Thursday, November 4, 2010

CA,CO mail ballot holdup. CT ballot fiasco. AR, PA voting machine fails. MN recount?

Alameda Cnty CA has 122, 000 ballots to count. Other CA counties still counting mail ballots...Weld, & Arapahoe Cnty CO still processing mail ballots...Bridgeport CT ballot shortage fiasco leaves gov race un-decided...Reduction of polling places in Paulding, GA & Collins TX caused long lines &, long waits for voters...More vote flipping in NC, PA...Sumter SC touchscreens shutdown...MN braces for potential recount, other state's races undecided...US College students still routinely disenfranchised... Canadians frustrated with slow Internet voting system...

All this and more in today's voting news below...

Minnesota braces for potential recount, other races undecided Below we run through the Senate, gubernatorial and House races that remain undecided...

AR: Computer glitch skews Baxter County election count; tally corrected*
the processing error occurred in data stored on an electronic media or "flash" card as it fed data to a computer that tabulates and displays vote totals on a spreadsheet.

Consultants from Election Systems & Software Inc., an election management firm, and technician Tammy Johnson with the Arkansas Department of Information Systems, attending Tuesday night's election, found a file on the problem flash card apparently from a previous election. The card was used to download the record of voting on an I-Vote machine in the Gassville Community Center polling place.

The glitch caused a portion of the vote from precinct 10-3, including 110 known votes from voter machine taped records, to be displayed as 7,006 votes. The error was spread through the computer grid, creating the appearance of an election with 21,462 votes cast and an erroneous voter turnout of 72.1 percent.

AR: Computer Woes Stall Vote Tallies*(uploading votes,files corrupted,printer probs)
Officials in Sebastian County weren't able to begin county votes until about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Jerry Huff, county election coordinator. A final report of unofficial results ran shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday.
(Sebastian County, uses M100 & iVotronic) But when election officials began to input absentee and early voting ballots, the computers failed to calculate them.
With technical support from Election Systems & Software, the county's election software/hardware vendor, it was determined several files were corrupted when data was installed on the computers in Fort Smith and Greenwood used to count the ballots, Huff said.
The databases then had to be rebuilt and re-installed on the Fort Smith and Greenwood computers.
(ES&S iVotronic) Crawford County Clerk Teresa Armer said software issues were also responsible for delaying election results there.
As officials were counting votes Tuesday night, they discovered discrepancies among the voter list, tally sheet and printouts from the personal electronic ballots (PEB) - all of which should match - for some precincts, Armer said.
Armer said the election commission initially intended to pull "flash cards" from the machines in precincts with discrepancies, but when they convened Wednesday morning, they decided to pull and collect the flash card from each of the 110 voting machines in the county.
(ES&S iVotronic) Franklin County Clerk Sharon Needham said the vote count there was delayed by printers malfunctioning on a handful of voting machines and a hardware or software problem with the computer used to tabulate vote totals.

CA: Elections chief blames 'Oprah effect' for website crash [Updated]
Bowen said a huge amount of Internet user traffic overloaded her office’s website, causing it to shut down access to vote tallies until a fix could be found.

CA: Registration Confusion at Polls Disheartens Student Voters UC Berkeley, Alameda County... ASUC Vote Coalition Director Jeremy Pilaar said he wasn't certain how many of the 5,076 individuals who registered on campus were not listed on the roster indexes, but he mentioned that while tabling on Upper Sproul Plaza Tuesday, roughly two to three peers an hour approached him with complaints that they had not received their vote-by-mail ballots in time.

CA: 122,000 Ballots Still to Count in Alameda County The final outcome of close election races in Alameda County may not be known until some time next week because there are still 122,000 ballots that must be counted. County Registrar Dave MacDonald said this morning that there are about 90,000 absentee and 32,000 provisional ballots that must be tallied.

CA: 'It ain't over 'til it's over': Thousands of uncounted ballots leave some Humboldt County races uncertain(mail ballots) Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said Wednesday that almost 13,000 ballots have yet to be counted and likely won't be tabulated for two to three weeks. It's currently unknown exactly what precincts the ballots are from and what races they might affect, Crnich said.
That puts just about every race in the county mathematically in play and leaves the outcome of three especially tight races hanging in the balance.

