Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Fidlar admits election blip
By Tory Brecht   Quad City Times   13 November 2004

Post-election confusion in a rural Indiana county is being blamed on a programming error by employees of Fidlar Election Co., a Rock Island vendor that supplies optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines to several Midwestern states.

On Nov. 3, Franklin County Republicans were celebrating a clean sweep of elected positions ranging from the county council to U.S. president.  In the days following, however, keen-eyed Democrats noted an unusually large number of votes for Libertarian party candidates ? around 8 percent in that county compared to under 2 percent statewide ?  prompting a call for a canvass.

The optical-scan voting machines used in Franklin County ? in the southeastern corner of Indiana known as ?Little Appalachia? ? mistakenly awarded straight Democratic party ticket votes to Libertarian candidates, said Marlene Flaspohler, the county clerk who oversees elections.

Fidlar officials went to Franklin County on Wednesday to assist in a recount and told Flaspohler a programming error was the culprit. After adjusting the program, the ballots were run again, and more than 600 votes that previously went to Libertarians were added to Democratic tallies, she said. A manual hand recount confirmed the results, Flaspohler added.

The recount pushed Democrat Carroll Lanning from fifth to third in the three-seat commissioners race, bumping Republican Roy Hall off the council and preventing a clean GOP sweep of the county.

Bill Barrett, national sales manager for Fidlar, said the Franklin County problem does not call into question any results in Wisconsin and Michigan, where the company also supplies optical-scan voting machines. Fidlar territory for voting stations includes Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The company supplies Diebold optical-scan and touch-screen machines.

?That was an isolated incident in a single jurisdiction,? Barrett said in a telephone interview from Detroit. Fidlar management officials in the Rock Island office would not comment.

Flaspohler said Fidlar officials told her Franklin County was the only one of nine in Indiana where a vote-counting error occurred.

This was the first year Franklin County has gone with optical-scan machines, and Flaspohler remained a little skittish about their reliability.

?I don?t know at this point if we?ll use them again,? she said.

Despite one of his candidates first winning, then losing, Franklin County Republican Party chairman Bob Jewell said he still likes the optical-scan system.

?I had so many voters that told me they loved the way the voting system worked and I did, too,? he said. ?We were told it was human error, a programming problem, and they will investigate what happened. We just want to make sure if we use these machines again next election, that there are no mistakes.?

Elections are big business for Fidlar, bringing in revenue between $9 million and $10 million in a presidential year. The company has a permanent work force of 30 people which swelled to 50 this fall using temporary employees.

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!