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Election Problem Log - 2004 to 2009
Check out our other problem logs!
VotersUnite! began this problem log with the November 2004 election. It continued its compilation of problems reported in the media by adding news stories about subsequent elections, through 2009. See also: Failures by vendor and Failures by state.
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Date Problem Type State
Vendor
Description
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction TN ESS Davidson County (Nashville). Vote-flipping on the iVotronic paperless voting machine. Patricia Earnhardt pressed the button for Obama multiple times, yet it didn't highlight. She called the poll worker over who did the same thing. The third time the poll worker pressed the button, the box beside Cynthia McKinney lit up -- several rows down. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/21/2008 Deceptive practices TX Hart InterCivic Travis County (Austin). A "poll cat" gave misinformation to voters, telling them that if they vote a straight-party ticket, they must also then select their Presidential candidate. Actually, doing this will deselect the Presidential candidate. Story Archive
10/21/2008 Deceptive practices TX ESS Williamson County. Elections Administrator Rick Barron has circulated an email giving false information about straight-party voting. "A voter can vote straight party and have all of their votes count," the e-mail states. "They can also vote straight party and then select every Democrat again, if they so chose." The truth is that 'selecting' every Democrat again will deselect those candidates. Story Archive
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction TX ESS Dallas. A new type of vote-flipping in the straight-party function on the iVotronic touch screen machine. A voter voted straight-party, then attempted to deselect two of the judges in that party. When he deselected one candidate, the machine erroneously marked the opposing candidate. Story Archive
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction TX ESS Palo Pinto County. Vote-flipping on the iVotronic touch screen machine. A voter reported to VotersUnite that her straight Democratic ticket to a straight Republican ticket TWICE "right before my eyes!" The articles tell more and mention other voters with the same complaint. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/21/2008 Registration errors TX Midland County. A woman who has lived at the same address since 1992 and claims to have voted twice since 2000 was told that her registration was cancelled in 2000 and her vote won't count. Her husband and mother were cancelled, too. "We show that she was canceled in the year 2000. We have no record of her ever having registered in Midland", said Midland Elections Administrator Ruth Sloan. [Editor - no record of her being registered, why is there a record of her cancellation.] Story Archive
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Ohio County. Vote-flipping on the presidential contest, on the iVotronic touch screen machines, in addition to Putnam and Jackson Counties. Story Archive
10/20/2008 E-pollbook FL ESS Miami-Dade County. Shortage of check-in computers cause long lines. Miami Beach - Two of the four check-in computers at one early voting site were not working at the start of the day. Story Archive Story Archive
10/20/2008 E-pollbook FL ESS Broward County. Computer used to check-in voters are malfunctioning, causing long lines on the first day of early voting. Story Archive

10-21-08. Lines up to 3 hours long continued to plague early voting across Broward County on Tuesday. Some voters gave up and left. Story Archive

10/20/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Duval County. (Jacksonville.) 7 of 15 OSX ballot-reading machines used for early voting would not read ballots, indicating the ballots were too long -- and causing long lines. Officials say they tested the machines and that the ballots are the standard size - 17 inches. Officials say Diebold needs to correct the problem. Long The problem continued the following day, with scanners refusing to read ballots (see Story 2). Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Leon County. The same problem is occurring here and other places in the state where the OSX is used. Story Archive Story2

Update 10/21/08. Officials are saying the machines' tolerance for improperly loaded ballots is too low. Story Archive

