Saturday, November 11, 2006

Why does the Plain Dealer Insist it was a Smooth Election?

Homeless People Do Not Consider this a Smooth Election

I do not understand why the Plain Dealer keeps insisting that this was a pretty good election or at least better than the last election. Is it just because they got results faster then in May and so they are happy? The two precincts NEOCH staff monitored had serious problems. There were three other precincts on the near West Side that had similar disputes between the observers and the poll workers. There were 14 polling locations that had to stay open late. I can't believe that we picked out the two bad precincts to monitor and the rest were great. I think that there were widespread problems with security, provisional ballots, equipment, identification, and training of workers.

The problem was that media representatives should have been inside--not just to take pictures but to act as observers. They needed to be at selected polling places to watch the set up and throughout the day. They needed to watch instructions given to voters, and they needed to make sure that the electronic voting system was secure. Right now, only representatives of a political party are allowed to watch the process and that was less than successful in some places. Where is the Plain Dealer getting this information that everything was smooth? I view these statements in much the same way as the words of the embedded reporters in Iraq. The Elections Board picked which places media could go, and they were there for only a short period of time.

I hope that the Plain Dealer will go back and do some independent reporting on this issue. I hope that the Democratic Party will issue a report of all the problems. I hope that the Greater Cleveland Voting Coalition and Cleveland State will do some independent research on the process and if it worked. Whatever happens, the state legislature has a lot of work to do to put a real election reform law in place. Maybe the new Secretary of State can help with some of these issues and propose guidelines for the legislative branch of government. Certainly, my faith in the voting process was shaken by watching the voting process from 6 am to 8:30 p.m. on November 7.

Brian Davis


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