Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 10/21/04)

Early voting in the U.S. October, 2004.
Electronic poll book failures cause severe voting delays.

Computers at early voting sites in four states (so far) fail to connect to the electronic poll books at the central office. Voting is delayed by many hours and many voters have to leave, hopefully to come back later and vote.

Bexar County, Texas.[1]

Early voting in Bexar County hit a snag Monday morning when at least three polling sites experienced computer problems.

The three polling sites were back online by Monday afternoon after a problem with phone lines, officials said. When voters arrived at 8 a.m. to cast their ballots at Wetmore Elementary School, Blattman Elementary School and Johnson Library, computers were having trouble dialing up phone lines that access voter registration information. But according to election officials, a backup program was used, and a half-hour later, the problem was fixed.

Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, Florida.[2]

Florida's counties invested millions in touch screen and optical scan voting machines, but some voters couldn't get to the machines Monday because poll workers experienced computer problems that prevented them from verifying registrations.

In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties on Monday, voters simmered and election staff laptops sat idle when computer service was lost for up to three hours.

Hillsborough County, Florida.[3]

In Hillsborough County, computer networking problems caused delays of up to two hours. Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson said a malfunctioning router kept computers from automatically verifying voter registration and clerks had to call a central office to determine each voter's eligibility. The problems were eventually fixed, his office said.

Orange County, Florida.[3]

In Orange County, the computer system that lists eligible voters went down for about 10 minutes shortly after voting began, said Margaret Dunn, the senior deputy elections supervisor. She speculated a faulty Internet connection may have been to blame.

Broward County, Florida.[3]

Several of Broward County's 14 polling places had trouble linking their computers to a supervisor's office to confirm voter eligibility, said Jenny Nash, a spokeswoman at the Secretary of State Glenda Hood's office. Workers used paper lists and called the supervisor's office to verify eligibility, Nash said.

Adams County, Colorado.[4]

Voting began under emergency rules established by Secretary of State Donetta Davidson to deal with potential fraud following allegations that hundreds of people have fraudulently tried to register.

Some people were angry as they stood in line for more than an hour to vote at a polling place in a Denver supermarket because officials could not connect their laptop computers to databases set up to prevent voter fraud.

Voter John Seifert, 68, said a half dozen people had to leave without casting a ballot. "The rest of us are obstinate, and we'll stay here until hell freezes over," he said..

Davidson did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Shelby County, Tennesee.[5]

Progress slowed to a crawl Tuesday when computers at the precinct crashed around lunchtime. Voter Adrianne Purselley said, "When we drove up, a gentleman told us that the computers were down and we were looking at other places around Memphis that we might be able to go and vote." It's a glitch that leaves some voters wondering if any ballots are lost during a computer shutdown.

...Poll workers use PCs to communicate with the downtown election commission database to verify and input voter registration information.

Tarrant County, Texas.[6]

On Tuesday, poll workers at Kooken Education Center in Arlington apparently faced several computer glitches.

The computers containing the voter registration rolls apparently lost their connection with the main computer for about 30 minutes, said Parten and Steve Smith, the county official responsible for the computer system.

[1] Problems Plague 3 Early Vote Polling Places. KSAT San Antonio. October 18, 2004.

[2] Glitches tracked as vote lines shorten. St. Petersburg Times. October 20, 2004. By Jeff Testerman and Michael Sandler

[3] Few Glitches Reported in Early Fla. Voting. The State. October 19, 2004. By Jill Barton, Associated Press.

[4] Early Voting Begins In Colorado. CBS4 Denver. October 18, 2004. By Steven K. Paulson, Associated Press.

[5] Voting computers crash at precinct. WMC-TV 5 Memphis. October 19, 2004. By George Metaxas.

[6] Voting problems are surfacing. Star-Telegram. October 21, 2004. By Max B. Baker.

News stories make it rapidly apparent that
electronic voting is not reliable, accurate, or secure.
Any one who claims otherwise is either ignorant or deceptive.
~ Joseph Holder