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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
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction VA ESS Elizabeth City. ES&S iVotronic touch screen machines switched votes on the screen. In early voting, 42 blank ballots were recorded in this one-contest election. On election day 18 blank ballots were recorded. The margin of victory was 14 votes, 17 after provisional were counted. No meaningful recount is possible on the paperless machines. Story1 Story2 Archive2
11/8/2005 Machine malfunction VA Spotsylvania. The ballot counting machines wasn't working properly, and some ballots had to be counted by hand. "A faulty memory pack on the system at Wilderness was rejecting ballots with even the slightest fray or fold in the paper, said Shirley Boggs, Spotsylvania's registrar." Story Archive
11/3/2005 Machine malfunction CO Diebold Pitkin County. Nearly 1200 phantom votes (more votes than voters) were reported in one precinct. Diebold AccuVote precinct optical scanners were used. "A recount is possible if election officials can't pin down the exact cause of the problem." Story Archive
11/2/2005 Machine malfunction CO Morgan County. Mechanical problems on old ballot scanners cause delays in counting. Story Archive
11/2/2005 Too few ballots CO El Paso County. A shortage of ballots at many polling places resulted in many El Paso County voters being forced to submit provisional ballots, many others had to wait for more ballots to be delivered and hundreds simply went home without casting their votes. Story Archive

As many as 90 out of 385 precincts ran out of ballots. Some people waited up to four hours to vote. Story Archive

11/1/2005 Ballot printing CO Boulder County - "The folds in the ballots in Boulder County may cause machines to miscount the votes in the critical statewide Referenda C & D issues." Arapahoe County - some absentee voters didn't receive their ballots. County officials are investigating. Story Archive
10/31/2005 Machine malfunction NM Sequoia Dona Ana County. Ballot programming error caused the City Clerk Shirley Clark to decide not to use the voting machines in this election. (VotersUnite contacted the county and discovered that Sequoia Voting Systems did the programming for Edge voting machines.) Story Archive
10/21/2005 Ballot printing CA Sequoia Humboldt County. About 900 voters received incorrect ballots. The elections manager said the error was made by Sequoia Voting Systems. Sequoia Voting Systems is printing correct ballots, which should be in the mail by Saturday, McWilliams said. Story Archive
10/20/2005 Ballot printing CA Sequoia Santa Clara County. Printing problems have delayed delivery of absentee ballots by a week. When the ballots arrived from the printer (Sequoia Voting Systems), there were problems with the bar coding that ensures only one ballot goes into each envelope, and with the scoring that ensures folds don't interfere with votes. Story Archive
10/19/2005 Ballot printing CO Sequoia Arapahoe County. Voters in at least four precincts were mistakenly sent duplicate ballots for the Nov. 1 election. The duplicate mailings are a result of an error on the part of Sequoia Voting Systems, a vendor that the county contracts with to print and mail out ballots. Story
5/7/2005 Machine malfunction FL ESS Miami-Dade County, Florida. A study of poll books and vote totals has revealed major discrepancies. 35% of the polling places had more votes than voters or lost votes. Story Archive
3/12/2005 Machine malfunction WI ESS Taylor County. About 27 percent of all votes cast in Medford during the Nov. 2 election were not counted because an ES&S programmer improperly set the optical scanner that records the ballots, officials say. Story Archive
3/8/2005 Machine malfunction MD Diebold All Maryland voting machines have been on ''lockdown'' since November 2, 2004 due to statewide machine failures including 12% of machines in Montgomery County, some of which appear to have lost votes in significant numbers.

According to the IT Report to the Montgomery County Election Board, dated December 13, 2004, screen freezes, which occurred on 106 voting units were "the most serious of errors" because many "froze when the voter pressed the Cast Ballot button." As a result "election judges are unable to provide substantial confirmation that the vote was in fact counted." Story Archive

3/1/2005 Registration fraud MO Greene County. There were discovered as many as 788 illegally registered voters at Baptist Bible College in Springfield Missouri.
2/17/2005 Fraud WI Racine. Nearly 2% (106) of the address cards filled out in November by people registering at the polls (same-day registration) were returned by the post office as undeliverable.

