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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 OH Diebold Cuyahoga County. Diebold scanner fails one of four pre-election tests. Michael Vu said, "It's not unusual in the testing that we find an anomaly. Our testing is going over and beyond the normal testing of the past." The officials will check the calibration. Some machines may be too sensitive and will be set aside and replaced. Story Archive
11/4/2006 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Trumbull County and elsewhere in the state. Diebold touch screens fail to display one of the pages of text for Issue 2 when they are in "large-text mode". Story Archive
11/7/2006 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Cuyahoga County. Forty-three of the county’s 573 voting places either failed to open on time or couldn’t get some or all of their electronic voting machines to work. Voters were turned away. Story Archive
11/7/2006 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Stark County. Diebold touch screens weren't working, and voters were told they would have to vote provisional ballots, which aren't counted until 10 days after the election. In some polling locations, voters had to touch the screen as many as 15 times to get it to register a vote. Story Archive
11/8/2006 Machine malfunction OH ESS Athens County. ES&S 650 misfed ballots until repaired by a technician. Story
11/9/2006 Machine malfunction OH ESS Franklin County. Five of the 19 iVotronic machines in four precincts were inoperable for at least part of Election Day. ES&S technicians who refused to identify themselves repaired the machines and placed them back in use. Story
11/13/2006 Machine malfunction OH ESS Athens County. M100 precinct scanners failed to scan ballots in at least two polling places. Story Archive
12/7/2006 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Fairfield County. An error in the tabulation process caused results to be reported incorrectly. A month after the election Diebold informed Fairfield County that a change had been needed because Issue 1 had been removed from the ballots of the touchscreens. After processing the results correctly, the tabulator reported changes that reversed the outcomes of three issue contests. Diebold had informed some other county elections boards that purchased voting machines from the company of the modification, but failed to alert Fairfield County. Story Archive
3/9/2007 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. A legal rights advocacy group wants Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to investigate complaints from about 20 voters that Montgomery County's touch screen electronic voting machines changed their votes during the November election. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
3/20/2007 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County (Dayton). Vote-flipping in official testing. Responding to the complaints of voters in the 2006 election, officials tested 62 touch screen machines and found that 33 of them recorded votes incorrectly. 14 were unable to be fixed and were shipped back to Diebold. Story Archive
11/6/2007 Machine malfunction OH ESS Ashtabula County. Ballot programming error on the ES&S M100 prevented the tabulator machines assigned to those multiple-candidate races from accepting more than one name on the ballot. The ballots were counted by hand. Story Archive
11/7/2007 Machine malfunction OH Hart InterCivic Hamilton County. Some of the memory chips (probably "memory cards") from the eScan optical scanners were "giving false readings." Story Archive
11/7/2007 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). Counting was delayed because of "a problem with the computer server that uploads totals from memory cards". Story Archive

Another article says, "The system went down twice Tuesday, each time for about a half-hour. After that, election officials decided to take the server down every forty-five minutes on their own, and then restart it ten minutes later." Story Archive

11/7/2007 Machine malfunction OH ESS Putnam County. iVotronic electronic voting machines. Flash card problems caused delays. According to the director of the Board of Elections, every precinct had problems with at least one machine. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/8/2007 Machine malfunction OH ESS Lawrence County. A ballot programming error, by ES&S, on the M100 tabulator caused the votes for Hamilton Township trustee to be reversed. Story Archive
11/28/2007 Machine malfunction OH Cuyahoga County. 20% of the voter-verified paper records were unreadable and could not be used in the recount required by the narrow margin of victory in nine races. County officials reprinted the paper records from memory cards. This means that 20% of the recounted ballots were not verified by voters. Story Archive

A reminder: A study commissioned by the same county to study the 2006 primary election records showed discrepancies -- in 72.5% of the vote centers -- between voter-verified paper totals and electronic records on the memory cards. Report review

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
3/16/2008 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

