More pews and churches in Ohio

The following is specific to Ohio, and concerns absentee ballots and provisional ballots.

First, the problem:

A new Ohio program intended to make voting easier has the potential to keep the presidential election in doubt until late November if the national outcome hinges on the state’s 18 electoral votes.
Under Secretary of State Jon Husted’s initiative to send absentee ballot applications to nearly 7 million registered voters across Ohio, more than 800,000 people so far have asked for but not yet completed an absentee ballot for the Nov. 6 election.
Anyone who does not return an absentee ballot, deciding instead to vote at the polls, will be required to cast a provisional ballot.
That’s so officials may verify that they did not vote absentee and also show up at the polls. By state law, provisional ballots may not be counted until at least Nov. 17.

It was really bone-headed to launch this immediately prior to a Presidential election, and anyone with any sense knew this might happen. Even without bad intent, each and every time Republicans change election process, the potential for error goes up.

If you requested an absentee ballot in Ohio, be aware that you have to vote absentee. if you request and receive an absentee ballot and then change your mind and go on Election Day to vote in person, you will be given a provisional ballot. Voting a provisional ballot is a last resort. Avoid doing that.

Second, another win on counting provisional ballots that may help with the problems that will be created by Husted’s decision to send everyone an absentee ballot application, thereby increasing the number of provisional ballots:

Provisional ballots cast not just in the wrong precinct but in the wrong polling location altogether must still be counted, a federal judge ruled today in a lawsuit brought by voter advocates seeking to expand the counting of such ballots.
U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley of Columbus said he based his decision on the rationale that such problems arise because of mistakes by poll workers.
“To disenfranchise citizens whose only error was to rely on poll worker error seems fundamentally unfair,” Marbley said in a decision he announced after hearing arguments from both sides.
Some polling places contain voting machines for several precincts. Voters in the right building but voting in the wrong precinct are labeled “right church, wrong pew.”
The ballots at issue in today’s ruling are dubbed “wrong church, wrong pew,” referring to both a mistaken polling place and a mistaken precinct. A lawyer for a union that sued over the issue said as many as 8,000 voters cast such ballots in 2008.

I am not a fan of provisional balloting. I think it’s too often treated as a default rather than a last resort, I think the process is too complicated and error-prone, and I also think it gives voters a sense of security that is perhaps not justified. I firmly believe we would have seen much more pushback to Republican restrictions on voting a standard ballot had voters not been assured they could vote a provisional ballot. Voting is one thing, and counting the vote is another. There’s a lot of ways to screw up a provisional ballot.

If you requested an absentee ballot and then go to your polling place to vote in person and the poll worker tells you have to vote a provisional ballot, do this instead: go get your absentee ballot, vote it, and deliver it by hand to your County Board of Elections. Now you voted a standard ballot. Problem solved.

Return your voted ballot. You can send it by U.S. mail or deliver it in person to your county board of elections, but the return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be received by your county board of elections prior to the close of the polls on Election Day, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after the election. You cannot fax or e-mail a voted ballot.

75 replies
  1. 1
    aimai says:

    This actually happened to me once. My mother, for reasons that are still unclear to me, ordered an absentee ballot for both my husband and myself. I was outraged because our pollling place is right on our street and we both planned to vote there in person. In the end we walked in and in person voted. I think it was noted that we had an absentee ballot request next to our names but there was no problem with any accusation of double voting because the AB would have come back in to our local ward and been voted that evening by the clerk (a task I subsequently performed when I was clerk) and since my name would have been already checked off the list of voters it simply couldn’t have been double voted.


  2. 2
    prufrock says:

    If you requested an absentee ballot in Ohio, be aware that you have to vote absentee. if you request and receive an absentee ballot and then change your mind and go on Election Day to vote in person, you will be given a provisional ballot.

    That’s stupid. Here in Florida if you change your mind, you just bring your absentee ballot to the polling station, give it to one of the poll workers, and vote normally.

    Additionally, you have all sorts of opportunities to drop off your absentee ballot at many locations several weeks before the election. You don’t even have to mail it in. I did just this myself a few days ago. Of course, it does help that I live three blocks from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office.

  3. 3
    Kay says:


    They didn’t think it through. Just repeat that like a mantra every time a Republican changes election process.