Milwaukee. Nearly 4% were returned as undeliverable. Story

2/17/2005 Malfeasance WI Some county clerks don't confirm same-day registrations. "Under state law, municipalities are required to send address verification cards to anyone who registers at the polls, then submit any cards returned as undeliverable to the district attorney. Last month, though, the Journal Sentinel reported there is spotty compliance in some communities around in the state." Story
2/15/2005 Malfeasance WI Number of ballots cast fails to match number of voters, many places across the state.
Neenah - 12,637 voters, 13,226 ballots ("a computer glitch caused more than 500 voter histories not to be updated").
Milwaukee - 269,212 voters, 277,535 ballots ("problems in entering polling place logbook information into the city computer system")
Waupun - 3,948 voters, 4,329 ballots
Bayside - 2,919 voters, 2,885
Howard - 8,942 voters, 8,729 ballots ("When some newly registered voters were entered into the voter database, the system automatically recorded that person as having voted in the November election")
Mosinee - 2,247 voters, 2,251 ballots
Eau Claire - 34,720 voters, 37,525 ballots

Madison - "The actual number of ballots cast overall was 138,452, but the city doesn't have a figure for the number of people recorded as having voted, Deputy City Clerk Sharon Christensen said." Story

2/11/2005 Ballot printing WI Milwaukee. Two absentee ballot problems that occurred in the November election "are both serious. In the first case, some residents who sought ballots were unable to vote. In the second, 238 ballots that did come almost missed being counted. It took special permission from the state Elections Board to allow those 238 ballots to be counted, something that did not happen until nearly a month after the hard-fought election." Story
2/11/2005 Fraud WI Milwaukee. Many absentee ballots were rejected because the names matched names of people who had signed in at the polls. "There is no way of knowing, though, whether any ballots were rejected because of names inaccurately recorded in poll lists earlier in the day as having voted, or someone else having improperly voted as the person who actually sent in an absentee ballot." Story
2/11/2005 Fraud WI Milwaukee. Fraud or malfeasance? "The Journal Sentinel review found 20 wards, out of 312, where no number was listed for the last voter, an important safeguard against anyone later changing the books or ballots. In 24 wards, there were gaps of more than 5% between the last voter number listed and a higher number of ballots counted. Only 56 of the wards matched perfectly." Story
2/11/2005 Malfeasance WI Milwaukee. An array of incidents showing mishandling of ballots and registrations -- "including 1,200 votes cast from invalid addresses; at least 7,000 votes unaccounted for in computer records; and 1,300 registration cards that could not be processed. Many of those were missing names or addresses." Story
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
2/8/2005 Registration fraud WI Milwaukee. Fraud being investigated by federal and local authorities. "... many peculiarities, inconsistencies, duplications and plain unanswered questions [were] found in recent days by the newspaper in its review of the election in the city. Story2
2/6/2005 Canvass anomalies AL The automatic recount of the Amendment 4 contest showed a net loss of 1844 ballots statewide (of 1,380,750). It also showed a net loss of 1844 votes for Amendment 4. In the optical scan recount, individual counties lost as many as 656 "yes" votes, and found as many as 91. They also lost as many as 366 "no" votes, but found as many as 52. Story Archive
2/1/2005 Canvass anomalies WI Milwaukee. In 17 wards, at least 100 more votes recorded than people listed by the city as voting there. In two wards, one on the south side and one on the north side, the gap is more than 500, with fewer than half the votes cast in each ward accounted for in the city's computer system. Over 1700 votes were counted by the machines, but not recorded properly later. 7,000-vote gap found by the Journal Sentinel. Story Archive
1/24/2005 Registration fraud WI Milwaukee. "1,242 votes came from a total of 1,135 invalid addresses. That is, in some cases more than one person is listed as voting from the address. Of the 1,242 voters with invalid addresses, 75% registered on site on election day, according to city records." Story
1/15/2005 Canvass anomalies NC Burke County. Unilect Patriot machines register presidential undervotes in excess of 10% -- 1 in 10 people didn't vote for president. The machine is the same as the one that lost 4,400 votes in Carteret County, but officials think it was the screen/ballot design rather than a malfunction that caused the high undervote rate. Story Archive
1/11/2005 Canvass anomalies WA Diebold King County. Some voters appear twice on the registration rolls. The discrepancy between signed-in voters and number of ballots was attributed to people who were probably permitted to cast poll-site ballots without signing the poll book. Story
1/7/2005 Provisional ballots WA King County. 348 provisional ballots were mistakenly run through the poll-site voting machines without verification Story
1/5/2005 Canvass anomalies WA King County. 3,539 phantom votes -- more ballots than voters -- show up as Republican examine the election for anomalies and compare rosters to ballots. Story Archive
12/24/2004 Malfeasance NM Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron failed to find -- and then denied the existence of -- 2,087 phantom votes in the certified results of the presidential election in New Mexico. Story Archive

