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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
10/22/2008 Machine malfunction UT Diebold Washington County. Diebold/Premier touch screens weren't working. Voters were given paper ballots until the machines were repaired within a couple of hours. Story Archive
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction TN ESS Davidson County (Nashville). Vote-flipping on the iVotronic paperless voting machine. Patricia Earnhardt pressed the button for Obama multiple times, yet it didn't highlight. She called the poll worker over who did the same thing. The third time the poll worker pressed the button, the box beside Cynthia McKinney lit up -- several rows down. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction TX ESS Dallas. A new type of vote-flipping in the straight-party function on the iVotronic touch screen machine. A voter voted straight-party, then attempted to deselect two of the judges in that party. When he deselected one candidate, the machine erroneously marked the opposing candidate. Story Archive
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction TX ESS Palo Pinto County. Vote-flipping on the iVotronic touch screen machine. A voter reported to VotersUnite that her straight Democratic ticket to a straight Republican ticket TWICE "right before my eyes!" The articles tell more and mention other voters with the same complaint. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/21/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Ohio County. Vote-flipping on the presidential contest, on the iVotronic touch screen machines, in addition to Putnam and Jackson Counties. Story Archive
10/20/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Duval County. (Jacksonville.) 7 of 15 OSX ballot-reading machines used for early voting would not read ballots, indicating the ballots were too long -- and causing long lines. Officials say they tested the machines and that the ballots are the standard size - 17 inches. Officials say Diebold needs to correct the problem. Long The problem continued the following day, with scanners refusing to read ballots (see Story 2). Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Leon County. The same problem is occurring here and other places in the state where the OSX is used. Story Archive Story2

Update 10/21/08. Officials are saying the machines' tolerance for improperly loaded ballots is too low. Story Archive

10/20/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Flagler County. New scanners are unable to read some ballots. Officials think they are too sensitive to variations in the physical length of the ballot. (Same problem as in Duval and Leon Counties.) Story Archive
10/20/2008 Machine malfunction TX Hart InterCivic Harris County (Houston). Vote-flipping on the eSlate. Some voters voted straight-ticket Democrat then discovered that the electronic voting machines indicated they had voted for John McCain in the presidential contest. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/18/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Jackson County. Vote-flipping on the iVotronic touch screen. At least three voters saw their Democratic votes flipped to Republican on the screen. Story Archive
10/18/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Putnam County. Vote-flipping from Democrat to Republican on the iVotronic e-voting machines. Six voters saw their votes changed on the screen. Story Archive

More vote flipping in this county from Democratic candidates (President and Governor) to Republican. In addition, one voter saw his vote flip from Jay Rockefeller to Jay Wolfe, and the name of Wolfe printed on the voter's individual printout. It took him several more tries to get Rockefeller to be selected on the screen and the printout. ES&S could not be reached for comment. Story Archive

10/13/2008 Machine malfunction WV ES&S ES&S provided flawed ballot programming to 19 counties in WV with respect to straight-party votes. 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, Story Archive
10/10/2008 Machine malfunction LA Sequoia Vermilion Parish. A programming error caused two paperless AVC Advantage electronic voting machines to fail to count votes for seven hours. Officials seem unconcerned. "Officials say even with the missing votes, the results would have been the same." Story Story2 Archive2
9/10/2008 Machine malfunction DC Sequoia The web site reported "an extremely high number of write-in votes recorded in the early results: something like 1,500 write-ins in the Ward 2 Dem race, slightly fewer in the At-large GOP race, and around 1,000 in the Shadow Senator Dem race, too. All of those numbers have since been revised down. The DCBOEE sent around what looked like revised results early this morning, although they still say 142 out of 143 precincts reporting. Ward 2 now shows only 14 write-in votes, the GOP At-large race has 18, and the Dem Shadow Senator contest has 404."

After a closed door investigation, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics "determined that one defective cartridge caused vote totals to be duplicated into multiple races on the summary report." They called it a "vote-reading error." Many questions remain. Sequoia is investigating. (DC uses Optech 3P Eagle scanners and Edge e-voting machines.) Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Q&A to a Board Member Q&A Archive

Update 9/12/08. "Industry specialists" don't believe a single defective cartridge could add thousands of write-in votes to multiple races across party lines. Sequoia suggests, instead, that it was static discharge or human error. Q&A to a Board Member Q&A Archive

