Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 08/24/04)

Natrona County, Wyoming. August, 2004. ES&S.
Unity Election Management System tallied votes incorrectly.

The Unity Election Management System, used to tally votes from both optical scan machines and paperless electronic voting machines, failed to tally votes correctly.*

Noticing that the totals for the city of Evansville seemed low, Natrona County Clerk Mary Ann Collins checked the printouts from the precinct voting machines in Evansville and found that the totals didn't match the totals computed by the Unity software, which combines all the totals countywide.

The Natrona County clerk has changed Tuesday's primary election totals in several municipal races after noticing a glitch in new vote-counting software.

The error changes the order in which some candidates finished, but does not affect which candidates will advance to the general election. Only one candidate lost votes but five of the 10 municipal races in the county had changed totals.

... Collins determined the software problem only affected nonpartisan races after checking the voting machine printouts and the absentee votes against the Unity software report in several partisan races. There does not appear to be any pattern in the skewed vote totals.

On Friday, officials were sending voting machine memory packs and memory pack readers to Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems and Software, the company that designed and maintains Unity. The program is new and cost $70,000. She has told the company she wants on-site technical support during the general election Nov. 2.

* Clerk changes election vote totals. August 21, 2004. By Matthew Van Dusen, Star-Tribune staff writer.

See: ES&S in the News

No one votes unassisted on a computer;
everyone is "assisted" by anonymous programmers.
~ Mark Ortiz
former candidate for U.S. Representative
North Carolina, 8th District