Holy Toledo, and I thought Joseph Goeke, the Republican Board of Elections director in St. Louis County, needed chastising. Unlike his neighbors in the city of St. Louis and St. Charles County, who are printing more paper ballots than they have registered voters (Paper ballots are cheap. Why not be prepared?), Goeke is only printing enough paper ballots for 80 percent of the registered voters. You get a big, wet raspberry, Mr. Goeke.
But more on his tortured logic later. First, let’s make ourselves feel better about being stuck with him. We could live in Philadelphia, where the Democrats running elections don’t think paper ballots are necessary at all. What, just because they speed up long voting lines?
Since she says in the video we should take care to spell her name right, the woman responsible for running elections in Philadelphia is Marge Tartaglione (D) and, as the video suggests, she’s a horror. And not only for her indefensible statements against the distribution of paper ballots to the effect of “long lines are not a problem…Long lines are no justification for any thing but waiting…people wait in long lines overnight for baseball tickets…people wait in line all night for a new Ipod.” Though I’m not aware of any 80 year olds who do either of those things, or anybody who does that in the middle of a work day, and I’m fairly sure anybody who does do that, does so by their own choice, not because they are forced to do so in hopes of exercising their right to cast a vote.
Watch the Gorgon in action. She’ll make you laugh even as she makes your blood boil.
Well, Ms. Tartaglione … and Mr. Goeke:
Paper ballots are these nifty little inventions that allow lots of voters to work on casting their votes simultaneously, thus speeding up the lines. If a precinct has four touchscreens, four people can vote at once. If, on the other hand, a polling place has boxes piled on boxes of paper ballots, voters can vote in the stations provided a-a-nd on any hard surface. So once they’ve signed the precinct register, they can lay their ballot down on any available desk space, on their purses, on the floor, hell, on the palm of their hands.
You know what, we shouldn’t even have our elections on Tuesdays, workdays. We should, like other civilized countries, vote on weekends. The Founding Fathers are still having their little joke on the lower classes with that one. But let’s at least not make casting a vote as challenging to do as getting a new I-Pod.
But Goeke says there will be enough paper ballots, because DREs will take up the slack. He insists that voting on the machines will be quick. Whereas the city of St. Louis estimates voters will need ten minutes on a DRE, Goeke figures six will do it–even though we have no straight party voting option this year and a gazillion ballot proposals. And that’s always assuming the machines don’t break down.
Mm-hmmm. Still, we coulda had Tartaglione.
Anyway, recommmend paper ballots to everyone you know. In addition to speeding up the lines, they have the advantage of allowing for software-independent audits and recounts. The board of elections holds onto those paper ballots for just such contingencies. Yeah, sure, I know the touchscreens have paper trails, too, but who checks them? Voters, if they even notice they’re there, usually neglect to do it. God knows, the poll workers don’t remind them to.
I’m not saying I trust scanners more than DREs not to be hacked. “Proprietary software” and the dangers to democracy that it presents is a whole ‘nother issue. But at least paper is faster and more dependable in recounts.