Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Council ballot will get new look




By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        With a crowd of 26 candidates for Cincinnati City Council, election officials will have to go to a “butterfly” ballot to squeeze them all in.

        But it should not be nearly as confusing for Cincinnati voters as some Florida voters apparently found their presidential ballots to be last fall.

        Tuesday, the Hamilton County Board of Elections certified four candidates for mayor and 26 candidates for council — nine Democrats, five Republicans, three Charterites and nine independents.

        It is one of the largest fields ever to run in a council election.

        Elections Director Julie Stautberg said any time there are more than 18 candidates for council - which is nearly every council election — election officials have to list them on two open, or “butterflied,” pages that face each other.

        The ballot in Cincinnati, Ms. Stautberg said, will list 13 candidates on one page and 13 on the opposite page. Each page, she said, will have its own column of punch holes.

        Last fall, part of the dispute in Florida over the presidential contest was the use of “butterflied” punch-card ballots.

        Those Florida punch cards had only one column of punch holes. Supporters of Vice President Al Gore claimed that many Florida voters were confused and punched holes intended for candidates on the other page.

        Some say it cost Mr. Gore Florida's electoral votes and, thus, the presidency.

        But such confusion shouldn't happen here, Ms. Stautberg said.

        “Each page will have its own column of punch holes, so it's not likely you are going to vote for somebody on the other page that you didn't want,” Ms. Stautberg said.

       



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