David and Patricia Earnhardt Report Their Problems During Early Voting in Nashville
Obama Vote Won't Register, Then Flips to Other Candidate, as Similarly Reported Recently in WV...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2008, 12:04pm PT  

Now comes the vote-flipping on touch-screen machines in Davidson County (Nashville), TN, where early voting has also begun. This time, the problems occurred for David and Patricia Earnhardt, the director and executive producer of the award-winning election integrity documentary, Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections which details the history of problems with electronic voting across the nation and some of the whistleblowers and EI advocates who've helped to bring the matter to light. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is prominently featured in the film.]

The Earnhardts' story of what happened to them last Friday when, among other things, Patricia's attempt to vote for Obama on the ES&S touch-screen wouldn't register at all, and at one point, with a poll-worker trying to help, had actually registered a vote for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney --- five rows away from Obama on the screen --- follows below.

The first reports of vote-flipping on touch-screen machines (we expect many more, as we saw in both '04 and especially in '06) came in from two counties last week in West Virginia, which also uses ES&S touch screens across the entire state.

The machines in both TN and WV need to be taken out of use and impounded immediately. So far, it's been Democrats, again, who are being affected by these problems, while votes are flipping from Democratic candidates to others. While the DNC and the Obama campaign ought to be raising holy hell, so far they are not...

Here's the email sent by David Earnhardt yesterday...

My wife, Patricia Earnhardt, had an early voting experience here in Nashville, Tennessee, where she saw her vote momentarily flip from Barack Obama to Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. She voted on a touch-screen paperless machine. Here is her story:

"A poll worker directed me to a touch screen voting machine & instructed me how to use it. I touched "Obama" for president & nothing lit up. I touched 2 or 3 more times & still nothing lit up. I called the poll worker back over to tell him I was having a problem. He said I just needed to touch it more lightly. I tried it 2 or 3 more times more lightly with the poll worker watching & still nothing lit up. The poll worker then touched it for me twice --- nothing lit up.

The third time he touched the Obama button, the Cynthia McKinney space lit up! The McKinney button was located five rows below the Obama button. The poll worker just kind of laughed and cancelled the vote. He hit the Obama button again & it finally lit up. I continued on to cast the rest of my votes.

After completing the process & reviewing my votes, I went to the VOTE page, hit the VOTE button & nothing happened. Again after several tries, I called the poll worker over & he finally got the machine to register my votes." Patricia Earnhardt - Friday, Oct. 17 - Howard School Building - Nashville, Tennessee

I also had similar problems with the machine I was voting on that same day, although no vote flipping. I would touch the screen numerous times before I could get my various candidate choices to light up. It was strange and very frustrating. When I finally got through my slate of candidate choices, I could not get the VOTE button to light up when I touched it. I finally called over a poll worker and he told me that I needed to touch lightly. I touched the VOTE button more lightly, but was only able to get it to work after several more failed attempts.

The same ES&S iVotronic touch-screens now failing in WV and TN were responsible for losing some 18,000 votes in a very close FL Congressional race in Democratic-leaning Sarasota County in 2006, where the race went to the Republican by just 369 votes. Ironically, the race in FL's 13th Congressional district was for former FL-SoS Katherine Harris' old House seat. Though the race was challenged in Congress, under the Federal Contested Elections Act, the House Democrats eventually dismissed the case, even though an explanation for the disappeared 18,000 votes was never found

A startling expose on the lack of quality control and regular vote-flipping on ES&S iVotronics aired, to almost no fanfare in the corporate media, on HDNet in 2007 (watch it here).

In 2007 we had the displeasure of attending a meeting of the Davidson County, TN, Election Commission ourselves. While the Democrats on the committee were in the majority, the three hapless Democratic members were run roughshod over by the two Republicans who virtually ran the entire meeting themselves.

The Republican who seemed to be in charge of things, Commissioner Lynn Greer, while the actual Chair Eddie Bryan did almost nothing, actually told us after the meeting --- and after we'd spoken during it, to warn about the troubles they would have with their touch-screen systems --- that "paper ballots are the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on America."

It seemed as though he actually believed those words as they came out of his mouth.

Meanwhile, more reports of vote-flipping have now come out of Putnam County, WV, the second county to report problems in the state were the ES&S iVotronic is used at every polling place. The Sunday Gazette Mail reports:

[Martha Louise] Harrington, a retired home health worker who lives in Hurricane, said, "I was very cautious to put my fingernail in the middle of the square. I hit it in the square to vote for Obama. Immediately, it went to McCain.
[Michael K.] Koon said he had no problem casting an early vote for president.

"However, when I chose Jay Rockefeller - and there is at least a finger's distance between the two choices - it selected Jay Wolfe and printed his name on the receipt.

"I pushed Jay Rockefeller again a few times and it canceled Jay Wolfe. Then I chose Jay Rockefeller again and it verified it."

In 2007, CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen found ES&S iVotronic touch-screens to be so unreliable, and prone to malicious attacks, that they were decertified in the state for all but optional use by voters with disabilities, in order to meet federal requirements for such voters.

UPDATE 10/22/08: ES&S touch-screens failing to show races, candidates on final review screens in SC. Details here...

And 2nd TN county now reporting vote-flips on ES&S machines. This time from D to R! It's time to take these machines out of service now! Details here...

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