Saturday, October 30, 2010

Benton County Does It Better

Seldom would I speak well about anything behind the iron curtain of political reason, but the Benton County Election Commission has demonstrated that it has a far better understanding of the broader role of elections than does the Washington County Election Commission. Benton County Election Commission Chairman Bill Williams (D) didn't want to be bothered with informing the public or the media, saying that it would take too much time to give the public updated reports and that it would create an increased risk of error, but it's not like Benton County has any sterling record for accuracy. Those are the same excuses that the Washington County Commission offers for its policy of secrecy and keeping the information from the public until after most of them give up and go to bed around midnight.

Commissioners Bob Balfe (R) and E.J. Williams (D) stood up for the public interest and the people of Benton County. As Balfe explained, “It’s an efficiency and a timeliness issue. One of the foundations of our democracy is the right of the people to change their government. That’s something that has set us apart from the very beginning. We have to balance cost and efficiency with public confidence in the voting process. I think we should put in a process to have results coming out on an interim basis.”

The early voting total and overseas and absentee ballots totals will be reported as soon as possible after the polls close at 7:30 p.m. An updated report will be issued around 9:30 p.m., and a third update will be made around 11 p.m. Later, they will give the final uncertified vote totals as soon as they are complete, about the time that Washington County voters finally get some news about how their candidates fared on election day.

There is no reason why the Washington County Election Commission should shroud the process in secrecy. Local party officials should demand that their appointed members commit to keeping the public better informed about the results. Those are our votes, not the employees whose job it is to count and report them for us. Know what I mean, Chad?


  1. This is another of Mr. Bill's lame-assed ideas.
    How is interim reporting going to alter your right to vote?
    More importantly, how is interim reporting going to assure citizens their vote has been properly COUNTED and not squirreled away to another candidate by a Bush-ES&S voting machine?

    Interim reporting does nothing for the cause of fair and honest elections. NOT.A.DAMN.THING.


    ""It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes." J. Stalin


  2. Interim reporting does allow voters to see which polling places report in a timely manner and could be an indication of ineptitude or shenanigans for those reporting late. There are times when candidates might wish to dispatch poll watchers at the slow count polling places. Furthermore, it provides information for those who are interested and does no harm to those who could care less.

  3. Imagine if the Razorbacks were playing for the BCS Championship. The NCAA officials decided that fans in the stadium would be a distraction to the officials, but they allowed each team to appoint one "Game Watcher" who had to stay in the press box. The networks would be allowed to show the teams run onto the field and warm up at 7:30. Then they would show regular programming and fans would sit around drinking while the game was being played. When the game was over, the networks would cut to the stadium around midnight, where the head referee would announce the final score and say they had reviewed all the calls to make sure they were accurate. Fans would then go to bed, trusting that the players had done their best and the officials had delivered a fair count of the score.

    That's how they do election championships in Washington County.

  4. It is 11:30 pm, and the Washington County Election Commission still cannot provide any results. Time to clean house there. Any idea how we can get some moderately competent clerks?