And This is Before They've Even Started Counting the Results...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2006, 11:57pm PT  

The second Primary Election night of the year, this time in Illinois. As predicted --- following on the heels of the various disasters two weeks ago in the primary in Texas (with much more news to come on that, by the way) --- the first reports out tonight begin to outline the latest raft of problems throughout the day on the newly deployed Electronic Voting Machines in the state.

Also as predicted, the problems are minimized as "glitches", and here in the first sentence no less. The word is used a total of three times throughout the Chicago Tribune's "High-tech voting hits snags" article quoted below.

These "glitches", mind you, are just those reported so far. And only the one that occurred on Election Day itself...the counting problems have yet to reveal themselves. But they soon will.

You've heard it here first, but based on the various disasters in just the first two Election Nights of 2006, it sure as hell looks like we're headed towards an E-meltdown with our Electoral System --- And at this rate, it's coming well before we make it to the Generals in November.

Here's just a few of the "glitches" and "snags" as reported by the Chicago Tribune (apparently, they're reserving "hiccups" and "snafus" for the follow-up articles.) These before Elections Officials and Voting Machine Vendors (this time, mainly from Sequoia Voting Systems) send out their Damage Control Goons. Take a look and decide for yourself how "minor" the problems are...

As election officials closed the polls Tuesday evening, reports of glitches from throughout the day continued as both voters and election officials learned how to deal with a new, high-tech voting system in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
"It was easier to worry about hanging chads," said Daniel Fore, an election judge in Oak Park's Barrie Center polling place.
In the past few elections, officials said, they have typically been able to report results from more than 90 percent of precincts within an hour of the polls closing. They refused to predict how long the count would take this year, though they stressed it may take several hours more.

At Lowell Elementary School on the city's Northwest Side, the only touch-screen voting machine was locked up around 6 p.m. It had been that way since about 4:30 p.m. after a voter tried to use it and the message: "Election verify. Please wait" appeared on the screen.

"We're not planning to use the machine any more," said election judge Julio Vargas. "What can we do other than vote the old fashioned way?"
City and county officials said they were dealing with glitches as they arose.
Voters from the North Shore to the South Side reported that selected touch-screen voting machines weren't working, and said they also encountered problems with new, oversized, optical-scan paper ballots.

Around the county, vital internal switches weren't flipped, power cords were missing or misplaced, audio equipment for blind voters was not installed or did not work properly, and the new touch-screen machines malfunctioned.
On the city's South Side, only Republican ballots registered on the optical scanner at the Providence of God Early Learning Center, 1814 S. Union St.

"It's a landslide," Republican election judge David Masak said, trying to diffuse the situation with humor. "As of right now, I can tell you we are officially the only precinct in Chicago that is going 100-percent Republican."

That was at midday. The good humor melted away after four visits from elections officials failed to make the scanner work.
Electronic woes plagued other polling stations.

Read on...It gets worse...

In Oak Park, election judges arrived at Barrie Center early Tuesday and discovered the optical scan and touch-screen machines wouldn't work properly. For several hours, voters had to mark their ballots by hand and stick them in a locked box suspended above one of the new machines, which spit out a confusing ribbon of paper that had the judges paging furiously through a 131-page manual for answers.

At one point, a dozen repair technicians showed up to test the faulty equipment. It turned out someone had forgotten to flip an internal switch in another device that authorizes each voter and transmits the results.

At Chute Middle School in Evanston, voters only cast paper ballots when the electronic touch screen didn't work. "The little memory card is kaput," said election judge Jerry Smith.
Across town at Evanston's Grace Lutheran Church, election judge Carol Straus lamented low turnout and three machines that failed to work: The electronic touch screen, the election counter, and the scanner that counted the manual votes.

"It took 3 1/2 hours for them to get here to fix things," Straus said.
"Nothing worked," said Deborah Stein, a board member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind in Illinois, who tried to pull an audio ballot in Norwood Park but couldn't.

"They must have worked for 15 or 20 minutes to get it together," she said. "They acknowledged that they had not run a test on it before today. So they're pulling it out of the box."

In the end, she dictated her votes to her husband.

"I voted the way I usually do," she said. "It was a bust."
They fretted that the training of roughly 25,000 election judges, who were paid $100 for their day of work, wouldn't be sufficient for all the new work they must do, including the complicated computer processing required to close the polls and wirelessly transmit tallies downtown.

When do we get to say "We told you so?"