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Myth Breakers (E-Voting Machines)

Myth Breakers (E-Voting Machines)

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Published by Victoria Collier

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Published by: Victoria Collier on Oct 08, 2012
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For the answer, refer back to the 30 detailed examples in Chapter 2, or the sampling of problems
shown on the map on page 15. Or read through the 125+ machine malfunctions briefly described
in the Election 2004 problem log at VotersUnite.Org.66 Or browse through the files of
malfunctions sorted by vendor.67 Virtually all of the systems referenced on these pages and in
these files were NASED-qualified, state-certified, and subjected to pre-election testing.
For example, in Lancaster County, Nebraska, two out of six qualified, certified, and fully tested
optical scanners miscounted votes in the 2004 general election:

When the officials began testing the six machines, it became clear that two were not
correctly counting the ballots. "That came as a surprise, [County Election Commissioner
David] Shively said, because all were tested late last week and performed well." 68

In Pennsylvania's 2004 general election, too, the pre-election testing was to no avail:

Mercer County's director of elections said it was a computer software glitch that caused
touch-screen voting machines to malfunction in about a dozen precincts Tuesday. ...
Election workers in Mercer County raced to take paper ballots to polling places in the
Shenango Valley after a series of computer errors.
"I don't know what happened," said James Bennington, who had been assured Friday
that all 250 of the county's touch-screen units had been checked and rechecked.69

Sometimes, however, the tests fail. But what happens next, at least in New Mexico, is up to the
discretion of the election directors.
In the 2004 primary election in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, optical scan machines failed the
pre-election testing and were used in early voting anyway.
In pre-election testing, counters that
track the total number of ballots passed through the machine showed incorrect numbers. The
counters in four out of five machines were incorrect, showing as many as 20 or 30 votes more
than the actual number of ballots tested. Yet the machines were used in early-voting anyway.70

66 http://www.votersunite.org/electionproblems.asp

67 http://www.votersunite.org/info/messupsbyvendor.asp

68 Problem machines spur call for recount. Lincoln Journal Star. November 14, 2004. By Nate Jenkins.
http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2004/11/14/election/doc4189b9c7f14bf764391458.txt
69 Errors plague voting process in Ohio, Pa. Vindicator. November 3, 2004. Vindicator staff.
http://www.vindy.com/basic/news/281829446390855.php
70 Company denies problem with voting program. Clovis News Journal. June 3, 2004. By Jack King: CNJ
Staff Writer. http://cnjonline.com/engine.pl?station=clovis&template=storyfull.html&id=6358
I followed up with Susanna Martinez, the district attorney mentioned in the article. She provided the
additional details in this description.

4 Election Complexities Increased by Electronic Voting

25

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