    Mistakes were made.

  4. 4
    Face says:

    By state law, provisional ballots may not be counted until at least Nov. 17.

    11 days post-election day seems like plenty of time to have the SCOTUS weigh in on this and rule accordingly.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    @Kay: “Mistakes were made.”

    Translate into Latin and place on the GOP seal, please. This is their governing strategy.

  6. 6
    NonyNony says:


    That’s stupid.

    Yes, yes it is. It’s incredibly stupid.

    Here in Florida if you change your mind, you just bring your absentee ballot to the polling station, give it to one of the poll workers, and vote normally.

    Yes that would be sensible. Therefore it isn’t what we would do in Ohio. We’ll probably get around to it after some Republican loses an election he could have won because of the whole provisional ballot nonsense, but until it hurts a Republican it isn’t a real problem in this state.

  7. 7
    Chris says:


    “Erroribus facta sunt?”

    (Google Translate)

  8. 8
    Democrat Partisan Asshole says:

    They didn’t think it through.

    @Kay: Oh, I’m pretty sure they did. There’s going to a lot of “sand in the gears” in Ohio this November.

  9. 9
    aimai says:

    My pet peeve, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, is that the sheer amount of stupid paperwork and separate forms that need to be filled out by voters if there is something just slightly wrong with their situation is just mind boggling. I last did this in th e2008 election and can’t remember the details but we had major fuckups here in Cambridge, a blue stronghold in a blue state, all entirely due to incompetence. To the extent that any place wants every voter to vote we would be that place but
    1) the city failed to properly send us the correct updated voting lists until midday
    2) the various forms that people had to fill out to cast a provisional ballot, to amend their registration in some way, or to do anything else were legion. I pointed out that there should be one and only one form with, at most, a checkbox to determine what the form stood for.

    Why should the voter fill out two or three different colored/different sized forms–all of which we would be responsible for handling seperately and totalling seperately at the end of the evening? If 50 people are going to be given provisional ballots why not just one single way of recording why and who and transmitting that information afterwards?

    The end result of the lack of streamlining and attention to detail is that the clerks and inspectors can quickly become overwhelmed hunting for the right paperwork, helping people fill this stuff out, and then handling the paperwork at the end of the evening when it suddenly becomes incredibly vital for every i to be dotted and t crossed.

    There simply is no rational way to account for the system. Its pointlessly and stupidly chaotic but it has to be revised from the top down because the individual clerks don’t have the right (and shouldn’t have the right) to simplify things lest they, too, make an exclusionary mistake.


  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    If you’re in Washington and for some reason don’t get around to mailing your ballot, don’t forget that there are drop off points all over. Here’s where they are in King County.

    Also, if you’re a first time voter in Washington[1], you still have time to Register! You can register until close of business Monday the 29th, but you’ll have to do it in person.

    [1] First time Washington voter. Either never voted in an election anywhere or never voted in an election in WA.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    In California you or your authorized representative can drop your absentee ballot off at any polling place on Election Day if you forgot to mail it in.

    Also, since we is hi-tech here, you can check online to make sure your vote-by-mail ballot was received.

  12. 12
    Kay says:


    I think it’s important to document the run-up to the (potential) failure so we won’t hear “no one could have anticipated.”

    We’ll hear it anyway, but I’ll feel a little better.

  13. 13
    Napoleon says:

    One thing is the BO campaign followed up 3 times with me over my absentee ballot (they apparently are monitoring who ask for them and contacting people who request them).

  14. 14
    LGRooney says:

    They’re doing everything possible to make it as confusing as possible so people will either make enough mistakes or stay home enabling another theft of the Ohio electorate. As we know from 2004, we can’t count on polling results to save us. Hope we have enough to fight this time around.

  15. 15
    mdblanche says:

    @Chris: I think the endings should be “errores facti sunt.”

  16. 16
    WaterGirl says:

    Kay, is it too late for some legal action on this? Is it too late for a coordinated effort to allow people to bring the absentee ballot with them for in person voting?

    Any thinking person could have seen this coming so it seems like a case could be made that the situation Ohio is now was the intended result.

    Even as I write this, I know that if these things were possible they would already be in the works. But how stupid is our election system that stuff like this can even be legal?

