Election 2007: Update on Early Voting On The Move

Following up on my post “Election 2007: Early Voting on the Move”, BOE Director Barry Garner responded with lightning speed to my request for further information:

Nothing has been decided yet however the Seymour Senior Center is an option. The board will meet on August 7, 2007 to discuss this. UNC has offered us the student union to hold one-stop early voting but my board was split on the decision at the last meeting. Since the last meeting, we have two new board members so I will have to present to options to them again.

I do not think I can justify the cost of having two sites in Chapel Hill for the municipal election. It is not our goal to undercut the GOTV efforts, however we must find a place that is accessible to all citizens of Orange County.

Due to our current voting equipment, we are unable to have super precincts. Our voting equipment PCMCIA cards can only hold 10 ballot styles and 10 precincts therefore we cannot hold super precincts until the technology is updated.

Encouraging news on the early voting front. A bit disappointing on the super-precinct issue.

Last year I went to Hillsborough to evaluate, from both the technical and “small d” democracy angles, the new models of voting equipment our county was thinking of buying (“May 2nd: Don’t Fear the Reaper, Get Out and Vote”).

I sketched out the composition of precincts in Chapel Hill/Carrboro to the salesman. Would their optical scan equipment would support a super-precinct covering those precincts? No problem, he said.

Maybe we needed to buy the super-deluxe package? In any case, I’ve offered to provide some rabble rousing to get the necessary funds to upgrade the equipment to support a super-precinct for UNC students. If you would like to join the “villagers with pitchforks”, here’s how to contact our local BOE:

Email Director of Elections Barry Garner here.

Or call or mail.

Board of Elections
110 E. King St
P.O. Box 220
Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278

Telephone: (919) 245-2350
Fax Number: 919-644-3318


3 responses to “Election 2007: Update on Early Voting On The Move”

  1. Joyce McCloy Avatar

    To pay for Vote Centers, sacrifices are made: Which precincts will be eliminated? Who decides? The number of voting locations and voting machines are cut by as much as 66% or more. Neighborhood election day precincts are often eliminated. Certain segments of the population have a bigger burden in trying to excercise their right to vote. Vote Centers or Super Precincts don’t serve the voter’s needs or the precise requirements for democratic elections — transparency being one of them.
    Straight off, they move polling places away from the neighborhood locations where voters without the means can have easier access.

    Super Precincts or Vote Centers can become a poll-tax for the elderly, disabled, poor and rural voters – because of the additional travel, time, missed work or physical stress of waiting in long lines to vote. Voters can no longer walk or travel a short distance to vote. For disabled, the voting location is no longer in a familiar neighborhood, and may be in a busy crowded facility. Election officials have to rely more on expensive and error prone technologies such as electronic poll books and touch-screen voting machines. When equipment crashes or fails to work, greater numbers of voters are simultaneously disenfranchised. Denial of service attacks affect larger portions of voters. (More eggs in one basket)

    VoteTrustUSA – CHAOS: Voting Extension Denied Amid Massive … CHAOS: Voting Extension Denied Amid Massive Computer Problems in Colorado … provisional ballots are now running out at some Denver voting centers. …

    Bad Ideas For Voting Just Keep Coming by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D.
    The requirement for an electronic poll book at voting centers introduces a myriad of additional issues as well. Problems include the requisite connectivity … http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-103.htm

    more at

  2. Administrator Avatar

    Thanks Joyce. Super precincts in Orange County are in addition to the existing precincts. Students are currently distributed among 5 precincts – many in locations they are not familiar with. Students would be able to vote at any one of the included precincts – at least that’s the idea.

    I understand your concerns and appreciate the links – it’s a perspective I hadn’t thought about…

  3. Joyce McCloy Avatar

    Perhaps you mean early voting sites, or “one stop” voting.

    If you really mean Super precincts – then you are talking about polling places that are like early voting sites – except that they stay open through election day.

    This means that on election day, the poll workers will have to be able to provide dozens of different ballot styles depending on what district the voter is eligible to vote in.

    We have a poll worker shortage as it is, and making elections more complex to administer, more stressful and confusing – discourages poll workers, and increases the likelihood that voters will be issued the wrong ballot.

    If you like voting on paper ballots (optically scanned) then keep it simple.

    More complex elections incentivizes the push for expensive and unreliable touch-screen voting machines.
    With a touchscreen machine, the poll worker “activates” the electronic ballot for the voter, supposedly the correct one. Then the only paper trail we have on these touch-screen machines is what we call the “toilet paper ballot”. It is a flimsy thermal paper that resembles a cash register receipt, but is less reliable.

    The vendors push groups like “The Election Center” to promote ideas like this, painting it as “progressive”, and making it sound so attractive. Meanwhile, the Election Center is accepting donations from ES&S, Sequoia, Diebold and possibly others.
    See http://www.ncvoter.net/ElectionCenter.html

    We have early voting sites, and they are here to stay, I suppose. We fought a terrible battle in Wake County to keep out touch-screens, the Election Director hired a consultant who claimed that early voting could only be done with touch-screens, because of the complexity of election administration. The Wake County activists and computer scientist Justin Moore worked hard to persuade the County Commissioners to refuse to pay for touch-screens.

    Read *Wake rejects touch-screen voting* February 13 News and Observer”Why spend extra money for a dubious and experimental technology?” said Andrew Silver, 64, a Cary epidemiologist… Commissioner Phil Jeffreys, a retired postal worker, said he was not concerned about the difficult of hand-sorting an estimated 90,000 ballots after next fall’s Election Day… “I worked in a post office for 30 years and it’s not a lot (to sort),” he said.

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