I’ve been a PAV (Permanent Absentee Voter for those of you NOT in the know…losers!) ever since living in Portland, OR where they don’t actually have polling places – everyone is absentee.
I continued voting from Mexico that way as well, with my mom keeping me up on the latest Sonoma Valley happenings. I recently changed my address so that I could vote here in my area and the above ballot arrived in the mail.
My initial thought was something like: “Seriously?”
My ballot looks like some sort of puzzle book for kids where you’re trying to crack the secret code. Unlike my Sonoma County ballot where you actually mark the dot next to your favored candidate’s name, here in LA, differently numbered dots indicate your vote. Mark 54 for “Yes on 1A” and 55 for “No.”
Who in the world thought this was a good idea? And I thought the butterfly ballots were confusing!
I figure I’m not exactly the first person to carp about this so I’m idly googling trying to figure out 1) Who cares? 2) Who complains? and 3) Who is doing anything about it?
The answers seem to be:
1) Not anyone at the County Registrar of Voters
2) Designers who are peeved that no one listens to their sage suggestions, offending them both morally and aesthetically
3) Design for Democracy, Brennan Center for Justice
I particularly liked this impassioned plea by the author of the Brennan study on ballot design:
“The good news is that states and counties can take steps to improve ballots now, well ahead of this year’s general election. We implore them to do so,” he continued.
Aaaaahh…earnestness. That’s so cute. But they don’t care. Wait…
This statement on the study from our very own:
Los Angeles County Clerk Dean Logan says ballot designs and instructions are “the element of the elections process where we have the most opportunity between now and November to try and prevent inadvertent errors that voters might make.”
What’s that echo? Empty words.