Flooded inboxes derail New Jersey vote-by-email scheme
Official directs voters to PERSONAL HOTMAIL
New Jersey's well-intentioned plans to allow voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote by email or fax in the presidential elections on Tuesday predictably went awry.
The plan permitting voters to download absentee ballots before returning them by either email or fax in order to cast their vote was only announced on Saturday.
Security watchers and even enthusiasts of electronic voting gave it a luke-warm reception. Concerns floated included vote-tampering or malicious attacks. Email, without encryption, is inherently insecure.
Even though ballots could be submitted by email or fax under the NJ emergency programme, a signed hardcopy ballot had to be received later for verification.
In the end, the main problem with the hastily prepared scheme turned out to be confusion among both voters and, in isolated cases, election scrutineers. The vote-by-email system melted down in some locations because of overflowing inboxes.
BuzzFeed reports that email addresses of county clerks in the New Jersey counties of Essex and Morris bounced messages because inboxes were stuffed. In response, one clerk in Essex county directed voters to a personal Hotmail address via Facebook.
New Jersey's lieutenant governor, the state's chief election official, released a statement (PDF) on Tuesday admitting things had not gone entirely as planned, and announcing an extension to New Jersey's email-voting deadline until Friday evening. This is a deadline for casting a ballot, not the deadline for requesting a vote by email, which expired on Tuesday afternoon.
"The counties and the State are committing all available resources to quickly process email, fax, and mail-in ballot applications and to send qualified voters a ballot. Notwithstanding these efforts, it has become apparent that the County Clerks are receiving applications at a rate that outpaces their capacity to process them without an extension of the current schedule."
"Given this extraordinary volume, if a displaced voter can vote by other means, they are urged to do so."
Changes in voting laws have facilitated email and fax voting for overseas voters and military personnel since 2010. However, only 3,500 ballots were cast this way in the mid-term elections to Senate and Congress and the New Jersey experience suggests the scheme is not ready for wider use, even in extreme cases of national disaster.
Displaced New Jersey residents were also allowed to cast their vote in Tuesday's presidential and Senate races using provisional ballots at any polling station close to where they had been relocated. With hindsight this seems to have been the best answer to a difficult problem of allowing people to vote in what remains a disaster zone. ®
That decision was made before the winner was known, also the popular vote will have some interest even if the winner was known and the important thing to remember is the right to vote in the first place. Still I think international groups should be sent to the USA to monitor elections the way they monitor elections in eastern Europe and Africa.
Ballots usually have more than one thing to vote on
In the US, most ballots will have a dozen or so candidates running for various offices, NOT just the Presidential race but Senators, Congressmen, State Assembly & Legaslators, County Clerks etc etc etc.
That's not even mentioning various ballot initiatives like the legalization of marijuana or gay marriage in several states this year
THAT'S the reason why your ballot still counts after the election. We also have a significant number of "Absentee" ballots that are mailed in from even overseas that still need to be counted.
With some State & County races being only a couple thousand votes apart, the absentee and provisional ballots can make a huge difference.
They are also a source of voter fraud as evidenced during the 2008 election in Florida where large quantities of ballots just appeared from nowhere voting for Republican candidates.
"That is not democracy"
Very good, silver star for you. It was never intended to be a democracy. It was laid out as a democratic republic. Besides, you must be aware that bit only counts for the single tick for both President and VP on the ballot, no? Give the Constitution a read and see how Federal elections were originally set up and you'll discover it was very different from what it is now. It was probably an attempt to keep it from becoming the pair of extremist mobs it is now. Of course given it's presently a populist mess and who gets elected to office nowadays it's probably a good thing they don't have more control like they originally did.
Now then, you missed a gold star because for most of the voting the popular vote does count. You're mistaking the election for the selecting of the figurehead. A figurehead who probably has the least influence and gets blamed for most of the problems with anything but it evens out because he gets to take credit for all the good things that happen beyond his control. Seriously things like unemployment and gas prices, the President can do jack shit about either one in the long run.