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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
11/14/2004 Paper ballots (late) FL Absentee voting problems were a "disaster." Voters were unable to confirm the status of their request for an absentee ballot. In some cases, by the time they realized a ballot wasn't on its way, it was too late. Hundreds of voters couldn't vote because their early orders for ballots disappeared. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Machine malfunction NE Lancaster County. While machines correctly fed themselves just one ballot at a time, their software at times incorrectly detected two ballots. The machines in all cases stopped short of actually counting two ballots, County Election Commissioner David Shively said, and instead responded by shutting down. Democratic party alleges there is no proof that the mechanical glitches that slowed counting Tuesday did not also skew the final figures. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Late counting NH Hollis town officials located the missing ballots that stalled a state Senate recount Friday night. 253 ballots cast on Nov. 2 were still inside an optical scanning machine at Town Hall. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Late counting NJ Somerset County Democrats yesterday filed for a recount of election returns in Bedminster, where one mislaid absentee ballot gave Republican Kurt Joerger a late victory. Joerger was tied with Mass at 1,789 until the county board of elections agreed to accept an additional absentee ballot. According to county elections Supervisor Janice Hoffner, election workers found the ballot two days after the Nov. 2 election, when they were counting separately filed federal ballots. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Fraud OH Summit County. 29 voters voted absentee and then again on provisional ballots. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Too few machines OH Polling places in Northeast Ohio had half the number of voting machines that were needed. This caused a bottleneck at polling stations, and many people left without voting. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Voter intimidation PA York County. Officials received complaints of Hispanics being treated badly at the polls by poll workers. Story
11/13/2004 Malfeasance CA Riverside County. After Secretary of State Kevin Shelley directed all touch screen counties to provide a paper ballot option, poll workers did not offer it and were resistant to providing it even to those who asked. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Machine malfunction FL ESS Orange County absentee ballot tabulator (ES&S) started counting backwards after 32767 ballots, causing the posted precinct-by-precinct results to show a 9,227 margin of victory for Kerry while the county summary report showed only a 827 margin of victory for Kerry. A similar discrepancy affected vote totals posted online for the U.S. Senate race between Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Betty Castor. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Long lines IN Vanderburgh County. ES&S iVotronic. Long lines were reported at many polling places on Election Day, with some voters saying they had to wait more than two hours. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Machine malfunction IN Diebold Franklin County. Inadequate testing.Tests with Fidlar's optical-scan equipment before the election found no problems. Yet during the election, it gave straight-party Democrat votes to Libertarians, affecting the outcome of the county commissioners' race. Story Archive
11/13/2004 E-pollbook MN Ramsey County. The Friday before the general election, the online registration system went down while we were doing absentee voting, 20 to 25 people were standing in line, and the election judges weren't able to access the voter registration system. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Registration errors MN Many went to vote and discovered they weren't registered. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer thinks some people were removed accidentally when voter registration lists were updated to account for Minnesotans who had died since the last election. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Machine malfunction NC Gaston County. About 12,000 votes cast in Gaston County have not yet been counted, elections director Sandra Page said Tuesday. Page said most early and absentee votes were not included in the county's unofficial election results because of a procedural error. The inclusion of the votes in the county's results, expected Tuesday afternoon, could change the outcome of several local and statewide races. Story1 Story2 Story3 Archive3

The county pays a technician from Diebold to operate its systems on Election Day. That person was in charge of transferring early votes from electronic storage to the counting computer. Diebold believes the transmission was interrupted, said spokesman David Bear. Story Archive

11/13/2004 Machine malfunction NC Diebold After data was transmitted from the precincts to the central station, it was discovered that there was no data for the Dallas precinct in the GEMS database. Office records from election night, kept by a staff member, showed that information was received, Gaston County Elections Director Sandra Page said. She believes the computer system recorded a successful transmission without receiving any data. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Machine malfunction NC Gaston County. The entire Dallas precinct (1209 votes) was omitted from the reported totals. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Canvass anomalies NH Concord. A recount showed 234 fewer votes for a state Senate race than in the initial count. Ballots were later found in the bin of a scanning machine. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Ballot secrecy NV On Nevada's system, manufactured by Northern California-based Sequoia Voting Systems, votes are stored on a paper roll wrapped around a spool, much like cash-register tape. Because rolls store votes sequentially, they open the door for poll watchers to discover how people voted, if they count voters coming through the door and compare that with vote records. Story Archive
11/13/2004 Vote suppression OH Columbus. Carol Shelton was the presiding judge at a Columbus precinct with three machines for 1,500 registered voters. At her home precinct in Clintonville, she said there were three machines for 730 voters. "I called to get more machines and got connected to Matt Damschroder, and after lots of hassle he sent a fourth machine," she said. "It did not put a dent in the long lines." Story Archive
11/13/2004 Provisional ballots WA Washington state Democrats, sued election officials Friday in the state's largest county. The lawsuit would block election officials in King County, home to Seattle, from discarding about 900 provisional ballots. [Note: they won the suit.] Story Archive
11/12/2004 Election law MN Reporters and photographers must have a letter of permission to get into a polling place, and they can't stay for more than 15 minutes, according to the law passed in this year's legislative session. This is a departure from past practice, in which reporters and photographers were routinely allowed inside polling places. Story
11/12/2004 Malfeasance NY Yonkers. State Senate recount shows that nearly every lever machine had a higher count for Democrat Stewart-Cousins than was recorded from the precinct count. A judge has impounded the machines. The county Board of Elections disclosed Friday that seals on 22 machines were damaged or missing. Story
11/11/2004 Provisional ballots AL Counties handled the provisional ballots in a variety of different ways. The statewide result: Thousands of people who voted a provisional ballot didn't get a say in the election. An Associated Press survey of 59 of Alabama's 67 counties showed officials accepting only 1,836 of 6,560 provisional votes, or about 28 percent. Story1 Story2
11/11/2004 Machine malfunction IN Franklin County. Optical scan equipment counted straight-party votes for Democratic candidates as Libertarian votes; 9 counties may be affected. Democrats discovered the error in Franklin County, where ballots will be counted again tonight. The county's election equipment vendor, Fidlar, notified officials Wednesday of the error. Libertarian candidates received 7 to 8 percent of the votes in Franklin County, which is about 30 miles south of Richmond. Story1 Archive1

