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Election Problem Log - 2004 to 2009
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VotersUnite! began this problem log with the November 2004 election. It continued its compilation of problems reported in the media by adding news stories about subsequent elections, through 2009. See also: Failures by vendor and Failures by state.
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Date Problem Type State
11/13/2009 Machine malfunction VA Diebold Lancaster County. Multiple AccuVote ballot scanners malfunctioned. They didn't process the votes, nor would they print poll tapes. Story Archive
11/12/2009 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Middlebury. One of the AccuVote ballot scanners broke down, forcing poll workers to switch to a replacement machine to continue counting ballots. Story Archive
11/10/2009 Machine malfunction MA Diebold Essex County. Methuen. AccuVote ballot scanner failed to read six ballots. This adds a new twist to the School Committee election saga, where incumbent Kenneth Henrick placed just five votes ahead of his friend and fellow incumbent George Kazanjian. The city clerk says that the machines regularly jam, resulting in a few ballots that go uncounted, but rarely as many as six. Story Archive
11/9/2009 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Miami County. A memory card failed, causing a two-hour delay in retrieving vote totals. Story Archive
11/5/2009 Vote suppression FL Diebold Sarasota County. Kathy Dent, supervisor of elections, discovered in pre-election testing that the Diebold scanners did not scan properly when the ovals were filled in with blue ink. Nevertheless, the instructions for filling out the ballot recommended that voters use "a blue or black pen." Story
11/5/2009 Wrong ballot OH Diebold Stark County. Poll workers mistakenly loaded the wrong electronic ballot into the voting machines, and the incumbent mayoral candidate's name wasn't on the ballot. She received no votes, but will retain the office until 2011 because she was unopposed. Story Archive
11/4/2009 Late counting GA Diebold Fulton County (Atlanta). Memory cards from seven e-voting machines were left in the machines overnight. The roughly 200 votes were counted Wednesday afternoon and did not affect the outcome of any races. Story Archive
11/4/2009 Machine malfunction MI Diebold Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor). Some ballots didn't feed into the M100 scanners property, or weren't being read. In Ann Arbor, for example, in several precincts there was a one-ballot discrepancy between the machine count and the actual number of ballots. Some memory cards appeared to be "wiped clean" and wouldn't upload into the GEMS election management system. Story Archive
11/4/2009 Machine malfunction MS Diebold Adams County (Natchez). Printers on the TSx e-voting machines stalled and ran out of paper. Memory cards got stuck in the machines. Story Archive
11/4/2009 Too few machines OH Diebold Lorain County. Board of Elections Director Jose Candelario underestimated the turnout and seven polling places had too few e-voting machines. 18 additional machines were delivered during the day to reduce the long lines. Story Archive
11/4/2009 Machine malfunction UT Diebold Weber County (Ogden). Automatic ballot feeders in the optical scanners jammed. That malfunction and a software problem that didn't allow both scanners to run at the same time delayed the counting of ballots, taking over 6 hours to count 6,232 ballots. Election workers had to feed the ballots through the machine one at a time. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/3/2009 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. The county experienced malfunctions with encoders, paper jams on optical scanners, and miscalibrations on touch screens e-voting machines. Story Archive

Update 12/15/09. About 137 machines were outside calibration tolerance and had to be pulled from the election. Story

