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Overheated Voting Machine Cast Its Own Votes 378

longacre writes in with the results of a report on voting machines that malfunctioned in NY during the 2010 mid-term elections. "Tests of a number of electronic voting machines that recorded shockingly high numbers of extra votes in the 2010 election show that overheating may have caused upwards of 30 percent of votes in some South Bronx voting precincts to go uncounted. WNYC first reported on the issue in December 2011, when it was found that tens of thousands of votes in the 2010 elections went uncounted because electronic voting machines counted more than one vote in a race. A review by the state Board of Election and the electronic voting machines’ manufacturer ES&S found that these 'over votes,' as they’re called, were due to a machine error. In the report issued by ES&S, when the machine used in the South Bronx overheated, ballots run during a test began coming back with errors."
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Overheated Voting Machine Cast Its Own Votes

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  • Machines Not Tested (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr Bubble ( 14652 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:51PM (#39950041)

    Norden said so far the machine in the Bronx was the only machine found to have this problem, but itâ(TM)s also the only machine thatâ(TM)s been tested.

    God help us.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:04PM (#39950097)

    These machines were scanning PAPER ballots. The scanning mechanism probably malfunctioned in high heat. They scanned the same ballot without errors when cool and with errors (overvotes) when overheated.

    This is the worse of both worlds. You don't get the immediate error checking of a true electronic voting machine and at the same time you discard valid ballots because "the computer said so".

  • Re: (Score:5, Informative)

    by davide marney ( 231845 ) <> on Thursday May 10, 2012 @12:02AM (#39950409) Journal

    These WERE paper ballots. The thing most people don't realize is that machines are going to be used to count ballots. If the ballots are paper, those machines will be scanners, as in this case in the Bronx. No one is going to count every ballot by hand. Why? Because hand-counting is far more inaccurate than machine counting.

    So, here's the thing: if you're going to use a machine to count anyway, it's better to use a machine with no moving parts because they have lower rates of failure. That's how the election officials in Brazil are doing it.

    Also, it's worth nothing that according to the report only one machine in the entire district was malfunctioning, election officials were alerted during the vote, and the votes were not close enough for the voided over-votes to have made a difference.

  • Re: (Score:5, Informative)

    by sedmonds ( 94908 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @01:16AM (#39950775) Homepage

    I was a scrutineer for one of the parties at one of the polls in the riding I lived in during the last federal election in Canada. There were two other parties at the poll who had scrutineers. Each of the three of us sat around a table while the deputy returning officer counted each ballot, showed it to the scrutineers, and waited for the scrutineers to not any exceptions. When he was done, the ballots were sealed in envelopes (which the scrutineers were permitted to initial on the seal), and placed in a box for delivery to Elections Canada.

    At the end, each scrutineer checked their count against the official count by the deputy returning officer. The vote total was checked against the ballot booklets. All counts were consistent with each other, and the total consistent with the number of ballots cast.

    In this polling station there were no irregular or spoiled ballots, and we had a count to report to our candidate HQ, and for the deputy returning officer to report to Elections Canada, in less than a half hour after the polls closed.

    There's no need for machines to count votes. And the notion that people can't count votes quickly, and accurately is pure bullshit.

  • Re:Scrap them all (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) < minus caffeine> on Thursday May 10, 2012 @01:23AM (#39950817) Homepage

    Indeed. Canada's federal elections are all paper ballots and it's very simple. You have a name, a party(now), and you mark in the big circle with an X who you're voting for. We do have electronic voting, but to be honest most people don't like it, and refuse to use it. Paper trails are good.

  • Re:Scrap them all (Score:2, Informative)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:25AM (#39952009)

    the USA literally has 10 times the population that canada does.

    Paper trails are good, the mechanical systems that NY was using weren't bad either.

  • Re:Scrap them all (Score:2, Informative)

    by canistel ( 1103079 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:34AM (#39952275)
    What does population size have to do with anything?? It's all relative, you have X amount for your population, you setup X / 10000 people to do the counting... or whatever.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling