By John Gideon on 1/20/2008, 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of

Two weeks ago South Carolina election officials told their voters that they needn’t be concerned about the negative reports relative to the state’s chosen voting system, ES&S iVotronic DREs, that have come from Ohio and Colorado. Officials talked about how security in the state was top-notch. So yesterday, in Horry Co, the voting system melted down forcing voters to cast their ballots on any paper they could find. A state representative told the media even paper towels would suffice if necessary.

OK, so the problem turned out to be what appears to be a human error again. Someone forgot to complete the last step of testing and the machines would not start at the polls without the testing being closed out. Early reports were that 80 to 90% or more of the machines in the county were affected. Today, one day after the meltdown, damage control has kicked-in and one media outlet is even saying that just 20 machines in the county were affected.

But no matter, yes it appears to have been human error and that error may have affected 20 or 20,000 machines, the fact is that some voters went away from the polls without voting. The fact is also that state election officials provided the counties with a voting system that may be too difficult and too technical for use by someone without a computer sciences degree.

I would lay better than even odds that an ES&S representative or two were there when the machines were tested and probably had an active role in that testing. Even they failed to follow the instructions and complete the process. Voting should be easy. Voters should be able to walk away from the polls with a feeling of pride in taking part in our democracy; not concern for whether the paper towel they voted on would actually by counted. The KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid - rule should apply.

Coverage of that story, and all of the other notable voting news stories today, are all linked below as usual...

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