Voting Machine Mess-up

Miami-Dade County, Florida. May, 2005. ES&S iVotronic.
New evidence shows both phantom votes and lost votes in the November election.

The number of voters reported by election workers didn't match the number of ballots cast in 260 (35%) of Miami-Dade's 749 polling places. Some showed more votes than voters ("phantom votes"); others showed significantly more voters than ballots cast.*

While some of the discrepancies can be traced to sloppy procedures and training, others are evidence of problems not yet explained:

Phantom votes: [A] precinct with a major difference was Precinct 362, which recorded 583 votes and 859 signatures. A review of that precinct's signature log found 580 signatures.

Phantom votes: in Precinct 41 there were 910 votes and 844 signatures, a difference of 62.

Lost votes: At combined Precinct 117/166, the ballots totaled 995 and the signatures numbered 1,276.

Phantom votes ... then more phantom votes: For Precinct 816, in the Church of the Ascension at 11201 SW 160th St., a Review inspection of the voter log showed 945 signatures, while the iVotronic computer tape showed a count of 1,032. But the individual machine counts are listed on the tape as well, and they add up to 945. But the number certified by the canvassing board came in at 1,116 votes.

In this case, the discrepancy may have been due to an iVotronic machine malfunction. Lynn Kaplan, a volunteer observer for the reform coalition who was at that polling place on Nov. 2, said in an interview that as a poll worker was closing down one of the iVotronic machines at the end of the day, an error message popped up on the machine's digital screen saying: "Internal malfunction/unit closed to save data/vote data corrupted."

... [Martha Mahoney, a University of Miami law professor and member of the reform coalition who led the analysis] said the situation in Precinct 816 highlights the need for better procedures and training for reconciling signature and ballot totals. She also stressed that the county must investigate discrepancies to see if they resulted from fraud or equipment malfunction.

The Secretary of State's office has refused to get involved.

Jenny Nash, a spokeswoman for Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, said the issue of reconciling signature totals and machine counts was a local one and is not the concern of her office. "Each supervisor has their own process for how they reconcile the numbers," Nash said.

* Elections Discrepancies found in 35 percent of Miami-Dade precincts. Daily Business Review. May 06, 2005 By: Jessica M. Walker; (subscription only)

   Discrepancies found in votes, signatures. A study on the November general election shows thousands of discrepancies between the number of votes cast and signatures collected by poll workers at the end of the day. Miami Herald. May 7, 2005. By Noaki Schwartz and Jason Grotto.

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