they were frustrated by problems at several precincts.
The problem stemmed from machines that were not set up properly by poll workers, according to Marion County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler. Malfunctions prevented the optical-scan machines from reading ballots.
"The machine that you're supposed to put your ballot in that secures it was making some funny beeping sounds. There was a line of about three people in front of me," said voter Sarah Hassler. "The person who was punching buttons and trying to make it work simply said, 'Gee, there's something wrong.' Just hand it to this person over here."
Voters were told that they could put completed ballots in a slot on the side of the machines and they would be counted later, leaving some voters concerned that their vote would not be counted, but inspectors said there is no need to worry.
"Every vote is going to be counted, and I just want everyone to realize that," said inspector Lisa Schultz.
Voters said they were concerned that technology that is supposed to make the process easier and prevent fraud might be fraught with problems.
"I don't have confidence in the system anymore, and that's what makes me really sad," Hassler said. "It makes me sad as an American."
Election officials said the ballots are locked and guarded until they can be manually fed into the machine and counted.
Precinct workers said they waited hours for a technician to get the machines working correctly.
"For the polls to open up at 6:00 and they just got it up and running five minutes ago, that's ridiculous," said Annette Johnson, a 16th precinct committee member.
Officials at a Broad Ripple precinct said they encountered problems for about 90 minutes, but added that all of the votes were counted after the issues were fixed.
Problems affected more than 100 of Marion County's 914 precincts. Some of the problems could continue for much of the day, but ballots could still be cast.
Democrats Consider Legal Action In Wake Of Problems
Democratic officials said Tuesday that they think problems at some Marion County precincts kept their supporters from casting votes. Republican officials agreed that there were problems, but disagreed that they were serious enough to extend voting hours.
Some of the problems centered around the reading of ballots.
Democratic county chairman Ed Treacy said 20 polling places, all in Democratic areas, didn't open on time because poll workers didn't show up. County clerk Doris Anne Sadler said she only had reports of two precincts that opened late.
Sadler said there were technical complications caused by workers who were unable to get complicated machinery running in time at about 200 precincts, 6News' Norman Cox reported.
Treacy said the issues kept Democrats from voting, but Sadler said it affected all parts of the county and that paper ballots could still be used. Treacy said Republicans failed to train poll workers, but Sadler countered that both parties agreed to purchase the touch-screen machines, which were needed to comply with federal law on disabled voting.
"It was utter chaos this morning at polling places across the count,y and we're furious," Treacy read from a prepared statement. "We've been warning the Republican officials for weeks that huge problems were on the horizon, but they decided to ignore us, and they did nothing to prevent this mess."
"The Republicans need to be held accountable. Republicans have purposely screwed up this election in a desperate attempt to drive away our voters. In some cases, what the Republicans have been doing is downright criminal, and someone needs to go to jail."
Sadler said Treacy is trying to incite trouble by politicizing issues that were out of the control of election officials.
"We don't have a choice but to use these (touch screens). We have to make the best of it," Sadler said. "To start criticizing it and making an issue out of it when it didn't have voter impact, or at least didn't have any significant voter impact, is just trying to drum up a political issue that we don't need on a day like this."
Depends on how it's looking for JuliaCarson
We never had these problems until Floridian Democrats decided a butterfly ballot was too difficult for them to use and demanded we use technology to help them figure out how to vote.
"Depends on how it's looking for JuliaCarson"
My VERY first thought when seeing this was "Carson must be behind"...
If they can't win at the polls, they try to win in the courts.
Longer poll hours, more "provisional" ballots, "we did not have enough machines" etc. etc. etc.
[Depends on how it's looking for JuliaCarson]
I voted against her this morning. If they stay open late, I may have to go and vote against her again, just in case my vote didn't count. Add my wife to those who voted against her.
BTW - There is already talk that democrats are going to target a new demographic for votes in '08. They are going after the recently deceased for votes.
Carson is so addled that she couldn't even vote for herself properly.
She spoiled her first ballot and hand to be given another.
She messes up the first ballot everytime, I kid you not. Hopefully Dickerson wins tonight.
Two years ago she was using a mechanical machine, IIRC.
I'm not sure if it was her fault or not, but she was definitely befuddled. I can't imagine how she works the voting system at her seat in Congress.