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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
1/26/2008 Machine malfunction FL Sequoia Palm Beach County. Wireless Internet cards that poll workers use to quickly verify voters' political affiliation, which ballot they should receive and whether they are actually registered to vote stopped working properly for about three hours late Friday morning. Some voters were turned away. Some waited at the polls. Story Archive
1/24/2008 Paper ballots (late) IL ESS At least six counties - Kendall, Hancock, JoDaviess, LaSalle, Wabash and Woodford - have had significant delays in receiving their ballots for the election that is less than two weeks away. Some received their ballots this week, while a couple are still waiting. ES&S spokeswoman Amanda Brown said the company has no specific reason why some counties got their ballots late. Story Archive
This is one more in a long list of ES&S failures to deliver on its contractual obligations.
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
1/19/2008 Machine malfunction SC ESS Horry County. iVotronic touch screen machines. "Poll workers in Horry County tell CNN voting machines have been down since polls opened Saturday morning throughout the county the machines are not reading an activation card." All 100 precincts in the county have been affected. Some voters have been turned away when paper ballots ran out. Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Story3
1/14/2008 Poor design FL ESS Broward County. Poll workers called up the wrong electronic ballot (on the ES&S iVotronic machines) for some Hollywood and Cooper City voters. Story Archive
1/12/2008 Machine malfunction NH Diebold Hanover, Exeter, Nashua, and Manchester Counties. Problems with the Premier (Diebold) optical scan machines reported by the officials in all four counties. Break down of the visor that guides write-in votes into the right bin, and memory card failures. Story
1/9/2008 Canvass anomalies NH Two hand count towns reported "zero" votes for candidate Ron Paul to the media, even though they did have votes for him. The town of Sutton reported zero, but had 31 votes; the town of Greenville reported zero, but had 25 votes. The two towns had misreported results affecting exactly the same candidate in exactly the same way. ["Red Flags over New Hampshire," 1-12-08, Story
12/3/2007 Canvass anomalies SC ESS Florence County. 108 blank ballots were recorded by ES&S iVotronic machines in last month's one-contest election. Florence County Elections Director Mike Young wants to find out what caused that phenomenon. Id like to know why 108 people would go into a polling place and go through all the trouble of signing in, showing their identification, and going into the voting booth and casting a blank ballot, Young said. Story Archive

Note: High "undervotes" on iVotronics are common, and in some elections, lost votes and inaccurate tallies were proven to be caused by machine malfunction. For example, Raleigh, NC, 2002, and LaPorte Co, IN, 2004, and Waldenberg, AR, 2006.

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

11/14/2007 Wrong ballot TX Hart InterCivic Harris County (Houston). Incomplete ballots appeared on the eSlate electronic voting machines in three early voting precincts, thus denying voters their votes on a tax proposal. Though election day voters were given the correct ballots, the article says "it was too late to have those votes recorded on the main computer." So, the county technician hacked into the computer and changed the totals to include the votes from election day. John R. Behrman, a computer expert and longtime election observer representing the Democratic Party, astutely pointed out, "Basically it turns out, without regard to any ballots that have been cast, you can enter arbitrary numbers in there and report them out in such a way that, unless you go back to these giant (computer) logs and interpret the logs, you wouldn't know it has been done." Story Archive
11/12/2007 Machine malfunction CT Diebold East Haven. A hand recounted, required because of the slim margin in the mayoral race, showed about a 40 vote discrepancy from the optical scanner count (out of about 8,000 ballots cast). Compounding the issue is the fact that there were over 100 ballots more than voters who signed in to vote. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/12/2007 Machine malfunction TX ESS Wharton County. The voting machine, not voter error, not a calibration problem, switched votes.

When Jim Welch voted last Tuesday, he watched as the voting machine changed the vote he'd entered a few moments earlier. "What Welch witnessed was votes that registered CORRECTLY when he touched the screen, switching later to a different vote choice, when he was almost finished voting the full page.

"Welch was stunned to see a correctly marked vote take on a life of its own, hopping over to a different spot while he voted on other items. He called an elections worker over to show him the problem. The elections worker helped him re-vote the ballot, and both men watched as the vote registered correctly, but later spontaneously altered to shift to another ballot choice." Story

11/9/2007 Voter challenges GA A group in Statesboro, GA., called the Statesboro Citizens for Good Government challenged 909 registered voters on the grounds that as students at Georgia Southern University, they were not residents entitled to vote in city elections. The 909 challenges used an identical form, with a blank space for filling in the names of individual voters, and identical language that "the elector has come to Statesboro, Georgia, only for the temporary purpose of attending Georgia Southern University."

