Election observers to return

The experts want to watch the county clerk in action on Election Day.
Friday, October 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:20 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

When a group of international election experts visited Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren in September to look at her office’s election techniques, they liked what they saw.

Now they’re coming back to see those techniques in practice.

Norman Du Plessis of South Africa and former Canadian minister of communications David MacDonald will observe Boone County polling places and vote-tabulation centers during the Nov. 2 general election. The two are part of a delegation sponsored by Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based organization for human rights.

Some delegates will observe voting in St. Louis, where thousands of voters were unable to vote in the 2000 election because of inactive status, while others will travel to counties in Ohio and Florida.

Officials from Global Exchange said there is no reason for Boone County voters to be alarmed.

“We’re not going to Boone (County) because we expect problems there,” Global Exchange spokesman Jason Mark said. “We’re going to Boone (County) for the opposite reason.”

Observing procedures in the county will allow observers to compare its techniques with those of other counties, he said.

Carleen Pickard, project manager for the Missouri Group, said observers were interested in the county’s optical-scan ballots and how the clerk deals with student voters who constantly move. Mark said the group was impressed with what it saw.

On Election Day, Pickard and the observers will travel among polling places in Boone County and spend the night observing vote tabulation at the clerk’s office. Pickard said the observers will have checklists of international voting standards, and they will also talk to voters about how the process went.

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