After all the voting

November 6, 2006 4:47 p.m.

After all the voting shenanigans in Florida I can understand to an extent why voting officials there might be a little defensive. But this column by Tom Lyons in the Sarasota paper shows how at least one local voting official’s defensiveness turns into attacks on those reporting problems with voting machines:

[Superviser of Elections Kathy] Dent has long been getting mad at anyone who raises any concern about her voting machines. No matter how reasonable or polite the people may be, they are assumed to be up to no good.

I was also struck by Dent’s claim to me on Thursday, after just a handful of reported problems and little or no press coverage.

“These reports of alleged problems with the voting machines have been blown out of proportion,” Dent said.

What? By whom? And how? Is mentioning a problem now bad judgment?

I asked Dent to explain, but got no answer.

Dent also insisted, in another e-mailed message, that the reports of problems actually indicate the machines are working properly, because all the accounts ended with successful votes.

That is quite a conclusion. It ignores the obvious fact that if some machines are sometimes losing ballot choices, anyone who didn’t notice the error would, of course, not be able to complain.

We posted yesterday about the problems during early voting in Sarasota. Read Lyons’ entire column here.

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