10/27/2009 Wrong ballot WA Diebold Snohomish County. A worker at K & H Printers in Everett entered wrong information into a printer causing the fronts and backs of ballots to get out of sync. The error was found on 112 ballots. Story Archive
10/17/2009 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Sarasota County. In pre-election testing, they county found that the OSX scanners failed to read marks made with blue ink. The county's solution is to watch for ballots with blue ink, reproduce them with black ink and run them through the scanners. But the problem is intermittent. One ballot failed to scan properly, but scanned successfully the second time. The machines were Diebold/Premier AccuVote OSX Digital Scan Tabulator (Hardware Model A) with Firmware 1.0.2 . Story Archive
9/17/2009 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Lucas County. Early voting votes could not be merged with election day votes in the Premier (Diebold) election management system database. After waiting for a Premier technician to "implement a fix," county officials finally merged the voted manually. Elections officials said yesterday the problem was caused by a database glitch that their touch-screen-machine vendor, Premier Election Solutions Inc., of Allen, Texas, assured them would not be a problem. Story Archive
9/3/2009 Machine malfunction WA Diebold King County. County officials noticed that the new Premier scanners failed to read ovals that were lightly filled in or incompletely filled in. Story Archive
5/21/2009 Poor design PA Diebold Armstrong County. Problems with write-ins on the TSx touch screen machines, and problems getting the machines to accept voted ballots were blamed on voters. Story Archive
5/2/2009 Machine malfunction IL Diebold St. Clair County. A "voting machine malfunction caused several hundred ballots to go uncounted" election night. When they were tallied, the results were reversed and the incumbent won the mayoral race. The article doesn't say if the voting machine malfunction was on the AccuVote optical scanner or the electronic voting machine. Story Archive
5/2/2009 Wrong ballot IL Diebold St. Clair County. Ballots missing the mayoral race were handed out to some voters. Story Archive
4/9/2009 Machine malfunction IL Diebold St Clair County. Ward 1 polling place in Whiteside School. The votes were uploaded from both the optical scanner and the TSx touch screen, but the computer didn't count the 407 ballots from the optical scanner. Story Archive
2/18/2009 Machine malfunction WI Diebold Walworth County. A problem with an optical scanner memory card caused a delay in election results reporting Tuesday night for the village of Darien. At the end of the day, another memory card problem prevented poll workers from sending in the results electronically. Story Archive
12/17/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. Because of the five lost votes on a machine in Trotwood, the county did additional double-checking and found another problem. The voter-verifiable paper record, which scrolls inside a canister on the touch screen machine, is supposed to clearly indicate when a voter rejects the ballot before it is cast and makes corrections. But in three cases, that did not occur. Story Archive

VotersUnite followed up with election director Steve Harsman to ask how the flaw was discovered. Harsman said that each valid ballot is accompanied by a unique barcode on the paper record, but three records had no barcode. Checking against the totals, they discovered that those without a barcode had been rejected, but "reject" was not printed on the record as it should have been.

12/12/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. Officials discovered -- through a special hand audit they were conducting on order from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner -- that tabulation software (GEMS) used with touch-screen voting machines in the presidential election failed to count five votes in the city of Trotwood. They discovered that although the five votes were recorded to a memory card inside the voting machine, the votes weren't counted by the tabulation software when the memory card was uploaded to the tabulation server. Story Archive

Update 12/17/2008. The county decided to do an expanded audit. Workers matched electronic results with the machines' paper record. In Trotwood the machine showed 43 people voted, and the paper record showed 48. When the card was put back into its original machine, it re-synced and showed the votes, a procedure that would never occur during a typical count. Diebold (Premier) has no explanation. Story Archive

12/5/2008 Machine malfunction CA Diebold Humboldt County. The election management system (GEMS 1.18.19) deleted the vote data from the first precinct uploaded to the server -- a precinct with 197 ballots. Diebold (Premier) has known about this problem since 2004-- "sometimes when a deck is deleted from the machine due to normal complications, the software also deletes the Deck Zero, which in this case was the vote-by-mail ballots from Precinct 1E-45." The error was discovered by citizens checking the ballot totals through the "transparency project" instituted by Carolyn Crnich, the county Registrar. Story Archive More details
12/2/2008 Registration errors GA Diebold Muscogee County. A database from the Nov. 4 election was duplicated for use in the runoff held on 12/2. It showed people who voted early for the November election as having already voted in the runoff. The problem most likely was caused by a malfunctioning machine called a "duplicator." Story Archive
11/13/2008 Machine malfunction IA Diebold Blackhawk County. A hand recount showed seven less ballots than the optical scanner reported in the Waterloo precinct. In another precinct, 18 valid votes were found on the 19 ballot rejected by the scanner. Story Archive
11/6/2008 Machine malfunction IA Diebold Scott County. Two memory card failure delayed the tabulation of results. The memory cards held the results of 11,627 ballots cast in early voting. Election officials turned to printout tapes of the summary reports to be manually entered into the computer system, but the software required more detailed and time-consuming precinct-by-precinct information to be entered. Story Archive
11/6/2008 E-pollbook VA Diebold Chesapeake. Electronic poll books manufactured by Diebold/Premier helped cause lines as long as 1,000 people on Election Day. Some machines would turn on and then just turn off. Poll workers also had problems hooking them up. Some people waited up to seven hours to vote. Story Archive
11/5/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Hillsborough County. Students at the University of South Florida were still in line to vote at 10:30 p.m., and elections officials said computer problems were causing delays. Among the problems: elections officials had to break up early voting results into smaller pieces to prevent crashing the computer system, and about 150 optical scanners had trouble transmitting results and had to be manually taken to the elections office. Story Archive