CA: Races up in air as 65,000 ballots remained uncounted (Kern Co mail ballots) Kern County elections workers were struggling to tally an estimated 65,000 outstanding provisional and vote-by-mail ballots that poured into county offices over the weekend and on Monday and Tuesday, said elections chief Karen Rhea.

CA: County election workers still have hands full (Sacremento mail ballots)
The county's elections department reported Wednesday that about 108,000 vote-by-mail ballots and 12,000 provisional ballots remained to be counted. That means more than a dozen local races are still too close to call.

CA: Now, to find out who's Oakland's mayor ... we wait

CA: Butte County vote-by-mail ballots could impact Chico, Oroville council races OROVILLE — With Butte County seeing an unprecedented number of voters turning in their vote-by-mail ballots at the polls Tuesday, several close races could remain undetermined until Thanksgiving.

CA: Results for board race could be weeks away (Tulare mail ballots)
Tulare County workers could spend weeks sorting through nearly 19,000 mail-in and provisional ballots to get a final vote count.

CO: Judge Upholds Colorado Voter Registration Rule
Secretary of State Bernie Buescher says the 20-day rule applies to applicants, not registered voters.

CO: Voters who dropped off mail-in ballots slowed down Election Day processes
Weld County Clerk and Recorder Steve Moreno said the county's 34 election centers were bombarded with 9,951 mail-in ballots dropped off on Tuesday.
He said a state legislative action in 2009 resulted in all county voting centers being drop-off sites for mail-in ballots. In 2008, Weld had five drop-off sites for those ballots, but this year all 34 Weld voting centers were drop-off locations.
On Wednesday, Arapahoe County still had as many as 30,000 ballots to count.

CT: Connecticut Remains in Confusion

CT: Morning after election brings voting hangover
Bridgeport was not the only town to run out, though no other municipality rivaled its chaos. Oxford and Litchfield both ran short of ballots, though officials in both towns say provisional ballots upheld the integrity of the election. The photocopied, supplemental ballots were counted in the presence of Republican and Democratic observers. Even where ballots ran short, officials remained uncertain whether it should be necessary to print enough ballots for every single registered voter, as Bysiewicz suggested.
Luther Weeks, a computer scientist behind Connecticut Voters Count and executive director of the post-election auditing group Connecticut Citizen Audit Coalition, said this was not the first election where towns under-ordered ballots.
..."To my knowledge, this is the only case when a town hasn't reacted fast enough."

CT: Bysiewicz: Bridgeport ballot snafu not her fault
So no one noticed this year when registrars in Bridgeport ordered only 21,000 ballots for nearly 70,000 voters, a gamble that voter turnout would not exceed 30 percent.

Bridgeport ran out of ballots in 12 of 23 polling places, roiling a close election for governor and sending Democrats to court for an order keeping the polls open until 10 p.m.

GA: Despite Long Lines, Paulding Elections Chief Stands By Closing Precincts DALLAS, GA -- A day after some voters stood in line for up to three hours to cast their ballots, the supervisor of Paulding County Elections is standing by a decision to close half of the area's voting precincts.

Election Supervisor Deidre Holden says Paulding County is saving approximately $80,000 each time voters go to the polls by reducing the number of polling places from 28 to 14.

IL: Late election results blamed on glitch in Winnebago County
Counting wasn’t finished until early this morning. “We had four machines that when we took the memory cards out of them, they were just zapped,” Mullins said. “So we had to go pull the ballots, set up the machines and run the ballots through the machine again. ... We are going to buy new memory cards and hopefully this won’t happen again.”

IN: Ballots impounded in close Indiana House race (close contest),0,3613034.story
3 machines not returned
Another delay involved touch screen voting machines available to voters with special needs. Three of those machines weren’t promptly returned to the county administration building downtown, where votes were counted Tuesday after the polls closed. Election judges at the polling places where those machines were used thought they didn’t have to return the machines because voters didn’t use them.

MA: Ballot mix-up in Taunton complicates results

The city clerk said she is certain that only four Marlboro ballots were cast in Taunton.