  17. 17
    priscianusjr says:

    It’s really stupid because if you have the absentee ballot, you still have time, as of now, to mail it. If you’ve lost or misplaced it, well . . . that’s your responsibility. I would hope anyone who would go to the trouble of obtaining an absentee ballot would remember to mail it in. But there are always exceptions.

    It’s particularly stupid because it’s just what our friend Freiherr Von Spakovsky is hoping for.

    However, it looks like Ohio is going strong for Obama. Keep a good thought.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It was really bone-headed to launch this immediately prior to a Presidential election, and anyone with any sense knew this might happen. Even without bad intent, each and every time Republicans change election process, the potential for error goes up.

    Oh, I think we can pretty much credit anything that shitstain Husted comes up with along these lines as “bad intent”. He’s made his intentions pretty clear all along.

  19. 19

    go get your absentee ballot, vote it, and deliver it by hand to your County Board of Elections.

    They should really adopt the system we have here in California, where you’re allowed to turn in your absentee ballot at your regular polling place. It’s a simple, logical solution to the problem. I guess it’s never going to happen as long as the goal is to make voting as confusing and illogical as possible.

  20. 20
    Kay says:


    That really is impressive. Three times?

  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They should really adopt the system we have here in California, where you’re allowed to turn in your absentee ballot at your regular polling place.

    When Washington got rid of in person voting they had to go out and build drop boxes. The good thing is they’re permanent. My voting location was a high school one year, a church the next, a fire station the next.

  22. 22
    quannlace says:

    Yes, it makes much more sense to be able to turn in your mailin ballot at the polling place if you decide to vote in person.
    We don’t have that option here in NJ, but on both your application and the mail in ballot itself it states in big bold letters the fact that you have to vote this way

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    We need federalized Presidential elections.

    Wonder if OFA could turn out a winning campaign to change the US Constitution, if needed, to accomplish that.

    I hope OFA keeps its volunteers and supporters close, and calls us out to work for 2nd term legislation.

    First term has taught us what happens when the citizens’ will and benefit comes up against money and its paid for Congress.

  24. 24
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    That really is impressive. Three times?

    They’re keeping close track of people on their contact list who’ve voted early in-person, too, not just to cross them off their list but to try and get GOTV hours from them.

    Having Werner von Spakovsky in an official position in Fairfax County… damn.

  25. 25
    BonnyAnne says:

    It never fails to amaze me, when reading your posts on how to vote in [insert state here], just how damn complicated it all is. I can’t understand the ins and outs of how to vote in Ohio and JFC I’m currently unemployed and working on bachelor’s degree number 3, which means I have all the resources in the world to try and wrap my head around it!

    I’m a Washington State voter. My ballot showed up in the mail a week ago; it’s now sitting on the dining table. At some point I’m going to pour myself a beer, fill it out, put it in the mailbox (6 feet from my front door!) and then maybe pour another beer. At no point in this process do I have to put pants on.

    This is what it should be like for everybody, everywhere in this country.

    ps: are we going to do another “View from Your Election” thread this year? I would totally put pants on for that.

  26. 26

    California has some added difficulties because of well intentioned laws designed to make sure the ballots are as fair as possible. We not only randomize the order of the candidates on the ballot (IIRC by permuting the alphabet and then sorting the candidates alphabetically by the permuted alphabet) but the randomization is done separately for each precinct. That means our Ink-A-Dot ballots have to be associated with the correct precinct or the voter intent will be screwed up.

    I guess that’s a solvable problem. You could presumably switch to larger “precincts” if voters weren’t required to go there in person, which would make life easier. Then you could either label the ballot return boxes with the precinct they’re associated with or, better, put a precinct number on the ballots so the counting machine would be able to figure out which numbers correspond to which candidates even if it’s counting a mix of ballots.

  27. 27
    fuddmain says:


    You don’t even have to do that in Orange County. For the primary I received an absentee ballot way before the election. They send me one every time, although I prefer to vote in-person. Anywho, I forgot about the absentee ballot when I went to vote. They asked me about it and I said I didn’t have it. They just had me sign something.

  28. 28
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Thank you for living in Election Hell on Earth, Kay, and telling us about the various circles of punishment.

