US Election Vote Fixing Reports Hit The Mainstream

Published: Fri 8 Nov 2002 11:48 AM
SCOOP EDITOR’S NOTE: Scoop has in the past 48 hours published several real deal media commentaries ( C.D.Sludge, Michael Ruppert, John Kaminski ) pointing to problems with the electronic voting systems used extensively in Tuesday’s mid-term elections in the United States.
The following six article extracts (and links) from mainstream news providers show that it is not only the alternative media who have been reporting these problems.
Readers may also like to try a Google Search on “Voting Machine” and follow some of the links. Doing this makes it fairly obvious that these problems are far from isolated.
- Canada Press - Problems with high-tech voting machines may cause Georgia election challenges
- Associated Press - Alabama Gov. Results in Dispute
- Miami Herald - Broward vote total off in reporting glitch
- Drudge Report - Florida Talkshow Callers Claim Machines 'Broken', Voted For Mcbride, Marked It As Bush
- - Voting into the void
- Associated Press - Election night problems continue in Adams County
Problems with high-tech voting machines may cause Georgia election challenges
Canadian Press
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
(AP) - Scattered problems, a few serious but most described as hiccups, marred the debut of touchscreens and other high-technology voting machines Tuesday, including in all of Georgia and in Florida's most election-challenged counties.
The most serious appeared in two Georgia counties where officials said they could result in contested elections and lawsuits. The state has the country's largest deployment: 22,000 touchscreens. In one county, ballots in at least three precincts listed the wrong county commission races. Officials shut down the polls at one point 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.
In Florida's Miami-Dade County, one of two most troubled during the primaries, machines were misprogrammed at one precinct, meaning voters had to use substitute paper ballots for the first three hours.
Forty to 50 touchscreen machines scattered among more than 5,000 in Broward County had to be taken offline because of incorrectly loaded software or the wrong ballot, officials said. The glitches did not prevent anyone from casting votes, they added.
But in Tarrant County, Tex., which includes Fort Worth, officials said tallies may not be finalized until Wednesday night because of a programming error with older-style machines.
Mercuri warned some problems with the new touchscreen systems may never be known because they lack paper backups for doublechecking ballots.
Diebold Election Systems, which supplied machines for Georgia and Maryland, said election officials never asked for such features, which worries Mercuri.
She said any misprogramming isn't always obvious, "so there's no way to prove that (a machine) didn't cast a vote for Candidate B when you cast for Candidate A."
Alabama Gov. Results in Dispute
By PHILLIP RAWLS, Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - With the outcome of Alabama's gubernatorial race still up in the air, Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and Republican challenger Bob Riley are going about business as if they are both the governor-elect.
The dispute centers around allegations by Siegelman that a GOP-dominated county altered its vote totals in the middle of election night.
Late Tuesday, election officials in Baldwin County distributed figures that showed Siegelman with 19,070 votes, enough to give him the victory in the unofficial statewide count.
But on Wednesday, the county certified results that gave Siegelman 12,736 votes while leaving Riley's numbers unchanged. That erased the governor's thin margin in the statewide count and put the GOP congressman ahead by 3,195 votes out of 1.3 million cast.
Probate Judge Adrian Johns blamed a software glitch for the earlier figures.
But Siegelman charged that the Baldwin County figures were changed after midnight when poll watchers had left, and he stood by the higher number that would give him a second term.
"Votes were changed after midnight with nobody present," he said.
Broward vote total off in reporting glitch
Broward County's election didn't end as smoothly as it began: A programming error sliced 34,000 votes from reported races on Tuesday, and 70,000 more were deducted from total turnout.
By late Wednesday, election officials insisted that all the votes were accounted for.
They said that the errors had no effect on the outcome of any races, though voter turnout jumped from 35 percent to 45 percent after it was corrected.
And it raised questions about the vote-counting and reporting process for the county's $17.2 million electronic voting system that could not be explained to the satisfaction of the three-member canvassing board until late Wednesday.
