Automated Voting Machines - Documented Problems

Documented Problems

  • A number of problems with voting systems in Florida since the 2000 Presidential election.
  • Fairfax County, Virginia, November 4, 2003. Some voters complained that they would cast their vote for a particular candidate and the indicator of that vote would go off shortly after.
  • The Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems) TSx voting system disenfranchised many voters in Alameda and San Diego Counties during the March 2, 2004 California presidential primary due to non-functional voter card encoders. On April 30 California's secretary of state Kevin Shelley decertified all touch-screen machines and recommended criminal prosecution of Diebold Election Systems. The California Attorney-General decided against criminal prosecution, but subsequently joined a lawsuit against Diebold for fraudulent claims made to election officials. Diebold settled that lawsuit by paying $2.6 million. On February 17, 2006 the California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson then recertified Diebold Election Systems DRE and Optical Scan Voting System.
  • Napa County, California, March 2, 2004, an improperly calibrated marksense scanner overlooked 6,692 absentee ballot votes.
  • Omesh Saigal, an IIT alumnus and IAS officer blew the top of the Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in front of the whole nation when he successfully demonstrated that the 2009 elections in India when Congress Party of India came back to power might be rigged. This forced the election commission to review the current EVMs and brought bad reputation for Mr. Navin Chawla.
  • On October 30, 2006 the Dutch Minister of the Interior withdrew the license of 1187 voting machines from manufacturer Sdu NV, about 10% of the total number to be used, because it was proven by the General Intelligence and Security Service that one could eavesdrop on voting from up to 40 meters using Van Eck phreaking. National elections are to be held 24 days after this decision. The decision was forced by the Dutch grass roots organisation Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet ("We do not trust voting computers").
  • Problems in the United States general elections, 2006:
    • During early voting in Miami, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Florida in October 2006 three votes intended to be recorded for Democratic candidates were displaying as cast for Republican. Election officials attributed it to calibration errors in the touch screen of the voting system.
    • In Pennsylvania, a computer programming error forced some to cast paper ballots. In Indiana, 175 precincts also resorted to paper. Counties in those states also extended poll hours to make up for delays.
    • Cuyahoga County, Ohio: The Diebold computer server froze and stopped counting votes then the printers jammed so paper copies could not be retrieved for many votes and there was no way to be sure of the accuracy of the votes when the votes were being counted.
    • Waldenburg, Arkansas: The touch screen computer tallied zero votes for one mayoral candidate who confirmed that he certainly voted for himself and therefore there would be a minimum of one vote, this is a case of disappearing votes on touchscreen machines.
    • Sarasota, Florida: There was an 18,000 person "undervote" in a congressional election. The subsequent investigation found that the undervote was not caused by software error. Poor ballot design was widely acknowledged as the cause of the undervote.
  • Instances of faulty technology and security issues surrounding these machines were documented on August 1, 2001 in the Brennan Center at New York University Law School. NY University Law School released a report with more than 60 examples of e-voting machine failures in 26 states in 2004 and 2006. Examples included Spanish language ballots that were cast by voters but not counted in Sacramento in 2004.
  • In Finland, the Supreme Administrative Court declared invalid the results of a pilot electronic vote in three municipalities, and ordered a rerun of the municipal elections. The system had an usability problem where the messages were ambiguous on whether the vote had been cast. In a total of 232 cases (2% of votes), voters had logged in, selected their vote but not confirmed it, and left the booth; the votes were not recorded. Following the failure of the pilot election, the Finnish government has abandoned plans to introduce electronic voting to the country.
  • 2008 United States Elections:
    • Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas: Touch screen voting machines flipped votes in early voting trials.
    • Humboldt County, California: A security flaw erased 197 votes from the computer database.

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