Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour(Displayed 08/26/04)

Alameda County, California. October, 2003. Diebold.
GEMS tally software awards one candidate's votes to another.

Tally software suddenly began to malfunction during processing and began giving one candidate's votes to a different candidate in the recall election.*

Poll workers in Alameda County noticed something strange on election night in October. As a computer counted absentee ballots in the recall race, workers were stunned to see a big surge in support for a fringe candidate named John Burton.

Concerned that their new $12.7 million Diebold electronic voting system had developed a glitch, election officials turned to a company representative who happened to be on hand.

Lucky he was there. For an unknown reason, the computerized tally program had begun to award votes for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to Burton, a socialist from Southern California.

...Alameda County officials still don't know why the computer program failed on election night. In fact, they only discovered the malfunction because they could compare the paper absentee ballots the software was counting to the computer's tally.

* Electronic voting's hidden perils. Mercury News. February 1, 2004. By Elise Ackerman.

See: Diebold in the News

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