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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 29 years."


Vote to go.....We got a letter this week from a lady who had participated in the recent recount of the vote between Eunice Reiter and Rodney Griffin. She brought up some troubling facts.

I usually agree with County Clerk Dianne Wilson. I think she is smart and does her homework. But I think she made a mistake in her recommendation of the eSlate voting machines.

Two people from my office attended the demonstration between the two systems Fort Bend was looking at a couple of years ago. My daughter Sherry Carter and our reporter LeaAnne Klentzman both personally attended the meeting and came back wanting the system that Wilson DID NOT pick.

When I asked Dianne about it later after she chose Hart InterCivic, she told me the other system was a Canadian company, had only been used by small states, and she feared it was a new, untried, underfunded company.

At the time, I was concerned about the lack of a paper trail. I remember a recount I participated in many years ago when someone challenged Joel Clouser.

At the recount, we were able to look at each ballot and determine who the voter chose, or in some cases, the “intent” of the voter when he/she crossed one out and voted for another. The optical scan at the time spit that ballot out for a hand count. Now mind you, we had no idea who had voted for whom so the secret ballot stayed secret.

From what I can glean, there is no such thing as a hand count with the Hart InterCivic eSlate system. And according to the letter writer, the recount judges and witnesses didn’t even get to see the handwritten, mail in ballots. Now that is just WRONG.

Dianne, I think you flubbed this one and I think we should either go back to the old system or get something besides Hart Graphics eSlate. We have no idea whether our votes are being counted correctly or not, even with all its fail/safe counting software.

Its “Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail” sounds good but is for the voter and simply consists of a printed receipt.

I know Hart InterCivic who makes the eSlate is a Texas company used in over 60 counties. I know that the components of its machines are even made in Sugar Land. I know that all the current popularity of voting machines are to avoid things like “hanging chads,” but I’m still concerned. Google “voting machines criticism” and you will also share my concern.

Short takes.....*I tried to call a Maytag company 800 number for service. No wonder the Maytag man is so lonely. It took me five tries and 15 minutes to get through.

*Don’t tell me city-owned services are cheaper. I got a water bill from both Sugar Land and Missouri City this month. Sugar Land--$66.17. Missouri City--$27.71. Comparing apples to apples, the Sugar Land bill included trash pickup of $11.57. In Missouri City, we pay about $400 a year to the Quail Valley Fund (homeowners) for trash pickup and neighborhood upkeep.

*The reason Tom Craddick clung so desperately to the power of the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is because he paid so much to remodel the speaker’s quarters at the capitol. His wife would kill him if they didn’t get to use it the next two years. I kid you not!


Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  July 04, 2007