Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Programming glitch affects state ballots   (WV)

Rusty Marks   West Virginia Gazette   15 October 2008

A programming glitch is forcing election officials in Kanawha and 18 other counties to retest their optical scanning voting machines on the eve of the general election.

Early voting begins today for the 2008 election. But Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick said a programming error in the state's automated voting machines could have resulted in incorrect results for at least one state race.

According to McCormick, voters who voted a straight Republican ticket but then decided to vote for only one Democrat in the state Supreme Court race would have had their votes incorrectly counted. Two Democrats and one Republican are vying for two open seats on the court.

A voter voting a straight Republican ticket who wanted to vote for both Democrats would have had their vote counted correctly, but someone who wanted to vote for only a single Democrat and no Republican would have votes recorded for both candidates, McCormick said.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said a clerk in Hampshire County discovered the error late last week and informed the secretary of state's office. State election officials contacted the vendor who did the programming for the voting machines to correct the mistake.

Kanawha and the other 18 counties that use optical scanners for early voting got new memory cards just in time for the start of early voting, which begins today. Kanawha County election officials called an emergency meeting to retest their voting machines with the new cards on Tuesday.

Carper said the mistake was made by the vendor, Election Systems & Software Inc. in Nebraska. State and county election officials repeatedly have had problems with ES&S missing deadlines and making mistakes on voting materials.

Kanawha County first used the optical scanning voting system in the 2006 election, but the touch-screen machines had their fair share of teething problems. ES&S was late in delivering programming materials for the machines, causing county election officials to miss testing required by state law, delaying the use of the machines for early voters and denying handicapped voters a chance to use the machines.

Carper wrote Gary Greenhalgh, ES&S vice president of sales, on April 18, April 24 and May 2, 2006, complaining about the company's failure to meet state and county deadlines.

On May 10, he filed a formal complaint with Secretary of State Betty Ireland asking for a complete audit of the company and its contract.

"I'm getting ready to do it again," Carper said Tuesday.

Greenhalgh is no longer with ES&S, a woman answering the telephone at the company's Nebraska headquarters said.

Kanawha County received new memory cards for only 16 voting machines that will be used for early voting. ES&S is supposed to supply new cards for the county's other 164 voting machines before Election Day.

Carper is unhappy with the voting glitch. "The problem is this is the day before the election starts," he said. "This does not instill confidence in the voting system.

"I think it's time for the secretary of state to put the vendor they ed on a short leash."

McCormick said the mistake has been fixed and that voters should not worry about having their ballots miscounted. "They shouldn't get discouraged," she said. "That's why we're testing."

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!