Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 11/25/04)

Carteret County, North Carolina. November, 2004. Unilect.
4,532 permanently lost votes blamed on "human error."

A memory limitation on the DRE control unit caused 4,438 votes to be permanently lost.

Unilect claimed the central control unit for the DREs in a polling place would store 10,500 votes, but they only store 3,005. After the first 3,005 voters, the machines accepted -- but did not store -- the ballots of 4,438 people in the 2004 Presidential election.

Jack Gerbel, president and owner of Unilect, admitted there was no way to retrieve the missing data, but refused to blame his machines.

Although Gerbel understands how significant it is to lose votes, he is confident that the machines themselves aren't to blame because it was a human error.

"The machines did exactly as they were directed to," he said. "It's just in this case, it was programmed to only store 3,005 ballots."

This is the nature of programming. Humans program; computers obey. How many other programmer errors have occurred without providing dramatic proof of the error?

* Unilect vote device causes uproar. Oakland Tribune. November 24, 2004. By David Morrill.

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