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Report: Voting errors caused by two factors    (OH)

Dave Greber    Middletown Journal    17 May 2008

HAMILTON Mistakes encountered during the Butler County primary election essentially boiled down to a combination of human and machine error, according to a report issued Friday, May 16.

Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions, which provides electronic voting machines to Butler and 55 Ohio counties, issued the report after officials found two errors during ballot-counting nearly three months ago.

The errors which happened on special servers used exclusively for ballot-counting were caught by Butler County Board of Elections personnel and did not affect the election outcome, according to officials.

Company spokesman Chris Riggall said the company has been free of similar reports across the country.

The report does not provide a definitive answer to exactly why the issues occurred, but narrows down two possible problems: Software used for counting votes conflicted with virus software, and local elections officials did not understand error messages that happened as a result.

Butler County has been using the touch-screen method since 2005, and until March, reported no problems, elections director Betty McGary said.

McGary said Friday the elections board would review the report and issue a statement next week.

Riggall said there would be no chance of the errors being fixed by the general election in November, mostly because the new software would need to be approved by federal and state governments, which could take several months.

However, Premier will issue special instructions regarding virus software and information about error messages to entities using their machines in the event more problems occur, Riggall said.


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