  29. 29
    lgerard says:

    This is another example of gross incompetence from the worst SOS in my memory, eclipsing even Ken Blackwell.

    This is NOT the intention of the law covering provisional ballots, and why this clown thinks he can make up his own laws is a mystery to me.

    The correct procedure for voters who have requested an absentee ballot, and who turn up to vote in person, is to ascertain if the absentee ballot has been returned to the election department. If it has not, the absentee ballot is cancelled and they vote in person. If the absentee ballot has been returned, then they already have voted. It is not rocket science.

    Proliferating absentee ballots is the dumbest idea ever. They are designed only for those who cannot vote in person due to illness, disability or absence from home, period, and every effort should be made to limit them to those instances.

    The idea of limiting early voting and increasing absentee voting is mind blowingly stupid, and this guy needs to be run out of the state office forever.

  30. 30
    priscianusjr says:


    @Chris: I think the endings should be “errores facti sunt.”

    Yours is grammatically correct; Chris’s isn’t.

    More idiomatic, I think, would be “errata commissa sunt”.

  31. 31
    Elizabelle says:


    Anything that extends opportunity to vote is good in my book.

    A single “Election Day” is 19th century. No more “one size fits all.”

  32. 32
    Emdee says:

    Here in Oklahoma (hi SoonerGrunt!), you can’t do that. The law specifically prohibits hand-delivering absentee ballots. To quote absentee instructions:

    Absentee ballots must be returned by mail or by a private mail service that provides delivery documentation. They must be received by the County Election Board no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. (A postmark prior to that time will not suffice; the ballots themselves must be in the hands of the County Election Board by 7 p.m. on election day.) A ballot cannot be hand delivered.

    Oddly enough, the same instructions allow you to hand-deliver your own (but not anyone else’s) signed application for an absentee ballot to the County Election Board. But yes, in both cases, they mean just one place per county, which could be up to 50 miles away from you.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @Roger Moore: There are only so many ways to permute each race. Put a machine readable code at the top of each ballot (or each race on the ballot). Probably take a half hour to write the code to read a ballot correctly, a few months to test it right.

  34. 34
    Kay says:


    Kay, is it too late for some legal action on this?

    I’m not an election lawyer, but I don’t think there’s any grounds to sue. Where Republicans screw up is when they treat the voters they like differently than the voters they dislike, treat them inequitably in an egregious enough way that our sort of sleepy and/or naively trusting judiciary wake up and do something.
    This provision applies to all voters.
    I don’t know that courts will actually do the Secretary of States job for him, although they came pretty close in Pennsylvania.

  35. 35
    amk says:

    Voting is one thing, and counting the vote is another. There’s a lot of ways to screw up a provisional ballot.

    Indeed. Thanks Kay.

    This is not incompetence. This is sheer malevolence. The fact that UN is planning to send election observers speaks volumes about the rethug corrupt poll practices.

  36. 36
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @MikeJ: Good for you!

    Voting is fun. It’s a good muscle to exercise.

    I used to enjoy writing candidates in for local races where the only person up was a douchebag. Ha ha, fucker, mandate my ass.

  37. 37

    I spent 2 weeks back in 2002 monitoring election officials in a congressional recount that were coming up with any way they could to disqualify provisional ballots that were not for their preferred candidate. It was utterly ridiculous. I took a break from politics and changed my party affiliation to “decline to state” for 4 years because of the experience.

  38. 38
    Napoleon says:


    About a week after I mailed in my application I get an e-mail at work (and honestly I don’t quite know how they had it) that said my Ohio county BOE had recieved my application and was mailing the ballot. 5-7 days later I get a follow up e-mail asking if I had recieved it and offering help if I did not. Then 5-7 days after that an e-mail asking if I had sent it in. They were detailed and gave helpful information, including that I would not be able to change my mind and show up and vote in person.

    I can send them to you if you are interested in seeing what they are sending out. I assume if they did not have my e-mail they would try to call me.

  39. 39
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @mdblanche: Actually, if you want to use passive tense it would be fiunt errata.

    ETA: Latin doesn’t really use predicate phrases as you see in English. It uses inflection instead.