Update 9/17/08. The cause of thousands of phantom write-in votes remains unexplained. The "defective cartridge" theory appears to have been wrong. Dan Murphy, elections board spokesman said that workers ran the same cartridges through the same program but arrived at three different results. The last set, he said, was correct, and that the rationale for that decision would be explained in their report. A hand-count of paper ballots from four randomly chosen precincts showed that none of them matched the machine tallies. "In Precinct 21, which is in Ward 2, the results for 19 of 70 candidates that appeared on the ballot were off by one or two votes." Sequoia has been subpoenaed for a hearing to be held Oct. 3. Story Archive

Update 10/2/08. Four (of 144) precincts were hand-counted. Discrepancies between the optical scanner count and the manual count occurred in multiple races in all four. Report pdf

9/10/2008 Machine malfunction MA ESS New Bedford. AutoMark ballot-marking machines "won't work" with Republican ballots, even though all ballots were printed by the same printer. Story Archive
9/5/2008 Machine malfunction MI ESS Plymouth Township in Wayne County. M100 optical scanners in the precincts. The original total was 1,920 votes for Bridgman to 1,770 votes for Prchlik in the Township Clerk contest. Prchlik requested a recount. The hand recount yielded results of 1,885 to 1,727 -- a loss of 78 votes. Two of the four precincts could not be recounted according to state law, since the number of ballots did not match the voters signed in. So, the 78-vote decrease occurred in only two of the precincts (presumably about half the total votes). Canvassers upheld the result. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
9/4/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. As required by Florida law, the Supervisor of Elections conducted a three-hour manual spot-check of results from 16 of the public defender race's 779 precincts, or about 2 percent. "Of the 16 chosen precincts — picked by drawing pieces of paper from a box — nine mirrored machine results while the other seven resembled original results by 95 percent or more." Thus in about 1% of the precincts, with just one race checked, the machine count was wrong by as much as 5%. Story Archive
8/31/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. A 17 vote margin favoring Abramson for Circuit Judge, out of 102,500 ballots cast, triggered a rescan of the ballots. The rescan showed only about 99,000 ballots cast, and the totals for the Circuit Judge contest dropped from about 90,700 to 87,800 votes. The rescan reversed the outcome, showing a 60 vote lead for Wennet. Abraham intends to file a lawsuit, since 3400 ballots "evaporated". Story Archive
Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson suggested the drop in votes could be due to scanners' sensitivity being different. But that doesn't explain why they were 3,400 fewer ballots scanned in the rescan. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Update 9/4/08. After counting all ballots by hand, the county found 2,700 of the 3,400 missing ballots. The county intends to do a "more formal" count. Archive

Update 9/4/08. A welcome report that 2,700 of the 3,478 missing ballots had been found on Thursday was replaced with the grim news that workers had recovered only 957 ballots. Outcomes of other contests are now being questioned. Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Story3 Archive3

Update 9/5/08. The search for the missing ballots continues, with county employees searched polling locations, and elections staffers continuing to inspect their records. A check of voter registration logs from the polls is under way. So far voter totals look to be closer to the original ballot count after last Tuesday's election. A machine count of the ballots Thursday night (Sept 4) turned up nearly 3,000 fewer ballots than the original vote total after the election-- almost 500 fewer than a hand count earlier in the day. Canvassing board appears to have given up. "We can't count any more," said County Commissioner McCarty.
Wennet (hand-count winner) is pressing to certify the hand count. Abramson (election-night winner) is pressing to certify the original results. Story Archive Story2 Archive2.
Many more stories on this debacle. Update 9/12/08 AM. County officials believe they have found the missing ballots "in the county's vote-tabulating center near West Palm Beach." Story Archive

Update 9/12/08 PM. New troubles. Now there are more ballots than were counted on election night. 110 ballots recorded on a cartridge from one election day precinct weren't included in the intial count or the recount. And 139 more were found in the elections office. So, the county found a total of 249 more than were counted in either count. Story Archive

Update 10/2/08. Wennet's team did a machine recount of 262 previously rejected ballots. When the 262 ballots were fed through two tabulators used during the recounts, they rejected different numbers of ballots. All of them should have been rejected. "On the first two tests of 160 ballots, the machines accepted three ballots as good votes. On tests on 102 more ballots that should have been rejected, the machines first accepted 13 ballots as good votes and then 90 on a second run." Story Archive Story Archive

Update: 10/7/08Excellent summary of events with new information about the scanners' inconsistencies discovered during testing.

