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Internet voting

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About 10 percent of registered voters cast ballots in last weekend's internet portion of the municipal election. If we have the same turnout as the 2004 election---which was coupled with the Sunday shopping referendum---then about 20 percent of the total votes cast will have come via the internet. It's still too early to say what this means for the electoral process.

Evidently, there were several hundred problems with duplicate PINs sent to voters and other registration problems. Typically, in an old-fashioned in-person balloting system, these issues are straightened out at the precinct by election workers, and the public is none the wiser. The possibility that voters could cast two individual votes over the internet certainly raises an additional challenge for election officials.

Cathy Mellet, the city official charged with overseeing the internet vote, tells me that 80 percent of the people who called into the city's help line with problems about internet voting were placing the URL for the election website into their search engine search box instead of into the address bar. That's a pretty boneheaded mistake, but goes to show that nothing is as simple as it seems when it comes to voting.

Otherwise, I received one credible complaint about the problems with internet voting---a reader says it took him three tries and over two hours to successfully cast his votes. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who experienced problems.

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