''The initial reports didn't include everything we tabulated,'' Deputy Supervisor Joe Cotter said.
''It was a minor software thing. Once we realized it, we took the proper steps to fix it,'' he said.
By Matt Drudge
"I voted for McBride, but the machine counted it as Bush. It did this three times. The polling worker finally said, 'We have to reprogram this machine. Another person was having the same trouble while I was there.'"
So claimed a caller to Southern Florida's WQAM-AM and the highly-rated radio talkmatch, NEIL ROGERS SHOW.
"I pushed the screen for McBride and it marked Bush. They called over a technician, he reset it," claimed a second caller.
"I'll tell you right now, this election is fixed!" roared Rogers, who has been in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market for more than 25 years. "Based on a few early calls, it is going to be a wild, wild time."
Voting into the void
By Farhad Manjoo
But as Florida's Sept. 10 primary illustrated, the new systems are not a panacea -- and, according to Mercuri and a growing number of tech-savvy critics, the electronic systems are actually worse than their much-maligned punch-card cousins. Mercuri's chief complaint with the touch-screen system is that its inner workings are often a complete secret. When a voter touches the screen to make a choice, there is no confirmation that the machine has actually registered the correct selection. In the old punch-card and fill-in-the-circle paper systems, voters can see their choice marked on paper. And in the event of a recount, election officials can, as a last resort, manually count those slips of paper. Since the new electronic systems leave no paper trail, there's no chance of a recount.
"You can't recount a database," says Jason Kitcat, a computer scientist who spent many years trying to develop an open-source Internet voting system. "You can't audit electrons."
Paper is bug-free, it can be made tamper-resistant, and it's readable by most humans. It has a proven record. Mercuri, who, after all, has a day job that requires her to be bullish on computers, says that electronic systems simply aren't up to the job of voting. "The only thing the computer is good for," she says, "is as a fancy ballot printer."
A good example of this blunt diagnosis was the situation that prompted Janet Reno to call Mercuri in September. A few precincts in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, both of which were using touch-screen machines purchased from Election System & Software, an Omaha company that is the world's largest provider of election equipment, were showing that nobody voted for the governor's race, even though hundreds had turned out at the polls.
"She called me because they saw the numbers rolling out of the machines, and they figured something was screwy," Mercuri says. "You would have places where there were over 1,300 votes and there would be like one vote for governor. It's like, Hello!?"
ES, which did not return Salon's calls for comment, moved quickly to see what was wrong. According to press reports, the company said that its machines had functioned properly, and that it was the workers at the polls who'd had problems. Poll workers had apparently been instructed to insert cartridges into the machines to collect votes at the end of the night, but they did not do so, ES said, so it appeared that nobody had voted.
Election night problems continue in Adams County
The Associated Press
HASTINGS -- More than 12 hours after polls closed in Tuesday's general election, no votes had been counted in Adams County.
"I am very upset," Couny Election Commissioner Chris Lewis said Wednesday. "I apologize to the voters of Adams County."
Election software from Elections Systems and Software of Omaha did not arrive until Monday, and then had a coding problem, Lewis said.
Attempts to clear up the problem, including using a backup machine, had failed, Lewis said.
The Scoop Editor
Scoop Independent News
Scoop is NZ's largest independent news source; respected widely in media, political, business and academic circles for being the place on the internet for publishing "what was really said", and for the quality of its analysis of issues.

Next in Comment

On Fast Track Powers, Media Woes And The Tiktok Ban
By: Gordon Campbell
Censorship Wars: Elon Musk, Safety Commissioners And Violent Content
By: Binoy Kampmark
On The Public Sector Carnage, And Misogyny As Terrorism
By: Gordon Campbell
NATO’s Never-ending War: The 75-Year-Old Bully Is Faltering
By: Ramzy Baroud
Joining AUKUS Not In NZ’s National Interest
By: Eugene Doyle
The Australian Defence Formula: Spend! Spend! Spend!
By: Binoy Kampmark
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media