The below is verbatim from Heartbroken Tiger
(Note: graphic example can be seen by clicking the above link.)
Posted by Lisa J. on Oct. 10, 2006
Backers of Ref. F should scrap plans for a victory party. And Judge Johnny Charles Barajas should start looking for a new job. The Denver absentee ballots are stacked against 'em.
Seems like everyone in Denver will be voting absentee this year, and many of us got our ballots in the mail today.
Problem is, these ballots are bound to raise serious questions about fairness.
See for yourself. Take "Card 1 of 2" of your absentee ballot and look at the front. Looks fine.
Now, turn it over and hold it up to the light. What do you see? A thick, black line printed on the front of the ballot clearly comes through the back as a "no" vote for Judge Johnny Charles Barajas.
Now, take "Card 2 of 2." The front looks fine.
But turn it over and hold it up to the light. What do you see? A thick, black line printed on the front of the ballot clearly comes through the back as a "no" vote for Referendum F.
Absentee ballots are counted by an optical scanner. It has been demonstrated that relatively translucent paper allows markings on one side of the ballot to be counted as votes when the other side is scanned. It has happened before in Denver, in the 2003 school board race.
Accordingly, ballots are supposed to be designed carefully to avoid any possibility of a mark coming through the other side during the scanning process.
Holding your ballot up to the light, you can see for yourself that the paper is translucent. The bold markings definitely come through on the "no" vote lines for Judge Barajas and Ref. F.
The paper stock itself is not to blame. The weight of the paper meets strict specifications to prevent jamming of the optical scanner/counting machines. The DEC knew how translucent the paper would be -- that's why ballot design is so important.
What's more, you'll notice that "yes" is listed as the first choice for all questions -- except for Ref. F. Call it a simple copy editing mistake, but if someone wanted to ensure the failure of Ref. F, they couldn't have designed a better ballot.
Who signed off on this Rookie Mistake Hall of Shame ballot? John Gaydeski, DEC executive director.
The Denver Election Commission could re-design, reprint and re-mail all absentee ballots at considerable expense in the short time remaining before election day. But they would never be able to ensure that voters would return the correct version of the ballot.
Incidentally, Ref. F would make it easier for voters to remove elected officials from office...like, um, incompetent election commissioners. And, thanks to Denver's poorly designed absentee ballot, the measure will likely go down in flames. Go figure.
I tried to illustrate the problem in the graphics below, but the best way to see it is by holding your own ballot up to the light.
[Update: I got a note saying that Ref. F may end up making it harder to recall local politicians. Either way, F is fated to fail.]