Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Vote-tallying should be as simple as 1-2-3

The good news, apparently, is that officials tell us Lucas County's Election Day glitches weren't due to the new, touch-screen technology used last week.

But the bad news, of course, is that Lucas County suffered glitches at all.

What's even worse is that these glitches made us the dead l-a-s-t of Ohio's 88 counties to report a final vote count.

Poor, beleaguered Jill Kelly.

The elections board director stood before reporters Thursday - mind you, she could have done this on Wednesday, the day after the election, except that her office was closed to the public, what with the previous long night and all - and made a valiant attempt to justify the board's election-night operation.

"We are pleased with the performance of all of the board of elections employees," she said in stout defense of what happened in her office on Tuesday night.

Well, and on into Wednesday morning too - but who's counting.

Yes: Who's counting?

Now there's a question for us.

What's peculiar about the board of elections - any board of elections, not just Lucas County's - is how simultaneously mundane and crucial it all is.

As tasks go, the work of an elections board flirts with mind-numbing.

Ballots go out, ballots come in.

Count, tally. Count, tally. Count, tally.

Report the results.

It's a bit like factory work in the sameness of the task - except, in that third-floor office of Government Center, what you find is no less than the very assembly line of democracy.

Total quality control is mandatory.

Quite possibly, at this stage, Ms. Kelly wishes Tuesday's woes could be traced to technology.

Otherwise, there are precious few targets but herself where the Finger of Blame may be pointed. Just ask Carlo LoParo.

The spokesman for the secretary of state's office, when asked about Lucas County's performance Tuesday night-slash-Wednesday morning, was left with little else to do but croak about a "management plan" that sure looked to be "absent" from local goings-on.

  • A Web site that wasn't up and running.

  • A "rover" method of vote-collecting that seemed inefficient.

  • Too few workers.

  • Workers who squawked about inadequate training.

  • Communication misfires.

    Yeah, OK: That pretty much all looks to add up to something akin to "management" issues.

    "We know our timeliness was not quite good enough," Ms. Kelly conceded during the Thursday news conference. "State law says, 'Accurate, fair,' it doesn't say, 'Speed.' Sometimes with haste you get waste."

    Fair enough.

    Given a choice, I suppose I'd pick an accurate, fair vote count over Insta-Tally.

    Still, there's a good argument to be made that reporting a final count of the votes more than 13 hours after polls close isn't even close to "speedy."

    Fix this mess.

    Fix it once and for all.

    Let's hire a logistician to run the Lucas County Board of Elections - or, at the very least, a wedding or special-events planner - someone who can keep all the balls in the air without dropping them.

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