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Cuyahoga County elections staff probe inaccurate scan test
Associated Press, November 3, 2006

CLEVELAND - Testing on the scanners that will read absentee ballots in the state's most populous county hit a glitch this week, but the elections chief downplayed it Friday, saying any problems will be overcome.

With Cuyahoga County facing its first general election in which all votes will be cast through scannable ballots or touch-screen electronic machines, a problem turned up in one of four routine tests, said Michael Vu, director of the county board of elections.

In each test, a deck of ballots with known results is run through scanners and the known totals are compared with the results from the machines, which are made by North Canton-based Diebold Inc. One of the tests Wednesday didn't match, Vu said.

"What we've tried to do is elevate the testing to simulate Election Day conditions," Vu said. "We try to go through all the scenarios. Three of the four tests ran well."

The problem may be as simple as identifying some scanners which may be too sensitive under certain conditions. Scanners which may be unreliable and need adjusting are then set aside and replaced, he said.

"Hopefully we'll get a green light, once we go through all the tests. At this point it appears we're going to be OK. It's not unusual in the testing that we find an anomaly. Our testing is going over and beyond the normal testing of the past," he said.

Vu expects the county will have to scan between 80,000 and 90,000 absentee ballots.

The elections board is trying to overcome a disastrous May primary that was plagued with problems ranging from slowness in opening the polls to delays in tabulating the vote because absentee ballots were incorrectly formatted and had to be hand counted.

Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland, has more than 1 million registered voters and any delays on election night could delay results in nationally watched races for U.S. Senate and governor.

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