Monday, October 30, 2006

Another Gooper Prediction Of Voting Problems

Continuing yesterday's theme of pre-emptive GOP bitching about the mechanics of the midterm voting, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal today comments that the American people may have to wait some time to find out who has prevailed this time at the polls.

The culprits, according to Fund, are the absentee ballots:

If control of Congress hinges on a few close races, don't expect to know the final outcome on Election Night. While early votes cast on electronic machines are easily integrated into the totals from traditional polling places, paper absentee ballots are typically counted only after the others. In Florida, Pennsylvania and some other states, ballots will come in for days because they are legal if postmarked on or before Election Day. Provisional votes, which are cast when a voter doesn't show up on registration rolls, can also slow down the process. Generally, officials have up to 14 days to determine if a vote is valid. Maryland officials barely met that deadline after snafus with electronic voting machines dramatically increased the number of provisional votes cast in its primary last month.

In some supertight races, a flood of absentee ballots could delay the results for weeks. "Anytime you have more paper ballots cast outside polling places, the more mistakes and delays you're likely to have," Bill Gardner, New Hampshire's Democratic secretary of state, told me.

The Republicans are laying the groundwork necessary to prepare the nation for a post election fight over the legitimacy of the results.

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