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Election Problem Log - 2004 to 2009
Check out our other problem logs!
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
2/6/2008 Provisional ballots CA Santa Clara County. At least two precincts ran out of provisional ballots. "In 37 years of volunteering at polls, on-duty volunteer Betty Britton said she couldn't recall another year when provisional ballots ran out." Story Archive
2/6/2008 Machine malfunction IL Sequoia Cook County. Election returns from the first precinct of the Second Ward in Evanston were missing 247 of its 540 ballots, said poll watcher Shannon Seiberling. The polling place uses a mix of optical-scan and computerized voting systems. Seiberling said the error probably occurred while poll workers were compiling the digital results from the four touch-screen voting machines at the polling place, when the scanner was supposed to add its total automatically. The number of missing votes equals the number of paper ballots that were scanned, though, according to the article, there is no way to determine whether this is what caused the discrepancy. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
2/5/2008 Registration errors AZ Three problems cropped up in early reports from Arizona: (1) voters were told they had already requested an early ballot, but denied having done so, (2) voters were told their names did not appear on the voting roster, and (3) polling place consolidation caused confusion, lines, and delays. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Ballot printing CA Sequoia Riverside County. A printing error scored as many as 60,000 absentee ballots so deeply that they fell apart when voters removed them from envelopes. That problem was slowing a team of 16 election workers, who were painstakingly hand-copying the last of roughly 35,000 ballots onto intact ballot cards Monday night. Story Archive

Feb. 16, 2008. This follow-up article indicates about half the number of problem ballots. It says, "about 13,000 of the estimated 18,000 defective ballots handled by the registrar's office have already been duplicated for counting. Dunmore said the ballot vendor, K&H Printers of Washington, absorbed the cost to reprint and mail additional ballots." Story Archive

2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CA Sequoia San Francisco. The Sequoia touchscreen froze while a voter was attempting to vote. After he inserted the plastic activation card into the machine, "Nothing moved--neither touching nor talking to the machine worked. What's worse, the card was now stuck in the machine as there was no eject button or function. The clerk who handed me the card was confounded. ... [After consulting another clerk,] the clerk then proceeded to lift the back of my voting machine up, slapping it hard so that it must have told it to reboot itself. ... After the two-minute reboot, voting was simple." Story Archive
2/5/2008 Malfeasance CA ESS Los Angeles. The electoral inspector at the Westside Jewish Community Center says he still has not received voting equipment, hours after polls opened. Bernie Cade says he has not received voting machines or the ink that goes in them for any of the seven booths in the polling station. Dozens of people were sent to other polling places nearby. Los Angeles County Registrar's office spokeswoman Grace Chavez says someone with the equipment should be on their way soon. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Poor design CA ESS Los Angeles. The Los Angeles system requires that decline-to-state voters not only ask specifically for a Democratic ballot - but also fill in a special bubble on the ballot indicating their desire to vote on the Democratic presidential ticket. Failure to fill in the bubble voids their presidential ballot. There are 776,000 "decline-to-state" voters in LA. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Election officials are concerned that "double bubble" ballot design flaw could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. Story Archive

2/5/2008 Too few ballots CA Contra Costa, Alameda, and Santa Clara Counties. Eight precincts in Contra Costa ran short of Democratic ballots. Alameda also reported shortages and had to send hundreds more out to the precincts. Story Archive

Eventually fourteen precincts in four cities in Alameda County ran out of ballots and voters voted on photocopies.
Polling places across Santa Clara County ran short of Democratic primary ballots, forcing poll workers in some places to turn to Vietnamese and Chinese language ballots, sample ballots torn from election pamphlets and ultimately notebook paper. Story Archive

2/5/2008 Vote suppression CA Contra Costa County and elsewhere. Independent voters showed up to the polls and poll workers told them erroneously that they could not get a nonpartisan ballot, a Democrat Party ballot or American Independent party ballot. One man e-mailed from El Granada to say he was given no choice in voting for president. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Manchester, County. An optical scanning machine did not work and voters had to put their ballots in an auxiliary slot to be counted later. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CT Diebold Six optical scan machines used in the state had to be replaced with back-ups, three due to improper programming. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction CT A "system crash" prevented officials from providing final registration numbers just before the primary. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Too few ballots CT Several towns had to photocopy ballots, and officials in Stratford put a call out to the town's printer to order new ballots long before the polls closed at 8 p.m. The shortage meant delays in counting votes where towns made copies because copies cannot be read by the optical scan machines. Story Archive
2/5/2008 E-pollbook GA Diebold Atlanta. Computers used to check voters in kept crashing, causing long lines with up to an hour and a half wait. Story Archive
2/5/2008 E-pollbook GA Diebold DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties. Long lines formed at polling places. Additional voter processing stations were added at some locations. Articles suggest the problems were caused by e-poll books -- used to check in voters -- crashing. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction GA Diebold Atlanta. Lines reached 90 minutes long at one Atlanta middle school where equipment kept crashing; elsewhere, voters had to wait in lines of up to two hours and people turned away from polls after seeing how long they would have to wait. At another precinct, voting was delayed when only one of five voting booths were working and election workers had to hand out 75 paper ballots. Elsewhere, a precinct opened only to discover the wrong keys had been delivered with its new electronic voting machines. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction GA Diebold McIntosh County. Diebold e-voting machines failed to work when the polls first opened. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Too few machines GA Diebold Atlanta. Voters complained of too few machines in some polling places, causing long lines. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Deceptive practices IL Chicago. City election board spokesman James Allen said that some poll workers told incredulous voters—including one spouse of an election judge—that the stylus used for touch-screen voting was actually an inkless pen to fill out paper ballots. Naturally, the scanner rejected the ballots, but the poll workers overrode the scanner and recorded the blank ballots. By 3 p.m., only five of the 20 voters had been contacted to return to recast their votes. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Deceptive practices IL Chicago, Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, Jackson County. Suppression of Green Party voters.
Voters attempting to vote in the Green Party primary encountered suppression and intimidation. Poll workers claimed there was no Green Party ballot; claimed there was no GP primary because the candidates had all dropped out; and tried to give the voters Democratic ballots (with a green tag). Some polling places had only a few GP ballots; others had them wrapped up and out of site. Judges behaved rudely, intimidating other Green Party voters at some sites. At others, voters were only offered touch-screen ballots, not paper ballots. With persistence, some of the voters were able to vote in the GP primary. Others, who were less persistent, were disenfranchised. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction IL Sequoia Chicago and Cook County. Voting was delayed at a number of Chicago polling places, and voters were turned away for many and varied reasons: touch screen voting not working; equipment delivered to the wrong location; a security found unconscious inside; voters locked out "for security reasons"; pollworkers not showing up; doors unlabeled and locked.

