Voting Machine Company Fails State, Voters. Again. Even the State GOP Agrees!
As the State Sec. of State and Other Officials Ignore the Facts and Cover their Asses for the Future...
By John Gideon on 5/24/2006, 7:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, with Brad Friedman

Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) has finally shown us why they should not be in the elections business. The disgraceful primary election in Arkansas yesterday is a prime example. It was, and continues to be, an utter disaster today. The day after.

Brad and I both have been overwhelmed all day with the number of reports coming in on the complete failures by ES&S in the state yesterday. So much so, that it's difficult to even know where to begin. Thus, tonight's late report --- with general details and enough links to set you on your way to inform yourself about what the hell is going on here.

In our best (if fruitless) attempt at brevity, however...

ES&S failed to deliver voting machines on time to Arkansas counties. That late delivery led directly to poll workers failing to receive adequate training on how to conduct elections on the ES&S iVotronic (touch-screen) voting machines. It also led some counties choosing against using those iVotronic machines at all. In fact, four counties chose to knowingly violate the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 when they made the decision to use their old voting systems and ignore the disastrous and cynical federal HAVA mandate to provide poorly designed and implemented voting machines for disabled voters.

Those four counties are to be lauded for putting the voters --- and the hope for a legitimate, accountable election --- over intimidation by a crooked, flawed and cynical federal government mandate.

All of those failures resulted in machines failing to start up at the beginning of the day and then, in some cases where they did work, failing to be closed down properly at the end of the day.

ES&S's failure to deliver voting machines to counties on time led to late or non-delivery of software to many of those counties, which led to many of them choosing to use paper ballots at the polls for the most part, along with a single iVotronic to try and comply with HAVA.

This unexpected use of paper ballots caught some several counties unprepared. In at least one case it has been reported that some voters were sent away without voting at all when a polling place ran out of paper ballots. And this was only in a lightly attended primary during an off year election!

As reported by the Benton County Record:

Like at other precincts, poll workers never figured out how to use the electronic machines, so there was no way for those residents to vote. "They did not have the machine up, and they ran out of paper ballots," [Election Commissioner Russ] Odell said. "So, without a backup, the system didn't work."
...
Several polling places resorted to using paper ballots exclusively, including Precinct 38 on Moberly Lane in Bentonville. The election sheriff there, Dennis Mason, said poll workers had problems with the machine early on, and the problems were never fixed. "We had it set up, but it didn't work, so it was just worthless," he said at 7 p.m. "We called in and they said somebody would come out to look at it, but nobody showed up."
...
"I don't know how many millions we spent on this of taxpayers' money, and then they screw it up this bad," [state Sen. Kim Hendren] said.

The tabulation of votes has also been another ES&S failure. It seems that ES&S has done everything they can to ensure that any county that has used paper ballots would have problems counting those ballots or would not be able to meld the optical-scan vote count with the DRE vote count. Secretary of State Charlie Daniels and many county officials are announcing that the problems will not happen in November because they won't have to use any paper ballots. They plan, apparently, to go strictly with iVotronic touch-screens. The type that failed all over the state.

Mission accomplished for ES&S's propaganda machine.

So how bad was it? So bad that even the state Republicans are finally waking up to what's going on here!

"Get ready for six months of debating the ins and outs of voting software and machines. We don't say this dismissively. It's important," wrote the Arkansas Times' blog, which also includes a statement from the state GOP excoriating the Sec. of State and ES&S for their failures.

Frankly, we're exhausted by it, as you might imagine. So we'll leave it to you to poke around and find out more information tonight. Tonight's "Daily Voting News" links to dozens of disaster tails. Here's just a few examples of articles detailing problems from across the state...

  • Incorrectly programmed optical scan machines hold up tabulation of votes in Lonoke and Pulaski Counties, from the Arkansas Leader
  • Vote Tabulation Problems Across The State, from The Morning News and AP
  • And for Fox "News"-like phony "balance", here's the press release issued by state officials trying to polish the turd to announce that everything went great!
  • Wake us when the nightmare's over.