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Election Problem Log - 2004 to 2009
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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
5/2/2009 Machine malfunction IL Diebold St. Clair County. A "voting machine malfunction caused several hundred ballots to go uncounted" election night. When they were tallied, the results were reversed and the incumbent won the mayoral race. The article doesn't say if the voting machine malfunction was on the AccuVote optical scanner or the electronic voting machine. Story Archive
5/2/2009 Wrong ballot IL Diebold St. Clair County. Ballots missing the mayoral race were handed out to some voters. Story Archive
4/28/2009 Wrong ballot CA Ventura County. At a polling place in Santa Paula, where grand jury members saw poll workers give some voters the wrong ballots, an error that “may have a had a material effect on the outcome” of the Santa Paula Elementary School District race, the grand jury said. Ofelia De La Torre wound up losing her seat on the board by a single vote. Story Archive
4/9/2009 Machine malfunction IL Diebold St Clair County. Ward 1 polling place in Whiteside School. The votes were uploaded from both the optical scanner and the TSx touch screen, but the computer didn't count the 407 ballots from the optical scanner. Story Archive
4/8/2009 Machine malfunction KS ESS Saline County. Vote-flipping on the iVotronic touch screen machine. "The problem was this: When a voter pressed a certain candidate's bar on the voting machine's screen, the candidate above the selected candidate instead received the checkmark." Story Archive

Update 4/10/09. The county has discovered that vote-flipping is a known problem that affects 22,619 ES&S iVotronic voting machines, whose screens were made by Bergquist Co. In October 2008, the Brennan Center warned the Secretaries of State in 16 states that the screens had "calibration drift." ES&S admits that calibration may not hold through the entire election day. Story Archive

4/7/2009 Machine malfunction WI Sequoia Fond du Lac County. A few places were unable to modem results to the central office, which County Clerk Lisa Freiberg said, "is basically the same story all the time." Also, on one AVC Edge touch screen machine, the screen wasn't working. Story Archive
3/11/2009 Machine malfunction VA AVS Fairfax County. One of two WINvote paperless electronic voting machines broke down in one polling place while officials were tallying the votes. The malfunction left the outcome of the hotly contested race too close to call. Elections officials halted their efforts, sealed the malfunctioning machine and said they would resume their efforts to count the remaining ballots today. Story Archive

Update: 3/18/09. At the Fairfax County canvass, observers learned that among other problems, when the polls opened, the voting machine showed that there were no votes recorded -- which was as it should be. However, of those "zero" votes, three were for Republican John Cook, two for Democratic Ilryong Moon, one for independent Carey C. Campbell and one for a write-in candidate. Despite the obvious problem that there were seven unexplained votes at the beginning of the day and a mismatch of hundreds of votes at the end of the day, the county Board of Elections certified the results. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

2/18/2009 Machine malfunction WI Diebold Walworth County. A problem with an optical scanner memory card caused a delay in election results reporting Tuesday night for the village of Darien. At the end of the day, another memory card problem prevented poll workers from sending in the results electronically. Story Archive
12/17/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. Because of the five lost votes on a machine in Trotwood, the county did additional double-checking and found another problem. The voter-verifiable paper record, which scrolls inside a canister on the touch screen machine, is supposed to clearly indicate when a voter rejects the ballot before it is cast and makes corrections. But in three cases, that did not occur. Story Archive

VotersUnite followed up with election director Steve Harsman to ask how the flaw was discovered. Harsman said that each valid ballot is accompanied by a unique barcode on the paper record, but three records had no barcode. Checking against the totals, they discovered that those without a barcode had been rejected, but "reject" was not printed on the record as it should have been.

12/12/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. Officials discovered -- through a special hand audit they were conducting on order from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner -- that tabulation software (GEMS) used with touch-screen voting machines in the presidential election failed to count five votes in the city of Trotwood. They discovered that although the five votes were recorded to a memory card inside the voting machine, the votes weren't counted by the tabulation software when the memory card was uploaded to the tabulation server. Story Archive

Update 12/17/2008. The county decided to do an expanded audit. Workers matched electronic results with the machines' paper record. In Trotwood the machine showed 43 people voted, and the paper record showed 48. When the card was put back into its original machine, it re-synced and showed the votes, a procedure that would never occur during a typical count. Diebold (Premier) has no explanation. Story Archive

12/5/2008 Machine malfunction CA Diebold Humboldt County. The election management system (GEMS 1.18.19) deleted the vote data from the first precinct uploaded to the server -- a precinct with 197 ballots. Diebold (Premier) has known about this problem since 2004-- "sometimes when a deck is deleted from the machine due to normal complications, the software also deletes the Deck Zero, which in this case was the vote-by-mail ballots from Precinct 1E-45." The error was discovered by citizens checking the ballot totals through the "transparency project" instituted by Carolyn Crnich, the county Registrar. Story Archive More details
12/2/2008 Registration errors GA Diebold Muscogee County. A database from the Nov. 4 election was duplicated for use in the runoff held on 12/2. It showed people who voted early for the November election as having already voted in the runoff. The problem most likely was caused by a malfunctioning machine called a "duplicator." Story Archive
11/22/2008 Malfeasance KY Hart InterCivic Harp Enterprises president, Roger Baird, told the Kentucky Board of Elections that nearly 100 counties that use Harp Enterprises to maintain and program their eSlate voting machines violated state law by NOT testing the machines before the election. He pointed out that Kenton County's misprogramming would have been detected by the pre-election tests required by state law. Story Archive
11/17/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Craven County. More problems emerge. The article says 342 ballots are missing from the No. 7 Township Fire and Rescue early voting site. A total of 7,575 authorizations to vote were identified but staff can find ballots, tapes, flash cards or personal electronic ballot records for only 7,233. Story Archive