Several of the delays were at least one or two hours, some prompting orders to keep locations open later in the evening. "Nonetheless, Chicago election officials claimed a "hugely successful" start, saying that only 9 of 2,579 precincts failed to open on time, and those by only 10 or 15 minutes." Story Archive

2/5/2008 Wrong ballot IL Hart InterCivic Peoria County. "A handful" of voters in Peoria, Illinois received the wrong electronic ballots, with only federal candidates, not local ones. These were intended for people who moved within 30 days of the election. However, people who had not moved got the ballots, apparently due to election judge error. "What happened in the situation this morning was that the judge just pushed the wrong button and issued the wrong access code and, even though they're trained, did not look to see that it was a federal only ballot."
Also, 15-minute power outages resulted in some voters using emergency paper ballots to vote and re-booting of electronic voting machines. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Hoboken. Both Advantage electronic voting machines broke down at one polling place, delaying voting. About a dozen voters were turned away. Story Archive Story2
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Avante Warren County. Avante e-voting machines repeatedly gave voters "malfunctioning errors." Some polling places switched to paper ballots. Story Archive
2/5/2008 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Salem County. Votes flipped from Obama to Clinton on the AVC Edge touch screen. Story
2/5/2008 Poor design NJ Sequoia Hudson County. County Clerk Barbara Netchert told The Jersey Journal that some poll workers -- in districts throughout the county although heavily in Jersey City -- were pulling the cartridges out of the Sequoia Advantage e-voting machines before closing the machines, resulting in them not registering properly. Story Archive
2/5/2008 E-pollbook UT Diebold Davis County. The elections director reported "some glitches" with a new electronic check-in system: "The laptops were running slow on that check-in system, and some electronic readers weren't working well." Story Archive
2/5/2008 E-pollbook UT Diebold Davis County. Technical glitches with an electronic voter check-in created some long lines, said county elections clerk Pat Beckstead. Story Archive
2/2/2008 Wrong ballot IL Hart InterCivic Kane County. The wrong electronic ballot was loaded into the eSlate voting machine for at least one voter. He accidentally cast his ballot before he realized he had not been able to vote on local races. Story Archive
1/31/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold St. Lucie and Okeechobee Counties. Poll workers in several precincts in both counties were unable to transmit vote data electronically to the central office. 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
1/30/2008 Too few machines FL ESS Broward County. Unidentified problems with electronic voter check-in devices, confusion over how to use them, and too few of them in the polling places caused long lines and complaints from voters. Some voters gave up and left. Story Archive
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. Sequoia activator card failed. Also, the touch screen machines were mistakenly shut down early at one polling place and couldn't be turned back on. Replacements were brought. Story Archive
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Volusia County. The canvassing board found a four-ballot discrepancy in ballots from one polling site, so 3986 ballots will be rescanned. This is a machine problem previously known to Diebold. Their advisory is here.
McFall said she received an advisory from the equipment's vendor last week saying similar problems had been encountered elsewhere. "The other sites balanced perfectly," McFall said. "I think it's the machine." Story Archive
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Sarasota County. Six optical scanners quit working and had to be replaced. Some machines had problems with the memory card, while others had a faulty scanner. 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
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. A defective early-voting cartridge (electronic ballot box) prevented the county from completing the results. "Although a backup tape allowed elections staff to recoup the results, Anderson said the problem was so significant it may lead to the elections office having to reprogram all of its voting machines." Story Archive Story2
Follow up 1/31/08. Story3 Archive3 Archive2
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. Voters reported malfunctions on the Edge touch screen machine. Some -- including Rush Limbaugh -- said the machine froze while voting. Some said their ballot was cast by the machine when they attempted to move ahead to the screen where they expected candidates to be listed. Story Archive
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Hillsborough County. Some voters said their ballot was cast by the Edge touch screen machine when they attempted to move ahead to the screen where they expected candidates to be listed. Story Archive
1/29/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Hillsborough County. Vote flipping on the Edge touch screen. "a voter would press the button for one candidate but the machine would read that vote as being cast for another candidate." Story Archive
Records: 401-440 of 1280
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