Audit Shows Electronic Voting in Disarray, Thousands of Re-boots, Re-Calibrations Required Throughout Election
PLUS: 'Butterfly' LePore is Back!
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2006, 11:47pm PT  

AP --- yes, AP --- is now reporting the just released audit information obtained from Palm Beach County, Florida's 2004 Election. And the picture of the Sequoia paperless touch-screen voting machines used that night is not pretty. The information was obtained and released tonight by BlackBoxVoting.org...

From the AP story...

BlackBoxVoting.org, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizens group, said it found 70,000 instances in Palm Beach County of cards getting stuck in the paperless ATM-like machines and that the computers logged about 100,000 errors, including memory failures.

Also, the hard drives crashed on some of the machines made by Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, some machines apparently had to be rebooted over and over, and 1,475 re-calibrations were performed on Election Day on more than 4,300 units, Harris said. Re-calibrations are done when a machine is malfunctioning, she said.

"I actually think there's enough votes in play in Florida that it's anybody's guess who actually won the presidential race," [BBV's Bev] Harris added.

The election officials in Palm Beach, however, say there are perfectly good reasons that their own election audit tapes showed thousands of errors and other anomolies...and, of course, they blame the victims...

Palm Beach County election officials said the BlackBoxVoting.com findings are flawed, and they blamed most of the errors on voters not following proper procedures.

"Their results are noteworthy for consideration, but in a majority of instances they can be explained," said Arthur Anderson, the county's elections supervisor. "All of these circumstances are valid reasons for concern, but they do not on face value substantiate that the machines are not reliable."

Meanwhile, the folks from Sequoia Voting Systems, who make the apparently error-prone machines in question, say "all is well"...

Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer disputed the findings, saying the company's machines worked properly. Sequoia's machines are used in five Florida counties and in 21 states.

"There was a fine election in November 2004," Shafer said.

That "fine election", however, apparently seems to have included votes cast prior to the start of early elections...

Harris said one machine showed that 112 votes were cast on Oct. 16, two days before the start of early voting, a possible sign of tampering. She said the group found evidence of tampering on more than 30 machines in the county.

BlackBoxVoting.org now has many more details on all of this up at their site. Amongst a few of the other notable points from BBV not mentioned in the AP article:

  • Records are being turned over the the Palm Beach County office of the FBI Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.
  • The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night.
  • Black Box Voting had to sue former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election. (NOTE: Yes, that Theresa LePore..."Butterfly Ballot" LePore, "Democrat" in 2000 now Republican LePore)
  • Several dozen voting machines with votes for the Nov. 2, 2004 election cast on dates like Oct. 16, 15, 19, 13, 25, 28 2004 and one tape dated in 2010. These machines did not contain any votes date-stamped on Nov. 2, 2004.
  • In addition to the date discrepancies, most had incorrect polling times, with votes appearing throughout the wee hours of the night.
  • The evidence indicates that someone accessed the computers after the [Logic & Accuracy tests]and before the election, and that this access caused a change in the machine's reporting functions, at least for date and time. Such access would take a high degree of inside access.
  • One machine was powered down 128 times during the election.
  • Sequoia touch-screens are also used in Pinellas County (FL), Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Clara countis (CA), New Mexico, New Jersey, and formerly in Snohomish County (WA). (NOTE: We should have more soon on the Sequoia machines in Snohomish County, WA, where apparently the machines are not yet "formerly" in use, but still to be used through September of 2006, according to the current lawsuit by Paul Lehto and John Wells against Snohomish and Sequoia up there. As we say, more on that soon.)
  • See BBV for more anomolies, details and explanations on all of the above.

    A "fine election" indeed.