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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
5/15/2008 Machine malfunction WV ESS Wood County. Printers on several iVotronic e-voting machines had to be repaired or replaced. "There were also some electronic issues with some of the voting machines that caused a delay in tallying the votes." Story Archive
5/14/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Onslow County. About 4,000 (Model 100) optical scan ballots from early voting -- apparently uploaded correctly -- weren't counted by the tabulation software. A state representative noticed the low number of votes from some one-stop voting sites and the county investigated. Rose Whitehurst, director of the Onslow County Board of Elections, said what happened was that when she uploaded the votes, she thought the votes were counted.

"When we started looking over the report, we found that the votes didn't all go into the software," she said. "We started doing an audit and ran through the information (and found that) both one-stops weren't counted." Story Archive

5/9/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Mecklenburg County. About 2,400 absentee ballots were counted twice by the ES&S Unity tabulation system. Correcting the inaccuracy didn't change any outcomes. Story Archive
5/9/2008 Machine malfunction NC ESS Wake County. About 37,000 optical scan ballots were counted twice by the ES&S Unity tabulation system. The early voting and absentee ballots were counted as part of the individual voters precincts and again as a whole. Correcting the inaccuracy didn't change any outcomes. Story Archive
5/6/2008 Machine malfunction IN ESS Marion County. Two polling places opened without Democratic ballots, and the touch screen available as a backup in one of them failed. Ballots were printed and delivered before 8:00. Story Archive
5/6/2008 Machine malfunction IN Diebold Tippecanoe County. Two of the voter access card encoders at the Dayton vote center froze up and had to be replaced. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
5/6/2008 Machine malfunction IN Diebold Tippecanoe County. An internet connection problem caused voter check-in to be done briefly by telephone. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Sequoia Northampton County. After four people had voted on the Sequoia Advantage paperless e-voting machine, election judge Craig Hynes realized that it had only registered one voter. He had to reset the machine. "We lost three voters and there's no getting them back," explained Hynes, "and at this point we don't even know who they were." Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Danaher Delaware County. One of two Danaher Shouptronic 1242 paperless e-voting machines was down at a busy Delaware County polling site. "About 50 people already had voted by 9:15 a.m. at the Temple Israel on Spruce and Bywood Avenue in Upper Darby, which is heavily populated by immigrant and first time voters. Many of those freshly-minted voters had difficulties using the one machine that still functioned."

In South Philadelphia, both voting machines were broken at 4th and Ritner.

One reader wrote: I got to my polling place before 7 a.m.; 2nd ward, 27th division: as the polls were opening, one of two machines for my division was malfunctioning: electrical problem.

In the city's Spring Garden section, home to State Sen. Vincent Fumo, both machines were down at St. Andrews Lithuananian Church at 19th and Wallace. Story Archive

4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Danaher Philadelphia. Both Shoutronic machines at 49 ward, 07 division were broken, causing lines up to 1-1/2 hours long. The voter reporting said that during her wait over 100 people left without voting. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Danaher Philadelphia. Poll workers think a short power outage may have caused an early issue for about two-dozen voters in Green Tree. According to Debbie Moskala, some voters had to use paper ballots to cast their vote because of a glitch with one of the machines at the Marian Manor senior living facility. When we first started voting this morning, one machine wouldn't work," Moskala told KDKA. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Danaher Philadelphia. Both Shouptronic paperless e-voting machines were broken at a polling place near 12th and Grange Streets in the Olney section of Philadelphia. Long lines formed, and many voters reportedly left. "Some voters said they were told the power went down and a technician was needed to get the machines to function." (When both machines are broken in a polling place, voters are allowed to cast a provisional ballot on paper.) Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Danaher Bucks County. Shouptronic paperless e-voting machines. "Voters waited in long lines Tuesday morning at the Village of Pennbrook in Falls while poll workers spent an hour and a half working to get two downed machines up and running." In one case, "a voter casting a write-in vote failed to close the write-in door and caused the other machine to jam up," according to Falls Republican Committeeman Kennan Haley. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Philadelphia. Voter Action asked a Philadelphia judge to extend poll hours until 10 p.m. because of delays caused by machine malfunctions. One Richard Brown, of the 5700 block of N. 12th Street in Philadelphia, swore an affidavit that both voting machines at his polling place were broken when he arrived there at 6:55 a.m. It took nearly two hours for the machines to be either repaired or replaced, according to Brown's affidavit, and more than an hour for election officials to produce paper provisional ballots. Roughly 75-100 would-be voters left before that, according to Brown's affidavit. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Machine malfunction PA Danaher State-wide. Voter-protection groups have logged some 750 voter complaints across the state today, including at least 150 about malfunctioning machines.

