Primary and early e-voting problems point to gathering storm
11/1/2006 5:42:14 PM, by Jon Stokes
Way to go, Ohio
With over one million voters on its rolls, Cuyahoga is one of Ohio's biggest and most important counties. On May 2, 2006, Cuyahoga residents used the Diebold AccuVote TSx, the same DRE model on which my most recent election article focused, to cast votes in a federal primary that was publicly marred by major problems with machine failure, long voter lines, and a host of other issues. Shortly after it became apparent that the May 2nd federal primary had encountered serious problems, the county Board of Elections commissioned two different investigations into what went wrong. The results of both of these investigations have just become public this week, and they paint a picture that's about as grim as one could possibly imagine.
Both reports found so many serious problems with procedures and technology that it's hard to know where to begin. So let's start with the short and no-so-sweet summary of the Election Science Institute (ESI) report's key finding:
Key Finding: After three months of exhaustive research, empirical evidence supports the key definitive finding: The machines' four sources of vote totals - VVPAT [voter-verified paper audit trail] individual ballots, VVPAT summary, election archive, and memory cards - did not agree with one another.
The current election system appears to provide some of its promised benefits at potentially great cost; namely, that the election system, in its entirety, exhibits shortcomings with extremely serious consequences, especially in the event of a close election.