We’re all having a great time playing election judge with the challenged ballots coming out of the various counties. However, while it is amusing, the ballots raise a lot of interesting questions.
First, it should be noted that these are just a small fraction of the ballots being recounted and challenged. Looking at the data from yesterday, 452,249 were recounted. Of those, 221 were challenged, which equated to about
0.000489 0.0487 percent (thanks MNLatteLiberal for the correction). See where I’m going with this? These ballots are certainly not representative of everyone that voted. For the most part, people voted correctly. Whether it be from years of standardized testing or simply reading the instructions at the top of the ballot (click image to see instructions).
However, if you assume that there will be 200+ challenges a day similar to these, that starts to add up to a lot of incorrectly filled out ballots. So should there be more explicit instructions, not only on the ballot but at the polling places? Not everyone is familiar with scantron-style bubble tests.
What we’ve also been wondering is if these people knew that they could ask for another ballot if they feel they messed it up. The prevalence of arrows, eraser marks and lines show that people made mistakes. Is it embarassing to ask for another ballot? None of these questions can be answered without knowing exactly what the person was thinking about when they voted, whether it be lizard people or just sheer confusion.
What was the scene at your polling place? Was it far too busy, chaotic or confusing to ask for another ballot if you made a mistake or ask for instructions if you were confused at how to fill out the ballots? Were there not enough poll workers to help out?
The other topic these ballots obviously bring up is the ballot system in general. Does this make the case for an all-electronic voting system in Minnesota? I’ll let you weigh in on that.