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Florida Primary

On Monday early voting began for Florida’s August 26th primary.

During this period Florida counties are using the new “Ballot on Demand” system to print the required ballot for an individual vote. In Okaloosa County alone there are 137 different ballots required in this primary, so, if it works as advertised, this should eliminate waste and confusion.

Our long-time and much appreciated Supervisor of Elections, Pat Hollran, is overseeing her last election, as she is retiring at the end of the year. Unfortunately she was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident on Tuesday morning during a thunderstorm. She is in stable condition in the hospital and I’m pulling for her full recovery so she can enjoy her retirement.

Sinfonian wrote about More trouble with voting in Palm Beach County, which was apparently tied to the state’s voters data base. The state claims the problem was caused by Walton County and a glitch in their system. I don’t know, but Walton County, just East of me, only has about 35K voters who are two-thirds Republicans, so I would think that the state could just give them a call and make them correct the problem that is inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of other people through out the state.

On a related note I noticed that the Attorney General of the United States is a little confused about what constitutes a crime: Mukasey Won’t Pursue Charges in Hiring Inquiry

“Where there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we vigorously prosecute,” he said. “But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime,” he said. As the inspector general’s report acknowledged, the hiring violations were such a case, because the wrongdoing violated federal civil service law, but not criminal law, he said.

Election law in Florida is not criminal law, but if you intentionally vote in the wrong precinct you are subject to a prison sentence. There are a whole lot of different laws that aren’t part of the penal or criminal code that will still end with you in a cell if you violate them. Actually a crime is pretty much defined as a “violation of the law”.

On the “Criminal Information” forms that I typed up before computers were in widespread use, the line went: “in violation of the _________ Law of the State of New York”. While I usually typed “Penal” in that space, I occasionally typed “Vehicle and Traffic”, “Environmental”, and once “Business and Commerce”. A felony was defined as any violation where conviction could lead to a fine of more than $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year.

You would think a lawyer would know that.


1 hipparchia { 08.14.08 at 2:06 am }

ouch. i hope she makes a full recovery too.

i’m a little afraid to try the early voting myself. i’ve driven by there a couple of times, intent on voting, and then change my mind each time. i feel like i ought to support any inititive that encourages/helps people to vote, but my precinct is so very well run on voting day, that i hate to change.

2 Bryan { 08.14.08 at 11:18 am }

I have a very small precinct, and it is like a grade school play when everyone pretends they don’t know each other to follow the rules to the letter about showing ID, asking for addresses and party affiliations. No one wants to “blow” their lines.

I always vote on election day to glare at the town clerk and make her nervous. She’s not very good at her job, but the job doesn’t pay much. Fortunately she has a receptionist who keeps things moving.

3 hipparchia { 08.14.08 at 11:29 pm }

heh. and i thought my precinct seemed small. not like yours though. we had a record turnout for the january primary, something like 600 voters.

4 Bryan { 08.15.08 at 12:01 am }

That’s twice as many voters as we have people in the town, but we are an incorporated town, so we have our own precinct. There is a neighboring precinct that also votes in our town hall, but I don’t think the two of us together could muster 600 voters.