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Bizarro Voter's Guide

Voting In Progress


Friday, November 05, 2004

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

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 Dispatch.

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.

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 machine.

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.

I don't want to wallow in denial, but are we sure we lost this thing?
Blogger Tomohiro Idokoro comments:
"There are other theories, of course. Some have argued that the two states where the polls most notably failed, Ohio and Florida, are states that have recently adopted the use of touch-screen ballots, which leave no paper trail. As reported by Wired in July, the Diebold voting system was widely known to have bugs that ?could allow voters and poll workers to cast multiple ballots, switch others? votes, or shut down an election early.? Conspiracy theories now abounded when it was revealed that the man behind the booths had long since offered to do anything he could to keep Bush in office.

"But in this sense, the exit polls should help, rather than hurt American politics. In these polls, we have viable information regarding voting trends. People left their booths and reported their votes to reliable sources, and so, when the two states that were under scrutiny in the first place begin to take an unexpected turn towards red, perhaps the first place angry Americans should have looked was at the exit polls."

-- The Maelstrom of Election Voting, www.rawstory.comAdmittedly a partisan source, but not a fanatical screed. How will these electronic voting machines be cross-verified?
Blogger Tomohiro Idokoro comments:
washingtondispatch.comBring on the tinfoil hat brigade.
Blogger Tomohiro Idokoro comments:
There's a bug with the way the Blogger comment template displays links. But that's not why I'm writing here. Rather, another case for a vast right-wing conspiracy to hack the vote. Admittedly, it's not Newsweek. But hopefully it will end up there:

Evidence Mounts That The Vote Was Hacked (ILCA Online)