Problems with e-voting reported early in US battleground states

Issues arose in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia

An electronic voting machine

An electronic voting machine

Today could be a long day for election officials in states relying on electronic-voting machines to record votes in the US presidential election, if early reports of malfunctions are any indication.

Problems with e-voting machines were reported early on election day in several US states, including Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, which are identified as battleground states where the outcome of the vote could tip the presidential race in favor of either Democratic Senator Barack Obama or Republican Senator John McCain.

According to voter reports on the ground and from watchdog organizations, there were problems with getting e-voting machines up and running in these key states and others, and in some cases the machines would crash during the voting process and had to be rebooted.

Pennsylvania and Virginia were among states Verified Voting, an advocacy group focused on improving voting systems, and other watchdog organizations said they would keep a close eye on for voting problems. Neither state had early voting before November 4, nor do they require paper-trail backups with the touchscreen electronic-voting machines in place at polls.

Critics of e-voting say that without a paper trail, there's no way to audit the results of a touchscreen machine, often called DREs, or direct recording electronic machines.

Some polling locations can give voters so-called "emergency" paper ballots, but this is not the case in all locations, said Pamela Smith, executive director of Verified Voting, in an interview early Tuesday. "There is no clear policy on emergency paper ballots, or on when to distribute them so voters can still vote," she said.

Moreover, if there is widespread failure with machines, locations with paper ballots are "concerned they'll run out," Smith said.

This, in fact, happened at one location in northern New Jersey Tuesday morning, where emergency paper ballots were gone by as early as 9:30 a.m. local time. Polling officials began making photocopies of paper ballots because people who came to vote were leaving the site, frustrated by the delay.

One poll worker at the site who asked not to be named said, "I don't have much faith in these machines," and voters interviewed on-site were concerned their votes would not be recorded properly because they were on paper.

William Grafton, an IT professional, left the line at a polling site in Maplewood, New Jersey, a town just outside of New York, because an e-voting machine was not working; he said he would return at lunch to try again.

Tags e-voting

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?