Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Review shows poll workers got little training

Sunday, March 14, 2004
 (03-14) 10:56 PST ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)

Poll workers using a new electronic system in an election that left masses of people voting in the wrong precincts received only a few minutes of hands-on training and weren't prepared to handle glitches.

Some voters voted more than once in the March 2 primary, while others left the polls without voting at all. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that 7,000 people were given incorrect ballots. A smaller sampling by the Orange County Register found that at least 1,281 people at 19 polling places received incorrect ballots.

Volunteers interviewed by The Orange County Register said they got about three hours of lectures on the new devices, but only about 10 minutes to practice with the machines.

Orange County Registrar of Voters Steve Rodermund acknowledged the problems but would not say whether any races were affected.

"What everyone I hope understands is this was the first time we brought this voting system out," Rodermund said, referring to the $26 million system. "We're going to be able to rectify and correct any of the issues in this election to make sure they don't happen in November."

Rodermund said the counting will be finished and the election certified by March 30.

The errors did not appear to be attributable to the machines, designed by Hart InterCivic of Austin, Texas, but rather with their operation by volunteers. Many volunteers were retired and had little experience in the high-tech world.

"Half the people were not able to operate (them)," said precinct inspector William Fitzgerald, 60, of Anaheim. "My clerk-judge went through the class three times and the poor guy still struggled with it."

Orange County was the only county in California to use the paperless Hart voting system, featuring cyber-ballots and computer screens.

"Many of us left the sessions exhausted, confused and with more questions than answers," said volunteer and former Democratic Party leader Howard Adler, 60, of Laguna Beach. "The next time we saw the machines was Election Day."

The training was designed by Hart and taught by Maximus Inc., a Reston, Va., government-services firm hired by the county. More than 7,000 volunteers were trained over four to six weeks.

Officials from Hart InterCivic said training suffered because volunteers swamped the classes that were closer to the election rather than taking earlier sessions. Also, California's recall took about two months of preparation time away from Orange County's new system and many election workers were first timers who had to learn basic polling instruction as well as operation of the new devices.

Information from: The Orange County Register

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!