Punch-card counter drops straight-party ballots from initial totals!
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2004, 1:43pm PT  

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

Voters in Utah County had more than a one in five chance that their ballots did not get counted in the initial, unofficial tally from Election Day.

A programming glitch in the punch-card counter dropped 33,000 ballots from the totals - all of them straight-party ballots. That was more than 22 percent of the 145,769 ballots cast in the Republican stronghold.

"The card readers were fine; it was just the way it was programmed initially," Utah County elections coordinator Kristen Swensen said Friday. "It was just off by one letter."

The ballots were recounted Wednesday and the 33,000 missing votes were distributed to the candidates for whom they were cast.

I should note that this is the first story of it's kind that I've come across, where such an error actually seems to have hurt the Republicans more than it did Democrats. While, for now, this error does seem to be just a "glitch", it adds to the growing body of evidence that our counting systems and software in this country is a pure and unadultered mess which needs strict reform and oversight by non-partisan, non-political officials!

(Thanks reader Katrina W. for the heads-up on this one!)