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YIKES: Dozens of NEW Voting Problems Reported

Think it doesn't apply to you? Salesmen for these voting machine companies are now busy in Europe, South America and yes, even Canada. The Election "Reform" Law now mandates up to $3.5 billion to convert the entire U.S. to the systems described below -- WITHOUT addressing these problems:

YIKES: Dozens of NEW Voting Problems Reported: Voting system integrity at stake

For Related Coverage see also…

USA: November 14, 2002 -- This election cycle wasn't as "glitch-free" as most news outlets reported, according to ( http://www.VoteWatch.US), an online repository created to flag voting problems in America's elections. Working with Bev Harris at, who has compiled a history of disturbing election errors, documented problems in the most recent U.S. election, with over 1200 posts that included widespread voting machine malfunctions, vote counts that didn't make sense or changed inexplicably, phantom precincts, and outright intimidation at the polling place.

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The most troublesome development: "Ghost Precincts." With computerized vote tabulation, "unofficial" precincts have been included in totals in some areas, adding precincts that don't really exist. "Ghost precincts can provide a mechanism for vote-rigging, and at the very least, misrepresents where votes come from and makes it impossible for citizens to see how totals were calculated," says Harris.

Other concerns identified at VoteWatch.US: Current electronic voting machines were failing to produce a paper record that enabled: (i) voters to validate their vote, or (ii) precincts to perform a recount. Voters expressed a loss of confidence in the integrity of the system, and recounts became impossible when numbers didn't make sense or machines failed.

VoteWatch.US experienced its own share of problems during its inaugural election. Some participants posted nothing but spam, and for several hours the site had too much traffic to handle. Hertzberg created a system to transfer spam into its own section and powered up the technology to handle the load on busy election days. Over the next two years, Hertzberg says he plans to make VoteWatch.US the biggest repository of voting problems in the U.S., with the purpose of improving the integrity of our voting system.


GHOST PRECINCTS: Now this is really scary --

* A Florida woman, a former news reporter, discovered that votes were being tabulated in 644 Palm Beach precincts, but only 643 precincts have any eligible voters. An earlier court case in Florida found the same discrepancy, and the reason for it was never satisfactorily explained.

* A reporter in New Jersey observed 104 precincts with votes in an area that has only 102 precincts. "Ghost precincts" -- no matter what the official explanation -- do not provide the transparent accounting needed to protect voting integrity."


* A Texas-sized lack of curiosity about discrepancies: In Comal County Texas, the uncanny coincidence of three winning Republican candidates in a row tallying up exactly 18,181 votes each was called weird, but apparently no one thought it was weird enough to audit.

* When 18 machines were pulled out of action in Dallas because they registered Republican when voters pushed Democrat, the judge quashed an effort to investigate the accuracy of the tally.

* But when Scurry County poll workers got suspicious about a landslide victory for Republicans, they had a new computer chip flown in and also counted the votes by hand -- and found out that Democrats actually won by wide margins, overturning the election.

* Fuzzy math in Miami: November 10, Miami Herald listed the following figures for the total votes cast at the Democrat-friendly Broward County Century Village precinct in the general election:

1994: 7,515 1998: 10,947 2002: 4,179

Yet a VoteWatch participant who is an accountant called Century Village and was told that their occupancy has remained stable (around 13,000 residents) since the complex hit capacity in 1998.


A word about "computer glitch" vs. "computer misprogramming" -- Glitches seem to have no owner and bring with them an aura of expectability, if not respectability. Misprogramming -- whether accidental or not -- says the same thing, but asks for accountability.

* It might take a team of experts a month to find the computer problem that reversed the Alabama governor's election. Local computer experts say it could be weeks before software engineers find the misprogramming in Baldwin County that caused the mysterious appearance of 7,000 votes, reversing the Alabama Governor's race after observers had gone home. An audit was requested, but denied. No paper trail…officials insist the "glitch" shouldn't discourage voters.

* Computer misprogramming overturned the result: In North Carolina, a mistake in the computer program caused vote-counting machines to skip over several thousand party-line votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election.

* California machines that can't add: The problem in Monterey, California was that the department's mainframe computers refused to add the results of early absentee votes and those cast on touch-screen computers prior to Election Day. "We didn't have any problems whatsoever during our pre-election tests," said the elections official.

* This crushing defeat never happened: Vote-counting machines failed to tally "yes" votes on the Gretna school-bond issue (Nebraska), giving the false impression that the measure failed miserably. The measure actually passed by a 2-1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that provided the ballots and the machines.

