Mark-sensing in Florida? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

I have just been told, by a knowledgeable friend, that mark-sensing was used on ballots not only in East Palm Beach, but all over Florida. With mark-sensing, the voter fills in a circle with pencil rather than punching a hole in a card.

This would explain some of what are being called stupid errors - ballots supposedly not filled in, or containing two choices where only one is allowed. A smudge or an erasure can count as a choice. A real choice may be too light to be picked up.

The Census Bureau has had a lot of experience with mark-sensing, and has found that it works acceptably if and only if the people filling out the forms are given classroom training ahead of time.

It is usually clear from inspection of a document what the intentions were, of the person filling it out. Hence the importance of hand recounts in Florida.

That still leaves other problems, such as claims that voters in some black precincts were told to go home because the voting station had "run out of ballots". If, and I say if, these claims prove to be true, I think that criminal prosecutions would be in order, no matter who winds up as President. We as a democracy cannot let that kind of shit go unpunished.

And then there remains the design of the infamous East Palm Beach ballot. I would not be surprised if its perverse design was deliberate. And my understanding is that the number of poll workers available to answer questions was pitifully inadequate.

-- Peter Errington (, November 11, 2000


Your friend is not knowledgeable, and you are an idiot.

-- nothere nothere (, November 11, 2000.

With mark-sensing, the voter fills in a circle with pencil rather than punching a hole in a card.

This is how many standardized tests (such as the AP, ACT, CLEP, DANTES, etc.) were - and possibly still are - administered. When a student has a borderline score they can request a *human* to review their answer sheet since the computer can translate an erasure as a marked answer. This would offer another explanation as to why so many ballots were discarded because two candidates were filled in: one mark may have been the voter's true choice while the erasure was read by the machine as a double vote. With this being he case, a hand count is definitely warranted.

-- IKnow (, November 11, 2000.

I just read a newspaper article about East Palm Beach voters "punching holes," so it appears that my friend was wrong about mark-sensing in that voting jurisdiction. I don't know about the rest of the state.

-- Peter Errington (, November 11, 2000.

I may as well throw in a mention as to "where I'm coming from." Although I voted for Gore, I would much rather see Bush win a clear-cut victory than to see either candidate assume office under a cloud, with questions as to the legitimacy of his Presidency.

-- Peter Errington (, November 11, 2000.

To "nothere nothere":

My friend may have been wrong about East Palm Beach, but I believe he was right about widespread use of mark-sensing elsewhere in Florida. See the thread of 11-13, "Bush's Disastrous Strategy" and the reference to the "OpScan" method of voting, vs. punching holes.

That is overall a very good thread. Why don't you carefully read the whole thing. You might learn something.

-- Peter Errington (, November 13, 2000.

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