[LINK] E-voting glitches hamper elections in seven states

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Nov 5 10:13:42 AEDT 2008

E-voting glitches hamper elections in seven states
Hanging Chad, make room for Folded Crease
By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
4th November 2008 20:15 GMT
The Register

USA '08 People in at least seven states - six of them considered 
battleground states - are reporting that bugs and malfunctions with 
electronic voting machines are hampering their ability to cast votes in 
a presidential election that is expected to bring out a record number of 

In Florida, a state that is no stranger to controversial election 
results, the problem was with optical scan machines, which, 
coincidentally, many e-voting skeptics have said are less prone to error 
than other ballot machine types. In the sunshine state's Palm Beach 
County, elections officials have said that creases in absentee ballots 
are causing some votes to be misread by machines made by Sequoia Voting 
Systems. It seems that in some cases, the crease can be misinterpreted 
as a black arrow that's supposed to indicate a voter's choice.

The discovery has prompted one candidate whose race is printed on the 
part of the ballot that's folded to request absentee ballots to be hand 
counted. So far officials have rejected the call.

Voters also reported problems with optical scanning in Colorado. They 
stem from dust that collects in the creases of mail-in ballots that 
could lead to inaccuracies.

Virginia, another swing state that could ultimately decide whether 
Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain wins the White House, 
also experienced problems with e-voting machines Tuesday. Voting at more 
than two-dozen polling places in that state came to a standstill caused 
largely by machine failures and a lack of paper ballots. In Henrico 
County, many people showing up to polls had to wait hours to cast their 
ballot after five of seven voting machines broke down, according to a 
group called the Election Protection Coalition. No paper ballots were 
available during the outage.

Henrico County officials disputed the reports of long lines.

The reports are just the latest to cast e-voting as unreliable and 
fraught with risk to tampering. In August 2007, California Secretary of 
State imposed strict limitations on the use of e-voting machines from 
all four companies doing business in the state. Ohio's top elections 
official has also reported finding serious vulnerabilities in machines 
used in that state.

Tuesday's problems also extended to states that are not considered swing 

In Kentucky's Kenton County 108 eSlate machines sold by Hart Intercivic 
had to be taken out of service two hours after polls opened. The 
problem, according to the Associated Press: "The machines weren't 
lighting up when someone voted a straight-party ticket of all Democrats 
or Republicans. The machines' removal meant longer waits for some voters."

And in Illinois, where polls indicate Obama is likely to win easily, 
people also reported problems, according to the group Verified Voting. 
Other states reporting problems included New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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