Machine Error Gives Bush Extra Ohio Votes

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Fri Nov 5 14:56:46 EST 2004


Machine Error Gives Bush Extra Ohio Votes
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Nov 5, 11:56 AM (ET)

 COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An error with an electronic voting system gave
President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials

 Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to
Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only
638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

 Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder,
director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told The Columbus

 State and county election officials did not immediately respond to
requests by The Associated Press for more details about the voting system
and its vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could
have affected the outcome.

Bush won the state by more than 136,000 votes, according to unofficial
results, and Kerry conceded the election on Wednesday after acknowledging
that 155,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted in Ohio would not change
the result.

 The Secretary of State's Office said Friday it could not revise Bush's
total until the county reported the error.

 The Ohio glitch is among a handful of computer troubles that have emerged
since Tuesday's elections.

 In one North Carolina county, more than 4,500 votes were lost because
officials mistakenly believed a computer that stored ballots electronically
could hold more data than it did. And in San Francisco, a malfunction with
custom voting software could delay efforts to declare the winners of four
races for county supervisor.

 In the Ohio precinct in question, the votes are recorded onto a cartridge.
On one of the three machines at that precinct, a malfunction occurred in
the recording process, Damschroder said. He could not explain how the
malfunction occurred.
(AP) Voters waited up to three hours to cast ballots after one of two
voting machines failed to work at...
Full Image
Damschroder said people who had seen poll results on the election board's
Web site called to point out the discrepancy. The error would have been
discovered when the official count for the election is performed later this
month, he said.

 The reader also recorded zero votes in a county commissioner race on the

 Workers checked the cartridge against memory banks in the voting machine
and each showed that 115 people voted for Bush on that machine. With the
other machines, the total for Bush in the precinct added up to 365 votes.

 Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a glitch occurred with software designed for
the city's new "ranked-choice voting," in which voters list their top three
choices for municipal offices. If no candidate gets a majority of
first-place votes outright, voters' second and third-place preferences are
then distributed among candidates who weren't eliminated in the first round.

 When the San Francisco Department of Elections tried a test run on
Wednesday of the program that does the redistribution, some of the votes
didn't get counted and skewed the results, director John Arntz said.

 "All the information is there," Arntz said. "It's just not arriving the
way it was supposed to."

 A technician from the Omaha, Neb. company that designed the software,
Election Systems & Software Inc., was working to diagnose and fix the

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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