Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 09/28/04)

Broward County, Florida. January, 2004. ES&S.
134 blank ballots can't be manually inspected; Florida law violated.

The paperless touch screen voting machines showed 134 blank ballots. The winning margin was 12 votes. Since Florida law required an examination of the invalid ballots, and no ballots were available to examine, the county could not comply with Florida law.*

In Tuesday's special election to fill state House seat 91, 134 Broward voters managed to use the 2-year-old touch-screen equipment without casting votes for any candidate.

How so many happened to cast nonvotes remains a riddle. Unlike with punch cards or paper ballots, there's no paper record with electronic voting that might offer a clue to the voter's intent.

The percentage of nonvotes -- 1.3 percent -- is modest compared to the days of "hanging" and "pregnant chads." But in Tuesday's race, every vote was crucial. In a seven-candidate field, Ellyn Bogdanoff beat Oliver Parker by just 12 votes.

* New system no easy touch for 134 voters in Broward. Miami Herald; January 08, 2004; By Erika Bolstad.

See: ES&S in the News

The problem with touch screens as vote counters
is that they can be easily manipulated.
~ Mike Devereaux, VP of Sales, ES&S