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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
10/26/2009 Wrong ballot CO Aspen. Some voters received a ballot that includes Referendum 5A even though they don't reside in the district and aren't supposed to vote on the measure, while others who should be able to vote instead received ballots without 5A on it. Story Archive
5/28/2009 Machine malfunction CO TrueBallot Aspen. In an Instant Runoff election (IRV), 28 votes were miscounted in the final round. Sixteen of the votes for Ireland (the winner) were counted for Marks, and 12 were deemed “exhausted” because they did not list rank Marks. The correction increased the margin of victory for Ireland. Story Archive
11/5/2008 Machine malfunction CO Hart InterCivic Boulder County. Ballots are scanned by a Kodak scanner and the images are read by the tabulation system. The system was misreading some ballots because of a vertical streak on the image. The county speculates that this streak was caused by dust on the ballots, possibly coming from the creases after the mail-in ballots were folded. Story Archive Story2 Archive2

Note: This problem also occurred in Yakima County, WA in 2004. Story

Update 9/19/2009. After further investigation, "County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall released a report Friday that said the problem was an incompatible device driver installed on scanning machines. The incompatible driver disrupted communications between the scanners and ballot-counting software from Hart InterCivic." Story Archive Story2 Archive2

11/4/2008 Paper ballots (late) CO Reported to 1-866-OURVOTE: Absentee voters still haven't received absentee ballots. Story
10/31/2008 Malfeasance CO Secretary of State Coffman continues to purge voters at the eleventh hour, in violation of an agreement his office made in a federal lawsuit settlement. A federal judge has now ordered him to cease purging voters immediately. The Colorado Independent reports: ""The Advancement Project, a voter protection organization, filed suitagainst Coffman late last week for canceling as many 30,000 voters within 90 days of the federal election, a breach of the National Voter Registration Act. Coffman’s office settled with the Advancement Project late Wednesday evening, agreeing to let purged individuals vote by provisional ballot. But he has removed an additional 146 voters from the rolls since then." Story Archive
10/29/2008 Machine malfunction CO Diebold Adams County. Vote-flipping from Democratic state Senate candidate to her Republican opponent on the Diebold/Premier touch screen voting machine. After this happened three times, she was allowed to vote on another machine. The machine has been quarantined. Story Archive Story2 Archive2
10/28/2008 Registration errors CO Arapahoe County (Aurora). One woman who was wrongfully purged from the voter rolls went to the county office and got her registration re-instated, so she can vote in this election. From the article: "Morris is just one of thousands of Colorado voters who recently found out their voter registrations had been purged." And: "Hearings on a federal lawsuit on voter purging in Colorado will resume in federal court Wednesday." Story Archive
10/25/2008 Paper ballots (late) CO Sequoia Denver. Sequoia said they mailed 11,000 more absentee ballots on October 16 than they actually did, an investigation into the missing ballots discovered. Sequoia promises to mail them out on Monday -- October 26, just 8 days before they must be turned in by voters. Story Archive
10/21/2008 Too few ballots CO Sequoia Denver. Some voters who showed up at Manual High School after the polls were open for one hour were told there weren't enough ballots. One of the voters said she went back to Manual High early in the evening, "and they still didn't have the right ballots." She said an election judge told her they were going to have to get some printed. Story Archive
8/12/2008 Machine malfunction CO Diebold El Paso County. At the Holmes Middle School's Polls, 2455 Mesa Rd, Colorado Springs, in Precinct's 147, 197, and 250 when the Judges were doing the closing tallies on the Diebold Touch Screen TSx, the unit locked-up when the supervisors card was inserted. The screen read "NOT AUTHORIZED", and election judges could not print a tape of the tallies to post on the entrance door as required by law/code. Further, they were not able to balance the voter record books that all the judges have to verify & sign. When the supervisor called the election clerk's office for what to do, they were told to just pack-up the Diebold TSx and bring it to drop-off point as this was happening with many of the units around the county. Reported by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A., President, Equal Justice Foundation
2/17/2008 Machine malfunction CO Hart InterCivic Testing discovered that the eScan optical scanner continues to have the problem that led to its initial decertification in the State. It fails to detect and count marks on the ballot consistently, leading to inaccurate results. Story Archive Colorado Voting Systems Testing Board Report
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
11/6/2007 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
12/15/2006 Malfeasance CO Hart InterCivic Montrose County. In violation of state law, county election officials did not perform pre-election testing. Appropriate testing is likely to have detected a ballot programming error affecting write-in selections. Nor did the county submit a security plan before the election, as required by a court order. Story Archive
11/30/2006 Malfeasance CO Sequoia Denver. Investigation reveals that Denver election officials passed up the tested e-poll book software used by Larimer County, which would have handled the load. Instead they hired Sequoia to develop the software they were not experienced to do. Sequoia officials claim no knowledge of having developed the software. Officials estimate 20,000 voters were disenfranchised on Election Day. Turnout was 68,000. Story Archive Story2 Archive2 Story3 Archive3 Story4 Archive4

12/1/06 update. Documents refute Sequoia official's claim that they didn't know the software would be used for voter check-in. City auditor estimates the cost of switching to vote centers was significantly higher than if the city had remained with neighborhood polling places, which would have also avoided the massive Election Day problems. Story Archive