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

11/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH ESS Franklin County. Vote-flipping reported on the iVotronic touch screen machine. One woman reported that the iVotronic flipped her vote for President. A man reported that it flipped 75% of his votes, but he caught the errors on the review screen and corrected them. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH ESS Franklin County. A man who voted in Grove City said the iVotronic touch screen machine shut down on him, forcing him to cast his ballot after voting on only three of eight pages. He said the same thing happened to his wife. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH ESS Knox County. Obama and McCain were missing from the ballots on one of the iVotronic touch screen machines at one precinct. The machine was out of order for a time because it would only cast ballots for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH ESS Ohio County. Serious calibration problems with the iVotronic touch screen machines. Poll workers have to calibrate after about 10 voters. Toni Chieffalo, elections coordinator for Ohio County said, "Our poll workers were taught they need to calibrate all day long. After 10 or so voters, the machines go out of line. It takes two minutes to calibrate." Story Archive
11/4/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Stark County. Some touch screen machines didn't print the voter-verifiable paper record and were taken out of service. Others were broken down (apparently paper jams). Poll workers handed out paper ballots, but failed to give some voters both pages of the ballot. Some voters deposited the first page and do not get another chance to vote the second page. Story Archive
11/5/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Miami County. A memory card failed, halting the scanning of ballots and leaving the officials with 10 boxes of ballots that had to be rescanned. Extra scanners from Diebold/Premier had to be brought in to complete the tabulating. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
12/12/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. Officials discovered -- through a special hand audit they were conducting on order from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner -- that tabulation software (GEMS) used with touch-screen voting machines in the presidential election failed to count five votes in the city of Trotwood. They discovered that although the five votes were recorded to a memory card inside the voting machine, the votes weren't counted by the tabulation software when the memory card was uploaded to the tabulation server. Story Archive

Update 12/17/2008. The county decided to do an expanded audit. Workers matched electronic results with the machines' paper record. In Trotwood the machine showed 43 people voted, and the paper record showed 48. When the card was put back into its original machine, it re-synced and showed the votes, a procedure that would never occur during a typical count. Diebold (Premier) has no explanation. Story Archive

12/17/2008 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. Because of the five lost votes on a machine in Trotwood, the county did additional double-checking and found another problem. The voter-verifiable paper record, which scrolls inside a canister on the touch screen machine, is supposed to clearly indicate when a voter rejects the ballot before it is cast and makes corrections. But in three cases, that did not occur. Story Archive

VotersUnite followed up with election director Steve Harsman to ask how the flaw was discovered. Harsman said that each valid ballot is accompanied by a unique barcode on the paper record, but three records had no barcode. Checking against the totals, they discovered that those without a barcode had been rejected, but "reject" was not printed on the record as it should have been.

9/17/2009 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Lucas County. Early voting votes could not be merged with election day votes in the Premier (Diebold) election management system database. After waiting for a Premier technician to "implement a fix," county officials finally merged the voted manually. Elections officials said yesterday the problem was caused by a database glitch that their touch-screen-machine vendor, Premier Election Solutions Inc., of Allen, Texas, assured them would not be a problem. Story Archive
11/3/2009 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Montgomery County. The county experienced malfunctions with encoders, paper jams on optical scanners, and miscalibrations on touch screens e-voting machines. Story Archive

Update 12/15/09. About 137 machines were outside calibration tolerance and had to be pulled from the election. Story

11/9/2009 Machine malfunction OH Diebold Miami County. A memory card failed, causing a two-hour delay in retrieving vote totals. Story Archive
11/14/2006 Machine malfunction OR ESS Jackson County. ES&S Moel 550 ballot scanners miscount, jam, and fail to read the blue ink they were upgraded to read. Story Archive
11/2/2004 Machine malfunction PA Danaher At least four polling places in Philadelphia reported malfunctioning of older voting machines from Danaher Controls Inc. Story Archive
11/3/2004 Machine malfunction PA Mercer County. Computer software errors caused Unilect touch-screen voting machines to malfunction in about a dozen precincts Tuesday. Some machines never operated, some offered only black screens and some required voters to vote backwards, starting on the last page of the touch-screen system and working back to the front page. Some of those systems never came back on line. Story Archive
11/6/2004 Machine malfunction PA Unilect Mercer County. Problems shut down Unilect Patriot electronic voting machines for all or most of the day. Story Archive
11/6/2004 Machine malfunction PA Unilect Mercer County. Accuracy of the Unilect Patriot machines are in serious question. One machine recorded 51 votes for president out of 289 ballots cast. The county's Web site reports that 51,818 people cast ballots but 47,768 ballots were recorded in the presidential race, including 61 write-ins. About 4,000 votes could be unaccounted for. Story Archive
11/6/2004 Machine malfunction PA Mercer County. Glitches with electronic touch-screen voting machines occurred in about a dozen precincts in the county's southwestern corner. Story Archive
11/11/2004 Machine malfunction PA Mercer County. Director of elections and director of technology said a computer software problem (not voters incorrectly touching the screen) caused Unilect Patriot touch-screen voting machines to malfunction in about a dozen precincts. They said repeated calls to the manufacturer failed to resolve the problem. On some machines, voters were required to vote backwards, starting on the last page of the touch-screen system and working back to the front page, in order for their votes to be counted. Story Archive
2/10/2005 Machine malfunction PA Mercer County. 4,000 out of 52,000 votes didn't count because of problems. In one precinct in Farrell, only 55 votes for president were counted although 238 people voted. One machine was still programmed to collect votes for last year's primary election ballot -- so it couldn't be used at all. Story Archive
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

Records: 401-440 of 616
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