Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Allegheny County Outstanding - Ballots Uncounted Yet

Allegheny County Few Problems Reported

But who's doing the report? Election officials who might not want to reveal glitches in absentee ballot scanning, perhaps?

Those are paper ballots that may not be subject to precinct scanning, but rather central scanning without the ability of the voter to make corrections or changes before the ballot is cast. If there are stray marks, even potentially creases, or over-votes, mismarking for instance both the straight party block and the block for the candidate.

That action may create an over-vote, and would need reviewed by hand to attempt to determine intent.

With some 3,000 military absentee ballots to determine, it is of urgency to make sure those absentees are counted accurately, and not outright rejected if over-votes or other errors show as such by a solely machine count.

Net the Truth Online

Mercer More Ballots to be Counted Outcome Could Change Again

Absentee ballots elevate McCain in Mercer County
By Matt Snyder
Herald Staff Writer


Voter turnout hit 70 percent; few problems reported

Considering that nearly three out of four registered voters cast a ballot in Allegheny County last week, elections officials reported Monday that few problems occurred.

"It was very smooth," said Mark Wolosik, head of the county Elections Division.

Wolosik reported to the county Board of Elections that 42,486 new voters registered for last week's election, although the tally of how many of them cast ballots is not yet known, he said.

Overall turnout in the county was about 70 percent, with 653,000 ballots cast, Wolosik said. About 3,000 military ballots remain uncounted, but Wolosik said they most likely would not affect any races.

The closest contest in the county, the race for the 33rd Legislative District between state Rep. Democrat Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, and Republican challenger Jason Davidek, had Dermody leading by 577 votes, a 2-percentage point lead.

The 2,920 provisional ballots used represented a sharp decline from the 2004 election, when voters used about 8,000. The ballots are used by voters not immediately cleared by election judges to vote on electronic machines. If it is determined those votes are cast by properly registered voters, they will be counted.

The county Board of Elections, whose members are county Executive Dan Onorato and council at-large members John DeFazio and Chuck McCullough, will certify the results Nov. 24.

Complaints on Election Day included long lines, problems with machines and at least one precinct that wheelchair-users had trouble navigating.

Richard King and Colin Lynch, both from the group VotePA, told the elections board that while no apparent glitches affected the election, county voting machines remained vulnerable to fraud and malfunction because no paper trail exists to double-check the machines' count.


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