10/20/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Flagler County. New scanners are unable to read some ballots. Officials think they are too sensitive to variations in the physical length of the ballot. (Same problem as in Duval and Leon Counties.) Story Archive
10/20/2008 Registration errors IL DuPage County. Reports of people showing up to vote early, only to find they have been purged from the voter rolls, according to the DuPage chapter of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project. "Some of these people had voted in the 2008 primary and some of these people have recently registered and arrived with verification." Story Archive
10/20/2008 Too few machines NV Sequoia Washoe County. Early voters stood in long lines at the main library in Reno until additional voting machines were delivered at 1 pm. Story Archive
10/20/2008 E-pollbook TX Harris County (Houston). A malfunction in the machines that scan voters' identification at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center caused long lines. About 300 people stood in line waiting to cast ballots before the problem was corrected 90 minutes later. Story Archive
10/20/2008 Machine malfunction TX Hart InterCivic Harris County (Houston). Vote-flipping on the eSlate. Some voters voted straight-ticket Democrat then discovered that the electronic voting machines indicated they had voted for John McCain in the presidential contest. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/18/2008 Poor design TX Bexar County (San Antonio). Instructions with mail-in ballots say to use the marker provided, but no marker is provided, so voters aren't sure what marker to use to ensure that their votes are counted on the optical scanner. Story Archive
10/18/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Jackson County. Vote-flipping on the iVotronic touch screen. At least three voters saw their Democratic votes flipped to Republican on the screen. Story Archive
10/18/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Putnam County. Vote-flipping from Democrat to Republican on the iVotronic e-voting machines. Six voters saw their votes changed on the screen. Story Archive

More vote flipping in this county from Democratic candidates (President and Governor) to Republican. In addition, one voter saw his vote flip from Jay Rockefeller to Jay Wolfe, and the name of Wolfe printed on the voter's individual printout. It took him several more tries to get Rockefeller to be selected on the screen and the printout. ES&S could not be reached for comment. Story Archive

10/16/2008 E-pollbook TN Rutherford County. The six early voting sites across the county have experienced lines with up to two hours waits, with 3,292 early ballots cast Wednesday and another 1,126 cast today by noon, due to slow computers verifying voter registration. Story Archive
10/14/2008 Vote suppression GA Karen Handel, Secretary of State, is instituting rules that violate and/or have no basis in law and may suppress the votes, especially of newly registered and minority voters. Story Archive
10/13/2008 Deceptive practices CA Orange County. About 1,245 Orange County residents were erroneously mailed letters last week stating they were ineligible to vote in the upcoming election. The letter was intended to confirm their registrations, but a "computer glitch" inserted an additional sentence telling them they were ineligible to vote. Story Archive
10/13/2008 Machine malfunction WV ES&S ES&S provided flawed ballot programming to 19 counties in WV with respect to straight-party votes. Voters who voted a straight Republican ticket but then decided to vote for only one Democrat in the state Supreme Court race would have had their votes incorrectly counted. Two Democrats and one Republican are vying for two open seats on the court. A voter voting a straight Republican ticket who wanted to vote for both Democrats would have had their vote counted correctly, but someone who wanted to vote for only a single Democrat and no Republican would have votes recorded for both candidates, Story Archive
10/10/2008 Machine malfunction LA Sequoia Vermilion Parish. A programming error caused two paperless AVC Advantage electronic voting machines to fail to count votes for seven hours. Officials seem unconcerned. "Officials say even with the missing votes, the results would have been the same." Story Story2 Archive2
10/10/2008 Ballot printing NY Renssalaer County. Paper ballots were printed with the name of the Democratic candidate for president as "Osama" rather than "Obama". Story
10/7/2008 E-pollbook NE ESS Nebraska's voter registration computer system Monday caused voting delays over the lunch hour at election offices across the state. Some voters waited for over an hour to vote. "After no one could figure out what the problem was, technicians rebooted the system at 12:15 p.m. That seemed to solve the problem after about half an hour." Story Archive
10/1/2008 Voter challenges MT In a move that county officials say is unprecedented, the state Republican party is challenging the registration of thousands of voters statewide, more than 3,400 Missoula county voters, on grounds they don't live where they say they do. The challenges target people who have filed change of address forms with the post office but have not changed their address with the county elections office. Now those voters will have to prove they deserve a ballot. Story Archive
10/1/2008 Poor design OH Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Champaign, Delaware, Lawrence, Logan, Madison, Ottawa, Seneca, Shelby, and Wyandot Counties split the presidential race over two columns, a design that often confuses voters and causes them to vote twice for the contest. The Brennan Center sent a letter of concern to the SoS, who passed it on to the counties. Story
9/10/2008 Machine malfunction DC Sequoia The web site reported "an extremely high number of write-in votes recorded in the early results: something like 1,500 write-ins in the Ward 2 Dem race, slightly fewer in the At-large GOP race, and around 1,000 in the Shadow Senator Dem race, too. All of those numbers have since been revised down. The DCBOEE sent around what looked like revised results early this morning, although they still say 142 out of 143 precincts reporting. Ward 2 now shows only 14 write-in votes, the GOP At-large race has 18, and the Dem Shadow Senator contest has 404."