Update 11/18/08. The missing ballots were found in a personal electronic ballot counter used to record first day of one-stop votes at No. & Township fire and Rescue in Grantham. The PEB was marked "spare" and overlooked originally. Story Archive

11/14/2008 Canvass anomalies NC Carteret County. Results were corrected when discrepancies were found between totals reported on election night and the tabulations of the M100 optical scanners used to count ballots. Story Archive
11/14/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Burke County. Paper jammed on the iVotronic touch screen machines. Story Archive
11/13/2008 Machine malfunction IA Diebold Blackhawk County. A hand recount showed seven less ballots than the optical scanner reported in the Waterloo precinct. In another precinct, 18 valid votes were found on the 19 ballot rejected by the scanner. Story Archive
11/13/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Craven County. A memory card error caused only part of the main one-stop (early voting) ballots to be uploaded from one site. Revised numbers raise the turnout from 60% to 65% and may change the outcome of a State Representative race. An error in the reporting software also incorrectly categorized some ballots as absentee. The county uses iVotronic touch screen machines and M100 scanners. Story Archive One of the machines at the Cove City early voting site had a dead battery, which officials originally thought was the cause of the misreporting. Story2 Archive2

Update 11/14/08. Officials say that coding errors, made by ES&S and distributed by Print Elect, caused the software to read the data incorrectly. Four ballot styles reflecting the district in which voters of particular precinct could participate and the "Geo-codes" were not entered correctly and produced reporting problems. Story Archive

11/13/2008 Registration errors NC Pitt County. Among the provisional ballots, election staff found several people who registered through the Division of Motor Vehicles but their names were never sent to the local election office. Story Archive
11/12/2008 Ballot display VA Unilect Pittsylvania County. County election officials said some voters - no one seems to know how many - may have left polling places last Tuesday morning without voting for treasurer because the candidates were not on electronic ballots. Story Archive

[Pittsylvania County uses Unilect Patriot paperless voting machines -- the same machines that lost over 4,500 votes in Carteret County, NC in the 2004 General Election. Archive]

Update 11/26/08. The 'info pak' inserted into voting machines and containing the ballot had ballots in the wrong order for voters in all but the Central Absentee Precinct (CAP). Therefore, many who wanted a full ballot saw only a federal ballot, which did not contain the local treasurer's race. Story Archive

11/11/2008 Machine malfunction DC Sequoia Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh's staff uncovered several missing or incomplete voting results from several precincts in last week's election, she said. Cheh is demanding an explanation from Sequoia Voting Systems. Story Archive

Update 11/12/08. Officials are concerned that irregularities may indicate larger problems in the District's election software. For example: In Single-Member-District 6B11, which houses the District of Columbia Jail, the final unofficial election results showed no precinct reporting and 5 undervotes. Story Archive

