Voting Machine Mess-up

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. February, 2005. Unilect.
DRE malfunctions during official re-examination.

During an investigation into the malfunctions of the voting machines in the 2004 general election, the machine being used for a demonstration froze and failed.*

Until 2 p.m. yesterday, Jack Gerbel's demonstration of his UniLect touch screen voting system was going smoothly. Then, suddenly, the screen froze up, unresponsive to numerous finger-pokes from Gerbel and a bystander.

"It's worked fine up to this point," Gerbel said, faintly flustered, fiddling with wires.

Minutes later, the UniLect system was back online, tabulating mock votes correctly, working just the way it's supposed to.

That brief episode, more than any other during yesterday's demonstration before state officials, illustrated how the computerized system can be mostly reliable, yet prone to occasional glitches that can temporarily confound even the people who know the system inside and out.

UniLect designed the touch screen systems that are at the heart of an election investigation in Mercer County, where some of the machines malfunctioned because of a computer code that was installed incorrectly.

Mark McPherson, an observer reported:**

During the test the system dropped the write-in candidates that had been entered into it. The system also failed multiple times during the process and had to be corrected/fixed by Mr. Gerbel, often with little or no explanation by him as to the cause of the problem or the fix.

Read the scathing report of Dr. Michael Shamos, the examiner.***

* Touch screen voting flawed in Mercer County. Post-Gazette. February 16, 2005. By Bill Toland, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau.

** Notes from Feb. 15th Unilect re-examination in Harrisburg: As observed by Mark McPherson, representing Mercer County Citizens for Better Government.

*** UniLect Corporation PATRIOT Voting System: An Evaluation Prepared for The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. by Michael Ian Shamos, Ph.D., J.D. April 2005.

See: Unilect 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