Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 01/05/05)

Sandusky County, Ohio. November, 2004. ES&S.
Phantom votes are added by optical scanners.

An election turnout of 131% tipped off the election officials that the optical scanners had been adding phantom votes to the totals. Officials concluded that ballots had been counted twice and speculated that some ballots had been fed through machine more than once.*

Barb Tuckerman, director of the Sandusky County Board of Elections, said when she reviewed election information Nov. 8 she discovered the mistake.

"Clyde had 131 percent voting," Tuckerman said. "That's not possible. I knew there was something amiss."

After reviewing the computer discs used to store precinct tallies, officials came to the conclusion that some ballots in nine precincts were counted twice.

The mistake may have occurred when counted ballots were stacked with those waiting to be counted, [Barb] Tuckerman [director of the Sandusky County Board of Elections] said.

... The double counting creates a situation that can't be solved until questions are answered.

The answers are needed to determine whether Republican Irma Celestino or Democratic incumbent Anna Senior wins the County Treasurer's contest, but Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell advised against an investigation.

Tuckerman said the Secretary of State's office advised against investigating how many twice-counted ballots are included in the election's unofficial results and instead suggested the local board focus on determining the official election results.

* Some ballots counted twice: Discovery raises further doubt about close treasurer race. The News-Messenger. November 16, 2004. By LaRaye Brown, staff writer.

See: ES&S in the News

News stories make it rapidly apparent that
electronic voting is not reliable, accurate, or secure.
Any one who claims otherwise is either uninformed or deceptive.
~ Joseph Holder