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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
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

5/28/2009 Machine malfunction CO TrueBallot Aspen. In an Instant Runoff election (IRV), 28 votes were miscounted in the final round. Sixteen of the votes for Ireland (the winner) were counted for Marks, and 12 were deemed “exhausted” because they did not list rank Marks. The correction increased the margin of victory for Ireland. Story Archive
11/16/2004 Machine malfunction CT Norwalk. The state Elections Enforcement Commission will consider whether to penalize the city's registrars of voters for failing to fully merge the city's voter rolls with the state's centralized voter system. The registrars said they tried to comply with the Help America Vote Act, but experienced problems, such as the elimination of voters, each time the local rolls were converted to the state registry. Story
11/12/2007 Machine malfunction CT Diebold East Haven. A hand recounted, required because of the slim margin in the mayoral race, showed about a 40 vote discrepancy from the optical scanner count (out of about 8,000 ballots cast). Compounding the issue is the fact that there were over 100 ballots more than voters who signed in to vote. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Manchester, County. An optical scanning machine did not work and voters had to put their ballots in an auxiliary slot to be counted later. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Six optical scan machines used in the state had to be replaced with back-ups, three due to improper programming. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CT A "system crash" prevented officials from providing final registration numbers just before the primary. Story Archive
5/30/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold New Milford & Gaylordsville. A memory card malfunctioned in New Milford. The nearest replacement card was three hours away, so the 426 optical scan ballots were hand counted. In Gaylordsville, the new optical scanner wouldn't accept ballots. Rebooting corrected the problem. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Torrington in Litchfield County. Diebold optical scanners wouldn't read the memory cards required to scan the ballots. Prepared for this problem, officials had back up cards ready at every precinct. [Kudos to them!] Story Archive
11/12/2009 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Middlebury. One of the AccuVote ballot scanners broke down, forcing poll workers to switch to a replacement machine to continue counting ballots. Story Archive
2/12/2008 Machine malfunction DC Sequoia Optical scanners broke down across the district, and unscanned ballots stacked up (even on a piano) for poll worker to scan when the machines were repaired. Story Archive
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

