I left my vote in San Francisco

I left my vote in San Francisco

More than three weeks after San Francisco's elections, the city's Elections Department announced Nov. 29 that it would finish counting 240 ballots found in the city's laser-scanning voting equipment. The announcement prompted a political and media flap.

Elections Department director Tammy Haygood said elections workers found the ballots in machines used in 10 of the city's 648 precincts.

Poll workers were supposed to remove the ballots from special bins on the night of the election, put them in fraud-resistant bags and take them to department headquarters, Haygood said.

'However, if they don't do that, we find the ballots when we go out and retrieve the machines,' she said.

San Francisco has used Eagle voting machines from Elections Systems and Software Inc. of Omaha, Neb., since 2000. The Nov. 6 poll was the third election in which the modern equipment has been used.

'This has been an embattled office for a long time,' Haygood said. She said San Francisco's major corporations should provide poll workers to overcome the election department's recruiting problems. It's difficult, she said, to recruit poll workers to put in 15-hour days for $109.

Board of Supervisors president Tom Ammiano criticized Haygood's office, saying the elections department management, not the voting technology, was at fault.

'When they say there are 240 more votes, the implication is that these votes came out of nowhere,' Ammiano said. 'But every year the same thing happens; some get stuck in the machines.'

Ammiano said, 'If the management isn't there, no matter how efficient the machine is, there are going to be foul-ups.'

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