Early Voting Glitches

Rockville, like Gaithersburg, is currently conducting early voting for its municipal elections. According to a report I received, the City of Rockville is trying out new election systems for the state. A glitch in the system could influence results for Council candidates.

Apparently, only seven of the nine candidates appear on the first page of Council candidates. In order to vote for either of the two on the second page (Clark Reed or Patrick Schoof), voters have to go to the second screen before competing their ballot. Voters may cast up to four votes for city council members.

These sorts of seemingly minor ballot design issues can have a real impact on elections. Indeed, they were at the center of a dispute over a close congressional race in Sarasota, Florida in 2008.

UPDATE: Watch this demo video for the new machines and it will become clear rapidly why this problem occurs.