Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"There's no national meltdown..." "more smoothly than feared." Really?

I find Tova Wang and Dan Tokaji's remarks, published in USA TODAY's Glitches made voting tough for some, by Richard Wolf and Alan Gomez well, a bit under-stated, and very puzzling!

Tova Wang, an elections expert at the Century Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, said, "There's no national meltdown. There's the kind of isolated problems that do disenfranchise people. None of this should come as a shock to anyone."

How could it be there's "no national meltdown" if even isolated problems disenfranchise a mere handful of voters in a national election?

"Things appear to have gone much more smoothly than a lot of people feared," said Dan Tokaji, an Ohio State law professor. "It certainly could have been a lot worse."

"... more smoothly than a lot of people feared," according to the Tokaji quote.

Votes transposed from one candidate to another candidate, as complaints show happened in Pennsylvania's Senate race with votes cast for Santorum going instead to opponent Casey - that's more smoothly than a lot of people feared when that was EXACTLY what people feared.

But right, when such incidents happen reportedly to Republicans, Democrats (read Robert Casey, Jr) charge such voter complaints of malfunctioning voting machines are "political shenanigans."

...State Republicans asked Secretary of State Pedro Cortes to investigate what they said were instances in at least 12 counties where voters allegedly tried to vote for Republican candidates but that the machines reflected Democratic votes.

Isn't it amazing how all of these reports of machines malfunctioning are just minor glitches this election, whereas in 2004, there was a grand conspiracy...

I just heard the voting machines in PA have started walking around and eating people!

Exit-Poll Withdrawal and Rage at the Machines

PA voter trashes electronic voting machine Posted by Joshua Holland at 6:37 PM on November 7, 2006.

Glitches made voting tough for some

...Those and other problems were not unexpected in a system that has changed dramatically since Florida's adventure with "hanging chads

on punch cards in 2000. About 30% of the nation was working with new equipment this year under deadlines imposed by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Many experts viewed it as a test run for the 2008 presidential election and deemed it a success.

"We said there were going to be a few glitches, and there are," said Paul DeGregorio, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which was created after the 2000 voting debacle. "We're using technology. We're using electronics. At times, machines do break. But there's backups — paper backups, provisional voting."

Tova Wang, an elections expert at the Century Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, said, "There's no national meltdown. There's the kind of isolated problems that do disenfranchise people. None of this should come as a shock to anyone."

The FBI was called into Virginia to investigate possible voting irregularities after it received a call from state Elections Board Secretary Jean Jensen on Monday night. Federal investigators were reviewing reports that some voters received telephone calls directing them to the wrong polling places or discouraging them from voting, FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak said.

Problems crossed state lines:

•Some touch-screen machines didn't start. Others recorded votes incorrectly. "It's like a car or any other machines," said Tuscarawas County, Ohio, deputy elections director Sarah Kneuss. "Sometimes some ... don't work."...

New voting machine is history
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From local and wire reports

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- A man was arrested at a polling place yesterday after election workers said he smashed an electronic voting machine with a paperweight.

Allentown police identified the man as Michael Young, 43, of Allentown.

Around 12:30 p.m., Mr. Young walked into the rehabilitation hospital being used as a polling place and smashed an electronic voting machine with an 8-inch paperweight in the shape of a cat, said Assistant Police Chief Ron Manescu.

Mr. Young then walked into a corner of the room, sat down and waited for police to arrive. He was arrested without incident, police said.

Chief Manescu would not comment on why Mr. Young felt compelled to smash the machine. He was charged with criminal mischief for damaging the $5,000 voting machine and tampering with a voting machine, which is a misdemeanor.

Before Mr. Young had destroyed the machine, approximately 130 voters had used it. Mr. Manescu said those votes were not affected because the machine's memory had not been damaged.

Post-Gazette, yep, problems with new voting machines, minor...

Problems with new voting machines scattered, minor
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 By Gabrielle Banks and Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

State Attorney General Tom Corbett last night said the state has received a letter complaining of irregularities in voting machines in more than a dozen Pennsylvania counties during today's elections.

Mr. Corbett, putting in an appearance at the campaign headquarters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, said Lawrence Tabas, general counsel for the Republican committee, had written to Secretary of State Pedro Cortes complaining of glitches in the voting machines. A copy of the letter was forwarded to Mr. Corbett.

According to Mr. Corbett, the complaint says that voters complained that, after casting votes for Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Mr. Swann, they saw their votes switch on the electronic screen from the Republican candidates to Democrats Robert P. Casey Jr. and incumbent Gov. Edward Rendell.

Last night, Sen. Santorum's campaign also complained of voter fraud in the election, citing similar allegations.

Should Mr. Cortes, an appointee of Gov. Rendell, find reason for further investigation, he can refer the matter to the individual district attorneys in the affected counties, or to the office of Mr. Corbett, a Republican.

While expressing skepticism about whether yesterday's problems, if they existed, constituted fraud, Mr. Corbett expressed reservations about the handling of electronic voting machines at his own polling place in Allegheny County. Mr. Corbett said he was concerned that screens, blocking voters from view as they cast their ballots, were not in place.

Scattered problems with voting machines were reported in Allegheny County and across the state yesterday, but elections officials said there were no serious malfunctions with the new touch-screen systems.

Twenty electronic voting machines were removed from polling places across Allegheny County yesterday morning because of technical glitches, and a polling site in Monroeville resorted to paper ballots for 45 minutes, elections officials said.

In some precincts, the balky machines were replaced with backups. In others, poll workers made do with the machines available. The county has 4,600 touch-screen machines in use and 100 in reserve.

The county hired 200 "rovers" to scout for problems and had 56 technicians on call to respond to problems that arose, said Mark Wolosik, county elections manager.

Voters were casting ballots on electronic machines for the first time in every Pennsylvania county as wary election watchdogs closely monitored the polls for equipment glitches and other problems.

The Department of State, which includes the state elections office, reported minor problems as polls opened.

In Allegheny County, some machines were not "zeroing out," or clearing the slate to start tallying votes, Mr. Wolosik said. The zero-vote count serves as a baseline to ensure no votes are stored on the machines before official voting begins...

Just the kind of info presented in Trail of Treachery

In 2000 there were no legitimate hanging chads. It's been conclusively demonstarted that the only way to produce a hanging chad or a pregnant chad is too attempt to punch multiple cards at once. Hanging and pregnant chads were de-facto evidence of voter fraud but the atmosphere was so bitter and partisan that nobody touched it. You'd think that some bright bulb in the media would have asked how come there were so many questionable ballots and how come they were all for Gore.

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