By John Gideon on 8/27/2008, 10:43am PT  

Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

In an article this morning from the St Petersburgh (FL) Times the reporters report that Diebold/Premier voting systems failed to work properly in Hillsborough County.

They report:

By far the largest problem cropped up in Hillsborough, which Browning had criticized when Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson took longer than any other supervisor to buy optical scan technology. Through bidding, Hillsborough picked a company called Premier Voting Solutions. Its voting systems are used in 34 states, and about 30 of Florida's 67 counties.

However, after major computer problems cropped up during Ohio's March elections, the manufacturer acknowledged last week that its software contains a critical programming error. Because of the error, votes can be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards. As a result, the company sent out a nationwide customer alert with recommended actions to deal with the problem.

An hour after the polls closed in Hillsborough, Johnson told reporters that his vote counting system had developed a computer problem that was preventing it from posting the tallies electronically — and he blamed Premier Voting Solutions.

"I haven't been able to get a straight answer from Premier, but I will by the end of the night," he said. "I expect them to fix this issue. We've paid a lot of money. My staff has done a great job.''

Johnson said other counties were having similar problems, but [Secretary of State Kurt] Browning's staff said no other counties statewide had reported a similar glitch. Still, Johnson insisted the problem didn't lie with his office.

However, Florida Today reports that Brevard County had problems with their Diebold voting machines and this problem is recurring...

A glitch with touch-screen voting machines in about 50 precincts has slowed election returns tonight, leaving the county with only about 58 percent of precincts for more than hour. The results are now almost all in after a lengthy delay.

The problem --- that the touch-screen machines failed to transmit data by modem to the elections office --- is one that the supervisor of elections office has been aware of for some time. It has cropped up in past elections.

With the data unable to be transmitted back by those machines, the "votes" had to be trucked back to the elections office in Viera. Elections officials said the last of the trucks arrived around 10:30 p.m. and results were being finalized just before 11 p.m.

What is important about this inability to modem results from the polling places (this same problem was reported from around the state) is that some Florida election officials tried to minimize the affect of the Diebold admission that their GEMS tabulation system may lose votes by pointing to the fact that they modem results from the polls so they don't have to read directly from memory cards into GEMS.

It appears that another known problem exists on the Diebold system in Florida and nothing is done about it except to ignore it and make excuses when it affects tabulation and reporting.