For example: Voters at a polling place in the 49th Ward near the Fern Rock station had to wait two hours because of machine malfunctions, said Kathryn Bookvar, an attorney with the Advancement Project, based in Washington, who was in Philadelphia to monitor the election. Machine problems also were reported in West Oak Lane; Upper Darby, Delaware County, and Elkins Park, Montgomery County. Story Archive

4/19/2008 Machine malfunction TX ESS Angelina County. Errors are still not resolved in the tabulation of ballots scanned by the M-100 optical scanner and cast on the iVotronic e-voting machine, and collected by the ES&S "expert" technician. County officials are petitioning a judge to allow a recount. County District Attorney Ed Jones didn't have the exact numbers Friday, but gave amounts of discrepancies he thought were "close." Electronic votes from Box 13, which was at the Chambers Park rock house, were under-counted by 305 votes; Precinct 6 was over-counted by 573 votes; Precinct 11 was over-counted by 275 votes; and Precinct 11B was over-counted by 204 votes, Jones said. Story Archive

Update 6/7/08. A recount of the ballots from five precincts found 959 fewer votes than originally reported. The error had been caused by the technician who uploaded the results from each memory cartridge twice. Outcomes were not changed by the change in totals. Story Archive

4/8/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Butler County. Election officials discovered a "serious problem in the GEMS program provided by Premier Elections Solutions." On the night of the March 4 election, even though the system reported that all memory cards had been uploaded properly, one of the memory cards had not been. The system did not report the error, and the officials found it accidentally while examining the database for an unrelated reason. In their subsequent complaint letter to Diebold, they pointed out:

"A situation of this nature could impact any election. It may appear that every vote has been counted when cards indicate they are being properly uploaded, when in fact votes cast on a memory card(s) are not tabulated in the results." Story Story2 Archive2

Update 5/17/08. After investigating the problem, Premier claims that software used for counting votes conflicted with anti-virus software, and local elections officials did not understand error messages that happened as a result. They will not be able to correct the vote-counting flaw before November but will provide "special instructions" to administrators. Story Archive Premier/Diebold Anti-Virus Advisory

Update 8/6/08. After a state investigation found that the problem affected 11 counties (Belmont, Butler, Cuyahoga, Green, Guernsey, Henry, Jefferson, Lucas, Miami, Montgomery, and Stark), Secretary of State Brunner joined with four counties that had filed suit against Diebold ("Premier"). The suit claims 1. Breach of warranty; 2. Breach of contract; 3. Breach of contract for failing to conform to Ohio law; 4. Fraud in the inducement; and 5. Request for a determination of the rights of the parties (known as declaratory judgment). Press Release Story Archive
State Summary of the Testing
Premier/Diebold Advisory
Premier/Diebold letter to Brunner

4/1/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Richland County. An iVotronic e-voting machine was set up incorrectly in Ward 17, allowing voters to vote for candidates that were not supposed to be on their ballots. About 95 people voted before the problem was noticed and the machine was replaced. Story Archive
3/24/2008 Machine malfunction CA ESS Sacramento County. ES&S miscalibrated the precinct optical scanners, and the tinting on the ballots was so dark that the scanners mis-read the votes. Ballots had to be taken back to the central office to be scanned. "During its investigation, the county said that the vendor that supplies and maintains the scanners, Elections Systems & Software, conducted improper recalibration and preventive maintenance on the machines in December. In addition, the report said that ballots printed by Consolidated Printers were too dark to allow the ballot to be correctly read by the faulty scanners." Story Archive
3/21/2008 Machine malfunction NM ESS New Mexico. Problem-prone memory cards used in voting machines across New Mexico are being recalled to make certain they're working properly in preparation for the June primary election. The cards hold ballot information and are necessary for vote tabulators to operate. A number of county clerks have reported card failures and they have been forced to use backup cards to keep voting machines in service during elections. Story Archive
3/16/2008 Machine malfunction OH ESS Franklin County. In the November 2007 election, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner discovered a voting machine problem when she voted.

When she voted on Nov. 6, Brunner said she was surprised to see a gray bar and the words "candidate withdrawn" where Democrat Jay Perez's name ought to have been. Her husband, voting on a nearby machine, told her, "Perez was on my ballot."

"This is a huge problem," Brunner said. "There is great concern that not every voter has the same ballot."

She launched a criminal investigation, which has already discovered that not all the machines were tested before the election and a function that tracks changes in the machines was purposely turned off. Story Archive