To view the phantom-vote example cited in the story, go to the Bernalillo canvass report on the SoS website. Look on page 41 to see the 318 absentee votes for president in Precinct 512. Look in the last column on page 69 to see the number of absentee ballots -- 166. 158 more votes than ballots cast means 158 phantom votes. The report cited in the story is here.

12/23/2004 Canvass anomalies WA In the Governor's race, a hand recount of nearly 3 million ballots overturned the outcome reported by machine counts. Republican Dino Rossi received 261 more votes than Democrat Christine Gregoire in the first machine count; Rossi received 42 more votes in the second machine recount and lost to Gregroire by 10 votes in the manual recount. 566 additional ballots in King County raised Gregoire's margin to 130. Story
12/20/2004 Machine malfunction AR Pike County. Optical scanner failed to count nearly 700 votes. Story Archive
12/20/2004 Malfeasance OH Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D., lead statistician for the election challenge lawsuit brought by the Alliance for Democracy, now in the Ohio State Supreme Court, reveals evidence indicating that some of the electronic voting machines in Mahoning County, Ohio were set up to have a default presidential candidate. In other words, voters who chose not to vote for a presidential candidate and voters who tried unsuccessfully to vote for the candidate of their choice unknowingly cast votes for the default candidate. Story
12/20/2004 Malfeasance US A review of election results in a 10-county sampling revealed more than 12,000 ballots that failed to record a vote for president, almost one in every 10 ballots cast. The unofficial audit by Scripps Howard News Service uncovered malfunctioning voting machines, improperly designed ballots and poor accounting procedures around the nation. Study [Definitely worth reading.] Archive
12/19/2004 Deceptive practices NM Evidence of false voter drives, disinformation phone calls and fliers that sought to selectively remove minority voters from rolls and prevent them from voting. Several instances in New Mexico of such groups targeting Hispanic and other voters for voter registration, only for the voters to find that there is no record of their registration on election day. There are also general complaints throughout Bernalillo County of last minute precinct relocation that appear to have targeted poor and minority voters. Study
12/18/2004 Canvass anomalies OH Hand-counting only 3% of the votes has revealed discrepancies in the hundreds. In other cases, ballot mix-ups led to votes meant for one presidential candidate going to another. [Nothing is said of the state-mandated full county recount when discrepancies are found in the 3%.] Story1 Story2 Archive1 Archive2
12/18/2004 Canvass anomalies OH Cuyahoga County. Recount witnesses found that signature counts were very much different from the official recorded number of ballots. Story
12/18/2004 Fraud OH Voters in Ohio challenge the presidential election, charging the Bush campaign with fraud. Story Archive
12/18/2004 Fraud US Electors across US break traditional pro forma ritual to use electoral college to protest election violations. Vermont electors, on the record and in front of TV cameras and a number of statewide media outlets, expressed their concerns for our democracy with "57,000 complaints already received by the Congressional Judiciary Committee, we call on Congress and especially our Vermont Congressional delegation to investigate." They enumerated credible violations affecting hundreds of thousands of voters across the US, Elector Jeffrey Taylor reports. Story
Records: 801-840 of 1280
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