8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Brevard County. Touch screen machines in 50 precincts fail to transmit results to the central office by modem. This problem has occurred in previous elections. Story Archive
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Pinellas County. 12 scanners (new DS200) had to be replaced, according to county elections spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock. Some experienced paper jams, she said, and on some the screens froze. Story Archive
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Pasco County. Five DS200 scanners broke down. Eighteen weren't able to transmit results via modem. "poll workers had to pull out the thumb drive and take it to the elections office — although in one case it took three trips, because of confusion over who had the thumb drive." Story Archive
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Hillsborough County. An hour after the polls closed in Hillsborough, Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson told reporters that his optical scan vote counting system had developed a computer problem that was preventing it from posting the tallies electronically — and he blamed Premier Voting Solutions. "I haven't been able to get a straight answer from Premier, but I will by the end of the night," he said. "I expect them to fix this issue. We've paid a lot of money." Story Archive
Premier/Diebold admitted it was a problem with the equipment -- an incompatibility between the precinct scanners and the scanners used to tabulate absentee ballots. Story Archive Archive2 Archive3
8/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Sarasota County. When workers tried to count absentee ballots on election night, the optical scan machines would not communicate with the server. So more than 10,000 absentee ballots had to be hand-counted. "We could not get the absentee ballots totals to upload into the main server to combine all of the totals together for absentee early voting," says Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent. So workers had to count them individually. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
8/25/2008 Machine malfunction MI ESS Plymouth Township in Wayne County. The battery on a memory card in one precinct failed, forcing those votes to be recounted. There are four precints in the township; this means 25% of the memory cards failed. Story2 Archive2
8/12/2008 Machine malfunction CO Diebold El Paso County. At the Holmes Middle School's Polls, 2455 Mesa Rd, Colorado Springs, in Precinct's 147, 197, and 250 when the Judges were doing the closing tallies on the Diebold Touch Screen TSx, the unit locked-up when the supervisors card was inserted. The screen read "NOT AUTHORIZED", and election judges could not print a tape of the tallies to post on the entrance door as required by law/code. Further, they were not able to balance the voter record books that all the judges have to verify & sign. When the supervisor called the election clerk's office for what to do, they were told to just pack-up the Diebold TSx and bring it to drop-off point as this was happening with many of the units around the county. Reported by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A., President, Equal Justice Foundation
8/12/2008 Machine malfunction FL Palm Beach County. Early voting was plagued Monday by a sluggish state computer system used to verify voters' identities. At some voting sites in Palm Beach County, delays were nearly an hour and so severe that poll workers warned prospective voters it might be easier for them to return to vote another day. Officials say the problem was resolved Monday night. Story Archive
8/5/2008 Machine malfunction MO Sequoia Greene County. The accessibility features of the Sequoia Edge e-voting machine failed to work, preventing a blind woman from being able to vote independently as required by HAVA. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
6/27/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. About 700 votes for three precincts (14% of the total votes) weren't counted on election night after Tuesday's special city commission election. According to elections office spokeswoman Kathy Adams, the cartridges from those precincts hadn't been counted on election night when all the cartridges were brought to a tabulation center to be "read" by vote-counting machines. She said the office didn't know why the cartridges weren't read properly the first time. She said it was possible that one reader wasn't working properly and that all three cartridges were read by that reader. Story Archive
Update June 18. Recounting the cartridges added 707 votes, but did not change any outcomes. Story2 Archive2
6/5/2008 Machine malfunction CA Sequoia San Bernadino County. The vote-counting software in the central tabulator counts precincts incorrectly. Sequoia has known about the defect for at least a year, but has not yet corrected it. Riverside County's registrar also has known about the problem and has developed workarounds to deal with it. Story Archive
6/5/2008 Machine malfunction CA Diebold Santa Cruz County. Three touch screen e-voting machines broke down and had to be replaced. Story Archive
6/5/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Monmouth County. The computer in Middletown malfunctioned and wouldn't read the results cartridges from the AVC Advantage e-voting machines. The cartridges were transported to the office in Freehold. Story Archive
6/4/2008 Machine malfunction CA ESS Los Angeles County. Four of twelve votes (33% error rate) were printed on the ballot incorrectly by the InkaVote Plus ballot-marking device, intended for use by people who are blind. In addition, the other InkaVote Plus at the polling place was not working, and one of the scanners was inoperable all day. Neither machine was replaced or repaired. Story1 Story2
6/4/2008 Machine malfunction NM ESS Curry County. After discovering suspect results, election officials know there is a problem in the tabulation software, but they don't know what it is. Software technicians will take the device that reads memory cards back to their company to evaluate. Story Archive

