Monday, November 3, 2008

Filling in the bubble

What’s in a name? Quite a bit, on the ballot. But it isn’t everything.
For those voters in Connecticut’s 63rd legislative district intending to vote for write-in candidate William Riiska, here’s one piece of important advice from Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz’s office: Fill in the bubble.
It doesn’t matter how you spell his name, said Av Harris, spokesman for the secretary of the state’s office. "You can be missing an ‘I,’ you can write in ‘Bill Riiska,’ you can misspell the guy’s name," Harris said. Write-in votes are counted by hand, so there is some discretion on the part of the vote counters.
"We look for the intent of the voters," Harris said. "We assume the intent of the voters will be clear."
But the operative thing here is that little bubble next to the space to write a candidate’s name.
On the ballot in the 63rd district is the Republican candidate, John Rigby’s name (with bubble), George Wilber’s name (also with bubble) blacked out, and a blank space in which to write a candidate whose name has not been printed. But don’t fill in that bubble and the vote will not be counted.
As Harris explained, a machine counts the filled-in bubbles and any ballot acknowledged to be valid vote for a write-in candidate then gets hand-counted. ("No hanging chads," Harris said.)
"If you write in the guy’s name but don’t fill in the bubble then the vote doesn’t count at all," Harris said.

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