* Double-counting votes in South Dakota: Blamed on "flawed chip." ES&S sent a replacement chip; voter demanded that the original chip be impounded and examined.

* A programming error of 55 percent: In South Carolina, and it caused more than 21,000 votes in the squeaker-tight race for S.C. commissioner of agriculture to be uncounted; only a hand-count was able to sort it out. Good thing there were paper ballots.

* Computer misprogramming caused machine to count the wrong names: In Taos, New Mexico just 25 votes separated the candidates in one race; another race had a 79-vote margin. After noticing that the computer was counting votes under the wrong names, Taos County Clerk Jeannette Rael contacted the programmer of the optical machine and was told it was a programming error. The votes were then hand-counted, so all ended up okay.

* Nearly a day later, no votes were counted in Adams County. Software from ES&S had a coding problem, County Election Commissioner Chris Lewis said. Attempts to clear up the problem, including using a backup machine, failed. The problem affected at least 12,000 ballots. "The irony is they had one of the newest pieces of voting equipment in the state," said Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale."

* One hundred percent error tabulating Libertarian votes: In Pennsylvania, a voter reported that he had followed his conscience and voted Libertarian. When he reviewed the results for his precinct, though, the Libertarian candidate received zero votes. Two ways to look at this: Unimportant, just a vote; or, a 100 percent error. Either way, why bother to vote?

* Only 103,000 votes went missing in Florida, and only 91,000 voters were wrongfully purged from the rolls. Though there is no paper trail, officials assure us that the counts were correct. And the purged voters get their votes back -- next year.

* Voting machine tallies impounded in New York: Computer misprogramming hampered and confused the vote tally on Election night and most of the next day, causing elections officials to pull the plug on the vote-reporting web site. Commissioners ordered that the voting machine tallies be impounded, and they were guarded overnight by a Monroe County deputy sheriff.


* "I can't say every precinct had a problem, but the vast majority did" -- Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana Clerk of Court John Dahmer said at least 20 percent of the machines in his parish malfunctioned. "One percent might be acceptable, but we're not even close to that," Dahmer said. He said 15 employees worked to combat the malfunctions.

* Vote Republican (read "Democrat") -- In Maryland, computer misprogramming upset a lot of voters when they saw a banner announcing "Democrat" at the top of their screen, no matter who they voted for.

* Forty-four of 46 machines malfunction in New Jersey: Election workers had to turn away up to 100 early voters when it was discovered that 96 percent of the voting machines couldn't register votes for the Mayor, despite having the machines pre-tested and certified for use.

* Trying to find 300 voters so they can vote again: In North Carolina, one out of four new touch-screen voting machines failed in early voting, losing 294 votes. The machines were shut down before Election Day, so election workers looked for the 294 voters to ask them to vote again. (A paper trail would have solved this problem.)

* McBride was a tough guy to vote for: One voter said that he tried 10 times, and every time he pressed McBride the Bush choice lit up. He could only get his vote to light up the McBride choice when he pressed a dead area of the screen. No paper trail was available, so no one really knows who got any of the votes -- regardless of which candidate lit up. Similar problems were reported in various permutations, for various candidates, by several Florida voters, and an identical problem was noted in Texas.

* "What the hell do I do with this?" -- A bag full of something that looked like rolls of cash register tapes was handed to the County Clerk. A computer "irregularity" in a New Jersey vote-counting system caused three of five relay stations to fail, leaving a single county clerk holding the bag for a hand count.

* More than 200 machine malfunctions reported in Ascension Parish (Louisiana): An elections official gnashed his teeth as more than 200 machine malfunctions were called in. The Parish Clerk said his staff was on the road repairing machines from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. In one case, a machine wasn't repaired until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. "A mechanic would fix a machine, and before he could get back to the office, it would shut down again," Bourque said.

* When all else fails, use duct tape: One VoteWatch visitor reported that in Sarpy County, Nebraska, they used duct tape to stick something under the machine -- that's the only way it would feed votes through.

* All the king's horses and all the king's men…couldn't put the tally together again: With a 34-vote margin separating the two justice of the peace candidates in St. Bernard Parish (Louisiana), the machine ate 35 absentee votes and left everyone guessing about the outcome of the race. The ballots became inaccessible when the system locked up; even the technician couldn't get at them.

* Another example of the recent "glitch-free election": In one Georgia county ballots in at least three precincts listed the wrong county commission races. Officials shut down the polls to fix the problem but didn't know how many wrong ballots were cast or how to correct errant votes. In another, a county commission race was omitted from a ballot. Cards voters need to access machines malfunctioned. Elsewhere, machines froze up and dozens were misprogrammed.

