On October 17th, we reported that World's Worst Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent of Sarasota, FL, had discovered in pre-election tests that her new Diebold/Premier optical-scan voting systems failed to properly read paper ballots marked with blue ink.
Her "solution": Make sure that black pens were available at polling places, and otherwise have election officials duplicate blue-inked ballots by hand (and in secret, naturally, where the voter wouldn't be able to watch).
While an attempt could be made to encourage voters to use black ink at the polling place, there was no real way to ensure that absentee voters used black ink, other than try to encourage them to do so.
So, naturally, the inimitable Ms. Dent sent out thousands of sample ballots [PDF] encouraging votes to use "a blue or black pen"...
Dent, of course, is the same disastrous Supervisor of Elections who presided over the 2006 FL-13 Congressional race in which 18,000 electronic ballots in Democratic-leaning Sarasota disappeared from the county's ES&S touch-screen systems, in a race decided in favor of the Republican by just 369 votes. Later, she actively campaigned --- by placing leaflets in the polling place! --- to keep those touch-screen machines in use, despite that failure, and despite a measure on the ballot in the same election calling for a move to paper ballots.
Since the state now requires paper ballots, Dent chose to install the newest Diebold/Premier optical-scan systems, the ones that don't read blue ink properly, despite the fact that they had not been federally tested or certified for use at the time. Florida does not require federal certification tests for voting systems before using them.
Heckuva job --- as usual --- Kathy!