In 1980 a Georgia court had ruled that it was unconstitutional to presume nonresidence because a voter was a student. Nevertheless, the county board of supervisors sustained the challenge and the voters could only vote by provisional ballot. A hearing is pending. Story Archive

11/8/2007 Poor design CO Sequoia Denver. Election officials are overwhelmed with the counting process, and only one person has the expertise to tally the votes. Officials are concerned about the 2008 election when the turnout is expected to be significantly higher. Story Archive
11/8/2007 Poor design IA ESS Johnson County. An error in the tally procedure flipped the results on an ordinance that would keep children out of bars after 10pm. Because the error caused a last-minute surge in "no" votes, the error was caught and corrected. Story Archive
11/8/2007 Machine malfunction IN Microvote LaPorte County. Microvote Infinity electronic voting machines were programmed with the wrong date and did not start up at five polling places. Technicians corrected the problems by 7:30 am. Story Archive
11/8/2007 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Mercer County. Two Sequoia Advantage electronic voting machines malfunctioned during the election and were removed from service. One was repaired. The memory cartridges, which hold the votes, were not removed from the machines on election night. The votes will be counted with the provisional ballots. Story Archive
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
11/8/2007 Poor design OH ESS Seneca County. ES&S M100 optical scanners could not be programmed to handle both the general election and primary election occuring at the same time. Only the general election ballots could be scanned at the polling place. The primary election ballots had to be taken back to the central office and fed into the machine one by one. Story Archive
11/8/2007 Machine malfunction VA Sequoia Scott County. More than 30 of the county's 45 electronic voting machines displayed errors instead of working properly when they first started up in the morning. The machines had been "upgraded" with new firmware that displays larger fonts, but the technician from Atlantic Election Services who installed the new firmware missed a step and the installation went awry.

AES managed to get one or two machines per precinct working. "Each machine required software changes, as well as a diagnostic check that took about 12 minutes." Software changes in the middle of an election! Story Archive Story2 Archive2

11/7/2007 Machine malfunction FL Diebold Sarasota County. Scanners broke down at three precincts. One man said the scanner rejected his ballot four times before a poll worker took it to be scanned later. Story Archive
11/7/2007 Poor design IN ESS Marion County. Memory cards -- small electronic ballot boxes -- went missing. The bipartisan board is looking for them. Story Archive
11/7/2007 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Atlantic County. Sequoia Advantage. When election workers tried to transfer the data from about 320 electronic voting machines to a central database that would count them all, the central computer wouldn't read the cards. Eventually Sequoia helped them resolve the problem. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/7/2007 Malfeasance NJ Sequoia Camden County. Cartridges were never removed from 12 of the voting machines, so the votes on them were not included in the count. But "the additional votes were not expected to affect the outcome of any races" said the election officials. A court order would be required to open the machines and count the votes. Story Archive

The second article says it was seven machines. Story2

11/10/07 update. A superior court judge ordered the machines to be opened and the cartridges to be removed so the votes could be tallied. Story Archive Archive2

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
11/7/2007 Machine malfunction PA Hart InterCivic Blair County. eSlate voting machines weren't accepting votes. It took most of the day to resolve the programming problem. Story Archive
11/6/2007 Machine malfunction CO Diebold Weld County. TSx voting machines displayed the wrong ballot in voting centers across the county. Poll workers distributed paper ballots until the problem was fixed around 9:15 am. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/6/2007 Machine malfunction GA Diebold Fulton County. In the new city of Chattahoochee Hill Country, the TSx electronic voting machines malfunctioned, and after trying for about an hour, the city reverted to using paper ballots for the day's elections. By 8:30 the machines were fixed. Story Archive
11/6/2007 Voter intimidation GA "For the past two weeks the students of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro have been the victims of challenges to their registration, threats, intimidation, and have faced police officers stationed outside and inside early polling places all because they had the nerve to want to vote in local elections." Story
11/6/2007 Machine malfunction IN ESS Marion County. Problems with some iVotronic touch screen machines cause "those polling places" to use paper ballots. Story Archive

"At one time about 83 of the 529 touch screens weren't working. By noon, the number of defective machines had been reduced to 66 and by 4 p.m. all were operating again." Story Archive Story2

Some of the problems were caused by batteries not being properly charged. Others were caused when the memory cards were inserted upside down. Story Archive Archive2

11/6/2007 Registration errors IN Marion County. "A mistake in the voter rolls has caused a problem affecting about 483 voters in 14 precincts, said GOP chairman Tom John and Democratic Party Chairman Michael O'Connor." Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/6/2007 Vote suppression IN Tippecanoe County. Residents who registered through a registration drive were turned away. The person conducting the drive had not given the forms to the county. Story Archive
11/6/2007 Registration errors MD Montgomery County. "Thousands of voters in Rockville, who are choosing a new mayor and four City Council members today, were mistakenly identified as having already voted by absentee ballot when they arrived this morning at polling places throughout the city. The error, which raised concerns among candidates about double-voting, occurred after the State Board of Elections sent Rockville officials the wrong copy of a voter database." Story Story2 Archive2

Another article tells more about the registration database bug: "The state's list inadvertently marked as absentee the names of voters with a home address that begins with the number 5." Story Archive

11/6/2007 Ballot display MS AVS Hinds County. Poll workers called up the wrong electronic ballots for some voters in split precincts. Since the ballots were the same except for one race, many voters didn't notice. There could be a problem if the race is close. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
11/6/2007 Machine malfunction MS AVS Hinds County. At least one voter claimed a machine flipped votes. Story Archive
11/6/2007 Machine malfunction NJ Sequoia Mercer County. Seven of the county's 257 Sequoia Advantage machines broke down during the election. It is unknown whether votes were recorded on them before they broke down. If so, those votes were lost. Story Archive
Records: 441-480 of 1280
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