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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
11/3/2006 Machine malfunction SC ESS Charleston County. ES&S iVotronics fail to allow voters to review their choices in contests where they can vote for more than one candidate -- in violation of HAVA. Story Archive
11/2/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Washington County. ES&S iVotronic screen does not match paper printout. Clerk Karen Combs Pritchard said that, for the first two days of early voting in that county, the machines' paper printouts listed the wrong district number for a state representative candidate, although the number appeared correctly on the screen. Story Archive
11/2/2006 Machine malfunction KS ESS Sedgwick County. ES&S iVotronic touch screen voting machines are broken down at all sites except two. Story
11/1/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Pulaski County. Vote-switching from Republican to Democrat SoS candidate on ES&S iVotronic. “I had a voter from Jacksonville call me to say that he and his wife tried to vote for me (on different machines) four different times but each time they selected my name, my opponent’s name popped up on the touch screen,” says Jim Lagrone, Republican candidate for Arkansas Secretary of State. “On the fifth try, it finally worked for both of them." Story
10/31/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Garland County. Ballot programming error on the ES&S Personal Electronic Ballot (PEB) which brings up a voter's ballot on the iVotronic. "When we got to the point of trying to do our three amendments, everything just scrambled," said Garland County Election Commissioner Charles Tapp. A similar problem occurred in Sebastian County. Both these counties have chosen to do their own ballot programming. A similar problem also occurred in Benton County, which has ES&S do the ballot programming. Story Archive
10/28/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. Vote-switching to Republicans by the ES&S iVotronics. "Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist." Story Archive
10/28/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Miami-Dade County. Vote-switching to Republicans by ES&S iVotronics. "Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up. Raponi, 53, persevered until the machine worked. Then he alerted a poll worker." Story Archive
10/28/2006 Machine malfunction TX ESS Jefferson County. Vote-switching from Democrat to Republican on the ES&S iVotronic screen. "Friday night, KFDM reported about people who had cast straight Democratic ticket ballots, but the touch-screen machines indicated they had voted a straight Republican ticket. ... Saturday, KFDM spoke to another voter who says it's not just happening with straight ticket voting, he says it's happening on individual races as well, Jerry Stopher told us when he voted for a Democrat, the Republican's name was highlighted." Story Archive
10/27/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County - Vote-switching to Republicans by ES&S iVotronic. "After casting her votes, Marek, a Democrat, was surprised to see name of Charlie Crist -- the Republican candidate for governor -- on the review screen. ... She said poll workers told her the machine had been problematic before, but that they had reprogrammed it, a process they repeated after speaking to her." Story Archive
10/26/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Washington County. Ballot programming error. The voter-verifiable paper record printed the wrong district for the voter's choice. The candidate himself noticed that his paper record said he was in District 87, rather than the correct District 92. ES&S is reprogramming the ballots so the record will print the correct District. Election Coordinator Nancy Varvil said, "This never affected the tallying of the votes. The fix just puts the correct district on the audit trail.” Story Archive
10/25/2006 Machine malfunction FL ESS Broward County. Some ES&S iVotronic touch screen machines "stopped working briefly and had to be restarted because of high-volume use, Cooney said. No votes were lost." Mary Cooney is the spokeswoman for the Supervisor of Elections.
''When some voters went to touch a choice for a precinct or candidate we would have to stop the voter, start again and then it would be fine,'' Cooney said. ``It hasn't slowed anyone down.'' Story Archive
6/13/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Marion County. A Marion County Election commissioner said officials had a problem with some iVotronic electronic voting machines that did not recognize when 7:30 p.m., the time to close the polls, arrived. The machines had to be forced to shut down Story Archive
5/23/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Phillips County. ES&S printed barcodes incorrectly on paper ballots. Choices for the county are to have ES&S reprogram the Personal Electronic Ballot (PEB cartridge) to read the existing bar codes, or have them reprint the ballots. ES&S did not send the chips that could have read the ballots. Story Archive
5/16/2006 Machine malfunction PA ESS Centre County. Vote-flipping on the iVotronic not caused by calibration. The calibration of a touch-screen voting machine in a State College precinct was checked and found to be working properly after a voter had difficulty, McKinley said. Story Archive
5/8/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Pulaski, Phillips, and Lonoke counties. ES&S misprogrammed the optical scanners, and they didn't count correctly. Election workers in 10 precincts manually counted the ballots. Story Archive
5/8/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Cleburne County. ES&S misprogrammed the iVotronic touch screens, and results were delayed. Story Archive
5/8/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Washington County. Election workers were unable to close the iVotronic touch screens. Story Archive
5/8/2006 Machine malfunction AR ESS Carroll County. ES&S provided incorrect ballot proofs. "All justice of the peace and constable races were lumped together and there was a disregard for ballot positions in other races." The county voted to have the ballots printed by a local printer.

Across the state, ES&S failed to provide ballots and programming on time. Many counties experienced programming problems and other problems with the optical scanners and iVotronic touch screens. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

11/8/2005 Machine malfunction PA ESS Cumberland County. Ballot misprogramming error. ES&S made yet another ballot programming error on the optical scanners, causing a miscount and a possible reversal of the initial election results. Ballots will be scanned again, and they will be hand counted. Story Archive

Update: In the initial count, Republican Keating beat Democrat Rhoades, 1,650 to 1,468. The second machine count and the hand count both showed Rhoades winning by 2 votes - 1,703 to 1,701. Story Archive

