PALM BEACH, Fla. Palm Beach County has introduced
an absentee ballot that requires voters to indicate
their choices by connecting broken arrows, sparking
criticism that it is even more confusing than the infamous
"butterfly ballot" used in the 2000 election.
Theresa LePore, the elections supervisor
who approved the 2000 butterfly ballot, opted for a
ballot design for the Aug. 31 primary that asks voters
to draw lines joining two ends of an arrow.
say the new ballot is not an improvement.
"People do the craziest things
when they're asked to connect the arrows," said
Stephen Ansolabehere, former director of the Voting
Technology Project, a collaboration between the California
and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology.
LePore said she selected the ballot
after tests showed it was easier for voters. Indian
River County elections supervisor Kay Klem said she
went with arrows for the same reason.
said she would be criticized no matter what she picked.
"If I had used circles, they'd complain about the
circles," she said.
Her butterfly ballot split the names
of 10 presidential candidates across two pages, with
spots in the middle to be punched by voters. The names
of George W. Bush and Al Gore were on the upper left
side of the ballot, and Pat Buchanan's name on the upper
Some voters complained that they punched
the card for Buchanan by mistake when they meant to
vote for Gore in a race decided by only 537 votes statewide.
A total of 5,304 Palm Beach County ballots had marks
for both Gore and Buchanan.
Election supervisors say the demand
for absentee ballots is shattering records because of
get-out-the-vote drives and distrust of touch-screen
voting machines. Palm Beach County received 30,752 absentee
requests by Friday, nearly three times the number requested
before the 2000 primary.