Betreff: [nhnenews] Urgent Warning to Voters Using Touch Screen/DRE Voting Machines
Datum: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 10:24:03 -0700
An: *News List

Here is some further advice for voters voting on touch-screen electronic voting machines: DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR SELECTIONS LISTED ON THE FINAL "SUMMARY", "PROOF", OR "REVIEW" SCREEN BEFORE YOU FINALLY CAST YOUR BALLOT. Hopefully (and I mean hopefully), that will ensure your vote is accurately recorded by the machine. Pass on this advice to friends. Elections aren't what they used to be...

--- Coheartedly, 
Tom Atlee


Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 07:32:41 -0500
From: Dick Atlee

If I missed this, a LOT of people missed it. This is probably the worst
concrete news I've heard about electronic voting. It's (frighteningly)
reminiscent of the voting-joke website where the box for Bush has an
on-again-off-again check mark that counts and every attempt to click in the
Kerry space caused the Kerry space to jump to a different part of the

Only this is real...


By Bob Kibrick
October 23, 2004

Early voting began the week of October 18 in many states. Our Election
Incident Reporting System (EIRS) has already received numerous complaints
from across the country of touch screen/DRE voting machines failing to
properly register voters' selections.

Because of these problems, it is absolutely vital that voters double-check
the selections listed on the final "summary", "proof", or "review" screen
prior to casting their votes. If the selections listed on that screen are
not what the voter intended, then the voter must page back through ballot
and make any needed corrections prior to casting their ballot.

Many of these reports came from voters using ES&S iVotronic touch screen
voting machines in Florida and Texas. These voters reported that the
iVotronic touch screens registered selections for candidates that the voters
had not intended to select. If voters rest their hands or thumbs on or near
the edge of the touch screen, then the voting machine can register a
selection where none was intended.

This design flaw was identified weeks ago by Professor Doug Jones of the
University of Iowa Computer Science Department and noted in section 11 of
his pre-election testing report submitted to elections officials in
Florida's Miami Dade County. Dr. Jones is a member of the Iowa Board of
Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems and he also
serves on the Board of Advisors for the Verified Voting Foundation.

This problem was also reported in the October 18 edition of the San Antonio
Business Journal in an article entitled "You touch it, you voted for it".
That article reads in part:

A potential user-interface problem has surfaced with the touch-screen voting
machines being used during early voting in San Antonio. The problem also
could affect voters nationwide.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Clifford Borofsky confirms that the
problem is real, but he insists it is a minor issue.

A San Antonio Business Journal reader brought the problem to the attention
of the newspaper after he claims his vote was registered for the wrong
candidate. He said the bad vote was cast because he inadvertently rested his
hand on the screen of the voting kiosk while using his other hand to vote.

"The machine registered the vote from my thumb when I rested my hand on the
screen to vote," the reader claims.

The reader says he caught his error on the review screen before finalizing
his vote, but he questions whether everyone -- especially new voters --
would do the same.

Borofsky says his office has received only two reports in 60,000 votes cast
of votes being registered by individuals inadvertently resting their hand on
the voting screen. However, there is no way to know how many people made the
mistake without knowing it.

"That's what the review screen is for," Borofsky says, adding that it is the
fail-safe built into the system to guard against inadvertent votes.

However, Borofsky does concede that it would be good to make voters aware of
the problem, "especially people foreign to the voting process."

Currently, there are no warning signs on the machines or in the polling
places to make voters aware of the hyper-sensitivity of the touch-screen
voting machines, he says.

Other voters in New Mexico, Texas, and Florida have reported serious
problems when attempting to select individual candidates or to vote a
straight party ticket. Many voters reported that when they attempted to
select one candidate or party, the machine instead registered a choice for a
different candidate or party. Voters reported having to make repeated
attempts to get the voting machines to finally register their intended
selection. For just one such example, see the article Some Voters Say
Machines Failed, Incorrect Choices Appear on Screens which appeared in the
October 22 edition of the Albuquerque Journal, which reads in part:

Kim Griffith voted on Thursday- over and over and over.

