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‘Success’ Looks Rough

by Bob Caudle | November 6, 2010 at 4:40 a.m.

The article in Thursday’s edition of whatever newspaper we throw in the general direction of your front porch read like an excerpt from a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales:

“Election Commission Chairman Bill Williams said final, unofficial results were compiled at 1:54 a.m. Wednesday and posted on the Benton County web site by 2:30 a.m. Despite the technical difficulties and complaints about paper ballots being unavailable at some polling places, Williams regarded the election a success.”

If Williams thinks that posting results to the county web site at 2:30 a.m. in the year 2010 when the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. the day before is a success, I’d hate to see his definition of a lack of success.

Next election, go out and hire some six-toed sloths to help with the counting.

Sloths would give the election commission extra toes to count on and probably move faster.

Thursday’s report detailed, “ ... Internal clock errors, sticky rolls of printer paper and a cutback on paper ballots added up to long lines for some Benton County voters Tuesday ...”

Yeah, there’s nothing that screams success more than a voting machine that resets itself to regular time a week before Daylight Saving Time ends.

A lot of times people have these things they call “test runs.”

Test runs are where you make sure all the equipment is working before you actually have to use it.

Even surgeons operate on dead animals before trying to cut on live people.

And out-witted by a printer?

Call a 12-year-old if you need help with electronics. He can probably also come over to your house and reset that 0:00 blinking clock on your DVD.

To be fair, Williams said the problems with the printer paper were identified before the election, but no solution has been adopted by Election Software & Services, the company that provides and services the voting machines.

But that doesn’t explain the “shortage” of paper ballots.

Williams said the county ordered 13,642 paper ballots for the general election. He said the commission used a formula based on the use of paper ballots in the May primary and an estimated voter turnout of 78,082 for the general election. Williams said the paper ballots were meant to be available for voters who prefer paper ballots over voting machines, but some poll workers used paper ballots to reduce the time voters were waiting in line.

“That is contrary to the training our poll workers have gotten, but I’m not going to second-guess their decision,” Williams said.

OK. Fair enough. I’ll second guess their decisions.

The newspaper received more than one report that election officials in Cave Springs told voters they had to use machines.

So, at least in Cave Springs, they were making people stand in line for over an hour, according to the newspaper report.

That’s not success.

Not to accuse anyone of intentional wrong-doing, but this was an incompetent effort at running an election.

But, wait. There’s more.

Williams said a more serious problem with one voting machine was discovered Wednesday when election workers found the touch screen on the machine had been shattered. He said the machine contained at most 200 votes and was at a precinct where those voted would not change the result of any contest. Williams said the votes are recoverable and will be added to the final tally.

Yep. That newspaper interview has “successful election,” written all over it.

The Election Commission in Benton County needs to learn this: Don’t hose the voters, then try to tell them that it’s raining - you just make voters mad and embarrass the clouds.


Opinion, Pages 5 on 11/06/2010

Print Headline: ‘Success’ Looks Rough


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