Voting Machine Mess-up Du Jour (Displayed 11/13/04)

Orange County, Florida. November, 2004. ES&S.
Software reached its limit and counted backwards.

Among the election equipment foul-ups in Florida, vote tabulating software reached its 32,767 capacity and began counting backwards.*

Sometimes the problem is that votes were miscounted. That's what happened, officials say, with precinct-by-precinct results posted on the Orange County elections office Web site showing that Democrat John Kerry beat Republican President Bush by 9,227 votes in Orange.

That was off by 8,400 votes. Officials working for Bill Cowles, the Orange elections supervisor, said the correct totals, available elsewhere on the site, showed that Kerry bested Bush in the county by only 827 votes.

The cause of the error, Orange officials said Thursday, was a software program that could not tabulate more than 32,767 votes in a single precinct. On election night, officials anticipated the problem and adjusted for it, deputy election official Lonn Fluke said Thursday.

... A similar discrepancy affected vote totals posted online for the U.S. Senate race between Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Betty Castor. But neither online counting problem made it into the real totals sent to Tallahassee, election officials insist.

* Distrust fuels doubts on votes: Orange's Web site posted wrong totals. Orlando Sentinel. November 12, 2004. By David Damron, Sentinel Staff Writer.

See: ES&S 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 uninformed or deceptive.
~ Joseph Holder