Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 09/24/04)

Snohomish County, Washington. September, 2004. Sequoia.
65 touch-screen crashed and smart cards jammed.

As yet unexplained problems caused sixty-five touch screen voting machines to crash and smart cards to jam in the primary election.*

The biggest problem the county encountered was the disabling of 65 of 860 e-voting machines because of a software crash and jamming of the smart cards. Although affected voters managed to use alternate machines and no previously tallied votes were lost, "we can't afford to have a repeat" of the breakdown during the November election, [Snohomish County Auditor Bob] Terwilliger said.

He has asked Sequoia Voting Systems, the machine vendor, to investigate the problem.

[Software professional Fred] McLain's confidence is further undermined by the absence of federal certification of software devised for the new primary voting system (King, Pierce and three other counties also lacked certification due to the change). Because of the relatively late primary-ballot change, Terwilliger said, only provisional certification through the Secretary of State's Office could be obtained. Federal certification will be done, but not till next year, Terwilliger added.

* E-voting vent: You can't tell if it worked. Seattle Times. September 20, 2004. By Paul Andrews.

See: Sequoia in the News

... the system we have for testing and certifying
voting equipment in this country
is not only broken, but is virtually nonexistent.
~ Michael Shamos
to the U.S. House Science subcommittee
on June 24, 2004