  40. 40
    Kay says:


    I was a little taken aback at the reminder call to canvass. I got an automated call! That’s how they’ll get us into the Homeland Security “camps” Obama is planning :)

    I had a right wing nutjob tell me Obama was planning “camps”, so I told him Romney was going to put him on a “compound”. I know that because I watched Big Love.

    Now he doesn’t know what to be afraid of.

  41. 41
    amk says:

    @Napoleon: That’s awesome. Their ground game is fab.

  42. 42
    lgerard says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That is the way paper ballot/OCR scanner systems are set up.

    A ballot from precinct A won’t be accepted by a scanner set up to count ballots from precinct B.

    That is the main reason most jurisdictions send absentee ballots to the precinct to be counted

  43. 43
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    As a smug Canuck who worked as a federal polling clerk here in the land of rocks and trees asks, “WTF is a provisional ballot?” Either people voted or they didn’t.

    Bless your heart America – for a so-called defender of democracy you can sure make it difficult for people to participate in…you know…democracy.

  44. 44
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @priscianusjr: Hm, my bad, I see you were using perfect tense.

    I think is should be imperfect, fiebant errata or errores.

    And if you want idiomatic, don’t use copula verbs. Errores facti would be your motto.

  45. 45
    Chris says:


    Thanks to you both. Like I said – Google Translate. To Mom’s great sorrow, I was never any good at Latin.

  46. 46
    some guy says:

    Liberal/Labor Coalition gears up to battle the Grand Bargain.

    come November 8th, the next stage of the fight begins.

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    If this storm turns out to be as bad as some meteorologists are predicting, there may be some polling places that are still waiting for their power to be restored come Election Day.

    Fuckin’ Murphy’s Law.

  48. 48
    some guy says:

    a snow hurricane, now that would be something.

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:

    Is SOS an elected office in Ohio?

    Is it possible to recall Husted?

  50. 50
    The Dangerman says:

    @Democrat Partisan Asshole:

    There’s going to a lot of “sand in the gears” in Ohio this November.

    “sand in the gears” could evolve into “lawyers in the room”. Oh, joy.

  51. 51
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @BonnyAnne: Campaign 2016: pants for all!

  52. 52
    Napoleon says:


    Yes and no, there is no recall mechanism or it would have been used on Kasich.

  53. 53
    Sparrowgal says:

    @Kay: OK, presuming there’s no way to counteract this legally, can’t word be gotten out via the various campaigns and surrogates in their many, many talk show appearances from now until election day? Can someone drop the good word in the ear of many outspoken folks over at MSNBC? I know that Rachel Maddow has personally taken on some of the Pennsylvania election office outrages.
    Facebook/Twitter posts with requests to re-post? Sounds like the sooner the word gets out about this, through as many venues as possible, the less potential for provisional ballots being cast as a backup plan.

  54. 54
    Palli says:

    Unintended Consequences Usually Aren’t [unintended].

    And remember, our final vote counts are being compiled in Texas by a Private Corporation!

    The elections have been privatized.

  55. 55
    Kay says:


    Sure. That’s a good idea. It just gets so nuts in Ohio.

    We had a rumor spread in this county that Romney’s name was at the top of the ballot by malicious design. Ohio rotates the names on the ballot, they print a run with one of the candidates at the top, and the next round the next in line will be on top (there are 6 or 7 Presidential candidates).

    They do this because ballot placement matters (people who are first get more votes). It’s been that way a long time. We had older Democrats here telling me that Obama was in the middle or near the bottom in the list of presidential candidates on their ballot (true) and they were outraged. But that’s how it is every year. They’re just hyper-engaged.

  56. 56
    Joel says:

    I attended the Stranger Voting Party earlier this week, hosted by Dan Savage and featuring any number of democratic candidates, including my congressman (McDermott) and our gubernatorial candidate (Inslee). It was a lot of fun. Took a lot of the strain out of this election for me. I’ll still be pitching in my GOTV effort this weekend…

  57. 57
    Napoleon says:

