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Voting problems reported in NJ
By Dave Evans (New Jersey - WABC, November 7, 2006)

The US Attorney for New Jersey has dispatched investigators to run down complaints of voting machine problems which are preventing voters from casting ballots for GOP Senate hopeful Tom Kean, Jr.

The counsel for the NJ Republican State Committee, Mark Sheridan, says he has four sworn affidavits and has received more than two dozen calls alleging that some of New Jersey's electronic voting machines were either "pre-voted" for Democratic incumbant Bob Menendez, or were otherwise inoperable when voters sought to cast votes for Kean.

Sheridan says complaints had come in from five NJ counties, some of the polling places affected are in Passaic, Paterson, Scotch Plains and North Bergen, though Sheridan refused to be more specific, citing a fear of depressing voter turnout in the affected locations.  

Sheridan called the complaints a "disturbing" trend and threatened court action if election officials were unable to correct the problem and prevent its recurrence.

Sheridan said he'd received complaints of problems at more than seven locations affecting multiple voters at multiple and identical locations.

One problem, says Sheridan, is that voters apparently don't realize that in order to de a vote for a candidate on the new machines, they need to touch the icon for that candidate, and then touch the screen again to the icon of the candidate for which they want to cast a vote.

Even so, Sheridan says that does not explain how the Menendez icon was ed on the affected machines, even before the voters attempted to use the machines to cast their ballots.

Voters do need to affirmatively lock in their votes on the machines before they reset, and there is a possibility that some voters aren't doing that, which could account for the problem, at least in some cases. However, Sheridan points out that if that were the case here, all of the icons for which a voter had cast ballots would be lit and the problem seems to be that only the Menendez icon remains ed.

Sheridan says there is no provision which would allow a poll worker to void an erroneously cast vote.

The counties in which machine problems have been reported include Middlesex, Hudson, Camden, Passaic and Union Counties.

Sheridan says the machines mentioned in the complaints are all Sequoia voting machines.

All four voters who swore out affidavits allege they voted for Menendez when they intended to vote for Kean.

The problems were first reported starting at about 7 a.m.


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