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

10/13/2004 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. Sequoia DRE. A routine test of Palm Beach County's electronic voting machines was canceled Tuesday because the computer network at the elections office malfunctioned hours before the public exercise.
Story Archive
10/19/2004 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. In the second day of early voting, touch screen machines failed and had to be replaced. One machine froze as a voter was voting.
10/30/2004 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach. After a woman finished voting, she realized the touch-screen hadn?t given her the option to vote on the two referendums for Boca Raton or for state House District 87. She was given the wrong ballot because the computer was programmed for the wrong ballot, but she can't re-vote. Story Archive
10/31/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. After waiting in line for several hours, several voters were told late Sunday evening that they would have to come back another day to be able to cast their ballot. The machines had broken down. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Volusia County. A computer error caused a failure of the memory card which stores vote data. 13,000 ballots must be rescanned. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS At least 21 voting machines in Broward County malfunctioned and were replaced Tuesday. Most of them had been used by some voters before being taken out of service. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. An improperly calibrated machine at the polling place at 2501 Coral Springs Dr. in Coral Springs was used by an undetermined number of voters before it was replaced. If they did not review their ballots, it is possible that some votes were recorded inaccurately. Possibly other malfunctioning machines were also miscalibrated. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward. Several touch-screen voting machines in Broward County malfunctioned this morning when their batteries went dead. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Nine voting machines ran out of battery power and nearly 40 votes may have been lost in Palm Beach County. Story Archive
11/4/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. ES&S vote tabulating software used for absentee ballots "is not geared to count more than 32,000 votes in a precinct. So what happens when it gets to 32,000 is the software starts counting backward. Amendment 4 passed in Broward County by more than 240,000 votes rather than the 166,000-vote margin reported Wednesday night. ES&S has known about the problem for two years and done nothing about it. The same software is used in Martin and Miami-Dade Counties.Story Archive
11/4/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Collier County. Central computer added test votes to the tally on the ES&S tabulation software. Story Archive
11/4/2004 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Volusia County. Memory-card breakdowns in six machines left political contests in limbo for hours. The county had the memory cards inspected by Diebold this summer in preparation for the busy election season. Ion Sancho, the elections supervisor in Leon County, said officials with Diebold told him that the new, higher-capacity memory cards tend to have more glitches than older cards. Story Archive
11/4/2004 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Seminole County. Memory card failures similar to Volusia County's. Story Archive
11/8/2004 Machine malfunction FL Escambia County. According to county administrator Tony Sanks, on Tuesday night the county's memory pack receiver -- used to download each polling place's data -- did not function properly because of some bad circuitry. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Orange County absentee ballot tabulator (ES&S) started counting backwards after 32767 ballots, causing the posted precinct-by-precinct results to show a 9,227 margin of victory for Kerry while the county summary report showed only a 827 margin of victory for Kerry. A similar discrepancy affected vote totals posted online for the U.S. Senate race between Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Betty Castor. Story Archive
11/23/2004 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. Review screen doesn't match selections. Poll worker agrees, after scrolling back through the selections. Story Archive
12/13/2004 Machine malfunction FL Pompano Beach. Vote for Kerry changes to Bush on the touch screen. Video of interview
5/7/2005 Machine malfunction FL ESS Miami-Dade County, Florida. A study of poll books and vote totals has revealed major discrepancies. 35% of the polling places had more votes than voters or lost votes. Story Archive
10/25/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. Some ES&S iVotronic touch screen machines "stopped working briefly and had to be restarted because of high-volume use, Cooney said. No votes were lost." Mary Cooney is the spokeswoman for the Supervisor of Elections.
''When some voters went to touch a choice for a precinct or candidate we would have to stop the voter, start again and then it would be fine,'' Cooney said. ``It hasn't slowed anyone down.'' Story Archive
10/25/2006 Machine malfunction FL Sarasota County. Early voting hit an afternoon slowdown Tuesday as problems with a county computer system prevented elections workers from looking up voters' information. Elections workers were unable to get into a database containing voters' registration numbers, voting histories, and information about whether a voter received an absentee ballot. Story Archive
10/27/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County - Vote-switching to Republicans by ES&S iVotronic. "After casting her votes, Marek, a Democrat, was surprised to see name of Charlie Crist -- the Republican candidate for governor -- on the review screen. ... She said poll workers told her the machine had been problematic before, but that they had reprogrammed it, a process they repeated after speaking to her." Story Archive
10/28/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. Vote-switching to Republicans by the ES&S iVotronics. "Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist." Story Archive
10/28/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Miami-Dade County. Vote-switching to Republicans by ES&S iVotronics. "Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up. Raponi, 53, persevered until the machine worked. Then he alerted a poll worker." Story Archive
11/2/2006 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Volusia County. The clock setting of the machines apparently goes back an hour every time they are turned on and off. So units at the four early-voting sites could be off by as much as six hours. Ann McFall, the Volusia County supervisor of elections, is concerned that the machines might stop accepting votes early on election day because of the incorrect clock setting. Malfunctions of the voting machines' clocks are believed to be confined to the five counties Polk, Putnam, Glades, Leon and Volusia that got the new, Class D machines from Diebold, which have not been certified by the state. Story Archive

Diebold spokesperson David Bear called the malfunction a human error and said it doesn't affect the integrity of the machines. Story2 Archive2

11/2/2006 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. Vote-switching from Democratic candidate to Republican, incorrect ballots on the Sequoia touch screens. "With four days of early voting left to go, and nearly 32,000 ballots cast, a handful of voters have complained they have had the wrong ballots show up on their touch screen. Or worse, their votes appear to go to the wrong candidates." Story Archive
11/5/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Sarasota County. Votes for Jennings, Democratic candidate for 13th Congressional District, fail to appear on the review screen of the ES&S iVotronic touch screens in several polling places. (A variation on the vote-switching seen in other States and other Florida Counties). Voters are able to return to the selection screen and correct the error, but there are questions about whether some votes for Jennings have been lost. Story Archive
11/7/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. All 14 iVotronic machines stopped working at the Deerfield Beach Tower Club Teen Center. Officials said the machines weren't calibrated for the 7am starting time, so the the Personal Electronic Ballots (PEB) used to activate the machines didn't work. Many people turned away said they wouldn't be able to return. Story Archive

The problem, according to Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney, was a voting system technician who activated machines at one precinct with the cartridge for the other. Both precincts are housed at the teen center. Elections officials resolved the Deerfield Beach problem by bringing in new voting machines and new cartridges. The technician also was replaced. Story2 Archive2

Records: 81-120 of 616
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