A programming error in the Fidlar optical scan system caused the miscount. One race was overturned when the program was corrected. Story2 Archive2

11/11/2004 Machine malfunction IN ESS Vanderburgh County. A power cord malfunctioned, delaying the vote-counting on ES&S iVotronics. Story Archive
11/11/2004 Provisional ballots OH Cuyahoga County. A new ruling about counting provisional ballots was instituted on November 9 at 2:30 pm. The new ruling in Cuyahoga County mandates that provisional ballots in yellow packets must be Rejected if there is no date of birth on the packet. The Free Press obtained copies of the original "Provisional Verification Procedure" from Cuyahoga County which stated "Date of birth is not mandatory and should not reject a provisional ballot." The original procedure required the voter?s name, address and a signature that matched the signature in the county?s database. One of the clerks said, "This is new. This just came down. They just changed it in the last thirty minutes." Story
11/12 -- Counties that were confused about whether to validate provisional ballots that don't have voters' dates of birth on them were told Friday by the secretary of state's office in a conference call to allow those ballots. Story
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
11/11/2004 Machine malfunction TX Diebold Collin County. Diebold touch screen voting machine locked up on election day. County officials couldn't retrieve the results, so they sent the memory card to Diebold labs in Canada so technicians there could get the totals. The mere fact that a piece of Collin County's election record left the country should be cause for concern. [Note: Diebold Election Systems is located in McKinney, Texas, the county seat of Collin County, Texas.] Story Archive
11/11/2004 Poor design VA AVS Roanoke. Some ballots were voided because voters left WinVote machines before pushing a flashing red button to record their votes. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Malfeasance AL Fort Payne. The committee formed to keep Fort Payne dry has petitioned a court to nullify the election in which residents voted to make the city wet. The petition by Dry Forces of Fort Payne contends City Clerk Jim McGee improperly moved a polling station without the required City Council approval 90 days before the election.The Dry Forces allege that this disenfranchised voters had to go to two polling places to take part in the referendum. Story
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction AR ESS Carroll County. A ballot programming error by ES&S caused the ballots to be counted incorrectly. ES&S will supply a new chip for the Model 115 optical scanners and the county will rescan the ballots. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction AR ESS Carroll County. Skewed results in the JP District 2 race were found to have been cause by a misprogrammed optical scan chip supplied by ES&S. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction CO Hart InterCivic Boulder County. Some of the scanners (Hart Intercivic) were not functioning during part of the count. In addition, ballots had to be counted by hand because the barcodes weren't printed correctly "The programming of the scanners might also be to blame for not letting machines read bar codes that were off by an amount so tiny that it was not visible to the naked eye." Story Archive
11/10/2004 Provisional ballots FL The vast majority of provisional ballots -- voters' last chance to have their voices heard -- were rejected. The majority of rejected ballots were cast by people who simply were not registered to vote. Other reasons: voting in the wrong precinct, signatures that didn't match those on file at the elections office and lapsed registrations because voters hadn't responded to address-verification requests and hadn't voted in at least four years. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction NC ESS In Guilford County, ES&S early voting machines had capacity problems, which affected anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 ballots. Story Archive

The totals were so large, the tabulation computer threw some numbers away. Retallying changed two outcomes and gave an additional 22000 votes to Kerry. Story Archive

ES&S explained that the Unity 2.2 tally software reached 32,767 (32K) and began subtracting from the totals (same as in Broward County). ES&S had known about the problem but not told its customers. Letter from ES&S (603K)

11/10/2004 Machine malfunction NC Sequoia Buncombe County. Sequoia Advantage touch screen machines failed to display one of the races in two precincts. Officials estimate that as many as 500 or 600 voters were not given the opportunity to vote in the school board race. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Provisional ballots NJ Bedminster Township. Election law requires that provisional ballots be placed in sealed bags at the polling places and brought by election workers to the county. But provisional ballots from seven of the township's nine voting districts were found to be in unsealed bags. James B. Ventantonio, attorney for the Democrats, challenged the votes on the basis of the bags not being sealed. This prompted the election commissioners to keep separate tallies of the ballots from the sealed and unsealed bags, in case a judge invalidates ballots from the unsealed bags. Story
11/10/2004 Fraud NM A Republican presiding judge in one particular precinct was in charge of several hundred bad ballots. The problem, County Clerk Mary Herrera said, was that the bad ballots, with affidavits inside, were largely Democrats. The good ones were for Republican voters."It made us kind of sick," Herrera said. "It was too obvious. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Provisional ballots NM A Republican presiding judge in one particular precinct was in charge of several hundred bad ballots. The problem, County Clerk Mary Herrera said, was that the bad ballots, with affidavits inside, were largely Democrats. The good ones were for Republican voters."It made us kind of sick," Herrera said. "It was too obvious. Story Archive
11/10/2004 Machine malfunction SC Georgetown County. The initial count showed 64 more ballots than the recount on the Unilect Patriot electronic voting machines. "After Friday's recount, the number of total votes cast in the election changed from 25,848 to 25,784." Story Archive
Records: 921-960 of 1280
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