Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 08/08/04)

Bernalillo County, New Mexico. November 2000. Global Election Systems (now Diebold).
Ballot programming error counts 67,000 votes wrong.

Following the Nov. 7 presidential election, election officials in New Mexico's most populous county found that a flaw in the ballot programming caused 67,000 absentee and early-voting ballots to be incorrectly counted.*

The tabulation system and software worked correctly, but a county technical employee failed to set up an element of the system properly, said Frank Kaplan, Global’s Western regional manager. New Mexico’s ballots are designed for voting by party, but voters can choose candidates from other parties. A programmer did not link the candidates’ names to their respective parties.

“The problem took 22 minutes for us to fix,” he said. “It was just a matter of clicking on the correct link.”

This is how easy it is to misprogram, too.

* Human error is cause of N.M. election glitch. Government Computer News; November 20, 2000; Vol. 19 No. 33

See: Ballot Programming Introduction

Election security must not depend
on tight control over code
~ David Jefferson