Urgent warning for US voters using voting machines


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 07:36:56 -0800
To: •••@••.••• (undisclosed list)
From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Urgent warning for US voters using voting machines:  Double-check
 summary screen before casting ballot

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...

Urgent warning to voters using touch screen / DRE voting machines
Voters urged to double-check the summary screen before casting ballot
by Bob Kibrick
October 23rd, 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 Univerity 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

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

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

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 Kerry. 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

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

_ ____

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 headquarters.

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



Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * PO Box 493 * Eugene, OR 97440
http://www.co-intelligence.org *  http://www.democracyinnovations.org  
Read THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY *  http://www.taoofdemocracy.com
Please support our work.  *  Your donations are fully tax-deductible.



If you find this material useful, you might want to check out our website
(http://cyberjournal.org) or try out our low-traffic, moderated email 
list by sending a message to:

You are encouraged to forward any material from the lists or the website,
provided it is for non-commercial use and you include the source and
this disclaimer.

Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

"Global Transformation: Whey We Need It And How We Can Achieve It", current 
    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
"Zen of Global Transformation" home page: 

QuayLargo discussion forum:

cj list archives:

newslog list archives:
Informative links: