September 29, 2023

Expensive and ineffective recounts in Los Angeles County

Part 3 of a 4-part series In a recent article I wrote about the recount of a very close tax-rate referendum in the city of Long Beach, California.  The referendum passed by 16 votes out of 100,000 ballots; the opponents of the measure requested a recount, as they are entitled to do by California law—provided […]

Best practices for sorting mail-in ballots 

Part 2 of a 4-part series My previous article explained why it’s a bad practice, used in some election offices, to open absentee ballot envelopes before sorting them by precinct (or ballot-style).  Those jurisdictions rely on the ballot-style barcode, printed on the optical-scan ballot, that tells the Central Count Optical Scan (CCOS) voting machine what’s […]

Sort the mail-in ballot envelopes, or don’t?

How mail-in ballot envelopes are handled by local election officials can make a huge difference in the cost of recounts and can also affect the security of elections against one form of voting fraud. Counties that count thousands or millions of mail-in (or dropbox) ballots can do it two ways: Sort-then-scan:  Sort the ballot envelopes […]

Unrecoverable Election Screwup in Williamson County TX

In the November 2020 election in Williamson County, Texas, flawed e-pollbook software resulted in voters inadvertently voting for candidates and questions not from their own districts but from others in the same county.  These voters were deprived of the opportunity to vote for candidates they were entitled to vote for—and their votes were wrongly counted […]

Next Steps for Mercer County Following Voting-Machine Failure

Hand-marked optical-scan paper ballots are the most secure form of voting: with any other method, if the computerized voting machines are hacked, there’s no trustworthy paper trail from which we can determine the true outcome of the election, based on the choices that voters actually indicated.  Even those voting methods that appear to have a […]