Thursday, August 03, 2006

"We don't have any chads"

Today's Hartford Courant talks about a potential snafu regarding absentee ballots sent to our military serving overseas:
State Tries To Avoid Florida-Type Chaos
August 3, 2006
By JON LENDER, Courant Staff Writer

If the results of next Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary are close - within 700 or so votes-we may not know who won for 2-1/2 weeks.

Visions of Florida's delayed 2000 presidential vote count arose Wednesday with a legal agreement and federal court order to hold open until Aug. 25 the results of next Tuesday's nationally watched Democratic primary for U.S. Senate between Sen. Joseph Lieberman and anti-war challenger Ned Lamont.

The action would guarantee the voting rights of about 700 Democrats, most believed to be in the military, who applied for absentee ballots from overseas for the 2004 election. Under federal law, absentee ballots for Tuesday's primary were supposed to be automatically sent to those Democrats a month ago, but municipal clerks in about 75 of their Connecticut hometowns either failed to send them, or did so too late to allow their return by primary day Tuesday.

To resolve that problem, the results of the Aug. 8 Senate primary now will remain open until Aug. 25 to allow counting of any of those overseas and military ballots that may arrive late...

No one knows how many voters from that 2004 list are still overseas and intend to submit ballots. However, no winner will be declared Tuesday if the margin of victory is less than the potential number - which stood at 671 Wednesday, but could rise because three towns have yet to report how many military and overseas applicants they had two years ago.

If the winning margin exceeds that number - and if it's also not close enough to require an automatic recount - then Bysiewicz said "we'll be able to call the winner of the [primary] election, but we will still count every ballot that comes in late" up to the Aug. 25 deadline agreed to Wednesday.

The same procedure will apply to next Tuesday's Republican primary between Scott MacLean and Miriam Masullo for the party's nomination to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson in the 1st Congressional District. In that contest, there are only 88 eligible 2004 absentees whose ballots could be counted up to Aug. 25...

"One of the ironies of all this is that Joe Lieberman was smack in the middle" of the 2000 Florida balloting debacle, as the Democratic nominee for vice president whose fate was decided when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling threw the presidential election to the Republicans.

"We're fully prepared," she said, adding that she was glad to say Connecticut's voting-machine technology does not include Florida-style cardboard punch-ballots.

"We don't have any chads," she said. "No chads."
Great, now I've got another thing to worry about. Watch the election turn out to be within a couple hundred votes...I wonder if I can go without sleep for another three weeks?


Anonymous said...

What does Joe do on the 9th if we don't know who won?

Anonymous said...

I saw this noted on CSPAN scroll earlier---thanks for the indepth story Bob. You are doing such a great job! I loved the video yesterday with you asking Lieberman questions while he passed by The Kiss float. Hope you get some shut-eye, but please, please don't stop bloggin'!

CT Bob said...

anon 8:21AM - Yeah, if it's close, Joe can start the "CT for Lieberman" bandwagon now, can he?

It would almost be worth white-knuckling it for a while to see him squirm.

Nah, it wouldn't...the wait might kill me!

anon 4:25PM - I'm keeping the blogging up full speed ahead, but I did have to take about 10 hours off the grid to actually justify my paycheck...sheesh, having to earn a living really gets in the way of bloggin!