Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Election Day Debacle

Fewer than 7% of eligible Marion County voters went to the polls yesterday.

There are no words to describe the chaos some of them encountered -- missing poll inspectors, incorrect ballots and voter rosters, locked equipment.....

This Indianapolis Observer, who worked in the polls for many years, does NOT think reducing the number of polling places is the answer.

There were no lines (at polling places where everything "worked") yesterday -- because fewer than 7% of eligible voters turned out.

When more than 50% vote -- such as during a presidential election -- lines can stretch out the door and around the building at polling places, and people have waited for an hour or more to cast their ballots. Poll workers are hard pressed to make sure those who have signed the roll actually wait around to cast their ballots.

Shrinking the number of polling places might work for a May primary, but that would guarantee chaos in November.

Better recruitment of inspectors and other poll workers is essential. The Democrats failed miserably here. (That said, the Republicans had years to build up their poll worker rosters.)

Another solution would be more voting by mail or having the polls open longer (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. is not efficient in a society with normal working hours that are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

The best and brightest need to put their heads together on this and come up with a solution before the 2008 presidential election!

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