Machines act smart. But sometimes they can be really stupid.
So human beings have to take over to unravel what machines can’t understand.
That happens with election tabulation machines – sometimes a ballot is filled out in such a way that the machine is unable to figure out the intention of the voter. So the machine kicks out the ballot and it’s hand-counted.
If the voter’s intention is unclear to the human reviewer, in Georgia the ballot is to be marked “spoiled” and disregarded. At least that’s the way things are supposed to be.
But maybe not in Fulton County, according to an in-depth report by Just the News.
Absentee ballots in Georgia tell voters that if they make a mistake filling out their ballot, the voter should mark “spoiled” on the ballot, return it to the county board of registrars and get a new ballot.
However, some ballots are more “spoiled” than others. The word could be written on the ballot and it still count, Just the News reported.
For instance, Just the News cited one ballot that had been marked for both Donald J. Trump and Joseph R. Biden, with the words “No Spoiled” scrawled above Trump’s name.
Despite the clear intent of the voter — that the ballot be considered spoiled — the ballot was adjudicated for Biden, with the notation “Mark removed for Donald J. Trump.” It should be noted that in every other race on that ballot, the check mark was in a Democratic candidate’s box, so that might well have been the right call.
However, Just the News reported another ballot that also had the word “spoiled” written on it, where the only presidential check was next to Trump’s name and every other race was checked for the Republican candidate.
That ballot was adjudicated with “Mark removed for Donald J. Trump” and every other Republican candidate.
In other words, it was a truly spoiled ballot that counted for nothing.
That kind of subjective result apparently wasn’t an isolated instance.
In fact, according to Just the News, “Scores of additional ballots that same day had checks manually removed next to Trump’s name as well as many other candidates up and down the ticket — Libertarians, Democrats and write-ins alike — and the votes awarded instead to other candidates.”
There were 148,000 absentee ballots in Fulton County and 5,000 of them required human review, Just the News reported. The article noted that there were hundreds of ballots that could readily be defined as spoiled, but the vote still counted.
Why? Because, “Georgia regulation gives election officials broad discretion to try to determine the intent of a confused voter, and actually encourages them to find a way to make flawed ballots count,” Just the News reported.
Did you read that?
Election officials get to figure out what voters were trying to communicate! Even when the absentee ballot rule spells out that unclear ballots are spoiled.
Just the News also cited a ballot that had markings next to both candidates’ names, a clear case where “spoiled” should have been placed on it by the voter. But that never happened. Instead, the ballot was adjudicated in Biden’s favor, with, again, the notation “Mark removed for Donald J. Trump.”
Every other race in that case was also marked for the Democratic candidate, so that might have been the correct call, but still, that’s not how the rest of the world works.
Arrive too late for your plane and too bad. You lose. Catch the next flight.
File your taxes late and, sorry, but there’s a penalty. Miss the deadline for a lawsuit filing and you don’t get to go to court. Be too late getting money in the bank to cover a check and you’ll get hit with that penalty.
But mess up an election ballot. A ballot that clearly says if you mess it up it’s no good and the word “spoiled” is supposed to be written across it. And the response is: “Waaaall, let’s take a look at that ol’ ballot and see what we can do here.”
Fulton County, of course, has been a sore spot in Georgia elections. So much so that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wants the county’s Election Director Rick Barron and its Registration Director Rick Jones fired, according to WGCL-TV in Atlanta.
And Fox’s Tucker Carlson has reported on discrepancies in Fulton County, including a lawsuit to gain access to warehoused ballots.
In all, there’s a serious issue involved. It’s more than the razor-thin margin by which Biden was reported to have taken Georgia (11,779 votes).
It’s about election integrity and the importance of each vote.
Every election year, there are those who believe they shouldn’t vote, because it doesn’t make any difference anyway.
If elections are tampered with or conducted dishonestly (or even appear to be), it gives credence to those who give up on their role of voting.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s exactly what some of our politicians want.