* In Ohio, a vote-counting machine malfunctioned with 12 of the county's 67 precincts left to count. A back-up vote-counting machine was found, but it also could not read the vote. Election workers piled into a car and headed to another county to tally their votes.

* Two South Carolina precincts working to extract information from the computer: Pickens County was unable to get totals from two precincts because of computer glitches.


* Georgia officials forgot where they put their memory cards: Fulton County election officials said that memory cards from 67 electronic voting machines had been misplaced, so ballots cast on those machines were left out of previously announced vote totals. No hand count can shine any light on this; the entire state of Georgia went to touch-screen machines with no physical record of the vote. Fifty-six cards, containing 2,180 ballots, were located, but 11 memory cards still were missing Thursday evening. Bibb County and Glynn County each had one card missing after the initial vote count. When DeKalb County election officials went home early Wednesday morning, they were missing 10 cards.

* U.S. Senate Candidate's ballot was pre-voted for his opponent: Charlie Matulka, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Nebraska, arrived at the polls to vote for himself. When he looked at the ballot he was given, he discovered it had already been filled out -- for his opponent, Chuck Hagel, giving Nebraska the most newfangled voting of all -- not just electronic voting, but AUTOMATIC voting!

* Banana Republic goes upscale: In posh Marina del Rey, California one precinct had no voting booths, the voting machine was broken, voters couldn't get their cards into one machine, and someone broke the puncher out of the machine. So voters were told to vote in public.

* Some Florida elections officials don't like accounting any better than they like paper trails: An assistant for Harry Jacobs went to precinct # 23 and asked to see the list of people who had voted. She was told that was illegal. But precinct #23 was illegal: the candidates have every right, under Florida law, to compare the number of votes cast with the number of votes counted.

* Candidate for governor finds vote-counting computer asleep: Paul Rosberg, the Nebraska Party candidate for governor, eagerly took advantage of a Nebraska law that lets candidates watch their votes being counted. He first was invited to watch an optical scanner machine, which had no counter on it, and then was taken into the private room, where he was allowed to watch a computer on a table with a blank screen. So much for public counting of votes.

* Candidate declared victory prematurely: New Mexico candidate Heather Wilson declared herself the victor and made a speech, even though the margin was only 51:49 and votes weren't fully counted. First reports explained that "thousands of new votes had been found but not counted." Later, when thousands of new votes were not discovered after all, the reason for her victory premonition was changed to an influx of uncounted absentee votes, 2:1 for Wilson.

* "It's raining, so you can't vote" --Many voters reported that poll workers gave them the wrong ballots, refused to provide forms needed to vote, or offered only ballots with the wrong names on them (meant for other districts, apparently). One Ohio voter reported that she couldn't vote because election workers ran out of forms and refused to get more, since it was raining.

* Kennebunkport voting glamour: A New York voter reported disgust after seeing photos of abundant machines with no lines in Kennebunkport, Maine. In his crowded New York precinct he found only six machines, long lines, cranky kids and people who were already late for work.

* Step right in, anybody can vote -- and ya'll come back now! -- Numerous voters reported that no ID at all was requested when they went to vote, and in several states voters reported that there were no safeguards to prevent repeat voting.

* Five people of color told to step aside for white voters. Elections official delayed their voting, then said "Ya'll ain't gonna vote today." Two witnesses provided phone numbers, details for the press, but in Florida, this story apparently wasn't deemed important enough to make the news.

* Sorry, you can't vote, no more ballots: If you showed up at the polling place in Westwood Park in San Francisco around 7 p.m., an hour before the polls closed, you were out of luck. There were no more ballots. The ballots finally arrived around 11:30 p.m., and a few hardy voters were still patriotically waiting to cast their votes. But one of the pollworkers informed them that their ballots would not be counted since the votes were cast after 8 p.m.


* Bergen County absentee fraud? New Jersey elections officials impounded 276 absentee ballots because of allegations of improprieties and Prosecutor John Molinelli said he would investigate potential voter fraud. More than 22 percent of the borough's voters applied for absentee ballots, which raised suspicions.

* Absentee voting: Washington State reported late receipt of absentee ballots and absentee envelopes sent with no ballots inside. Oregon reported candidates changing position after absentee ballots had been cast, and receiving other people's absentee ballots in the mail. Minnesota had many complaints about votes sent in early for Wellstone not being counted for any candidate.

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