Skip to comments.Mock election pronounced a success
Posted on 03/15/2008 9:41:25 AM PDT by Lady J USA 1981
Mock election pronounced a success
Published: March 13, 2008
By DAVID BATES Of the News-Register
John Wayne, the iconic figure of the American movie western, was tapped by voters Tuesday as Yamhill County's next entertainment director - even though he died in 1979. He edged Paul Newman, who is still alive but whose liberal politics no doubt cost him in conservative Yamhill County.
Voters faced only one serious question, and that one was strictly advisory: Should the county commissioners seek approval of a home-rule charter?
Voters have repeatedly rejected that structure for county government over the years, but they went for it this time by a count of 50.6 percent to 49.3 percent. It wasn't exactly a landslide.
But of most interest in Tuesday's election was not how the voting came out, rather how the vote-counting came out. And it came out just fine, elections officials said.
County Clerk Jan Coleman said her staff learned a lot this week about using new, high-tech equipment to tabulate election results.
No actual candidate or issue was on the ballot, so voters instead participated in a mock election - one in which they picked Tiger Woods to serve as recreation director and Helen Keller to preside over an unnamed university. In all, 7,000 ballots were returned - enough to work the kinks out of the system without proving overwhelming.
"On our side, it was a hugely beneficial thing," Coleman said. "In every step of the process, we learned something."
Election workers said they were grateful for the chance at a dry run with real ballots. One said that she would have been "terrified" handling the coming May primary without having gone through a test run.
Coleman said there was only one technological glitch, involving a database the county created to use with the new equipment. A representative of the manufacturer was on hand to guide them to a solution, and the company also promises to have an adviser present the night of the May primary.
Other than that, Coleman said, the only problems stemmed from the lengthy process a ballot follows on its way to a scanning machine that handles a very necessary step - producing a permanent record in case a recount needs to be conducted.
"That's really what the 2000 election was all about," she said. "They didn't have a uniform recount process in place in Florida."
Officials caught some flak over the election's $10,000 cost, but Coleman said the results were well worth it.
"It was a real good pool for a test," she said. "Tell the public, 'Thank you very much!'"