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Re: E-M:/ Supreme Court Ruling Explained



Hi,

Just a comment on your note on voting:

As a member of the Leelanau County Board of Canvassers I looked into the Florida mess and found that Michigan appears to be just as susceptible to the FL problems.

The Bureau of Elections states that "While Michigan is not a "voter intent state" as the phrase is popularly used, Michigan election law, MCL 168.799a(3), provides the following direction on recounting optical scan ballots:
"...the vote shall not be considered valid unless it is clearly evident that the intent of the voter was to cast a vote.  In determining the intent of the voter, the board of canvassers shall compare the mark or stamp subject to recount with other marks or stamps appearing on the ballot."

Re punch cards: "...the vote shall not be considered valid unless the portion of the ballot designated as a voting position is completely removed or is hanging by 1 or 2 corners OR THE EQUIVAENT." (my caps)

The vote regs are essentially the same as FL.  What is OR THE EQUIVALENT to mean?  What is "not a voter intent state" when these ballots are to be interpreted as to the intent of the voter?

And the illustrations for interpreting optical votes for both Accuvote and Optech are subject to interpretation also.

I wish the Michigan system were deserving of confidence, but I don't think so.  The same questions were very much involved in the Florida mess.

The optical scan systems look best to me.  They also allow with doing away with extra AV districts and use the same system for both same day and AV votes and for duplication of ballots.

What do you think?

Bob Marshall

Bonnie Shupe wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Bonnie Shupe" <BONNIES@cannontwp.org>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> So glad you asked.  In Cannon Township we use the Optical Scan System where the voter connects an arrow by the candidate of his/her choice.  If they do something wrong, the ballot is rejected by the tabulator and they are given a chance to try again.  I have had some voters try 4 times before they got it right.
>
> As far as I know, all of our voters ballots were tabulated and counted.  The number of voters at the precincts matched the number of ballots tabulated.  This included the absentee ballots.
>
> The only problem with absentee ballots is that the voter is not right there to correct a problem.  There are two possibilities - 1) the voter overvoted the ballot, or 2) the voter used the wrong kind of utensil so the tabulator sees the ballot as "blank."  In the former case, the ballot can be "overridden" and all the votes will count except the category where the voter overvoted.  A ballot that appears to be correctly marked, but is not picked up by the tabulator can be remade at the end of the night by two election workers of opposite parties.  This is called a "duplicate" ballot.  This is then fed into the tabulator and the original placed in a special envelope.
>
> We have 4 precincts in Cannon - about 8,000 registered voters.  I had 3 ballots arrive after the deadline (Election Day at 8:00 p.m.) that were not counted.  Most of the time that absentee ballots arrive late is due to the procrastination of the voter.
>
> I feel confident with Michigan Election Law.  We have to test our equipment ahead of time to make sure it is reading the ballot correctly.  We have to allow for all types of situations, premarking ballots to make sure the proper result is achieved.
>
> Most of the townships in Kent County use the Op-tech system, one uses the touch screen one, and the City of Grand Rapids and Wyoming use punch cards.  However, they have a system using a tabulator that reads the ballot immediately after the voter has completed voting, so they know right away if their ballot is acceptable.
>
> I know Candace Miller is on a big push to get the same equipment throughout the state and I'm very much opposed to that.  An eventual phasing out, fine, but she wants us all to be using the same equipment by 2002.  There is no way the entire state of Michigan could afford getting the touch screen system that Candace likes.  For one thing, it is so expensive, I can't imagine those small communities in the UP could afford it.  Some of the clerks, myself included, don't like that system.
>
> I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  Touched a little nerve, I think.....
> Bonnie Shupe, Cannon Township Clerk/Watershed Admin.
>
> lc@aol.com
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