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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 SC ESS Charleston County. Problems uploading data from the iVotronic touch screen machines caused officials to enter the data by hand into the central system. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/31/2008 Voter challenges SC Spartanburg County. "Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman Rick Beltram, taking the role of a poll watcher, challenged the vote of 74-year-old Fannie Rogers because he didn't believe her signature matched what was on her credentials." The result was a fracus that "left one woman in tears, angered voters and activists on the left and the right, and it piqued the interest of the U.S. Department of Justice."

The wait time was close to four hours. Story Archive

10/23/2008 Ballot printing SC Beaufort County. Absentee ballots didn't include necessary directions for voting in city and town council elections. Story Archive
10/22/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Beaufort County. Votes for Bluffton Town Council candidates did not register on the review screen of the iVotronic touch screen voting machines. Even with help from poll workers, the votes didn't register. Some voters were able to cast those votes on paper ballots. Story Archive

Update 10/23/08. Officials say the machines are working properly, that in multivote contests (vote for more than one), the review screen is only supposed to show the number of candidates chosen, not their names. County Elections and Voter Registration director Agnes Garvin attributed questions about the machines to a software limitation that affects the screen voters use to review their choices before actually casting their ballot. [Editor - A voter told us he contacted the SoS, who said this is not the way the iVotronics are supposed to operate.] Story Archive

4/1/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Richland County. An iVotronic e-voting machine was set up incorrectly in Ward 17, allowing voters to vote for candidates that were not supposed to be on their ballots. About 95 people voted before the problem was noticed and the machine was replaced. Story Archive
1/22/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Florence County. As in Horry County, the iVotronic touch screen machines were set to close on the wrong date and would not report the results until they were reprogrammed for the correct date. Story Archive
1/20/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Horry County. iVotronics touch screen machines refused to print results at the end of the day. "The machines' pre-programmed poll-closing time was incorrect, and technicians had to follow a multi-step procedure to manually shut them off before counting could begin. The closing date for the machines was set for Jan. 26, the date of the Democratic primary, instead of Saturday night." Story Archive
1/19/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Horry County. iVotronic touch screen machines. "Poll workers in Horry County tell CNN voting machines have been down since polls opened Saturday morning throughout the county the machines are not reading an activation card." All 100 precincts in the county have been affected. Some voters have been turned away when paper ballots ran out. Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Story3
12/3/2007 Canvass anomalies SC ESS Florence County. 108 blank ballots were recorded by ES&S iVotronic machines in last month's one-contest election. Florence County Elections Director Mike Young wants to find out what caused that phenomenon. Id like to know why 108 people would go into a polling place and go through all the trouble of signing in, showing their identification, and going into the voting booth and casting a blank ballot, Young said. Story Archive

Note: High "undervotes" on iVotronics are common, and in some elections, lost votes and inaccurate tallies were proven to be caused by machine malfunction. For example, Raleigh, NC, 2002, and LaPorte Co, IN, 2004, and Waldenberg, AR, 2006.

11/20/2006 Machine malfunction SC ESS Kershaw County. ES&S ballot programming error in the iVotronics. The machines were set up to prompt for two votes in a "vote-for-one" contest. Story Archive
11/13/2006 Machine malfunction SC ESS Greenville County. The county had problems with five of its approximately 1,000 iVotronic voting machines. Some of the machines had loose connections and another had power source problems. The repairs to the machines required a technician from ES&S to drive from Charleston on election night. Story Archive
11/13/2006 Machine malfunction SC Greenville County. The county had to count by hand at least 600 absentee ballots that optical scanners failed to count. Story Archive
11/5/2006 Machine malfunction SC ESS Vote-switching on the ES&S iVotronics. Computer scientist's votes for one candidate were switched to another on the review screen. Story
11/3/2006 Ballot printing SC Charleston County. 5,000 ballots were misprinted, showing a bond amount as $250 million, instead of the correct amount of $205 million. Story Archive
11/3/2006 Machine malfunction SC ESS Charleston County. ES&S iVotronics fail to allow voters to review their choices in contests where they can vote for more than one candidate -- in violation of HAVA. Story Archive
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction SC ESS Georgetown County. Ballot programming error. Touch screen machines weren't programmed with the legally required straight-party voting. The problem was discovered during testing, but not until after several voters had voted absentee. (ES&S iVotronic touch screen.) Story Archive
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction SC ESS Georgetown County. Candidates' names did not appear on the review screen of the ES&S iVotronic touch screen. "Our voters had no confirmation for whom they had voted." State officials said this is just the way the machines operate. (In 2006, this operation will be a violation of federal law - HAVA). Story Archive
12/6/2004 Canvass anomalies SC ESS In Sumter County 111 more voters cast ballots than signed in on poll books and that 1,055 more ballots were cast than have been accounted for. This discrepancy could cause a state Senate race to be decided by the Senate instead of the people. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction SC Georgetown County. The initial count showed 64 more ballots than the recount on the Unilect Patriot electronic voting machines. "After Friday's recount, the number of total votes cast in the election changed from 25,848 to 25,784." Story Archive
11/8/2004 Machine malfunction SC Unilect The town of Lexington has 200 votes stuck in a Unilect Patriot electronic voting machine that malfunctioned and they can't figure out how to retrieve the data. Story Archive
11/4/2004 Machine malfunction SC Unilect Lancaster County. A malfunction stopped the computerized tally late Tuesday night about a third of the way through, and elections officials said they were unable to restart the procedure. After hours on the phone with technical support people from the manufacturer of their Patriot Unilect voting machines, a printout of each voter's ballot was successful, they said. However, results had to be counted by hand. Story Archive
11/3/2004 Machine malfunction SC ESS Machines at about five precincts in Georgetown County were down when the polls first opened, and voters had to cast paper ballots. Story Archive
11/3/2004 Machine malfunction SC ESS Horry County. The Carolina Forest precinct had four voting machines for 2,003 voters, but one went down around noon, and poll manager Mary Baldwin said technicians were notified but were not able to fix it. Story Archive
11/3/2004 Too few machines SC Horry County. Voters at Carolina Forest waited in a three-hour-long line that snaked through the elementary school's cafeteria and around the outside of the building to make their choice for president, on local races and on referendums. The Carolina Forest precinct had four voting machines for 2,003 voters, but one went down around noon, and poll manager Mary Baldwin said technicians were notified but were not able to fix it. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Election law SC Voting a straight party ticket DOES NOT include a vote for president. This is by state law in North Carolina and South Carolina only. Voters must vote for a presidential candidate separately. Story
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction SC ESS One polling location in Mauldin, S.C., was forced to switch to paper ballots because of equipment troubles. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction SC ESS Problems were reported in a handful of precincts in two counties using electronic machines. Officials said voters were forced to switch to paper ballots while technicians got the ES&S iVotronic touch screens up and running within about 90 minutes. Story Archive
10/31/2004 Voter intimidation SC Charleston County election officials warned voters Friday to ignore a fake letter that purports to be from the NAACP. The letter threatens voters who have outstanding parking tickets or have failed to pay child support with arrest. Story Archive
10/27/2004 Voter challenges SC Both major parties in the Carolinas plan to have observers at polling places, making sure legal voters are not excluded and bogus voters don't sneak in. Some may challenge voters' eligibility, while others will be trying to block challenges. Story Archive
10/17/2004 Poor design SC ESS Instructions for using the new iVotronics are incomplete and confusing. Will disenfranchise voters, according to Rep. Clyburn.
10/7/2004 Registration fraud SC Florence man arrested for turning in over 1,000 fraudulent registration forms. Story
Records: 1-31 of 31
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