11/8/2005 Machine malfunction SC ESS Georgetown County. Ballot programming error. Touch screen machines weren't programmed with the legally required straight-party voting. The problem was discovered during testing, but not until after several voters had voted absentee. (ES&S iVotronic touch screen.) Story Archive
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction SC ESS Georgetown County. Candidates' names did not appear on the review screen of the ES&S iVotronic touch screen. "Our voters had no confirmation for whom they had voted." State officials said this is just the way the machines operate. (In 2006, this operation will be a violation of federal law - HAVA). Story Archive
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction TX ESS Hidalgo County. New ES&S iVotronic voting machines, outfitted for visually impaired voters, didn't work. "Election Systems & Software, the company that manufactures the machines, spent the day at the Hidalgo County Elections Building trying to fix the software problem, [Hidalgo County Elections Coordinator Angie ] Garcia said, but had not managed to get the machines up and running by the time polls closed. Overall, though, Garcia said she thought the machines functioned smoothly." [What???] Story Archive
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction TX ESS Matagorda County. The county's brand new ES&S optical scanner quit working after processing early ballots. The technician wasn't able to fix it, so ES&S had to fly a new one in for the county to certify and use. Story Archive
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction VA ESS Elizabeth City. ES&S iVotronic touch screen machines switched votes on the screen. In early voting, 42 blank ballots were recorded in this one-contest election. On election day 18 blank ballots were recorded. The margin of victory was 14 votes, 17 after provisional were counted. No meaningful recount is possible on the paperless machines. Story1 Story2 Archive2
5/7/2005 Machine malfunction FL ESS Miami-Dade County, Florida. A study of poll books and vote totals has revealed major discrepancies. 35% of the polling places had more votes than voters or lost votes. Story Archive
3/12/2005 Machine malfunction WI ESS Taylor County. About 27 percent of all votes cast in Medford during the Nov. 2 election were not counted because an ES&S programmer improperly set the optical scanner that records the ballots, officials say. Story Archive
12/1/2004 Machine malfunction WA ESS Skagit County. An investigation of anomalies in the recount of the governor's race led county officials to discover, from ES&S, that a vote is counted incorrectly in approximately 1 in 10,000 ovals read by their high-speed optical scanner. Since the governor's race had four options, the estimate is that 1 in 2500 votes was counted incorrectly. Votes counted incorrectly in Skagit County alone amount to half the margin between the top two candidates. Story Archive
11/23/2004 Machine malfunction IN ESS Vanderburgh County. At several polling places, the number of people signing in to vote Nov. 2 exceeded the vote totals, while at other places votes outnumbered signatures. The county uses ES&S iVotronic touch screen machines. Story Archive
11/16/2004 Machine malfunction IN ESS Brown County, which uses ES&S optical scanners, considered recounting votes in one precinct because the tally tape produced by the scanner showed 63 unvoted ballots. However, the law doesn't allow the election board to reject certification by the precinct board, so they didn't do anything. Story Archive
11/16/2004 Machine malfunction IN ESS Carroll County, with optical scanners from Election Systems and Software (ES&S), had to handcount county council votes in its 19 precincts on election day. The Indiana Election Commission determined the computer program didn't comply with Indiana law for that office, Carroll County Clerk Laura Sterrett said. Story Archive
11/16/2004 Machine malfunction OH ESS Sandusky County elections officials discovered some ballots in nine precincts were counted twice. [ES&S optical scan] The county doesn't yet know how it happened. Story Archive
11/16/2004 Machine malfunction WA ESS Grays Harbor County. Elections officials started recounting about 28,000 ballots on Tuesday after the ES&S Unity reporting system showed too many votes. After ballots were counted, the results were saved on computer disks and downloaded into another computer to keep a running tally. Some of the disks were apparently downloaded twice by mistake. The Unity software is supposed to prevent that from happening. Story1 Archive1 Story2 Archive2
11/13/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Orange County absentee ballot tabulator (ES&S) started counting backwards after 32767 ballots, causing the posted precinct-by-precinct results to show a 9,227 margin of victory for Kerry while the county summary report showed only a 827 margin of victory for Kerry. A similar discrepancy affected vote totals posted online for the U.S. Senate race between Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Betty Castor. Story Archive
11/11/2004 Machine malfunction IN ESS Vanderburgh County. A power cord malfunctioned, delaying the vote-counting on ES&S iVotronics. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction AR ESS Carroll County. A ballot programming error by ES&S caused the ballots to be counted incorrectly. ES&S will supply a new chip for the Model 115 optical scanners and the county will rescan the ballots. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction AR ESS Carroll County. Skewed results in the JP District 2 race were found to have been cause by a misprogrammed optical scan chip supplied by ES&S. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction NC ESS In Guilford County, ES&S early voting machines had capacity problems, which affected anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 ballots. Story Archive

The totals were so large, the tabulation computer threw some numbers away. Retallying changed two outcomes and gave an additional 22000 votes to Kerry. Story Archive

ES&S explained that the Unity 2.2 tally software reached 32,767 (32K) and began subtracting from the totals (same as in Broward County). ES&S had known about the problem but not told its customers. Letter from ES&S (603K)

11/9/2004 Machine malfunction NC ESS Craven County. Problems with Electronic Systems and Software Inc. iVotronic voting machines surfaced in one-stop early voting, requiring all screens to be replaced. Story
11/9/2004 Machine malfunction NC ESS Craven County. "A master terminal at the Vanceboro one-stop voting site did not require a password and resulted in an incorrect total in the presidential returns there." ES&S again. Story Archive
11/5/2004 Machine malfunction CA ESS San Francisco. Troubles began on Wednesday after the election when the ES&S software failed to accurately count votes in the city's new ranked-choice voting system, which eliminates the need for expensive runoff elections. the problem stemmed from a safeguard in the software that converts optical scans of ballot results into data that the computer system uses to calculate winners. The conversion software shutdown when the amount of data entering the system had reached a level set by the vendor. (This sounds similar to the Election Management Systems' 32,767 vote limit encountered in NC, and FL.) Story Archive
Records: 161-200 of 228
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