Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 12/31/04)

Vanderburgh County, Indiana. November, 2004. ES&S.
Phantom votes appear in the electronic totals ... and other troubles.

At several polling places, the paperless iVotronic voting machines recorded phantom ballots, that is, more ballots than the number of voters signing in to vote. At others, there were fewer ballots than voters.*

Workers in the Election Office are doing a precinct-by-precinct study of votes cast compared to signatures. Most of the county's 139 precincts have been checked. Workers are paying particular attention to precincts where the discrepancy of votes and signatures is more than 10.

At the Knight 1 precinct in eastern Vanderburgh County, there were 25 more votes than the poll book said there should have been, while at the Center 14 precinct, there were 12 fewer votes than signatures.

County Clerk Marsha Abell attributed the missing and phantom ballots to voters and/or poll workers, but not the machines.

She said that because of those long lines, there were instances of voters signing in but then leaving before voting. In other cases, voter confusion about a final step in the electronic voting process caused some votes to be canceled, Abell said.

... There were instances of voters walking away before going through that final step, Abell said. And other voters, Abell said, may have managed to vote without first signing the poll books.

Attributing the phantoms to the poll workers would sound more plausible if Vanderburgh County hadn't had so many machine malfunctions during the election, some of which the County Clerk, again, blamed on poll workers.

County Clerk Marsha Abell blamed poll workers for causing dozens of voting machines to freeze during this, their first general election.

Polling locations at Dexter and Tekoppel elementary schools and the VFW Hall all had trouble early in the day. Voters stood in more than two-hour lines while technicians scurried to repair or replace the machines.

Voting at Dexter Elementary came almost to a complete standstill when three of the four machines crashed.**

The vote-counting process also was delayed when a power cord malfunctioned.***

However, there are some in the county who realize the machines just might be flawed.

County Commissioners President Catherine Fanello said she still wants an independent audit.

... "I really think it's imperative to make sure the equipment is working properly for $2.9 million," Fanello said.

* Election results don't add up: Review shows discrepancies in voting. Evansville Courier & Press. November 23, 2004. By John Martin.

** Voting machine troubles cause long lines: Abell blames untrained poll workers for troubles. Courier & Press. November 2, 2004. By Philip Elliott.

*** Voting machine service called poor. Courier & Press. November 11, 2004. By John Martin.

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