Thursday, December 01, 2005

"No Other Candidate"

Okay, I finally have the skinny on the mysterious votes for "No Other Candidate" in the Salt Lake County election results. It's not possible to deliberately cast a vote for "No Other Candidate" when there is only one candidate in a race. There is a mask on the Vote-O-Matic (voting machine) that prohibits punching holes where there is no actual choice. It is, however, possible to cast a vote for "No Other Candidate" in error. In other words, if you improperly insert your ballot into the voting machine, your card will not line up with the available choices. In Salt Lake County District 5, Councilwoman Jill Remington Love was the only candidate. Three votes were recorded under "No Other Candidate". This means three people improperly inserted their ballots and attempted to vote for the Councilwoman. There are a few ways to vote in error. You can overvote, and vote for both candidates. Or undervote and vote for neither. But those errors are not shown in the results. So why is the "No Other Candidate" error listed? The answer is the County felt it was important to show the public that when results for only one candidate were shown, that it did not mean another was left out. So the "No Other Candidate" profile is included in the results to show the candidate ran unopposed. The software that is used cannot be manipulated to hide vote counts, so when the "No Other Candidate" profile is included, it must also include the number of error ballots of that type. The new computer voting machines will include the phrase "No Other Candidate" in single candidate races. But it will not be possible to cast a ballot in error for "No Other Candidate" because there will be no ballot to insert incorrectly. Also, screen prompts will help voters avoid other errors such as overvoting or undervoting.

2 Comments:

Blogger County Cartel said...

Ethan,

Your friends in the elections office keep forgetting one minor detail. The vote counting machine should not have a valid punch position (that it counts) for "nobody".

The way you would prevent that would be to calibrate the machine by running a test.

You would think after running that place (for what, 20 years?) Sherrie Swenson would have it right. But obviously she doesn't...

12/01/2005 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Undervoting is not always an "error."

I undervoted for Holladay Mayor this year because I only had one choice, which I did not want to vote for.

Likewise, I "undervoted" in the Presidential election last year, due to the lack of anyone worthy of my vote.

-Bob

12/02/2005 03:54:00 PM  

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