Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Early-Voting Error Total is Now Well Past 2,000

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Dr. Joe Weinberg
  • Dr. Joe Weinberg
Here’s an update by Joe Weinberg, the Germantown pediatrician who, simultaneously with blogger/A..V. specialist/District 1 County Commission candidate Steve Ross, has been keeping running totals on the number of wrong ballots issued countywide so far during early voting for the August 2 election.

Weinberg’s figures are calculated only for the state and federal portion of the election ballot. They do not measure possible erroneous ballots for countywide races or School Board races.

Through Wednesday, July 25, the cumulative total of erroneous state and federal ballots was 2,306. That broke down into 1,893 ballots containing the wrong state House race, 133 with the wrong state Senate race, and 280 with the wrong congressional districts. The cumulative error percentage rate was 5.6 percent, about what it has been since the second day of early voting on Tuesday, July 17.

(The first day’s early voting on Monday, July 16, had an error rate of a flat 10 percent!)

However, Weinberg notes that the error percentage rate for Wednesday’s voting all by itself was only 4.4 percent. “Hopefully, this is the start of a trend,” Weinberg said.

Ross, after looking at Weinberg’s figures, certified them as consistent with his own findings.

It was Ross whose researches first revealed the scope of erroneous ballots. It was Weinberg who was consulted by state Election Coordinator Mark Goins of Nashville, who would certify the accuracy of Weinberg’s figures and the consistency of an error rate in the 5 percent range.

Robert Meyers, the chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission, has acknowledged the accuracy of figures produced by Ross and Weinberg and has publicly thanked the former for bringing the situation to light. The chairman has said the Election Commission technical staff is working “day and night” to correct the ballots, conceding that there is no way to amend those wrong vote already cast.

It is generally acknowledged that a major contributing factor to the high error rate is the fact that the Commission waited until mid-June, when Chancellor Arnold Goldin imposed a redistricting plan on the fractionated Shelby County Commission, to begin matching precincts with redistricting maps provided by the state. Simultaneously the Election Commission was reducing and consolidating the number of countywide precincts.

Ross and other critics of the delay have pointed out that, since no elections will be held based new County Commission lines until 2014, the Commission could have begun preparing ballots as early as February when all electoral bodies required to redistrict for 2012 elections had accomplished t heir reapportionment.

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