Archive for Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Election failure

April 9, 2003

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To the editor:

The Douglas County Clerk's Office deeply embarrassed itself last week. Someone needs to be fired.

First, the staff failed to properly set up computer voting machines. Then, after realizing their carelessness, they went on to count 7,000 ballots twice, leading everyone to think that a candidate had won a Lawrence City Commission election when in fact someone else had.

Media accounts of this unfolding nightmare referred to "technical problems" and a computer "mix-up." Those misleading descriptions apparently originated from the Clerk's Office.

Then County Clerk Patty Jaimes -- who was elected to her post, not hired in a professional screening process -- had the gall to say that such errors are "part of the election business, really."

Not really, Patty.

Elections are the most important responsibility of the Clerk's Office. The fact that there are only a couple each year should allow plenty of time for proper preparation. But obviously that is not happening. The problem with the ballot-counting machines is proof. The machines were said to be configured with software from the February primary election. The Clerk's Office had weeks to get the machines ready and simply failed.

Kris Knowles,

Lawrence

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