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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
5/6/2008 Voter ID IN South Bend. A freshman college student was unable to vote because her ID was from a private college (not government issued). Nuns helping her realized that they and all their colleagues would also be unable to vote since they didn't have government issued photo ID. 12 nuns, one of them 98 years old, were turned away. Story Archive Story2
5/6/2008 Malfeasance NC Alamance County. A woman who was registered as unaffiliated was given an "independent" ballot. When she realized it was the wrong ballot, the poll worker said it was too late to change and refused to allow her to have a Democratic ballot. Story Archive
5/6/2008 Registration errors NC Granville County. Stories from voters indicate there are severe errors in the voter registration database. Story
4/22/2008 Ballot printing IN Microvote Shelby County. Candidates were in the wrong order on the printed ballot and the Infinity e-voting machine. After an Elections Board hearing requested by one of the candidates, the error was corrected on both. Story
4/22/2008 Ballot printing PA Philadelphia. Backup paper ballots had Clinton's name, but not Obama's. 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

4/22/2008 Malfeasance PA Philadelphia. In violation of the law, a sample ballot urging voters to support Hillary Clinton, Bob Brady, John Dougherty and William F. Keller was handed to voters inside the polling place at First Ward, 8th Division. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Poor design PA Sequoia Northampton County. Confusing ballot on the Sequoia Advantage. Delegates under the Democratic Presidential candidates are listed in tiny print AND don't necessarily support the candidate they are listed under. One voter reports: "In the lightest italic, smallest print under the delegates .... It states who they are committed to. And it is the tiniest print in the whole space, and they're mixed. Had I not read the sample ballot, I wouldn't have known. I would've voted for all the wrong people," Story Archive
4/22/2008 Provisional ballots PA Philadelphia. Many reports of voters who switched parties and whose names did not appear on the rolls of the new party. In some instances, voters whose names were missing were not being offered provisional ballots. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Registration errors PA Philadelphia & Montgomery Counties. Longtime Democrats in both Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township who arrive at their polling places to find that they are registered in the poll book as Independents. Independents can only vote on ballot questions, not for presidential primary candidates. Story Archive
4/22/2008 Registration errors PA Philadelphia. "Numerous" registration snafus were reported to the Committee of Seventy, said its election coordinator John David. The bulk of those complaints have come from voters who switched parties and whose names did not appear on the rolls of the new party. The city has been inundated with calls, said David, adding: "It's swamping the voter-registration office." Story Archive
4/22/2008 Voter intimidation PA A constable working the Bethesda Presbyterian Church polling place was allegedly not letting supporters of Obama inside to vote and ordering those there to leave. A court order for City Ward 13, District 8 told election officials there to "refrain from discouraging or prohibiting, in any way, any elector from entering the polling place." 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 Ballot printing 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
3/24/2008 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
3/12/2008 Accessibility VA AVS Richmond. Blind voters say the WinVote audio mangled the name "Barack Obama", pronouncing it so badly they weren't sure whether they were voting for the candidate or not. Story Archive
3/10/2008 Fraud TX Travis County. The caucus precinct chair for the precincts that include the Univ. of Texas discovered that some of the Clinton preferences listed for caucus attendees had been written by someone else. Some students were told to leave the preference blank, and when told their names were listed by Clinton, they said that would not have been their choice. 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 Ballot printing OH Cuyahoga County. Ballots were printed with a stub that says "Do not remove." Poll workers are telling voters that they should remove the stub. County officials say the ballots will count either way. Story Archive
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
3/4/2008 Too few ballots OH Sandusky County Board of Elections office says they ran out of ballots at around 11:30 a.m. The ballots were mostly Democratic. They printed up new ballots, but due to equipment malfunctions, they fell behind in delivering the new ballots to the precincts. As a result some Sandusky County residents chose to leave before voting. The board of elections has petitioned a judge to extend voting hours in Sandusky County to at least 9 p.m. Secretary of State Brunner extended the polling hours until 9:00. Story Archive Archive2
3/4/2008 Fraud TX Harris County. (Houston). Some senior citizens were turned away from the polls because absentee ballots had already been turned in for them. Citizens reported that people were going door-to-door, offering help to seniors with filing voter registration forms.Some victims signed the paperwork, while others did not, but the scammers then used the information to mail absentee ballots in their names, meaning their votes were stolen from them. Story Archive
3/4/2008 Too few ballots TX Williamson County. So many Democrats have voted in Republican stronghold Williamson County that ballots are already running low in some precincts. Democratic election workers in some Williamson County precincts have called the county elections office today to say they’re already halfway through their ballots, and the afternoon and early evening heavy traffic has yet to happen. Story Archive
2/27/2008 Registration errors FL Miami Dade County. Errors in the registration database caused 53 voters to mistakenly receive postcards from the department telling them they were ineligible to vote in the Feb. 12 municipal election. 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
Records: 321-360 of 1280
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