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Election Day - 'Glitches' 'Hiccups' 'Snags' Return

Election Day 'Glitches' 'Hiccups' 'Snags' and 'Snafus' Return

Blogged by Brad Friedman

Voting Machines Failures Reported (So Far) in Indiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Colorado & Maryland...

UPDATE: Naturally, Ohio Joins the Group of States with Voting Failures...

Voter turnout was light, in many parts of the country, yesterday. Ironically enough, that's the good news.

Alternet ran a preview of voter suppression issues of concern in yesterday's Elections across the country. Sure enough, the author, Steve Rosenfeld, wrote in during the early evening to let us know there were problems concerning Photo ID issues popping up in pockets around the country, and that he'd have more soon. Our own Alan Breslauer touched base as well with several reports he'd been getting from around the country.

John Gideon's "Daily Voting News" yesterday, pointed to some of those issues that had been reported in the media as of yesterday afternoon around the country. GOP voter suppression, through specious claims of Democratic "voter fraud" and the invented "need", therefore, for disenfranchising photo ID laws and challenges at the polls, is at the top of the Republican strategy for '08. Naturally, it was taken out for a test spin yesterday.

(Speaking of spin, don't miss wingnut Mychal Massie's despicable retread diatribe --- including the mandatory quotes from GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, John Fund, who wrote the book on it, literally --- in the wingnut WorldNetDaily. His tragically misguided piece, headlined "Vote fraud: Democrats' meal ticket" gives you just about all you need to know. Read it once, save yourself a thousand or so near-identical reads between now and November 2008. But we digress...)

The other major prong of voter disenfranchisment is, of course, the machine issue. Problems in that area, in particular, tend to reveal themselves in the days after Elections. Early on Election Day, such problems are frequently downplayed in the media, who tend to turn to Election Officials for information, despite the inherent conflict of interest such officials have in hoping to portray their elections as "successful".

In the early hours, then, hints of such breakdowns are reported as little more than computer "glitches" "hiccups" "snafus" and "snags" (though "kinks" makes it debut today, see below) until later on, when the true extent of the voting system failures --- and that's what they are, not "kinks" --- become known.

With that in mind, here are just a few of those e-voting glitches, hiccups, snafus, snags, and yes, kinks, from around the country so far yesterday, as culled from Gideon's DVN last night...

Touch-screen (DREs) fail, and take down op-scans with them, in Marion County, Indiana:

At about noon, technicians were working to fix 66 touch-screen voting machines, White said. Problems with the machines likely had to do with batteries that didn’t work or with the card that counts votes inserted upside down in the machines while they were at the Marion County Election Warehouse. If the card was upside down the machine would not work properly.

To further complicate the matter, the machines that count paper ballots will not work unless the touch-screen machines are operating.
At one time about 83 of the 529 touch screens weren't working. By noon, the number of defective machines had been reduced to 66 and by 4 p.m. all were operating again.

DREs fail in Fulton County, Georgia:

Voting officials in the new city of Chattahoochee Hill Country in southwest Fulton County received court approval Tuesday afternoon to extend the voting day by an hour after several mishaps.

By the time polls opened at 7 a.m. in the city's first-ever election Tuesday morning, a line had formed but some voters could not find the right ballot and the machines were not working properly.

The malfunction was blamed on a poll worker who did not set up the machines properly.

Op-scans fail in Bedford County, PA:

A 'kink in the system' threatened to add hours of hand counting of paper ballots in Bedford County, while most areas in the region report a slow turnout for Tuesday's election.

The E-Scan machines in Bedford, which read paper ballots, were down in every polling location in the county Tuesday morning. Poll workers said that the slow early turnout was a welcome relief.
"If this was next year at this time, it would be chaos," Aldine Over, a volunteer at Woodbury Township, said of the next presidential election.

DREs fail in Weld County, CO:

An early-morning problem early Tuesday stalled voting across Weld County as voting machines started pulling up the wrong ballots for voters.
“We did have a few hiccups this morning, but now everything seems to be going well,” [Steve Moreno, Weld County clerk and recorder] said.

Voter database failures in Rockville, MD (Think there is little or no oversight or testing of voting machines? It's even worse for the new computerized voter registration databases which nobody oversees!):

Thousands of voters in Rockville, who are choosing a new mayor and four City Council members today, were mistakenly identified as having already voted by absentee ballot when they arrived this morning at polling places throughout the city.
The state's list inadvertently marked as absentee the names of voters with a home address that begins with the number five.
[T]he confusion at polling places revived memories of widespread problems that marred the September 2006 primary. In that election, human error and technical glitches led to long lines and some voters being turned away throughout Montgomery County.

"Here we go again," said Drew Powell, a candidate in the mayor's race to replace three-term Mayor Larry Giammo.

"Here we go again," indeed.

UPDATE: What good is any list of e-voting problems without Ohio, making the list?! This now in from Hamilton County, OH (note: the reporter refers to "memory chips" but clearly means "memory cards", likely of the type that have been failing all over the county):

A vote count that many had expected to be done by 11 p.m., and certainly by midnight, stretched well past that time because of problems with some inexperienced poll workers and some problems with how the memory chips from the voting machines were being read by the equipment at the board of elections downtown.

It wasn’t until 1:40 a.m. today that the county posted final results, with all 880 precincts reporting.

Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, said that there were problems when some of the memory chips from the vote-tallying machines at polling places got downtown to the board’s offices on Broadway. When the chips were fed into the machines at the board of elections, they were giving false readings, Burke said.


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