A Funny Story with 2 Serious Implications

Cuyahoga County is a great place because every election, without fail, they give us good fodder for our blog.  In 2006, they had a voter assault a voting machine with a bat (and also screwed up their absentee and precinct voting in the same election).

This year, they give us the fighting partisan senior citizen poll workers.

Poll workers from opposing sides in the presidential race apparently clashed in a physical altercation Friday at a Cuyahoga Falls nursing home when one accused the other of improperly marking a ballot.

George Manos, the 75-year-old Republican, told police that Edith Walker, the 73-year-old Democrat, jumped on his back and struck him in the head three to four times with her fists. Manos said two other elections workers had to pull Walker off his back, according to a report filed with Cuyahoga Falls police. Manos said it happened after he accused Walker of ballot tampering, and he wants to prosecute.

…The incident, which occurred about noon at Gardens of Western Reserve nursing home, is being investigated by both the police and the Summit County elections board. The board probe could lead to a closer examination of the other votes with which Walker was involved.  The elections board sent two teams of poll workers, each with one Democrat and one Republican, to the nursing home to assist residents who otherwise would be unable to go to the polls. Such early voting is a routine service offered by elections boards to nursing homes. Board officials said they have received conflicting accounts — and are trying to sort out what happened — as Manos and Walker were attempting to assist a female nursing home resident with her ballot. Until they do, Walker won’t be involved with voting.

This story raises a couple of interesting questions–beyond the need to keep poll workers from assaulting each other.  First, why wasn’t the voter using an AUTOMARK system, which might have allowed the voter to vote without assistance?  This story clearly illustrates the potential for problems that we see in polling places where there is poll worker assistance for voters and voters cannot vote unassisted.