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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
10/21/2008 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
10/18/2008 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

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
8/27/2008 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
8/25/2008 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
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

5/24/2008 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

5/21/2008 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

5/15/2008 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
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

4/1/2008 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

3/5/2008 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
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
2/19/2008 Machine malfunction WI ESS Milwaukee. Optech Eagle optical scanners jammed and rejected ballots at several precincts. 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
2/10/2008 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 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
2/6/2008 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

1/30/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Benton County. iVotronic touch screen machines failed to start properly in all three early voting locations on Tuesday. "(Each machine ) just didn't want to open right. (It was ) a glitch in the program," for the electronic voting machines, Brown said. Story Archive
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL ESS Miami Dade and Broward Counties. iVotronic touch screen machines. Presidential candidates did not appear on the ballots of some voters, both Democrats and Republicans. Story Archive
1/23/2008 Machine malfunction CA ESS Sacramento County. M100 optical scanners malfunctioned in many ways during the pre-election "logic and accuracy" tests.

"With some machines, the ballot could not be loaded at all, or only accepted if loaded in backwards. In some cases, Democratic votes were not being recorded by a scanner. With other machines, it would be Republican votes that were not recorded. And with some machines, there were no problems at all. With the election within two weeks, [County Registrar of Voters Jill] Lavine decided to forego using the scanners altogether, and count the ballots centrally at the county election office. " Story

1/22/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Florence County. As in Horry County, the iVotronic touch screen machines were set to close on the wrong date and would not report the results until they were reprogrammed for the correct date. Story Archive
1/20/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Horry County. iVotronics touch screen machines refused to print results at the end of the day. "The machines' pre-programmed poll-closing time was incorrect, and technicians had to follow a multi-step procedure to manually shut them off before counting could begin. The closing date for the machines was set for Jan. 26, the date of the Democratic primary, instead of Saturday night." Story Archive
Records: 41-80 of 228
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