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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
2/27/2008 Vote suppression VA Chesterfield County. Nine precincts ran out of paper ballots and allowed voters to cast handwritten ballots. The Board of Elections refused to count the 299 Democratic ballots, saying it would violate state law. Story Archive
2/26/2008 Malfeasance AL Dallas County (Selma). "Workers at a precinct at the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma didn't show up to open and let voters in today at 7 a.m. And by 8 a.m., city workers were asking voters if they wanted to work the polls today." Story Archive
2/26/2008 Too few machines AL Dallas County (Selma). Several precincts didn't have voting machines. "This is Selma, and you can't vote?" said Stephen Brooks, who had waited for nearly an hour to cast his ballot. 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
2/14/2008 Ballot printing OH Diebold Lucas County. The Lucas County Board of Elections has discovered an error in its ballot that could lead Democratic voters to vote for both presidential candidates. The error is that Democratic voters might be asked to vote for delegates and alternates for their choice of presidential candidate both in the congressional district and statewide. Story Archive
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 Too few ballots DC Heavy turnout, and many precincts ran out of ballots. Some were directed to the single e-voting machines. Other precinct received additional ballots. Story Archive
2/12/2008 E-pollbook GA Diebold "Numerous voters in at least five Georgia counties have complained that there weren't enough e-pollbooks and that the machines crashed or were otherwise inoperable. But an election official in Fulton County, Georgia, where many of the crashes were reported, denied that any machine crashed, and said voters were mistaken." The resulting very long lines caused some voters to leave without voting.

Watch the video at the end of the Story to see the extent of one of the lines. Story Archive

2/12/2008 E-pollbook MD Diebold Anne Arundel County. Unidentified polling book snafus caused delays at the start of the election day. 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
2/12/2008 Provisional ballots MD Across the state, polls stayed open 1.5 hours late because voters were struggling with the winter weather. However, the ballots cast after 8:00 will be provisional ballots, and will not be counted until next Tuesday. Story Archive
2/12/2008 Check-in problems VA Elections board spokeswoman Susan Pollard said there are reports of long lines and shortages of poll workers at some polling places, but she said they weren't concentrated in any particular area of the state. Jonathan Adkins, for example, encountered a two-hour wait when he tried to vote at 10 a.m. He said the line moved slowly because there was only one table of poll workers checking voters in. In past elections, he said, there had been several tables. He left without voting. 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
2/10/2008 Registration errors LA There were widespread reports from Democrats across Louisiana who reported that they were not allowed to vote because their party affiliation had been switched. Hundreds of Louisiana democrats went to the polls to vote in the presidential primary and found that they were now on registration lists as Independent or Unaffiliated voters. Story
2/9/2008 Malfeasance FL Volusia County. A poll worker failed to tell a blind woman she could vote independently on the DRE at the site. In violation of the law, the poll worker refused to allow the voter to have her father help her mark her ballot. Instead the poll worker -- without another person present -- assisted her and even gave her advice on what choices to make. 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 Registration errors AZ Pima County. "Complaints from people who showed up to vote only to find they weren't on the rolls were through the roof. Nearly 12,000 voters out of roughly 130,000 voters in Pima County were issued provisional ballots. For perspective, in 2006, just 11,000 provisional ballots were issued when about 285,000 people voted." (That's 9.2% vs. 3.9% in 2006.) 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
2/7/2008 E-pollbook GA Diebold Muscogee County. 16 voters had to cast provisional ballots because the e-pollbook machine wasn't working properly. Other unidentified "small" problems occurred in another 47 precincts. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Machine malfunction IL ESS Lake County. An as-yet unidentified machine malfunction prevented M100 optical scan vote-tabulation machines at polling places across the county Tuesday night from connecting to the county's computers in Waukegan through the phone lines. (An independent consultant has been employed to investigate.) The county clerk's office successfully relied on a backup plan - driving the machines to the nearest transfer station - to get votes from 161 polling places to the county government center. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Machine malfunction MA Diebold Taunton in Bristol County. A memory card problem in Ward 4 required votes from that ward to be counted and recorded separately. City Clerk Rosie Blackwell said she and her associates had to improvise and create a new form to specifically accommodate Ward 4 returns. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Essex County. Technical and human errors occurred here and throughout the state. Essex County Superintendent of Elections Carmine Casciano said that 12 out of about 650 Sequoia Advantage electronic voting machines were replaced on Tuesday. Four machines were replaced due to Board of Election workers mistakenly turning off the machines and thereby deactivating them. In Montclair, two Sequoia e-voting machines had to be replaced due to electronic errors.

