Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 08/01/04)

Fairfax County, Virginia. November, 2003.
AVS WINvote paperless voting machines failed.

A post-election report by the Fairfax GOP committee* called the election a "technological and procedural failure." The report further states:

The WINvote machines failed. The software failed (machines crashed throughout, voters reported difficulty in getting their choices to record), the hardware failed (some machines required new batteries, some needed to be “jiggled” back into operation, modems failed to transmit data) ... the sheer volume of problems and unresolved questions after Election Day, 2003 is mind-boggling; especially in a community where, in the past, such problems were few and far between.

Examples of problems reported:

Two of the Hunters Woods machines did not work when turned on in the morning.

I pressed a name I did not want to vote for intending to try the change your vote feature. The machine accepted my vote. I read the instructions on how to change it ... "press the spot again.” So I pressed again. No change. Again, no change. ... Eventually, I hit the right combination of time and pressure, and the erroneous vote was removed, leaving me free to make a correct vote.

In Villages the count came up one vote short. The election officials said that a woman pressed, "vote," said thank you and left, whereupon the official discovered the machine had died. It was the second time that particular machine died, and at that point it was taken out of service. The rest of the votes registered but that one did not.

These comments are from an Assistant Chief at one precinct:

One machine "froze" after accepting 4 votes, was rebooted about 1PM, accepted 2 more votes and then froze again. We were told to take it out of service for the rest of the day. The tech rep that was sent to look at the machine did not physically remove it. He did bring another machine for us to use - it would not work either.

* Operation Ballot Integrity. A Report by Fairfax County Republican Committee. January, 2004.

See: WINvote 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