After a closed door investigation, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics "determined that one defective cartridge caused vote totals to be duplicated into multiple races on the summary report." They called it a "vote-reading error." Many questions remain. Sequoia is investigating. (DC uses Optech 3P Eagle scanners and Edge e-voting machines.) Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Q&A to a Board Member Q&A Archive

Update 9/12/08. "Industry specialists" don't believe a single defective cartridge could add thousands of write-in votes to multiple races across party lines. Sequoia suggests, instead, that it was static discharge or human error. Q&A to a Board Member Q&A Archive

Update 9/17/08. The cause of thousands of phantom write-in votes remains unexplained. The "defective cartridge" theory appears to have been wrong. Dan Murphy, elections board spokesman said that workers ran the same cartridges through the same program but arrived at three different results. The last set, he said, was correct, and that the rationale for that decision would be explained in their report. A hand-count of paper ballots from four randomly chosen precincts showed that none of them matched the machine tallies. "In Precinct 21, which is in Ward 2, the results for 19 of 70 candidates that appeared on the ballot were off by one or two votes." Sequoia has been subpoenaed for a hearing to be held Oct. 3. Story Archive

Update 10/2/08. Four (of 144) precincts were hand-counted. Discrepancies between the optical scanner count and the manual count occurred in multiple races in all four. Report pdf

9/10/2008 Machine malfunction MA ESS New Bedford. AutoMark ballot-marking machines "won't work" with Republican ballots, even though all ballots were printed by the same printer. Story Archive
9/10/2008 (Other) NY Clinton County. Postcard telling Black Brook voters where to vote gave them the primary date, but the location for the general election -- which was not the location for the primary. Voters showed up and there were no machines to vote on. Story Archive
9/5/2008 Machine malfunction MI ESS Plymouth Township in Wayne County. M100 optical scanners in the precincts. The original total was 1,920 votes for Bridgman to 1,770 votes for Prchlik in the Township Clerk contest. Prchlik requested a recount. The hand recount yielded results of 1,885 to 1,727 -- a loss of 78 votes. Two of the four precincts could not be recounted according to state law, since the number of ballots did not match the voters signed in. So, the 78-vote decrease occurred in only two of the precincts (presumably about half the total votes). Canvassers upheld the result. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
9/4/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. As required by Florida law, the Supervisor of Elections conducted a three-hour manual spot-check of results from 16 of the public defender race's 779 precincts, or about 2 percent. "Of the 16 chosen precincts picked by drawing pieces of paper from a box nine mirrored machine results while the other seven resembled original results by 95 percent or more." Thus in about 1% of the precincts, with just one race checked, the machine count was wrong by as much as 5%. Story Archive
9/1/2008 Malfeasance FL Broward County. Ellen H. Brodsky, an unaffiliated candidate challenging incumbent Brenda Snipes for supervisor of elections in the Nov. 4 general election, was illegally barred from observing the judicial race hand recount, in violation of Florida law. BBV Archive
8/31/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. A 17 vote margin favoring Abramson for Circuit Judge, out of 102,500 ballots cast, triggered a rescan of the ballots. The rescan showed only about 99,000 ballots cast, and the totals for the Circuit Judge contest dropped from about 90,700 to 87,800 votes. The rescan reversed the outcome, showing a 60 vote lead for Wennet. Abraham intends to file a lawsuit, since 3400 ballots "evaporated". Story Archive
Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson suggested the drop in votes could be due to scanners' sensitivity being different. But that doesn't explain why they were 3,400 fewer ballots scanned in the rescan. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Update 9/4/08. After counting all ballots by hand, the county found 2,700 of the 3,400 missing ballots. The county intends to do a "more formal" count. Archive