Update: A software glitch, [County Election Manager Coni Jo ] Lyman said, caused precinct totals in an early voting location to be counted more than once. The problem with a memory card used to store results was difficult to identify, Lyman said, because not every precinct total doubled. “One of the early voting locations, it has put sporadic precincts in twice,” Lyman said. “It would accept results, but said it didn’t scan. You would re-scan, and it would accept that too.” Story2 Archive2

5/30/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold New Milford & Gaylordsville. A memory card malfunctioned in New Milford. The nearest replacement card was three hours away, so the 426 optical scan ballots were hand counted. In Gaylordsville, the new optical scanner wouldn't accept ballots. Rebooting corrected the problem. Story Archive
5/30/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, who discovered the Sequoia Advantage vote discrepancies during the primary election, has now found that the Sequoia system won't report votes for Carlos Cedeño, a freeholder candidate. At first Sequoia said it was because of the tilde in his name. Then, when the county tried entering it without the tilde and it still didn't work, they said it was because his candidate number was 999. Story Archive
5/24/2008 Machine malfunction AR ESS Faulkner County. Votes cast in the Constable contest were reported for candidates in the District 45 contest. The commission feels confident, by looking at the end-of-day paper record, that the votes have now been reassigned correctly. Correcting the count changed the outcome of the Constable contest. The county uses iVotronic e-voting machines and a central count scanner. Story Archive

Update 5/29/08. The "voter-verifiable paper trail" did NOT match the electronic count. The District 45 race (the first race on the paper ballot - pdf) was missing from the screen ballots on the East Cadron B voting precinct. Paper ballots were provided for that race in that precinct prior to the election. But the machines recorded Constable votes for the District 45.

"We assumed, erroneously, that it would not record that race since it was not on the ballot," [Faulkner County Election Commissioner Bruce Haggard ] said, adding that the votes for the constable race were later found to have recorded accurately on the voter-verifiable paper trail and therefore would not have appeared erroneous to voters either. Story Archive Story2

5/22/2008 Machine malfunction KY Hart Bullitt County. eSlate e-voting machines, used by voters with disabilities and others, "had trouble reading memory cards." Story Archive
5/21/2008 Machine malfunction AR ESS White County. When early voting data was uploaded from the iVotronic touch screen to the Unity election management system, the system doubled them. The problem was detected when one candidate noticed that the totals in his race were nearly double the total votes in a comparable contest. The county did a "recount" and found that totals were different in every contest. The results of one contest was overturned by the recount. Story Archive

A programming error with time settings caused a domino effect of further complications, names were left off ballots, and the machine that tabulates the absentee ballots malfunctioned just as the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. “I don't exactly what that problem is,” said Thomas, one of the election commissioners. “There is some kind of printer head or something that would not allow the ballots to be read.” Story Archive

The vendor's defense: ES&S said the problems were not related to hardware malfunction but were related to programming. “Our agreement with White County is limited to hardware,” ES&S spokeswoman Amanda Brown said. “It does not include support services or programming.” Thorough explanation of the four problems Archive

5/21/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Wayne County. Voters had trouble getting the iVotronic touch screen machines to register their votes. If they did not press in the center of the box, the corresponding candidate wouldn't be selected. County officials are also disappointed by the slow operation of the voter-verifiable paper record printers, which print every selection the voters make rather than just a summary of the ballot for them to review. Story Archive

Update 5/22/08. More problems with the touch screens were reported. "Wayne County Commissioner Rick Wellman has filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's Office claiming that the county's touch-screen voting machines malfunctioned during the primary election." In addition, Wayne County Clerk Bob Pasley, who won the a County Commissioner's seat, admitted to opening one of the machines at the precinct in order to calibrate it. (Editor's note, calibration should not require opening the machine.). Story Archive

5/19/2008 Machine malfunction TX Hart InterCivic Cass County. Flawed ballot programming from Hart InterCivic allowed voters who were not in District 1 to vote for the District 1 city council seat. Although only 41 residents of District 1 were signed in to vote, the number of combined votes received by the District 1 candidates was 198. The only way to remedy the situation is to have one of the candidates file suit to have the election overturned. Story Archive
5/18/2008 Machine malfunction MA Diebold Abington in Plymouth County. Out of 1255 votes cast in a city proposition, the scanner counted 4 votes wrong. The scanned count showed the proposition won by a margin of one vote; the hand recount showed the real margin of 5 votes for the proposition. The town clerk said the machine jammed a few times while scanning, suggesting that was the cause of the errors. She will have the machines serviced, but apparently no other investigation will be done. Story Archive
Records: 121-160 of 616
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