[lit-ideas] A Mandate?

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2004 16:47:25 EST

ems_ (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story
Machine Error Gives Bush Extra Ohio Votes 
2 hours, 29 minutes ago
By JOHN McCARTHY, Associated Press  Writer  
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An error with an electronic voting  system gave President 
Bush (_news_ 
nw)   - _web  sites_ 
 ) 3,893 extra votes in 
suburban Columbus, elections officials said.  

Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to  
Democrat John Kerry (_news_ 
news&cs=nw)   - _web  sites_ 
 )'s 260 votes in a 
precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters  cast ballots in that 
precinct. Bush's total should have been recorded as 365.  
Bush won the state by more than 136,000 votes, according to unofficial  
results, and Kerry conceded the election on Wednesday after saying that 155,000 
provisional ballots yet to be counted in Ohio would not change the result.  
Deducting the erroneous Bush votes from his total could not change the  
election's outcome, and there were no signs of other errors in Ohio's 
machines, said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth  
Franklin is the only Ohio county to use Danaher Controls Inc.'s ELECTronic  
1242, an older-style touchscreen voting system. Danaher did not immediately  
return a message for comment.  
Sean Greene, research director with the nonpartisan Election Reform  
Information Project, said that while the glitch appeared minor "that could  
change if 
more of these stories start coming out."  
In one North Carolina county, more than 4,500 votes were lost in this  
election because officials mistakenly believed a computer that stored ballots  
electronically could hold more data than it did.  
And in San Francisco, a malfunction with custom voting software could delay  
efforts to declare the winners of four races for county supervisor.  
In the Ohio precinct in question, the votes are recorded to eight memory  
locations, including a removable cartridge, according to Verified Voting  
Foundation, an e-voting watchdog group. After voting ends, the cartridge is  
transported to a tabulation facility or its data sent via modem.  
Kimball Brace, president of the consulting firm Election Data Services, said  
it's possible the fault lies with the software that tallies the votes from  
individual cartridges rather than the machines or the cartridges themselves.  
Either way, he said, such tallying software ought to have a way to ensure  
that the totals don't exceed the number of voters.  
County officials did not return calls seeking details.  
Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told 
 The Columbus Dispatch that on one of the three machines at that precinct, a  
malfunction occurred when its cartridge was plugged into a reader and 
generated  a faulty number. He could not explain how the malfunction occurred.  
Damschroder said people who had seen poll results on the election board's Web 
 site called to point out the discrepancy. The error would have been 
discovered  when the official count for the election is performed later this 
month, he 
The reader also recorded zero votes in a county commissioner race on the  
Other electronic machines used in Ohio do not use the type of computer  
cartridge involved in the error, state officials say.  
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a glitch occurred with software designed for the 
 city's new "ranked-choice voting," in which voters list their top three 
choices  for municipal offices. If no candidate gets a majority of first-place 
votes  outright, voters' second and third-place preferences are then 
among  candidates who weren't eliminated in the first round.  
When the San Francisco Department of Elections tried a test run on Wednesday  
of the program that does the redistribution, some of the votes didn't get  
counted and skewed the results, director John Arntz said.  
"All the information is there," Arntz said. "It's just not arriving the way  
it was supposed to."  
A technician from the Omaha, Neb. company that designed the software,  
Election Systems & Software Inc., was working to diagnose and fix the  problem. 

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