MD: Cardin Asks DOJ To Review Election Day Robocalls In MD
_to_review_election_day_robocalls_i.php In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Cardin requests that the Justice Department investigate anonymous, automated phone calls his office said were made to predominantly African-American and other voters in Baltimore and elsewhere around the state.

MI: Technical glitch delays Isabella County results
Candidates for Isabella County races were left waiting well into this morning for election results after a computer processing system glitch forced workers to enter all results manually.
“It was not accepting the memory packs,” she said of the computer system. “It could not read them.”
MN: Software Issue Causes Voting Glitch in Hennepin Co.
A software issue was the cause of a major voting glitch Tuesday night in Hennepin County, mistakenly showing thousands more voters than actually counted.

County director of elections Rachel Smith tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the glitch took 45 minutes to fix but did not affect results.

MN: Technical hitch slowed election results for Benton, Stearns
St. Cloud-area election officials said a technology snafu slowed their attempts to post election results to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website Tuesday night.

Stearns County election officials processed ballots and posted them immediately to the county website, auditor-treasurer Randy Schreifels said. But he said the results couldn’t immediately be uploaded to the Secretary of State’s website

MN: Elections official says Hennepin glitch was in reporting, not vote count

(podcast available)

MN: Minnesota Majority poll watchers accuse themselves of voter fraud

MO: Martin Challenges Election Results,0,3851922.story

He lost by fewer than 5,000 votes and now Ed Martin, the republican candidate for the 3rd congressional district in Missouri wants an investigation into Tuesday's election.

His campaign has 3 concerns.

The first is whether a computer glitch in the Secretary of State's office kept anyone from voting.
They also want to know why the last votes that came in after midnight came in heavily for Carnahan.
He also feels it was inappropriate for the chairman of the St. Louis Board of Elections to hire a firm that was hired by Carnahan during the campaign.

NC: Elections of judge, clerk create vacancies* (iVotronic vote flipping)
Alamance County Board of Elections Director Kathy Holland said a polling site at Haw River and another at the Burlington 4 precinct site experienced problems with iVotronic voting machines that needed to be recalibrated.

“We had two confirmed issues, but that’s all,” Holland said.

Holland said voters who attempted to cast their votes at these sites had their votes incorrectly recorded but the matters were resolved after the machines were recalibrated. These voters were able to vote again to ensure their ballots were accurately recorded.

NC: Election glitch still under investigation* (ES&S iVotronic w/RTAL)

Mace said three precincts were having problems closing out voting machines to get the results to the board of elections office. She said when poll workers tried to download results from their voting machines, the machines would freeze up and had to be rebooted. She likened it to a personal computer that sometimes freezes up and has to be rebooted.

NC: Election snafu taints local voting process*(Surrey Co paper voter roll wrong) Yesterday voters were surprised, and understandably upset, to learn unless they were registered Democrats they were not on the rolls of registered voters.
That this is the second major snafu to strike Surry County during the past two elections — a year ago, Teresa Lewis was declared Mount Airy’s new mayor, only to have that decision reversed in Deborah Cochran’s favor when it was discovered some votes were added incorrectly

NC: Outcome in Court of Appeals race will wait
..counties won't begin tabulating the runoff results until Nov. 29.

NE: Printing error puts 455 ballots in limbo* (they will hand count them) The ballots failed to go through the scanner because of a misalignment in the printing process.
The problem is bad printing on the back side of some of the ballots printed by Election Systems & Software of Omaha."
Olmer said a voter would not see anything wrong with the ballots but to the equipment's electronic eye, the printing is so skewed it kicks the ballots out as unreadable.

NV: Angle Files Voter Intimidation Complaint with Justice Department

NY: Genesee's voting machine problems remain a mystery*
Genesee County election officials don’t know what caused problems in closing down four electronic vote scanners at the Knights of Columbus polling place in Le Roy after Tuesday’s election.

NY: How many Nassau ballots are left to count? No one knows

PA: "Fat Fingers" Hamper E-Voters In Pennsylvania, the big issue has been “vote flipping,” says Pamela Smith, the president of Verified Voting. Vote flipping—a common problem with touch-screen voting machines—occurs when a voter touches the screen to vote for one candidate and the screen registers the other candidate instead.

