The Electoral Grind I

I just appeared before the Lake County, Indiana Board of Elections. My message was for them to reconsider their policy to not permit electronic copying of voter registration data via disk or tape and to now allow electronic copies to flow.

Electronic copies of voter registration data are one of those baseline issues that you never even think about until you run up against a situation where you don’t have them. Then everything gets slow, more error prone, and expensive.

At that point you get knee-bone-connected-to-the-thigh-bone secondary effects and the end result is poorer, less effective oversight and a persistent suspicion that something funny’s happening with the vote in Lake County. As a practical matter, until you can regularly check, there’s no way to fix that distrust of the system.

Once electronic copies become available, a lot of secondary analysis becomes trivial. Accusations of Democrat suppression of the military vote are very common in GOP circles. So what was the comparative rejection rate of military vs. civilian ballot? A few FOI requests and you have the data you need to figure out if our military is being disenfranchised.

There’s a mini scandal brewing over whether south county voters are having their vote suppressed because their precincts are so large that people just give up at the sight of the long lines that inevitably build up. It’s a simple thing to rank 561 precincts by registered vote totals and convert that to minutes needed to process one voter across the critical path to identify the county’s most vulnerable precincts for long lines and lowered turnout. It’s simple to target early voting/absentee voting calls to those vulnerable precincts (in Lake they’re all likely to be strong GOP areas) but only if you can get electronic copies of the records as the early vote comes in so you can adjust daily to trim down the vote you think is vulnerable to suppression due to inadequate voting machine provision.

Cross posted at Northwest Indiana Politics