Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Software glitch led to precinct, vote uncertainty in SB County  (CA)

DARRELL R. SANTSCHI and CINDY MARTINEZ RHODES  The Press Enterprise   05 June 2008

A computer glitch in the San Bernardino County registrar of voters' ballot-counting system sent some losing candidates in Tuesday night's election to bed thinking more precincts were left to be heard from when, in fact, all the votes were in and counted.

In Colton, supporters of Mel Albiso woke up Wednesday morning and saw what they thought was fuzzy math in the vote totals for the recall campaign against Mayor Kelly Chastain. She fought off a recall by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

"A few people have called me today" that the precinct totals didn't add up, Albiso said. "I thought it was odd when I saw it last night, but I'm not the typical career politician. I just went home and went to sleep. But they said it didn't look right."

San Bernardino County voter Registrar Kari Verjil said the glitch is embedded in computer vote-counting software provided by Sequoia Voting Systems, the Denver-based contractor that serves many counties in California.

She emphasized that the tally of votes in Tuesday's election was accurate throughout the vote-counting process, but the glitch failed to the number of precincts reported to include precincts where all of the ballots were cast by mail.

Those precincts, including 11 of Colton's 30 precincts and two of Loma Linda's 13, do not have polling places because they have no more than 250 registered voters living there.

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with the vote totals," Verjil said. "There were some small precincts where voters receive ballots by mail, but those totals were included in the first count."

James Hakala, the registrar's business applications manager, said San Bernardino County officials discovered the glitch last year and told Sequoia about it. He contended that the process of fixing the glitch and gaining approval for new software from the California secretary of state will take time.

In Riverside County, which also contracts with Sequoia, Assistant Registrar Doug Kinzle said county workers adjusted the software to correct the precinct-counting glitch.

Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer said other counties in California use this program, but only San Bernardino reported problems.

"This is a reporting issue on how the reports are produced," Shafer said. "It has absolutely nothing to do with vote totals or tabulations.

"We are working with our customer to get to the bottom of this. We want to make sure we can avoid this type of issue for November," she said.

Verjil said San Bernardino County's voting machines read the votes and precinct numbers on ballots cast by voters at polling places, but do not read the precinct numbers on mail-in ballots.

She said her workers did not know which mail-in precincts had been counted as it released absentee-ballot counts about 8:30 p.m. and when a later vote tally was published on the registrar's Web site at about 11 p.m. Tuesday.

In the Colton recall election and a Loma Linda City Council race, two of the smallest voter totals on ballots in the county, the 11 p.m. vote totals were the same as they were Wednesday morning when final, unofficial totals were released. Verjil said that was because all of the precincts, including mail-in precincts, had been accounted for in the 11 p.m. tally.

She acknowledged that county officials had not informed voters and candidates of the glitch and said she will consider whether and how to label results on the registrar's Web site to account for the incomplete precinct tally in future elections.

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!