Other technical issues occurred, but Casciano called them “nothing significant” and said technicians soon repaired them. One example: in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s polling station the button for Republican candidate Mitt Romney did not work on an electronic machine. Story Archive

2/7/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Warren County. A programming error forced about 900 Warren County voters to use emergency ballots after a handful of machines that electronically encode ballots onto cards stopped working. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Poor design NJ Sequoia Hudson County. Sequoia Advantage e-voting machines. "Hilda Rosario, supervisor of elections for Hudson County, explained that some poll workers failed to take what are known as "cartridges," which keep the official vote counts, from individual balloting machines before the machines were officially sealed Tuesday night. While tallies from the voting machines were counted at each polling place at the end of Tuesday's balloting, the cartridges contain an exact record that must be delivered to county elections officials so the vote can be officiated." Story Archive
2/7/2008 Registration errors NJ Sequoia Essex County. Superintendent of Elections Casciano believes that portions of the state experienced problems with the statewide voter registration system. “It’s causing us all kinds of grief,” Casciano told The Times on Tuesday. “It has arbitrarily changed people’s parties.” In these cases, people had to vote on provisional ballots. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Malfeasance NM The Democratic primary, run by the Democratic party, was an organizational disaster. Polls opened at noon, and multiple precincts were combined into single polling places, and the polls were severely understaffed -- all causing extremely long lines. Many voters left when they realized the wait time would be hours. In Rio Rancho County, all 37 precincts were combined into one polling place. Story Archive Story2
2/7/2008 Malfeasance NM Rio Arriba County. "Roughly half the votes from Rio Arriba County spent the night in the privacy of the home or homes of one or more election officials in boxes those officials may have had the ability to open." Those ballots still haven’t been counted, but they have been retrieved by the state party. Story Archive
2/7/2008 Registration errors NM ESS High percentages of voters were forced to vote on provisional ballots due to severe flaws in the voter registration database used by the Democratic party (which ran the primary). 50% of the ballots were provisional in Mora County. At least 15% in San Miguel County. Questions remain about where the Democratic party got the voter lists, since it didn't get them from the county clerks. Story Archive

"With 183 of 184 of precincts reporting, Hillary Rodham Clinton held a lead of 1,092 votes — 67,921 votes compared to 66,829 for Barack Obama, according to preliminary results posted on the state Democratic Party's Web site." 17,000 provisional ballots remain to be counted. Story2 Archive2

2/6/2008 Canvass anomalies AL ESS Lauderdale County. An error in vote tabulations at the Underwood-Petersville precincts -- the optical scan machines at that precinct showed that seven more ballots were cast than was supported by documentation. Story Archive
2/6/2008 Machine malfunction AR ESS Benton County. iVotronic e-voting machines failed to start up at several polling places. Voters used paper ballots. Many were working by 2 pm. At one precinct, the screen was still black. Story Archive

The county also had problems closing the machines at the end of day to extract results. And "Poor-quality paper rolls and humidity caused machines to jam." Story Archive

2/6/2008 Machine malfunction AR ESS Faulkner County. iVotronic e-voting machine printer fails. Conway's Lisa Burks had just cast her vote using the touch-screen machine, but when she reviewed the printout she saw "a short horizontal line and long vertical line. The machine, Burks said, picked the wrong voter to mess with. As the founder and former national coordinator of the National Coalition for Verified Voting, Burks said, she lobbied against the state's adoption of electronic voting machines."

Other troubles include a machine that would not start up. Story Archive

2/6/2008 Machine malfunction CA Sequoia Santa Clara County. More than a dozen people trying to vote in the Democratic primary at one polling station were almost turned away without casting ballots after paper ballots ran out and the only electronic voting machine at the polling place malfunctioned. An independent election observer and a software engineer waiting to vote fixed the touch-screen machine for the 13 people waiting to cast their ballots. (The machine had been decertified by the Secretary of State for all but voters with disabilities.) Story Archive Story2 Archive2
2/6/2008 Machine malfunction CA Diebold San Luis Obispo County. Elections officials reported a handful of glitches at polling places in Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Creston, Atascadero, and Paso Robles. County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said possible faulty memory cards forced staffers to remove six of the county’s 78 voting machines early Tuesday. Story Archive
2/6/2008 Machine malfunction CA Sequoia Riverside County. At times, one or two of the six ballot-counting machines in the Moreno Valley office broke down. At most times, one could not operate, delaying the final results. On average, officials were able to count about 15,000 ballots an hour. "The machines were expected to count about 400 ballots a minute. Since the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, they've averaged about 36 per minute." Story Archive Story2 Archive2
Records: 361-400 of 1280
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