Report: E-voting problems cause loss of votes

Electronic voting machine problems caused more than 4,500 votes to be lost in one North Carolina county during last Tuesday's general election, and gave U.S. President George Bush more than 3,800 extra votes in an Ohio county, according to reports by the Associated Press.

In North Carolina's Carteret County, apparent confusion over the storage capacity of UniLect e-voting machines caused the county to lose 4,530 votes, according to a report by the Associated Press. County officials apparently believed the model of e-voting machine they were using held 10,500 votes, but that model of the machines held only 3,005 votes.

The 4,530 votes lost cannot be recovered, according to an Associated Press story. UniLect owner and President Jack Gerbel was not immediately available for comment Friday. The county Board of Elections issued a short statement saying an investigation by the North Carolina State Board of Elections is continuing.

In the Ohio incident, a glitch in e-voting machines made by Danaher Controls Inc. caused Bush to receive an extra 3,893 votes, more than five times the votes actually cast in the precinct in question.

Unofficial results in Franklin County had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes the precinct. Elections records showed that only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct, according to the Associated Press. Bush beat Democratic challenger John Kerry by about 136,000 votes in Ohio, according to unofficial results.

A county elections official was not immediately available to comment.

The presidential race was close, and was decided when enough votes in Ohio had been tallied for Bush to be declared the winner there.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service

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