Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 06/29/04)

Palm Beach County, Florida. March, 2002. Sequoia AVC Edge Touch Screen machine

Former Boca Raton Mayor Emil Danciu was ahead by 17 points in a poll conducted by the opposition. Exit polling indicated an overwhelming win for Danciu, but he received only 19% of the votes, even losing in his home precinct. Voters report that their votes appeared to be registered for his opponent.

His daughter reports:

What really alarmed us was the next day when we started getting phone calls from voters who had gone into the voting places -- people we didn't even know -- and pushed Emil Danciu's name only to end up with a check mark by Susan Haynie's name. They repeatedly tried to vote for him, but another name, particularly Haynie's, came up. They couldn't get their vote registered. They were telling wild stories about poll workers unplugging and kicking the machines. They didn't know whether their votes ever counted. Some were told to vote again.*

In addition, the results were delayed because, according to the election supervisor's office, 15 cartridges had been lost, and the system won't give a final tally until it has read all the cartridges. The office said that a poll worker had taken them home, and then they found them.

With no paper ballots to check the accuracy of the machine, Danciu sued for the right to look at Sequoia source code. The county attorney argued that it would be a felony to disclose the source because it is a trade secret. The judge denied Danciu's request for the software code.**

* Out of Touch: You press the screen. The machine tells you that your vote has been counted. But how can you be sure? New Times; April 24, 2003; By Wyatt Olson.

** Electronic voting's hidden perils. Mercury News. February 1, 2004. By Elise Ackerman.

See: Sequoia in the News

... the system we have for testing and certifying
voting equipment in this country
is not only broken, but is virtually nonexistent.
~ Michael Shamos
to the U.S. House Science subcommittee
on June 24, 2004