Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Correct Ballots Absent for Some Voters

Nov. 4, 2008 will be a momentous Election Day, but for at least 126 individuals in the District of Columbia, dreams of making a difference in this election may be dashed because of faulty ballots.

The first faulty ballot was brought to the attention of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics by the D.C. Republican Committee in October, according to The Washington Post. The ballot omitted the council contest for the resident’s area and instead contained a vote about the school board in another area. In a press release on Oct. 23, the BOEE “stressed that this is an isolated incident that has been corrected.”

Dan Murphy, the spokesperson for the BOEE, said that D.C.’s absentee ballots are provided by an outside vendor, Sequoia Voting Systems. The BOEE informs Sequoia of which ballots need to go where, and Sequoia then sends the ballots.

Sequoia later discovered that 126 incorrect absentee ballots could have been mailed to voters.

In response, BOEE contacted the possible recipients of faulty ballots either by mail or by phone. Since the problem was discovered, all those who may have gotten faulty ballots have been sent new, correct ones, and they all should have been received by now, Murphy said.

“The BOEE will work with [voters with faulty absentee ballots] to see if they can come in person,” Murphy said.

BOEE will also now accept ballots by fax, he said.

This issue of faulty ballots is not the first to strike the BOEE during the 2008 election season. Primary results were skewed as a result of thousands of extra votes appearing in the initial results of the primary elections. This led Acting D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles to inquire as to what went wrong with the initial results. Investigations are still ongoing.

This latest problem has prompted many D.C. officials to express dismay over the BOEE’s handling of the election. In The Washington Post, D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) faults the board, saying that the absentee ballot problem can “only reflect on bad management [and] bad leadership.”

any council members fear that out-of-state or out-of-country voters will be deprived of their electoral privileges due to this mix-up, according to The Washington Post.

Despite Council members’ fear that the faulty absentee ballots could disenfranchise voters and skew the election results in D.C., Murphy said that this will not be the case.

“Most voters actually said they were OK with the ballot they received,” Murphy added.

He added that the BOEE has rechecked all the voters that Sequoia identified and is now working with Sequoia to find the root of the problem to ensure that this mistake will not be repeated in future elections.

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