Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 12/23/04)

Mercer County, Pennsylvania. November, 2004. Unilect.
Touch screens malfunction after successful testing.

Many problems plagued the Unilect Patriot touch screens in Mercer County.*

Mercer County's director of elections said it was a computer software glitch that caused touch-screen voting machines to malfunction in about a dozen precincts Tuesday. ...

"I don't know what happened," said James Bennington, who had been assured Friday that all 250 of the county's touch-screen units had been checked and rechecked. The county has 100 voting precincts.

Keith Jenkins, director of the county's computer department, agreed that it was a software malfunction and said repeated calls to UniLect Corp., the company that sold the machines to the county in 2001, failed to resolve the problem.

Mercer County commissioners, doubling as the county election board, vowed to investigate, noting the probe was started immediately to find out what happened, why it happened and how it can be prevented from happening again. ...

Precincts in Hermitage, Farrell, Wheatland, West Middlesex, Shenango Township and Sharon experienced the most serious machine difficulties, some from the moment the polls opened at 7 a.m. Some machines never operated, some offered only black screens and some required voters to vote backwards, starting on the last page of the touch-screen system and working back to the front page.

* Errors plague voting process in Ohio, Pa. Vindicator. November 3, 2004. Vindicator staff.
* Back up! We need back up! November 11, 2004. By Brian Gottstein.

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