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.”