Mitch's Blog 7.0

Mitch's Blog


Monday, July 19, 2004

I’ve posted a map that I really seem to find fascinating. The cover story in the USA Today a few days ago – last Tuesday, to be exact – highlighted the state of affairs concerning how Americans will vote in the 2004 presidential election. The article mentions that although Florida has gotten rid of its punch card ballot system that led to the infamous “hanging chads” during the 2000 election, other parts of the country, specifically densely-populated Ohio, will be using the same devices that Florida used four years ago. In other words, while some things have been changed, there is still a very large possibility that occurrences such as those that happened in Florida could happen once again this year, albeit on a, hopefully, smaller scale.

The article also says that some of the electronic voting devices, which allow the voter to touch a computer screen to automatically tabulate their vote, have problems of their own, and have not caught on as well as had been anticipated. Security issues still abound with these electronic systems, and apparently the instructions for using the computer touchpad are not clear enough for every voter to follow along.

One of the supplements that came with this article was a useful map that details what kind of system people used to vote in 2000, and what kind of system they will use in 2004. The type of voting system used in every one of the 3086 counties* in the United States is shown. I’ve scanned in the guide below, go ahead and take a look at it.

Click for full size version (421Kb)
Click on image for a full sized version (421Kb)

It is interesting to see how jumbled Minnesota was during the 2000 election. A couple of counties used the Florida-style punch card system; even more counties had a mixed type of voting, so it’s anybody’s guess as to what systems were mixed together; and even more counties used a very old-fashioned paper style of voting. The majority of counties in Minnesota, though, used an optical scanner method of voting. For 2004, it’s apparent that the punch card system has been removed in Minnesota, and more counties have adopted a mixed style of voting, presumably by adopting an optical scanning system.

Other states have changed their old system entirely, and have adopted one uniform style of voting throughout the state. Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and particularly Georgia, have become all one color on the 2004 map after having an assortment of colors on the 2000 map.

*Louisiana has parishes instead of counties, and Alaska has unorganized boroughs, which do not have governmental units, and are used by the Census Bureau for statistical purposes only.


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Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001