She's among the people in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties who say they have
had trouble with early voting equipment. When they have tried to vote for a
particular candidate, the touch-screen system has said they voted for
somebody else.

It's a problem that can be fixed by the voters themselves -- people can
alter the selections on their ballots, up to the point when they indicate
they are finished and officially cast the ballot.

For Griffith, it took a lot of altering.

She went to Valle Del Norte Community Center in Albuquerque, planning to
vote for John Kerry. "I pushed his name, but a green check mark appeared
before President Bush's name," she said.

Griffith erased the vote by touching the check mark at Bush's name. That's
how a voter can alter a touch-screen ballot.

She again tried to vote for Kerry, but the screen again said she had voted
for Bush. The third time, the screen agreed that her vote should go to

She faced the same problem repeatedly as she filled out the rest of the
ballot. On one item, "I had to vote five or six times," she said.

Michael Cadigan, president of the Albuquerque City Council, had a similar
experience when he voted at City Hall.

"I cast my vote for president. I voted for Kerry and a check mark for Bush
appeared," he said.

He reported the problem immediately and was shown how to alter the ballot.

Cadigan said he doesn't think he made a mistake the first time. "I was
extremely careful to accurately touch the button for my choice for
president," but the check mark appeared by the wrong name, he said.

Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera said she doesn't believe the
touch-screen system has been making mistakes. It's the fault of voters, she
said Thursday.

Cadigan, for example, could have "leaned his palm on the touch screen and it
hit the wrong button," she said.

In Sandoval County, three Rio Rancho residents said they had a similar
problem, with opposite results. They said a touch-screen machine switched
their presidential votes from Bush to Kerry.

... Herrera said she's heard stories from Democrats and Republicans.

In some cases, when people have tried to vote a straight ticket, the screen
has given their votes to every candidate in the opposite political party,
she said.

She believes it's a people problem. "I have confidence in the machines," she

"They are touch screens. People are touching them with their palms, or
leaning their hand. ... They're hitting the wrong button."

Herrera and others said voters should be diligent about reviewing their
touch-screen ballots so they can make alterations.

Griffith said she's afraid some votes will go to the wrong candidates by
accident. "People need to know that they have to be careful," she said.

"I'm concerned that people who don't check and double-check will try to vote
for a candidate and not realize that the vote went to another candidate,"
she said.

Other voters reported that when selecting a straight party ticket, either
the wrong party was selected, or the correct party was selected but the
selection of presidential candidate was wrong. In other cases, voters
reported that when selecting a straight party ticket, they voting machine
failed to present them with various non-partisan ballot measures.

On Hart InterCivic eSlate voting machines used in Travis County, Texas, a
county Democratic party official reports that some voters intending to vote
the straight Democratic party ticket have accidentally registered a
selection for Bush/Cheney through incorrect usage of the eSlate's "SELECT
wheel" and "ENTER" buttons. The official's explanation:

When pressing ENTER after marking Straight Democrat, some voters
inadvertently turned the SELECT wheel one click through the ballot while
meaning to go to the final "PROOF" page. If you hit ENTER at that point,
your cursor is over the first candidate on the ballot: Bush/Cheney. So, the
answer to this problem is this: TELL EVERYONE TO PROOF THEIR BALLOT. If
there is an error, page back and fix it and/or ask for assistance in doing
so. You must fix these things BEFORE you hit CAST BALLOT.

_ ____

Also this, unverified but worth adding to the "stay alert" materials...

-- Tom

From: Moyers, Bill
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2004 12:58 PM
To: PubAffTV
Subject: From a good friend of mine of many years.

Yesterday a friend voted early at a polling location in Austin. She voted
straight Democratic. When she did the final check, lo and behold every vote
was for the Democratic candidates except that it showed she had voted for
Bush/Cheney for president/vice pres.

She immediately got a poll official. On her vote, it was corrected. She
called the Travis County Democratic headquarters. They took all her
information, and told her that she wasn't the first to report a similar
incident and that they are looking into it.

So check before you leave the polling booth, and if anything is wrong, get
it corrected immediately. Report any irregularities to your local Democratic

Make sure you pass this along to your friends ... hopefully this is all over
the airwaves by tomorrow ...