Summer 1980 Home   Newsletters

Fall 1980

March 1981

Hazardous Waste in Hawaii? (Anna Hoover)
Recommended Readings
Help Wanted
Hilo Members Attend Conference
Local League News
It's Direct Mail Time!
Observations of an Election Observer (Anne Marie Duca)
ABC Team Does Great Job in Spite of Landslide Victory...

Observations of an Election Observer

"Oh, is the League running this election, too?" asked a man working on Primary election absentee ballots as he spotted a League of Women Voters button. Obviously, the League wasn't running the election. But, as members of the Election Advisory Council (EAC), the League was one of 14 official observers who certified the accuracy of the election system. The League observer for the Primary election was Anne Marie Duca. Valerie Kiste observed the General election.

As election observers, we must certify that test ballots are counted and printed accurately; we certify that the sealed containers-containing voted ballots-are locked; we closely watch ballot preparation, occasionally assisting at hectic moments; we observe--some of us with more computer knowledge than others--the computer sort ballots and print election results.

While election day is a long one for everyone involved, the observers at the counting center didn't finish until 3:30 a.m. However, once the ballots arrived from the precincts, the time passed very quickly. And things were always happening that needed our attention.

In the Primary, numerous ballots had to be duplicated -- or re-punched -- because the ballot was somehow mutilated when punched by the voter. This proved to be a very time consuming task. As observers, our role was to carefully check the ballots for accuracy.

In the general election, many absentee ballots were accidentally placed in the wrong ballot tray and a lengthy manual check was required. In addition, the large number of spoiled ballots picked up by the computer encouraged the EAC to recommend a clearer, less confusing ballot in the future.

Problems arose and solutions were found. Recommendations were made to speed up and improve procedures. As observers, we learned a lot and had fun. All of the findings and recommendations from the observers were passed on to the Lieutenant Governor's office. None of our recommendations are mandatory, but most of the EAC members were very pleased at the reception and interest our ideas generated from election officials.

Anne Marie Duca

Summer 1980 Home   Newsletters March 1981