3/13/2008 Machine malfunction NH Salem. A faulty keyboard interfered with the entry of votes collected in the precincts, causing votes to be mis-entered and an incorrect outcome to be reported initially. Story Archive
3/8/2008 Machine malfunction IL Diebold DuPage County. In at least three precincts, the touchscreen machines flashed the word "Republican" at the start of the ballot in a two-party contest for Congressional District 14. The solution? Put a piece of masking tape over the screen where it appears. Story Archive
3/6/2008 Machine malfunction TX Hart InterCivic Travis County. Only one of about nine eSlate polling machines was working properly. A technician discovered that the machine responsible for printing out access codes for voters was broken. Voting resumed about 10 a.m. after the machine was shut down and replaced with a new one. Story Archive
3/5/2008 Machine malfunction TX ESS Angelina County. Central tabulators couldn't read the vote-data cards from the M100 optical scanners. The precinct numbers labeled on the cards did not match the information inside the card, and the machines would not accept them. Acting Tax Assessor Thelma "Midget" Sherman conceded that there was a programming error down the line that could have been caught earlier. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
3/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Lucas County. Ballot issues were not appearing on touch-screen voting machines because of a problem with the encoder for the devices. A technician was dispatched and fixed the problem. In the meantime, voters used paper ballots. Story Archive
3/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Darke County. "The race for the 79th Ohio House District representative between Richard Adams and Joe LeMasters did not appear on the electronic ballot, but on paper ballots at 13 precincts. The problem was discovered two hours after the polls opened. Unless voters noticed it, and voted on paper ballot for the race, they did not vote for the race, and will not be allowed to re-vote. Memory Cards were re-programmed to fix the problem." Story Archive
2/27/2008 Machine malfunction TX Hart InterCivic Travis County (Austin). eSlates were not "connected to the system" and had to be rebooted after one voter noticed an error message telling her "Reconnect to system to record vote." Story Archive
2/23/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Mercer County. 5% of the county's "Advantage" paperless e-voting machines reported incorrect turnout totals. They "miscalculated the numbers of total Republican and total Democratic ballots, county Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello said." Officials are claiming the machines tallied the votes correctly, but they give no indication of how they could know that. Story Archive
2/21/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. Precinct D001 shows 79 more ballots on the iVotronics than the number of registered voters -- 1011 ballots, 932 voters registered in the precinct. "Overcounts" in smaller numbers appeared in other precincts, too. Story Archive
2/20/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Union County and others using the "Advantage" paperless e-voting machine. County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi discovered that the numbers from the cartridges that print out vote tallies and the paper-tape backup within the machine didn't match. Rajoppi asked her colleagues in other counties to perform the same test, and similar problems were found on about 2 dozen voting machines, including those in Bergen, Gloucester, Middlesex and Ocean counties.

For example, the tape on one machine counted 168 votes for Democratic candidates, while the cartridge showed 170. On the Republican side, the tape counted 57 votes, but the cartridge showed 55. Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Story3 Archive3

Update: March 12, 2008. After Sequoia's explanation blaming poll workers for the problem, the county clerks asked Ed Felton of Princeton University to review the machines. And the constitutional officers unanimously passed the resolution seeking an independent analysis during an executive board meeting. The association sent the resolution to the governor's office and the state attorney general's office, which oversees all elections. Story Archive

Update: March 17, 2008. The Princeton investigation has been called off because of a letter sent by Sequoia threatening the counties and Mr. Felton with lawsuits. Story Archive Story2

2/19/2008 Machine malfunction WI ESS Milwaukee. Optech Eagle optical scanners jammed and rejected ballots at several precincts. Story Archive
2/17/2008 Machine malfunction CO Hart InterCivic Testing discovered that the eScan optical scanner continues to have the problem that led to its initial decertification in the State. It fails to detect and count marks on the ballot consistently, leading to inaccurate results. Story Archive Colorado Voting Systems Testing Board Report
2/12/2008 Machine malfunction CA ESS Los Angeles County. Poll worker/journalist reports that they couldn't get the InkaVote machines working for the first few hours, and the multilingual machine never worked at all. Story Archive
2/12/2008 Machine malfunction DC Sequoia Optical scanners broke down across the district, and unscanned ballots stacked up (even on a piano) for poll worker to scan when the machines were repaired. Story Archive
2/12/2008 Machine malfunction MD Diebold Prince George County. Only three out of six machines were operating at one polling place. Another was late opening because the Election Judge didn't have the code needed to start the e-voting machines. Story Archive
2/12/2008 Machine malfunction MD Diebold Anne Arundel County. Three voting machines shut down. Two started back up when the election judge unplugged them and plugged them back in. One remained down. "The Diebold tech doesn't know anything," she said in frustration. "Teens from Broadneck High did a better job figuring things out last time." Story Archive
2/10/2008 Machine malfunction AR ESS According the the Secretary of State's office, there were fewer problems than in previous elections. However, there were some printer malfunctions, some machines wouldn't start up, a power outage caused machines to shut down, one machine wasn't printing paper records properly. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Machine malfunction AZ ESS Cochise County. As the county accumulated totals from the precincts, a computer error on kept adding the results for five polling places every time new figures were added. The error got worse when the cumulative error went through five updates. County officials noticed the problem when they realized the total number of ballots cast was reported to be more than the people registered in the county. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Machine malfunction CA Sequoia Santa Cruz County. Unidentified "bugs" in the Sequoia system caused counting delays. "Gail Pellerin, the county clerk and elections head, traced the delays to two hardware problems with Sequoia Voting Systems equipment that took time to recognize and address." Story Archive
Records: 161-200 of 616
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