Lessons from Bridgeport

I was originally going to write a long post about the Bridgeport “recount,” but then I concluded that this article at ctpost.com (“Bridgeport Vote Recount Shows Widespread Miscalculations, Cascading Errors”) almost speaks for itself.

I do my best not to be an alarmist when things go wrong running elections, so I’ll just say this: the “nice” thing about this episode is that the outlandish scope of the problem illustrates a series of errors that are all-too-common throughout the country — they just usually happen in ones and twos, or in races that aren’t close.

The main management issue this case represents is what happens when a jurisdiction tries to use a change in voting technology as a way to economize, rather than as an opportunity to clean out generations of bad habits.

I had to throw out Connecticut from my 2008 calculation of the “residual vote rate” because it was impossible to reconcile the vote totals and turnout figures from almost every town in the state.  So, I’m primed to believe there’s a lot to be improved in how the Nutmeg State aggregates vote totals up the food chain.

Just as Palm Beach County provided an opportunity for Florida to examine its election practices from top to bottom, I hope that this episode will encourage Connecticut to do the same.