Long Names Get Short Shrift

As they have discovered inVirginia, voting machines here inmy home town are truncating candidates’ names.

As voters review their ballots, they may be surprised to see that the Hart InterCivic Inc. eSlate voting machines chop off candidate names longer than about 15 letters. So Kinky Friedman becomes “Richard ‘Kinky’ F.” Carole Keeton Strayhorn: “Carole Keeton St.”

And Texas’ senior senator? Just call her “Kay Bailey Hutch.”

The problem is not new, but it won’t be fixed before the Nov. 7 election, either. Both Hart InterCivic and local officials stress that every candidate’s name appears correctly on the voting screen. The glitch occurs on only the last screen, when voters are given the option to see a summary of their choices and double-check their ballot. The votes are not affected and still count, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said.


But it does require additional voter diligence in an already complicated special election. For instance, if voters want to double-check that they’ve picked the Republican or Democrat of their choice, it won’t be obvious from the summary screen. A voter would have to know that “William E. ‘Bill’ ” is Democrat Bill Moody, a Supreme Court Place 2 candidate. The summary screen doesn’t list party affiliation.


The names are cut off because of the size of the letters onscreen, which “causes longer names to truncate,” Hart InterCivic Vice President Phillip Braithwaite said.

That’s a good thing for gubernatorial contenders Chris Bell and Rick Perry, who both have nine-letter names. They stay on the screen intact. It’s not so good for Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Barbara Ann Radnofsky; to the screen she’s known as “Barbara Ann Ra.”

4 thoughts on “Long Names Get Short Shrift

  1. THATS BULLSHIT…the two REPUBLICAN incumbents get to use their “street names” while everyone else gets to use their full birth names
    From wikipedia Perry’s full name is
    James Richard “Rick” Perry which should = James Richard “Ric” according to the 15 letter rule
    Same with Chris Bell from wikipedia his full name is:
    Robert Christopher Bell which should = Robert Christoph according to the 15 letter rule
    BULLSHIT electronic voting nonsense…ugh

  2. Yah they got a computer system that can listen, track and catalogue every call and email at NSA, but they can’t get 15 damn characters on a screen for something not important like a vote.
    Hello, my old Apple II+ could do more than that. Hell I think my digital Timex can handle more than that.
    How long does it take you to fix a formatting error on a webpage…? Exactly!
    Assuming that this is not an intentional glitch, what does it say about American know-how and manufacturing when they still can’t get a product to work correctly, 6 years later? For the answer, ask Ford, GM, Chrysler…
    Such a sad country you have. I weep for you. That’s not even getting into that fat douchbag Rush…Only in America…

  3. I hate to point out the obvious, but shouldn’t last names come first? At the very least, it would eliminate some of the confusion. Maybe they could put the affiliation, then the last name so it would read D-Moody, Willia. It doesn’t solve the whole problem, but it’s a really quick fix. If, you know, they really wanted to fix it.

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