PA: 2 Peters voting machines tossed*
Bob Woeber, 49, of Peters said voting machines at St. Benedict the Abbot Catholic Church in Peters malfunctioned several times.
"If someone tried to vote a Republican straight ticket, the next page would show up with all the Democratic candidates checked," said Woeber, a member of the Peters Township Republican committee. "It never happened the other way."

PA: No-Show West View Election Judge Turns Up; Officials Mum On Whereabouts*
Voters contacted Channel 4 Action News when one West View polling place failed to open. Reporter Amber Nicotra learned the doors were closed was because election judge Donna Payne failed to show up.
Channel 4 Action News' Paul Van Osdol reported that Payne showed up at the Allegheny County Department of Elections on Wednesday with two missing absentee ballots.
According to the board of elections, Payne had all of the necessary materials to set up the polling place, including the keys and the software cartridge needed to run the electronic voting machines. Since none of the machines could be set up, officials had to print new paper ballots.
That meant the 725 registered voters, including several college students who drove in just to vote, had to wait.

PA: Special election: Ambulance takes voter to polls

RI: Barrington computer glitch delayed R.I. vote tallies
PROVIDENCE, RI -- Blame it on Barrington. Either that or the malfunctioning modem.

Vote tallying was moving along rather smoothly after Rhode Island's polls closed at 9 p.m. But around 10 p.m., with election observers closely watching races unfolding and several contests coming down to the wire, the vote-counting ground to a halt.

SC: Cause of vote-counting glitch a mystery*
Technical failures of Sumter County's voting system - reportedly the only ones to occur in South Carolina - crippled vote tallies following Tuesday's election, resulting in final results not being released until early the next day
Around 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Unity system used by the Sumter County Election Commission "froze, locked up and shut down," according to commission director Pat Jefferson. Commission workers had to rely on technical support to get the machines up and running again.
early incorrect vote tallies had 964 write-in votes for comptroller general, and the final vote tally had only 12 write-in votes for the same race;
Isolated incidents of candidates appearing on ballots at polling places in areas they don't represent were also reported;
As a result of the numerous problems, all 67 precincts in Sumter County were tabulated individually, absentee ballots were input by hand and paper ballots from the Rembert precinct - where voters remaining in line when polls closed had to resort to filling out paper ballots by hand after voting machines shut down at 7 p.m. - were manually put into the system.

TX: Collin County judge says "vote center" system may have contributed to long lines on election day*
110410dnmetcollinglitch.1f3db7fba.html Shawn Stevens said the county didn't provide enough polling places, computer equipment and election workers to handle the heavy turnout.

VA: The Demons In The Voting Machine
(A humorous take on electronic voting in Bland, Virginia)

Internet Voting Watch

Canada: Clerk has reservations about security of electronic voting (Kingston)
Downs remains skeptical that electronic voting will solve the problems. In order to vote online or over the phone, voters must receive a personal identification number in the mail. She is concerned about the notices with the PINs arriving at addresses where people no longer live.

"If there are PIN numbers floating out there, an unscrupulous person could pick up the number and vote," said Downs. "I've always resisted looking at Internet voting because the voters list is poor."

Canada: West Elgin voters frustrated by slow internet voting

Canada: Town clerk seeks Intelivote meeting on electronic voting delay in Mississippi Mills

D.C. military e-voting faces roadblocks (with podcast) Rokey Suleman, the executive director of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, told the Dorobek INSIDER, that security concerns have forced a scale-back of the e-voting program.


U.S. attorney gets no complaints of election fraud

Google Glitch: Did Poll Finder App Hinder Voters?

U.S. Criticizes Ukraine Vote
KIEV, Ukraine—The Obama administration criticized Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych over the conduct of local elections, saying they "did not meet standards for openness and fairness."

Brad on Yesterday's Thom Hartmann TV Show and a Few Other Recent Media Appearances

FTC Gives Ed Felten Freedom to Tinker Looks like the Federal Trade Commission got its first choice of Chief Technologist, because it’s hard to think of anyone better to serve in that capacity than Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten, a guy whose CV makes everyone from Microsoft to Diebold shudder in embarrassment... And then, of course, there were Felten’s various investigations into electronic voting machines,


Lessons from the midterms for the AV referendum

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.

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