9 November 2004
Along the paper trail
Today the State Election Board will certify the election results, which means that any recounts have to be completed by today.
And it appears there will be one: for State House District 78, apparently won by Jeannie McDaniel (D) over David J. Schaeffer (R), 7892 to 7858, a difference of thirty-four votes. There were approximately 29 provisional ballots, and Michael Bates reports that there were some ballot-scanner issues in one precinct.
Of course, what's important here is that we actually can recount these ballots. Says Bates:
The fact that we can have this recount and cope with a voting machine problem is an indication of the superiority [of] Oklahoma's approach to counting votes. We fall short in voter authentication, but there is a tangible, persistent record of those votes which are cast, unlike the touchscreen systems and the old-fashioned mechanical tallying systems which leave no records, at least none which can be verified by the voter and which are human-readable.
And we could improve our level of voter authentication just by looking at the voter-ID cards issued by the state. (I always present mine, mostly because I have a fairly common name and having the card handy makes it unnecessary to ask for middle initial or street address or other identifying factors, but that's just me.) But by and large, the system we have is pretty darn good, and what's more, it's pretty darn cheap; you can buy a whole lot of low-tech scanning devices for the cost of a single touch-screen.
(Update, 8:45 pm: Michael Bates reports that Jeannie McDaniel did win House District 78, by a margin of 24 votes. And there's a second recount, in Senate District 32 Comanche County which hasn't been completed yet: Randy Bass (D) led Kenneth Easton, 9809-9774, though so far Bass' lead has been cut to 30.)
(Update, 8:10 am, 10 November: The Bass-Easton recount finished with Bass ahead by 51, 9854-9803. The Lawton Constitution doesn't apparently archive stories, but for now you can read it here.)