Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 07/06/04)

Ballot Programming Errors in Three Arkansas Counties, May 2004

1) Sevier County

The chip programmed by ES&S for the county's optical scan counted all ballots as blank. The test ballots were printed correctly, and the pre-election testing was successful. But then the ballots for election day were printed in a different print run.*

After consulting with officials from Election Systems & Software, it was determined that the codes on the computer chip and the codes on the ballot didn’t match.

2) Fulton County

The chip programmed by ES&S for the county's optical scanner didn't work. ES&S claimed that the printer didn't send them all 16 ballots needed for the programming. The printer said he did send the entire set of ballots, and his records showed that the weight of the package mailed to ES&S was the weight of 16 ballots.**

Riverside Graphics printer Michael Eaton insisted his company sent ESS [sic] a full set of ballots. “We printed the ballots for Independence County where there are three times as many people and we didn’t have any problems. We’ve had this problem with ESS before,” said Eaton.

... He said Riverside Graphics checked its postage records, and the weight of the package sent to ESS was consistent with a package containing 16 ballots.

3) Craighead County

The chip programmed by ES&S for the county's optical scanner gave one candidate all the votes for constable. A manual recount revealed the error.***

A recount was made in the District 13 constable race because returns from Precinct 20 showed one candidate received all 158 votes cast in the precinct, and the opposing candidate doubted that.

The incident was traced back to a computer chip coding error, and the result of the recount was that both candidates had received votes in the precinct.

* Ballots counted by hand in primary elections. The DeQueen Bee; May 24, 2004.

** No explanation for ballot machine malfunction. South Missourian; May 27, 2004; by George Jared, Staff Writer.

*** Commission OKs results of elections. Jonesboro Sun, May 28, 2004. By LeAnn Askins.

See: ES&S 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