Voting Machine Mess-up

Burke County, North Carolina. November, 2004. Unilect.
Electronic voting machines register 11% blank presidential votes.

Fewer than nine in ten voters had votes for president recorded on the Unilect Patriot voting machines used on election day.*

Burke County voters cast 34,604 ballots, but only 30,762 votes for president were recorded. Less than 89 percent of the voters recorded a presidential preference. Election experts say any time 2 percent or more of ballots cast in a major race fail to record a vote, those numbers should be investigated.

The undervote rate for paper provisional ballots was about half as high.**

Justin Moore, a doctoral candidate in computer science at Duke University who has been advising the elections committee, highlighted that among provisional ballot voters, who used a paper ballot, fewer than 5 percent left the presidential vote blank. The rate was nearly 11 percent among those using the Unilect brand electronic voting machines.

County election officials argue that voters were confused by the fact that a straight-party vote does not include president, but ...

Moore said confusion over the presidential race doesn't explain it all. A higher-than-average percentage of Burke voters also didn't vote for senator or governor and other statewide races. Burke's provisional ballot voters, who used paper, had a much lower rate of skipping those races than voters who used the machines.

"For all the races," Moore said, "the undervote among provisional voters was about half of what it was on the machines."

Since there are no paper ballots, there is no way to check the accuracy of the machine count.

* Election study finds widespread ballot-counting problems. Scripps Howard News Service. December 20, 2004. By Thomas Hargrove.

** Unusual percentage of Burke voters didn't pick a presidential candidate. Charlotte Enquirer. January 15, 2005. By Mark Johnson.

See: Unilect 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