Update 9/4/08. A welcome report that 2,700 of the 3,478 missing ballots had been found on Thursday was replaced with the grim news that workers had recovered only 957 ballots. Outcomes of other contests are now being questioned. Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Story3 Archive3

Update 9/5/08. The search for the missing ballots continues, with county employees searched polling locations, and elections staffers continuing to inspect their records. A check of voter registration logs from the polls is under way. So far voter totals look to be closer to the original ballot count after last Tuesday's election. A machine count of the ballots Thursday night (Sept 4) turned up nearly 3,000 fewer ballots than the original vote total after the election-- almost 500 fewer than a hand count earlier in the day. Canvassing board appears to have given up. "We can't count any more," said County Commissioner McCarty.
Wennet (hand-count winner) is pressing to certify the hand count. Abramson (election-night winner) is pressing to certify the original results. Story Archive Story2 Archive2.
Many more stories on this debacle. Update 9/12/08 AM. County officials believe they have found the missing ballots "in the county's vote-tabulating center near West Palm Beach." Story Archive

Update 9/12/08 PM. New troubles. Now there are more ballots than were counted on election night. 110 ballots recorded on a cartridge from one election day precinct weren't included in the intial count or the recount. And 139 more were found in the elections office. So, the county found a total of 249 more than were counted in either count. Story Archive

Update 10/2/08. Wennet's team did a machine recount of 262 previously rejected ballots. When the 262 ballots were fed through two tabulators used during the recounts, they rejected different numbers of ballots. All of them should have been rejected. "On the first two tests of 160 ballots, the machines accepted three ballots as good votes. On tests on 102 more ballots that should have been rejected, the machines first accepted 13 ballots as good votes and then 90 on a second run." Story Archive Story Archive

Update: 10/7/08Excellent summary of events with new information about the scanners' inconsistencies discovered during testing.

8/28/2008 Poor design FL Sequoia Indian River County. 5000 votes were counted twice when results were uploaded to the central office. 40 precincts did a test of the modem system before doing the real transfer. The central office computer accepted both sets of results and added them. Story Archive Story2 Archive

Update 9/6/08. The number of votes counted twice in the Indian River County election now stands at 10,737 which is double the votes the county elections office reported a week ago. Story2 Archive

8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Brevard County. Touch screen machines in 50 precincts fail to transmit results to the central office by modem. This problem has occurred in previous elections. Story Archive
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Pinellas County. 12 scanners (new DS200) had to be replaced, according to county elections spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock. Some experienced paper jams, she said, and on some the screens froze. Story Archive
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Pasco County. Five DS200 scanners broke down. Eighteen weren't able to transmit results via modem. "poll workers had to pull out the thumb drive and take it to the elections office although in one case it took three trips, because of confusion over who had the thumb drive." Story Archive
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Hillsborough County. An hour after the polls closed in Hillsborough, Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson told reporters that his optical scan vote counting system had developed a computer problem that was preventing it from posting the tallies electronically and he blamed Premier Voting Solutions. "I haven't been able to get a straight answer from Premier, but I will by the end of the night," he said. "I expect them to fix this issue. We've paid a lot of money." Story Archive
Premier/Diebold admitted it was a problem with the equipment -- an incompatibility between the precinct scanners and the scanners used to tabulate absentee ballots. Story Archive Archive2 Archive3
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Sarasota County. When workers tried to count absentee ballots on election night, the optical scan machines would not communicate with the server. So more than 10,000 absentee ballots had to be hand-counted. "We could not get the absentee ballots totals to upload into the main server to combine all of the totals together for absentee early voting," says Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent. So workers had to count them individually. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
Records: 241-280 of 1280
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