Voting Machine Mess-up

Snohomish County, Washington. November, 2002. Sequoia.
Optical scanners failed to read 25% of the votes.

Optech 4C-400 optical scanners failed to read 21,000 votes on absentee ballots because two lights that read the ballots were worn out.

When the lights wear out, Sequoia determined, they stop reading some types of ink.

... Snohomish County was the first jurisdiction to catch the problem, said Sheree Noell, a sales executive for Sequoia.

The problem came to light this winter when the Snohomish County Republican Party pointed out that up to 25 percent fewer votes than voters were counted in some county legislative races. Two recounts showed more than 21,000 votes were missed in the county's legislative races alone, although none of the corrected counts changed the election results.

The Snohomish County Auditor's Office called Sequoia to analyze the machines.

How long had the scanners been failing to detect votes?

"It's just something that we've been observing, and we've been thinking for a while that the undercounts were getting too high," said Frauna Hoglund, chairwoman of the Snohomish County GOP.

* County's voting troubles spur changes nationwide. Seattle Times. January 29, 2003 by Emily Heffter, Times Snohomish County bureau.

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