Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 10/11/04)

San Diego County, California. March, 2004. Diebold.
Many problems, including failure of 24% of "smart card" encoders. Cause unknown.

Multiple problems occurred in the primary, among them:*

Poll workers saw unfamiliar Windows screens, frozen screens, strange error messages and login boxes none of which they'd been trained to expect.

A report released Monday by Diebold Election Systems shows that 186 of 763 devices known as voter-card encoders failed on election day because of hardware or software problems or both, with only a minority of problems attributable to poll worker training.

Diebold's post-mortem of the March 2 election said it was "disappointed" in the encoder failures and that it values its ties to local elections officials. But the McKinney, Texas-based firm offered no fundamental explanation of how and why the company delivered faulty voting equipment to Alameda and San Diego counties its two largest West Coast customers on the eve of the 2004 presidential primary.

And more:**

In Carmel Valley, one voter said she was allowed to cast a second ballot after the computer spit out her activation card while she was weighing her choices. She later said the card showed that her original vote had been counted.

... The registrar's office is still calculating the number of precincts that experienced problems and for how long, but by any measure it was high. The day after the vote, officials said at least 250 of the 1,611 precincts had not opened by 7:30 a.m. They have since declined to update those numbers.

Hundreds of voters, perhaps even thousands, were turned away from their polling place because the machines were not operating as planned. Some were advised to return later, but that was impractical for many voters. Others were sent to alternate precincts, where they were handed provisional ballots.

* Diebold reports multiple problems: Registrar wants reason for e-voting. Tri-Valley Herald; April 13, 2004; By Ian Hoffman, Staff Writer.

** Poll workers, voters cite tied-up hotline, poor training, confusion. Union Tribune; March 7, 2004; By Jeff McDonald and Luis Monteagudo Jr.

See: Diebold in the News

News stories make it rapidly apparent that
electronic voting is not reliable, accurate, or secure.
Any one who claims otherwise is either ignorant or deceptive.
~ Joseph Holder