Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 12/22/04)

Bernalillo County. November, 2004. Sequoia.
Touch screens register votes incorrectly.

Voters vote correctly. The touch screen machine registers the wrong vote. The county clerk blames the voters.*

Kim Griffith voted on Thursday— over and over and over.

She's among the people in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties who say they have had trouble with early voting equipment. When they have tried to vote for a particular candidate, the touch-screen system has said they voted for somebody else.

It's a problem that can be fixed by the voters themselves— people can alter the selections on their ballots, up to the point when they indicate they are finished and officially cast the ballot.

For Griffith, it took a lot of altering.

She went to Valle Del Norte Community Center in Albuquerque, planning to vote for John Kerry. "I pushed his name, but a green check mark appeared before President Bush's name," she said.

Griffith erased the vote by touching the check mark at Bush's name. That's how a voter can alter a touch-screen ballot.

She again tried to vote for Kerry, but the screen again said she had voted for Bush. The third time, the screen agreed that her vote should go to Kerry.

She faced the same problem repeatedly as she filled out the rest of the ballot. On one item, "I had to vote five or six times," she said.

Michael Cadigan, president of the Albuquerque City Council, had a similar experience when he voted at City Hall.

"I cast my vote for president. I voted for Kerry and a check mark for Bush appeared," he said.

He reported the problem immediately and was shown how to alter the ballot.

Cadigan said he doesn't think he made a mistake the first time. "I was extremely careful to accurately touch the button for my choice for president," but the check mark appeared by the wrong name, he said.

Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera said she doesn't believe the touch-screen system has been making mistakes. It's the fault of voters, she said Thursday.

* Some Early Voters Say Machines Mark Incorrect Choices. ABQJournal. October 22, 2004. By Jim Ludwick, Journal Staff Writer

See: Sequoia in the News

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