The lead feature in our Vote Yourself column last Thursday was a dissection of the two ballot choices available to primary voters Tuesday in Franklin County: electronic, touch-screen ballots and paper ballots tallied by optical-scan readers. The feature was great -- another one that gave the nuts and bolts of the electoral process.
Looks like we shouldn't have gone through all the trouble, however. Only 810 of more than 200,000 ballots cast in Franklin County were on paper, according to unofficial results published in The Dispatch. [Full story] Statewide totals were not available.
I'm glad we also hyped the absentee voting process. As of Thursday, 87,308 absentee ballots were cast by Franklin County voters. Voters could do so with a mail-in paper ballot or in person using an electronic machine at the board of elections. About 6,769 people cast ballots in person. I suspect this method will be even more popular in November, when the ballot could be much longer.
Here's the pressing question, though, if Franklin County paper-ballot totals mimic those in 52 other Ohio counties using touch-screen machines as the principal ballot method: Should Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner continue her quest to mandate statewide paper ballots before the general election in November?
She is asking the state legislature for $64 million to overhaul the current touch-screen system.
On one hand, if no one fears electronic, touch-screen voting, then why should we change the system? If it has the public faith, shouldn't Brunner spend money to enforce regulations ensuring that the electronic system is as safe as people believe it to be?
On the other, Brunner is an elections expert who should be making the best decisions for voters who entrust her office to make wise judgements. If she continues pushing paper, she has an even tougher job in the next several months.
[Franklin County election results] [Ohio election results] [DispatchPolitics.com]