More problems with vote tabulation for 13 early voting machines and problems accessing votes at two outstanding precincts. Story2 Archive2 Story3 Archive3 Story4 Archive4

Update 11/6/08. Tabulation is still not done. Elections workers began re-entering nearly 80,000 two-page ballots into the machines Thursday morning. Two state senators are calling on Governor Charlie Crist to get involved in Hillsborough Countyís election. County Supervisor of Elections Johnson blames Premier, the company that makes the optical scan machines. But Premier is blaming the elections office for trying to upload too many votes at once, and for mixing early voting and Election Day ballots. Story Archive

11/5/2008 Machine malfunction IN Diebold Tippecanoe County. One of the memory cards holding early votes from the touch screen machine did not upload properly. Story Archive
11/5/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Miami County. A memory card failed, halting the scanning of ballots and leaving the officials with 10 boxes of ballots that had to be rescanned. Extra scanners from Diebold/Premier had to be brought in to complete the tabulating. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Torrington in Litchfield County. Diebold optical scanners wouldn't read the memory cards required to scan the ballots. Prepared for this problem, officials had back up cards ready at every precinct. [Kudos to them!] Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Manatee County. When officials attempt to upload the vote data from memory cards into the central tabulator, they get an error message that prevents them from tallying the votes. About 2/3 of the county's ballots are affected. Officials say this has not happened before. Story Archive

Update 11/5/08. As many as 50,000 ballots are not yet counted. The results of the election could be delayed in several races, including Palmetto mayor and commission seats, a Bradenton Beach commission seat and in the multi-county races for Florida House District 69 and the public defenderís post. Story Archive

Update 11/5/08. Diebold/Premier eventually figured out the problem was caused by the software's inability to handle a candidate dropping out of a small race for fire commissioner after the computer program was written. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Update 11/6/08. A simple change in one Manatee County race, where a candidate dropped out last week, caused the Premier software program known as GEMS to lock up. That prevented the counting of 46,000 ballots on Tuesday night, Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat said. Story3 Archive3

11/4/2008 Machine malfunction GA Diebold Fulton County (Atlanta). In South Fulton County, all voting machines at the Bible Way Ministries precinct went down for about an hour and then the polling place ran out of printed ballots and paper provisional ballots. The voting machines were working again an hour later. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction MD Diebold Prince George County. Voters had to wait up to four hours when only two of the six touch screen voting machines were in operation at Towers of Westchester Park Building in College Park. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Too few machines MD Diebold Prince George County. Four hours was the waiting time at the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center in Hyattsville, as two machines were not enough to accommodate the massive turn out of seniors in that neighborhood. Too few machines at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville also contributed to a four-hour wait. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Stark County. Some touch screen machines didn't print the voter-verifiable paper record and were taken out of service. Others were broken down (apparently paper jams). Poll workers handed out paper ballots, but failed to give some voters both pages of the ballot. Some voters deposited the first page and do not get another chance to vote the second page. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction PA Diebold Northumberland County. Early Tuesday, at about 7:30 a.m., poll workers discovered that voters who cast a straight-party ticket on the paperless electronic voting machine could not see a summary of the candidates they voted for on the review screen. The machines were impounded. Story Archive Story2
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction TN Diebold Shelby County. The Barlett municipal ballot did not load onto the machines in some polling places, preventing many Barlett voters from being able to vote in the city election. Story Archive
10/29/2008 Machine malfunction CO Diebold Adams County. Vote-flipping from Democratic state Senate candidate to her Republican opponent on the Diebold/Premier touch screen voting machine. After this happened three times, she was allowed to vote on another machine. The machine has been quarantined. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
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