By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2011, 4:11pm PT  

Via The News Leader in Virginia...

Electricity problems in Chesterfield County did not keep voting machines from working, but in Henrico County, approximately 954 voters in 19 precincts were not listed in the pollbooks even though they were at the correct polling locations. Officials asked voters to complete provisional ballots.

I called Mark Coakley, General Registrar of Voters in Henrico County to get a few more details about what went wrong there...

Coakley told me the county is using a new electronic poll book system made by Decision Support of Charlotte, NC. It's the first time the e-pollbooks have been used there.

"It was a programming...a logic error in the upload of the data," Coakley explained. "We have 200,000 voters in Henrico, 954 of those voters were incorrectly shown as registered at different precincts."

As the problem was discovered, and as voters who didn't show up in the e-pollbooks were being given provisional ballots, the precincts were eventually told to fall back to the paper pollbooks that they have on hand for backups. The paper pollbooks had the registrations listed correctly, according to Coakley.

"The paper came in very hand today!," Coakley, who said he's familiar with this blog, explained.

After moving to the backup paper pollbooks, voters were allowed to vote as usual...on 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by Winvote, rather than on paper. Coakley said they haven't had any problems with those systems today. They've been using the DRE machines since 2005.

He said that each precinct has 200 paper ballots on hand for use as provisional ballots, or in the event that the e-voting systems failed for any reason.

When I asked if voters had the option to vote on paper ballots in Henrico, if they wished, he explained that they could not. "That's state law," he said.

"Oh, that's too bad," I responded.

"I can't say anything about that," he replied in kind with what seemed to be a knowing chuckle.

"I read your blog, by the way," he added.

I'm delighted he was willing to speak with me anyway.

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