Ohio-duh steals Flori-duh's Butterfly Ballot Design. Ohio may go down in history this November when 12 counties use a butterfly ballot. The design is hauntingly similar to the one that made Florida notorious in November 2000. Recently the Brennan Center for Justice urged Ohio election officials to redesign a ballot planned for 12 counties. The problem - the design is a modern day butterfly ballot, splitting the presidential contest over two columns on their paper ballots for this November's election. The difference between the Ohio butterfly ballot and the Florida butterfly ballot is that Ohio is using optical scanners, and Florida was using punch card. I guess this proves that there is more than one way to spoil an election.
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By our count, at least twelve Ohio counties have split the presidential contest over two columns on their paper ballots for this November's election. This "column split" often confuses voters and results in double voting in the presidential race--and an uncounted vote. Today the Brennan Center urged election officials and advocates in Ohio to make sure that voters are aware of the split, and to make sure they vote only once for president. Unfortunately, the design meets legal guidelines and a directive issued by the Secretary of State.
The twelve Ohio counties whose ballots spilt the presidential race over two columns are: Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Champaign, Delaware, Lawrence, Logan, Madison, Ottawa, Seneca, Shelby, and Wyandot.
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Two of the counties, Delaware and Wyandot, are DRE counties and
this only impacts the absentee ballots. These 12 counties combined
casts about 350,000 votes in 2004.
This ballot design will increase the likelihood of voters only
voting from the list of candidates in the left column, or more
likely voters may circle one candidate from both columns
and invalidate their vote for that race as an overvote.
Two of the counties have six names on the left and two names
in the middle. Due to ballot rotation, in this arrangement:
- 50% will have both McCain and Obama appearing on the left
- 25% will have McCain on the left and Obama in the middle
- 25% will have Obama on the left and McCain in the middle
Ten of the counties have five names on the left and three names
in the middle. In this arrangement, 75% of the ballot rotations
will have McCain and Obama in different columns.
Who is to blame?
The governing Directive regarding the ballot design is Directive 2008-83