So the infamous ballot designer if feeling pretty low,
November 10, 2000 1:38 PM   Subscribe

So the infamous ballot designer if feeling pretty low, but is protesting outside her office the correct thing to do? "Noisy demonstrators protested on Thursday outside her office, demanding a new election. Several lawsuits have been filed, claiming the ballot was illegal under Florida law. LePore, who has been named in at least two lawsuits, has been devastated by the controversy, friends and acquaintances have said."
posted by mathowie (10 comments total)
is protesting outside her office the correct thing to do?

Maybe they think since she's the election supervisor, she'll be able to command a revote? If so, maybe the residents of Palm Beach county really are dumb enough to have voted for Buchanan... :)
posted by daveadams at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2000

I think she is the last person to blame. From what I understand both rebulican and democrat party commitees approved the ballot, and they didn't think anything of it. I think this just does a fine job illustrating the fact that the electoral college is a good thing (maybe not neccessarily winner take all). I hate to rip on the elderly ladies that had trouble with the ballot, but it really wasn't that confusing. If someone were to take more than three seconds and look it over, it would be pretty obvious.
posted by howa2396 at 1:54 PM on November 10, 2000

information design is a very important field...and designing easy-to-use forms that people can understand is one of the most difficult things to do...I suck pretty badly at it myself. One of my former design instructors spent 4 years in the Army designing and re-designing forms, and he always said it was the hardest work he has ever done...

something as important as a Ballot should be more than obvious to the user...bad interface design would be a shitty reason to have the wrong Idiot as president.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:59 PM on November 10, 2000

America needs a scapegoat---git her!

It's like an episode of the Simpsons when they turn into a misdirected mob.
posted by schlomo at 1:59 PM on November 10, 2000

"Theresa LePore is a wonderful, gracious, honest woman. Theresa LePore in no way did anything willfully to harm anyone, ever," said Andre Fladell, a Palm Beach County voter who knows LePore and is suing her, seeking a new election.

posted by smackfu at 2:15 PM on November 10, 2000

Well, he's not suing her, he's suing the office. Nevertheless, it can be hard to separate yourself.

My mother was a county supervisor for about 15 years, and was in line to succeed to board president if family issues hadn't intervened. Her last election was marred by the shenanigans of a woman who'd inexplicably been a long-time foe, starting a competing neighborhood organization, supporting pro-life Catholic opponents of my Mom even though she herself was a pro-choice feminist, etc. This year she was determined to take the seat from my mother, and in the last hour of the last day turned in nominating petitions. My mother looked a copy over, as is completely legal, and realized that there were serious problems, such as:
  • supporters of my mother who had signed her petitions;
  • people who lived outside the boundaries of the district;
  • people who no longer resided at the address in the phonebook;
  • people who were not registered voters;
  • signatures in the same handwriting;
  • minors
We're pretty sure they sat outside the courthouse that day, going through the reverse directory, and alternating signing people's names to the petition. Some quick research proved to our satisfaction that even without verifying signatures, there were insufficient signatures for a valid nomination (district/minor/etc.) but we couldn't prove it in time for the county clerk. The name went on the ballot. We "fed" the story to the local paper who sat on it *shrug* but a pal of my mom's at the radio station found out through friends and broke the story election dawn.

Anyway, at lunch, the County Clerk was interviewed on the radio and said, "If there aren't enough signatures, the name should not be on the ballot. It would be an illegal candidacy." Possibly a big "No comment" would have been better. My mom's foe lost big, and sued in county court the next day. Wrong venue, since the State Board of Elections was the next step after a County Clerk appeal is denied, all of which she skipped, but she sued not my Mom or the radio station but the County Clerk for alleged election fraud in her hypothetical answer.

Frankly, it was the most fun we ever had in politics ...

My favorite part, to this day, was the lawsuit's reference to "slick, misleading campaign materials", by which she meant the brochure I'd whipped up in an afternoon using Word.

Of course, we could have charged her with felony fraud for every single one of the bad names she signed, for slander, for not having a legal disclaimer on her own Selectric one-sheet handouts, et cetera, but we were just happy to watch her slink out of the courtroom with a curt dismissal.

She was later charged with felonies for mishandling state funds she got for boarding mentally-challenged patients in her home. Those types eventually get theirs. Sometimes.
posted by dhartung at 2:52 PM on November 10, 2000

It's like an episode of the Simpsons when they turn into a misdirected mob.

Which one?
posted by dcehr at 2:59 PM on November 10, 2000

Eric Saund is a researcher at Xerox PARC who specializes in the architecture of human visual perception and its consequences for the design of documents. You can read his article about how easy it may or may not have been to decipher the Palm Beach County ballot.

Even if the previous review committee was equally Democrats and Republicans, I'm surprised that MeFi folks, who are drawn from the design field, aren't questioning the committee's competence to make judgements about design, eh?

posted by aurelian at 4:27 PM on November 10, 2000

aurelian...i really doubt that any serious "Design" review went into the ballot...I would get judgmental about the committees competence in that area but i would feel silly. How many forms are actually designed by someone who cares or knows about information design? Not very many.

I wonder if a standardized ballot for all counties will result from all of this....i just dread the day when it goes online and someone makes a Flash ballot....each candidates name attached to a different gradient-filled sphere floating around the screen..."hmmmm, do i want to vote while grooving to melodic trance or to urban beats?"

posted by th3ph17 at 4:55 PM on November 10, 2000

Dusting off the old legal education & putting it to use, here's some free advice(like it's really worth something. Ha!).... Ms. LaPore surely feels like the heel of the century, but it's not her "fault." She just happens to be the name a disgruntled voter must attach to a voting rights action. The old-timers down here in sunny so. fl. shouldn't feel animosity toward her. They should be bristling at society's perverse need for instant gratification. Everyone needs to take a deep breath, and change the channel for a few days.

posted by ThomDonnelly at 5:26 PM on November 10, 2000

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