    Kay and everyone, PS to my post above on the follow up from the campaign. Some of this is implicit, but just to be explicit it was clear to me that my name is on their data base as a likely Obama supporter. I don’t think everyone that asked for an absentee ballot is getting this type of attention, just the people they think are voting their way (the e-mail actually says “President Obama and Ohio Democrats are counting on strong supporters like you . . .”). Since they are obviously going to local BOE and tracking stuff coming in and going out they have to have an extremely accurate count as to where they stand at this point in Ohio. This also is intuitive, and in the last day or two I read of a high level Obama person making the point explicitly, that early voting does not help Obama, only early voting from people they talk into it who may not show up on election day (the piece called them sporadic voters). That is why they emphasis early voting. If they have a detailed database that has me and somehow got my work e-mail address and had someone enter sometime in the last 4 years into their database, I presume they likely assign each person some kind of score on how likely they are to vote since they would have past voting history (I would likely be 100% – I am 51, have not ever missed an election and have always asked for the Dem ballot in primaries – I have also donated to Dems including BO last time which I am sure they are aware of). So if they do do that, they also are likely to have some kind of understanding if they are ahead or behind internal targets on the sporadic voters that they feel they have to hit to win Ohio.

  58. 58

    In 2008 I was forced to vote provisional ballot and to this day I don’t know why. I knew candidate Obama wouldn’t win my state but it really, really pissed me off. Who knows? Maybe they did this to a lot of people who were likely Obama supports and that’s why he didn’t do better in AZ. I mean, we all expected McCain to win but I expected Obama to better than he did.

  59. 59
    EconWatcher says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    By the way, you’re presumably joking about Werner von Spakovsky because he grew up in the same town where von Braun and a bunch of other (ex?) Nazis lived and worked.

    But I’m not so sure it’s a joke. I have a serious hunch, based on some evidence, that Hans’ father may have been a real, live Nazi, and Hans may have grown up in an unrepentant Nazi household in Alabama. Which would seem kind of relevant, because he cites his family’s history “fighting communism” as what led him to his interest in fair voting.

    His dad came to America after fighting communists (Tito’s forces) in Yugoslavia during WW II. My question: with whom? The Ustashe? The Wehrmacht?

    This seems of more than passing interest.

  60. 60
    Peter says:

    My gut says that this has to be electoral ratfucking, but my brain says that if it is, it’s a major Hail Mary. After all, it’s not like these forms were just sent out to black people. Everyone got them. It could just as easily impact Romney’s numbers instead of Obama’s.

  61. 61
    Duane says:

    THe other thing with absentee ballots in Ohio is that with the huge ballot initiative language it is going to cost $1.10 to mail the ballot back in…. not sure what all happens when folks send it in with just 2 stamps….. lots of potential problems to keep track of this year.

  62. 62
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl:

    Bless your heart America – for a so-called defender of democracy you can sure make it difficult for people to participate in…you know…democracy.

    Indeed. And who was that foreign politician a few years back who got American hackles up when he was overheard stating to another correctly that normal practice in American political finance would have people arrested back home?

  63. 63
    Prtex says:

    I finally got it: A provisional ballot is the equivalent,in an election, of emergency room medical care when you’re sick.

  64. 64
    Redshift says:

    I’m told that in Virginia, the Boards of Elections are being sticklers about every bit of the procedure for filling out an absentee ballot being correct, and discarding them if they’re not. (The governor gets to appoint two out of the three members of every local electoral board.) The required procedure would put Publisher’s Clearinghouse to shame.

    So here, “just send in your absentee ballot and you’ve voted” is not as reliable as you might think.

  65. 65
    Redshift says:


    Anything that extends opportunity to vote is good in my book.

    Absolutely, but the only way we’re going to get it is to elect Democrats to state office. You’ll note that all of these states that have procedures that make it as easy as possible to vote are reliably Democratic.

    It seems like it would be great to have federal control over voting procedures (at least we’d get some consistency), but I shudder to think if that had been under the control of the Bush Administration. We’d have seen shenanigans like Kay is describing all across the country.

  66. 66
    priscianusjr says:

    @<a href="#co@Another Halocene Human: mment-3879523″>Another Halocene Human:

    I see you were using perfect tense.

    I think is should be imperfect, fiebant errata or errores.

    And if you want idiomatic, don’t use copula verbs. Errores facti would be your motto.

    No, definitely perfect. The errors referred to were made; now over and done with. As for your second point, you’re right, and I considered that, but it’s a stylistic judgment. If it were indeed a motto, or if I were giving a speech and enumerating criticisms, I might well just say “errata commissa” or “errores commissi”; in context the verb would be unnecessary. But all by itself, I’d put in the “sunt”.

