Questions About the Rhode Island Recount Controversy
According to Benjamin N. Gedan in today’s Projo, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Stephen Fortunato has ruled that the state Board of Elections must make copies of “ballots that [did] not register a vote during a recount” that can be examined by individuals not associated with the Board. The BOE objects to Judge Fortunato’s ruling and has delayed the recounts that were in progress while it seeks to have it overturned…
The Board of Elections yesterday asked the state Supreme Court to delay enforcement of a Superior Court decision mandating that hundreds of ballots be segregated and photocopied during machine recounts.The recounts yet to be finalized involve Allan Fung in Cranston, Joseph Larisa in East Providence as well as local races in East Greenwich, Portsmouth and Tiverton.
On Tuesday, Judge Stephen J. Fortunato Jr. ruled that ballots that do not register a vote during a recount be photocopied to potentially allow a manual examination to determine if the voter’s intent can be learned.
The Board of Elections strongly objected, saying the removal of ballots for photocopying would slow recounts, increase mistakes and facilitate a manual review process that would mirror the tortured presidential election recount in 2000.
My question is this: Is the BOE objecting to specific procedures that have been laid out by the Judge, or are they objecting to ever letting anyone from outside of the BOE see the ballots? If the objection is the more general one, then my second question is what good is it to keep a paper-audit trail if you are never going to let anyone from outside see it?
(Also, a minor digression: I wonder if Judge Fortunato had an opportunity to extol the virtues of Marxism to the judges from Russia who paid a visit to the Rhode Island courts earlier this week?)