October 3, 2013 | XLIII 39

Editorial 1

Voting machines that reject ballots on which preferences aren’t marked for each question smack of the nanny state and need to be fixed.

Voters deliberately leave portions of a ballot empty for various reasons, including when they don’t have an educated opinion on a given issue or race. Or they may choose not to mark a preference in a race in which they don’t like any of the candidates.

Choosing to not mark a portion of the ballot is every bit as legitimate as marking one. Often times, the mood of the electorate can be determined by seeing how few votes some winning candidates get, and that’s valuable information for all of us.

Election officials say voting machines “spit out” incomplete ballots as a “fail-safe” to ensure voters haven’t mistakenly forgotten to fill out their entire ballot.

That’s nice, but the actual effect of the “fail-safe” is that voting officials, and possibly other voters, get a hint to how a voter has cast his or her ballot. That is unacceptable.

Even more worrisome, voters who were told by polling officials that their ballots were “incomplete” Tuesday and returned to the voting booth to “complete” them may have changed their ballots in ways that changed the outcome of the borough election.