EDITORIAL II: Ballot-counting problem should have been avoided (IN)
The Herald Bulletin. November 4, 2008.
This one comes under the heading “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”
Madison County officials thought they had all their bases covered going into the election. They extended early-voting hours to help deal with the avalanche of voters expected, and they’d done the standard testing of the tabulating machines.
But then reality hit right between the eyes Tuesday evening when officials discovered that as many as 7,400 of the 12,000-some ballots used for early voting could not be counted by the machines. As it turns out, the coding on that portion of the early ballots was in the wrong position on the paper, tripping up the machines.
An official from Omaha-based Election Systems & Software, which provided the counting system, seemed to acknowledge that the company had sent the county ballots that wouldn’t work. But the county should take some blame too for not taking the precaution of testing the new set of ballots when they arrived.
To use another cliché: You never can be too careful.
The county and ES&S were working through the problem Tuesday night, but the problem threatened to delay the totaling of election results and shed the shadow of doubt on the early voting process.