It's Primary Election Day in Mississippi and so, in a preview of next year's nightmare to come, a quick look at the early reports of voting machine problems coming out of the Jackson metro-area as reported by the Clarion Ledger who, as is required by law for MSM reporting on such things, refers to the reported voting machine failures as little more than "technical glitches." That, even in one case where 3 out of the 4 voting machines in use at a single precinct had failed. Good thing they had paper ballots on hand --- and that this wasn't a Presidential election!
So here's a quick roundup, from the Clarion-Ledger's running blog earlier this morning, of some of the technical "glitches", "hiccups", "snags" and "snafus" reported before noon near Jackson where, unless they break down, fail, won't start up, have the wrong names on the "ballots" or feature other problems that keep voters from being able to cast their vote on anything but a verifiable paper ballot, they use 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.
Oh, and the Dept. of Justice is deploying monitors to 11 counties in the state today for some reason...
Ballot problems have forced voters at Wynndale Presbyterian Church on Terry Road to use paper ballots because some of the candidates were left off ballots.
Governor and sheriff candidates were left off the Democratic ballots, and governor and lieutenant governor candidates were left off the Republican ballots.
House District 73 Democratic candidate Gay Polk was upset after supporters informed her they were given the wrong ballot at the precinct.
"...One of them was told maybe 50 people were given the wrong ballots."
"I probably shook those 50 people's hands and told them their vote counted" while campaigning, "but it did not count," Polk said.
"We're using modern technology and these things happen," [Virginia Terry, Democratic manager at the precinct] said. "We've gone to paper ballots."
The encoders on the voting machines at Twin Lakes Baptist Church at Lake Cavalier in Madison County would only read Democratic ballots earlier today. Republican primary voters were forced to use paper ballots. Technicians were able to get the machines working around 10 a.m.
"It slowed down people voting a little bit, but this is something you can't foresee happening," President of the Madison County Republican Party Mary McLaurin said.
Yes, who could possibly have ever foreseen such a thing?
Poll watchers and managers are all smiles at the Clinton YMCA precinct — despite the fact three of four Republican voting machines have broken down on them.
"Even though we had three machines down and only had one machine, we never had a line of more than three people," said David Harrington, Republican precinct manager.
This year, a new state law requires that at least 75% of the available electronic voting machines be deployed during all elections, after reports in previous years of long lines in some areas, for some strange reason. "During the 2010 congressional elections, some counties put out fewer machines, and voters in several precincts encountered long lines," AP reports. We wonder which precincts those were.
Perhaps we can read between a few lines in this CNN report, to make a guess. CNN explains that the Dept. of Justice is deploying election monitors to 11 counties in the state, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed, as they note, "to protect against racial discrimination at polling locations"...
The department would not comment on the reason for these monitors. Usually monitors are sent to places where there have been allegations of discrimination in the past.
Primary elections are being held statewide Tuesday, but federal officials are being dispatched to only 11 of Mississippi's 82 counties. All but one of the counties is a majority black jurisdiction, officials said.
Mississippi, as you may know, has a burning history of racial discrimination concerning voting. In 1964 the lynching of three civil rights workers registering voters helped directly lead to passage of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under which the DoJ monitors deployed to the state for today's election.