11/17/2006 Machine malfunction CO Hart InterCivic Montrose County. Machines broke down in all seven vote centers. Montrose Pavilion was the worst, where 11 out of 12 eSlate electronic voting machines broke down. Insufficient paper ballots were available, so poll workers made copies, which the scanners failed to read. Story Archive Story2
11/14/2006 Ballot printing CO Sequoia Denver. Sequoia misprinted the barcodes that identify precincts on absentee ballots, so the county has to sort 70,000 ballots into the 23 different ballot styles. "Sequoia's vice president of communications, Michelle Shafer, did not return four calls and pages seeking comment." Story Archive
11/14/2006 Machine malfunction CO Sequoia Denver. One of two absentee ballot scanners broke down and had to be replaced during the counting process on election day. Story Archive
11/8/2006 E-pollbook CO Sequoia Denver. E-poll books failed, computers crashed and voting machines broke down across the city, causing long lines and waits up to three hours. Story Archive

Computer glitches prevented thousands of residents from voting, piles of absentee ballots are still to be counted, and Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher today asked that Denver's two elected voting commissioners - Susan Roger and Sandy Adams - resign and that the mayor fire Clerk and Recorder Wayne Vaden as well as the entire senior staff of the election commission, including executive director John Gaydeski. Story Archive

11/16/06 update. It is revealed that "Denver election officials never tested the capacity of the troubled computer systems they used to verify voter registrations on Election Day - an omission one computer expert called "shocking" and others said seemed shortsighted." Story Archive

11/8/2006 Too few machines CO Hart InterCivic Douglas County. The county's 300 eSlates weren't enough to handle the turnout with such a long ballot, says the County Clerk in an apology to the voters. 200 more are needed to avoid long lines. Story Archive
11/7/2006 E-pollbook CO Sequoia Denver. At the Convention Center, though 100 people stood in line, only 25 percent of the voting machines were in use at any given time, as poll workers tried to get verification of voter registration from computers that were frequently down. At Denver Botanic Gardens, more than 200 voters backed up in a line that stretched out of the gates and down the block more than half way to 11th Avenue. At Corona Presbyterian Church, voters were being told to expect about a two-hour wait as they snaked around the building. Many voters were unable to wait. Story Archive
11/7/2006 Machine malfunction CO Sequoia Denver. Power failures, voting machines crashing, electronic poll books failing cause long lines and chaos in the Denver election. Judge refuses to extend the voting time. Voters are encouraged to go to other vote centers, but many vote centers are experiencing similar problems. Story Archive
11/2/2006 Poor design CO Sequoia Denver. Poll workers struggle to learn how to use the Sequoia touch screen voting machines. Training sessions in Jefferson and Denver counties this week showed that although some judges are comfortable with computerized voting machines, others are baffled. Many of the judges are retired and trying to learn new technologies, often after years of working all-paper elections. "I've reached my saturation point," said Pat Gressett, 77, after more than an hour working with the new computers. Story Archive
10/12/2006 Ballot printing CO Sequoia Denver. Sequoia Voting Systems, printed 44,000 absentee ballots with the "yes" and "no" boxes transposed on the measure for Referendum F, a measure that would change the way recall elections are handled. "Election officials said they had proofed the ballot, and the proof did not contain the error. Somehow, the proof was changed, said commission spokesman Alton Dillard." Story Archive

Oct. 27 - The solution. Duplication 30,000 ballots before scanning them. Sequoia, to blame for the error, won't be supplying additional machines to count the transposed yes/no ballots. "These are kind of large, expensive machines, and they don't just have a whole bunch of them sitting around," Story Archive

Oct 28. A new decision. Officials decide the potential for human error in duplicating so many ballots is too high. They will program some of the ballot scanners to read the misprinted ballots. Story

10/12/2006 Ballot printing CO Sequoia Denver. Sequoia's second printing error was instructing voters to use 24 cents less postage than necessary to return the ballots. Story Archive
8/9/2006 Machine malfunction CO Sequoia Denver County. Paper printout was wrong on the Sequoia Edge. Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff was the second person to try to vote on a new machine at Washington Park, but his vote for himself did not print properly. Picture 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
10/19/2005 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
11/14/2004 Ballot printing CO Instructions on absentee ballots were wrong in several counties, including Denver and Adams. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Long lines CO Many Denver precincts ran out of voting materials hours before the polls closed, leaving voters waiting in long lines while additional materials were dispatched. There were inexcusably long lines for early voting in many counties, where clerks have discretion to designate as many locations as they deem appropriate. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Malfeasance CO The list of issues in this election is troubling. Outdated voter-registration lists. Election judges turning voters away because of misguided interpretations of new election laws. Voters who never got to cast their ballots because they never received requested absentee ballots. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Malfeasance CO The secretary of state's election rules went through at least four different versions this year before the final set of rules was issued on Oct. 22, less than two weeks before Election Day. Similarly, the statewide election judge training manual produced by the secretary of state's office was not issued until a week before the election. By that time, a substantial portion of the state's 16,000 judges were already trained, and many Coloradans had already cast their ballots during early voting. ... and the list goes on. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Provisional ballots CO Denver improperly rejected some provisional ballots cast during the primary. Story Archive
11/14/2004 Vote suppression CO Election judges in Boulder, Denver, Jefferson, Douglas and Weld counties gave incorrect instructions to voters about IDs, and more alarmingly, sent dozens of these voters away without allowing them to cast ballots. Some judges incorrectly told provisional ballot voters that they should only vote for president. Some judges were still redirecting voters to other polling places or clerks' offices minutes before the close of polling instead of offering provisional ballots. 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
11/9/2004 Ballot printing CO Boulder County. A printing error that distorted bar codes on Hart Intercivic paper ballots is being blamed for delays that made this one of the last counties in the nation to report election results. Scanners rejected ballots with the bad bar codes, requiring election judges to tally those votes race by race. Voting equipment was tested before the election. But the printing error occurred only on actual ballots that went to voters, not the test ballots. Story1 Story2 Archive1
11/5/2004 Late counting CO Boulder County's new Hart paper ballot system doesn't count ballots fast enough for the press. Story Archive
Records: 1-40 of 47
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