    I also thing commissa (-i) is more idiomatic than facta (-i). “Errores facti” is more often understood as “errors of fact.”

  67. 67
    Nicole says:

    In June, I filled out a form to change my address so I could vote in my new polling district (conveniently located across the street from me). In August, I got a notice that I was registered as a new voter at my address, and my last name was spelled wrong. I called the city BOE and the borough office, and they had two different sets of information. One person said she’d fax a correction over, and the other person said not to worry about it; everything was up-to-date. The woman on the phone at the city office also criticized my handwriting.

    I went to vote in the primary in September, and my polling place had the incorrectly spelled version of my name. I explained the problem and asked if I should go vote at my old polling place, where I suspected I was still registered. The man said no, and said I should just sign under the incorrect name and vote anyway.

    I then filled out another change of address form, and this time the change went through correctly, though now there are TWO versions of me registered to vote at my address- the right name and the wrong one.

    Obviously I’m not going to commit voter fraud, but this really infuriates me. I work freelance from home, so I had the time to deal with all of the annoyance, but what about people who don’t? And while I was lucky to have a poll worker at the primaries understand my right to vote was more important than my name matching, it was also a primary, where there are few people voting and there is time to deal with these things.

    I just don’t understand the fervor on the Right for states handling everything, since, in my experience, states tend to do a poorer job, in general, than the federal government.

    On the other hand, I can see the challenge of moving elections to the federal government’s purview, since states run off-year elections with no federal offices being contested, and what do you do in that case?

    And now I can look forward to the NY court system sending jury summons for the misspelled version of me. Which I’ve had to deal with before. Good times ahead!

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    Here’s something I just received via email from the Southern Poverty Law Center: 15 people with extremist ties who are running in this election

    Interesting list. Let’s hope that none of them are elected in November.

  69. 69
    shortstop says:


    Let’s hope that none of them are elected in November.

    Six are incumbents and of those, at least four will be easily reelected.

  70. 70
    lgerard says:


    That is exactly right.

    Provisional ballots were created for one reason…

    to paper over the fuck ups of local election boards and state election officials.

    These range from failure to correctly register people via the “motor voter” locations (everywhere), failure to correctly match the information provided by first time registers to existing state databases (almost everywhere), the purging of legitimate voters from the registers under dubious pretexts (FLA), and failure to adequately inform voters of their new voting place when you reorganize voting precincts at the last minute for no reason (OH and PA).

    There is a direct correlation between the percentage of provisional ballots and the competence of election officials….the staggering number of provisional ballots in Ohio in 2004 spoke volumes about Ken Blackwell.

    Sadly, Congress in it’s wisdom in creating the concept of provisional ballots, didn’t bother to include any real guidelines of value as to when they should be used, and how they should be counted….making the whole idea useless.

  71. 71
    WaterGirl says:

    @shortstop: I saw that there were some incumbents and was hoping they would be voted out.

    And I say again, not for the first time today, what the fuck is wrong with these people?

  72. 72
    AHH onna Droid says:

    Yea@priscianusjr: yeah, I agree with you about the past participle of facere, but i remain to be convinced about the tense. Impf is not present progressive, it’s a kind of past progressive that doesn’t translate felicitously into English.

  73. 73
    Nordic says:

    All this talk of mucked up voting procedures reminds me of Rick Hasen’s new book, The Voting Wars. It’s really worth a read… He hammers home the point reflected in the horror stories above: that our election system is a complete mess. Federalize the system? State officials don’t want to cede authority to the feds. State oversight of local issues? Local officials don’t want to cede authority to the state. Every district, county, and state is off on their own doing their own thing and the voters have to hack their way through red tape and beaurucratic bungling.


  74. 74
    Mike from Canmore says:

    Alright, I’m from Canada so we do things a little different up in the liberal north, but I can’t figure out something about how America runs elections. In Canada we have Elections Canada which looks after federal elections across the country. The rules are the same every where. Votin machines are the same everywhere. Elections Canada even determines riding boundaries (similar to congressional districts), which is based upon population size, geography and months o public meetings. Just seems to make more sense then 50 separate rules.

  75. 75

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