Failure Rate So High on Memory Cards in Summit County Test, They Were Thrown Out for a New Batch...Which Then Also Failed!
By John Gideon on 3/9/2006, 3:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In preparation for a May 2 primary, election officials in Summit Co., OH began testing their new ES&S optical scan voting machines. The Akron Beacon Journal announced today that ES&S has isolated the problem to a memory card made by one of their contractors.

The article also reveals that the county is not doing the testing themselves.

A consulting company that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell hired has been in the county since Monday testing all the new voting equipment before its planned use May 2.

Why would a county that has to conduct elections on their own equipment allow a consulting company hired by the Secretary of State, do the testing?

The article goes on to explain the memory card problem in more detail:

Tests on Monday and Tuesday showed that about 30 percent of the computer memory cards --- which should read and store vote tabulations --- did not work, Elections Board Director Bryan Williams said. ``We are noticing a high failure rate,'' he said Wednesday.

Election Systems & Software in Omaha, Neb., makes the machines. Williams said ES&S officials believe they have isolated the problem to the computer cards produced by one of its subcontractors. ES&S contracts with several companies to make the memory cards, Williams said.

"We're looking into the extent to which this affects others,'' said Ellen Bogard, spokeswoman for ES&S. "It will be remedied if there are other cards that need to be replaced.''

The first 177 cards tested Monday worked flawlessly, Williams said. When testing began on the remaining 348 cards, however, the failure rate was so high that the rest were thrown out. ES&S had a second batch of cards sent to Akron on Tuesday, but Williams said those cards experienced a similar failure rate. He said a third batch is expected to arrive today.

Unanswered questions abound. How many other ES&S customers have these bad memory cards? How many of these other customers will go into elections without knowing that their memory cards are bad? How many of the problems with ES&S machines in Texas on Tuesday are a result of bad memory cards? Does ES&S have any Quality Control at all?