Absentee ballots arriving- as well as….

I got my absentee ballot today. Lots to fill out on the outside of the envelope- lots of places where the Board of Elections can start asking questions. Didn’t check this box- fill this in right- we’ll toss it.

I’ll be extra careful- in fact, I’ll make a video of the process for people to watch – step by step.

Application for Absentee Ballot in 13 July 2010 OH-3 special

The request- with the party affiliation box click to download full size PDF

But- some voters, including my parents & my girlfriend, might be getting their request for absentee ballots back in the mail. Apparently, they didn’t check that they were democrats (despite voting as democrats in the May primary) and despite having filled out their e-mail and phone number, they were mailed additional request forms with instructions– and had to place postage on again.

UPDATE: The BOE has received appx: 4500 requests so far- and appx. 500 have had to be followed up with a letter- mostly because the voter didn’t check in the RED box- for voter affiliation is (ALL THE REST OF THE REQUIRED INFO IS IN YELLOW – color joke)

That’s appx a 10% FAIL rate.

If you’ve mailed your absentee back in and want to check if your ballot was received, they do have a crude lookup tool: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/absentee_download/absentee_tracking.cfm

The BOE could have just sent a ballot with a form 10z and saved a step…. but that would be too obvious.

I know someone is out there snickering, thinking it’s a genetic default in the Esrati family about dotting i’s and crossing t’s on BOE forms- but, that’s the reality- it’s all designed to be more complex a legalistic than it needs to be. A good user experience designer would solve these problems.

Warning- if you request a ballot by mail- if you try to vote in person on election day at the centralized voting places in Highland, Clinton or Montgomery County- you will be asked to vote provisionally, so send your ballots back in.

I’ve also included a scan of the instructions that come with your ballot- for you to review: Instructions to Absentee July 13 2010 PDF (of course, the BOE putting all this up online in an ADA format is too much to ask)

Bad news is that the return ballots are supposed to mail for 61 cents.

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David EsratiDavid Lauri Recent comment authors
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David Lauri

The Montgomery County Board of Elections website is a joke, a bad one.
They don’t understand DNS.  If someone tries to go to their site by typing http://mcboe.org (omitting the “www.”, which should be optional), they land instead on the main Montgomery County website; you can get to the MCBOE site only if you do include the “www.”: http://www.mcboe.org
They don’t understand how to make data accessible. Their election results page is nothing but a bunch of links to PDF files.  PDF files!!  What about election results makes the MCBOE think that a PDF file is the optimal way to present the data?  How about display election results in simple HTML right on a web page?  God forbid that they should go beyond that, making the extra effort to offer election results in downloadable CSV or XLS files.
Visiting the MCBOE website because you want to know where you’re supposed to go to vote in the upcoming Democratic special primary on July 13?  They do have a link on their front page entitled “Notice of Precinct Vote Centers,” but that link goes, again, to a PDF (god, does someone at the MCBOE have a hard on for PDFs as opposed to HTML?).  And that PDF doesn’t even tell you the information you need to know; no, that PDF contains a hyperlink to a page where you can enter your address or name to find your polling location.
Civil Servants Are People Too has commented in the past that civil servants are paid for only so many hours and they don’t have enough time to do everything, but sometimes doing something the wrong way takes longer than doing it the right way.  Creating a PDF with a link to a page so that you can link to the PDF instead of directly to the page the user needs to see?  Oy vey!