Watchdogs Spot E-Vote Glitches
By Kim Zetter
06:21 PM Nov. 02, 2004 PT
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The National Protection Coalition, composed of several nonpartisan groups that include the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Verified Voting, reported Tuesday afternoon it had received more than 600 calls from voters complaining about problems with e-voting machines around the country. A separate group, Common Cause, reported receiving 50,000 calls, though not all of them were related to voting technology. Both groups had established toll-free phone lines for voters to report problems.
The National Protection Coalition received 80 reports of problems in New Orleans where machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems failed to start on election morning, resulting in voters being turned away from polls because election officials didn't have a back-up plan. By late afternoon some machines still had not booted up. . .
In Florida, where George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election by only 537 votes, 10 touch-screen voting machines failed at precincts in Broward County. Voters in Florida and Texas complained about calibration problems with touch-screen machines. Problems occurred when voters touched the screen next to one candidate's name and an "X" appeared in a box next to another candidate's name. The Election Protection Coalition also received more than 32 reports from various states that spread across all the top e-voting brands made by Diebold Election Systems, Election Systems & Software, Hart Intercivic and Sequoia.
These problems involved e-voting machines that appeared to record votes correctly when voters touched the screen, but indicated a different selection on the review screen before voters cast their ballot. In some cases voters had to redo their ballot five or six times before the correct votes took. . .
Voters in Palm Beach County, Florida, reported that when they went to vote on Sequoia machines some races on their electronic ballots were already pre-marked before they started voting. They had to ask poll workers to assist them in removing the selections from the ballot so they could start with a clean ballot. In some cases they weren't successful in doing this.
In Texas, voters casting straight-party tickets reported that machines cast ballots for candidates outside of their chosen party. For example, if a voter chose to vote straight Republican, rather than automatically marking all Republican choices on the ballot, the machine marked some Democratic choices.
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