11/11/2008 Canvass anomalies WV ESS Greenbrier County. 341 early votes in precinct 41 cast on the iVotronic touch screen machines may not have been counted. Officials are double-checking the vote data on the memory cards. Story Archive
11/10/2008 Voter challenges GA The citizenship of about 4,770 voters was challenged. This means they had to prove their citizenship to their local elections board. About one-third of them did not do so and their ballots will be thrown out. Story Archive
11/10/2008 Machine malfunction NY Sequoia Essex County. County commissioner complains of the unreliability, printer problems, and 180 identified defects in the Image Cast scanners. Story Archive
11/8/2008 Malfeasance FL Wakulla County. Two days after the polls closed, an orange bag filled with ballots was discovered at the elections office in Crawfordville. "Already three bags stuffed with votes had arrived with different seals on them. And it took nearly two hours for those ballots to be delivered from a precinct in Sopchoppy, 20 minutes away — 10, if you take the back roads." Two races are in the middle of a recount, one with a margin of eight votes. Story Archive
11/8/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Forsyth County. An error occurred while uploading data from Precincts 601 and 604, causing incomplete vote data to be included in the initial results. The article describe the error: "[Rob Coffman, Forsyth County's director of elections,] said that the two precincts did correctly record the votes cast for each candidate, but when the results were fed into a computer that tallies all the returns, a mistake caused the software to omit results for the 74th N.C. House District in those two precincts. That, in turn, caused the vote totals in some other races to be incorrect. The corrected totals for the two precincts will result in slight changes in the totals of a number of other political contests." Story Archive
11/7/2008 Election law IN Hamilton County. At least 130 people who voted Tuesday at Carmel's University High School had their ballots tossed because of a clerical mistake. The paper ballots, used to speed up voting because of heavy turnout in the Clay Center precinct, were discarded Tuesday evening because poll workers didn't initial them as required by state law. Story Archive
11/6/2008 (Other) IA Clinton County. Election officials took home two memory cards Tuesday night, preventing results from their precincts being posted to the county’s Web site until Wednesday Story Archive
11/6/2008 Machine malfunction IA Diebold Scott County. Two memory card failure delayed the tabulation of results. The memory cards held the results of 11,627 ballots cast in early voting. Election officials turned to printout tapes of the summary reports to be manually entered into the computer system, but the software required more detailed and time-consuming precinct-by-precinct information to be entered. Story Archive
11/6/2008 Wrong ballot IA Woodbury County. Absentee ballots were sent to voters with the wrong Iowa House district listed. Election officials took the ballots from their envelopes and counted all the results except for the erroneous House race. Story Archive
11/6/2008 Machine malfunction IN ESS Wayne County. When local officials tried to tally the vote they received a "system error" message. They stopped the count, secured the votes and then had to wait for an answer to the problem from company officials at Election Systems & Software, which provided the computer system for the local election. The call to officials in Omaha, Neb., took well over an hour. Story Archive
11/6/2008 Machine malfunction NC Buncombe County. An unknown computer malfunction delayed the posting of election results on the State web site. “My understanding is that it was some sort of communication with the state board of elections,” said Jones Byrd, chairman of the Buncombe board of elections. Story Archive
11/6/2008 E-pollbook TX Williamson County. A software defect caused as many as 590 Williamson County voters to get the wrong ballot Tuesday. On Wednesday, officials pinpointed a problem in the transfer of voter information from the county's early-voting program to the Election-Day program. Story Archive
11/6/2008 E-pollbook VA Diebold Chesapeake. Electronic poll books manufactured by Diebold/Premier helped cause lines as long as 1,000 people on Election Day. Some machines would turn on and then just turn off. Poll workers also had problems hooking them up. Some people waited up to seven hours to vote. Story Archive
11/6/2008 Machine malfunction WA Sequoia Pierce County. When the office ran the new voting tabulation softwareTuesday night to count the ranked choice voting ballots, it was so slow that technicians had to add memory to the computer system. Story Archive
11/5/2008 Ballot printing AR ESS Carroll County. Absentee ballots printed by ES&S failed to have enough ink in one of the coded blocks. After consulting ES&S, officials blackened in the block with black marker to get the ballots to scan properly through the M650 scanner. Story Archive
11/5/2008 Canvass anomalies AR ESS Benton County. Two precincts showed more ballots cast than voters registered, according to a report generated at noon Wednesday by the county’s Election Commission. In Precinct 5, which voted at the Decatur Municipal Building, 1, 223 voters cast ballots in a precinct that has 1, 155 registered voters. In Precinct 2, which voted at the Sulphur Springs Commu- nity Building, 644 voters cast ballots in a precinct that has 639 registered voters. [Benton County uses iVotronic touch screen machines] Story Archive
11/5/2008 Machine malfunction CA Sequoia Santa Clara County. Fifty-seven of the county's 785 Sequoia touch screen Voting Systems machines failed on Election Day, resulting in hours long delays before replacements arrived. Loose printer connections, as well as dead batteries and broken screens, caused the failures. Computer scientist Noel Runyan — who is blind and advises California's secretary of state on voting access issues — managed to vote in San Jose, despite what he called virtually inaudible voice recordings of his candidate choices and an "angry squirrel sound" in the background. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/5/2008 Machine malfunction CO Hart InterCivic Boulder County. Ballots are scanned by a Kodak scanner and the images are read by the tabulation system. The system was misreading some ballots because of a vertical streak on the image. The county speculates that this streak was caused by dust on the ballots, possibly coming from the creases after the mail-in ballots were folded. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Note: This problem also occurred in Yakima County, WA in 2004. Story

Update 9/19/2009. After further investigation, "County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall released a report Friday that said the problem was an incompatible device driver installed on scanning machines. The incompatible driver disrupted communications between the scanners and ballot-counting software from Hart InterCivic." Story Archive Story2 Archive2

11/5/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Hillsborough County. Students at the University of South Florida were still in line to vote at 10:30 p.m., and elections officials said computer problems were causing delays. Among the problems: elections officials had to break up early voting results into smaller pieces to prevent crashing the computer system, and about 150 optical scanners had trouble transmitting results and had to be manually taken to the elections office. Story Archive

More problems with vote tabulation for 13 early voting machines and problems accessing votes at two outstanding precincts. Story2 Archive2 Story3 Archive3 Story4 Archive4

Update 11/6/08. Tabulation is still not done. Elections workers began re-entering nearly 80,000 two-page ballots into the machines Thursday morning. Two state senators are calling on Governor Charlie Crist to get involved in Hillsborough County’s election. County Supervisor of Elections Johnson blames Premier, the company that makes the optical scan machines. But Premier is blaming the elections office for trying to upload too many votes at once, and for mixing early voting and Election Day ballots. Story Archive

Records: 81-120 of 1280
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