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Presidential Votes Miscast on E-Voting Machines Across the Country

Friday 5 November 2004

Voters from at least half a dozen states reported that touch-screen voting machines had incorrectly recorded their choices, including for president.

Voters discovered the problems when checking the review screen at the end of the voting process. They found, to their surprise, that the machines indicated that they voted for one candidate when they had voted for another. When voters tried to correct the problem, the machine often made the same error several times. While in most cases the situation was reportedly resolved, many voters remain uneasy about whether the proper vote was ultimately cast. Meanwhile, voting experts are concerned that other voters are experiencing the problem, but failing to notice that the machine is indicating the wrong choice on the "summary" screen.

Election observers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Verified Voting Foundation (VVF) reported yesterday that the problem, which some voting officials initially attributed to "voter error," is evidently widespread and may even be relatively common with touch-screen machines. Incorrectly recorded votes make up roughly 20 percent of the e-voting problems reported through the Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS), an online database in which volunteers with the Election Protection Coalition, a coalition of non-partisan election observers dedicated to preventing voter disenfranchisement, are recording and tracking voting problems.

For voters, these incidents underscore the need to carefully review ballots during the final portion of the electronic voting process. But they also point to the larger issue: using touch-screen voting systems vulnerable to this kind of error, combined with poll workers and voters unfamiliar with the new systems, substantially increases the chances of voter disenfranchisement.

"We’re likely to see these types of problems repeated on Election Day," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "As a short-term measure, we strongly encourage voters who use touch-screen voting machines to proof their ballots at the review stage. But while we can try to address obvious, visible problems like these, the problems we really worry about are the ones that the voters and poll watchers can’t see. Often the only you catch these flaws are through audits - yet most of these machines lack even the most basic audit feature: a voter-verified paper trail."

Forum posts

  • These sore losing conspiracy theorists will never acknowledge Bush as president. I am so glad that you have been thwarted in this election.

    • Yeah, just like the people who think saddam was responsible for 9/11 or WMD’s, hey have you heard supposedly bin laden is still alive...oh well, we’ll get a new tape soon scaring us into submission again...those conspiracy silly.

      This is funny, a bush supporter monitoring an anti-war site or perhaps damage control, spin, and more lies. Bush can’t even rig an election to make him legitimate.

      FOUR MORE YEARS OF PROTESTS! I’m happy bush won, now we still have a chance to snag him for war crimes, using DU on our troops, and failing to secure the US from TWO terrorist attacks.

      9/11 and anthrax...what happened to that anyway, only democrats targeted, and the guy we "caught" turns out to be working for the government.(case dismissed).

      Gotta love the hillbilly rednecks in our country that don’t even know where iraq is, and half of them can’t even pick out NYC on a map. yeeehawww

    • Conspiracy theorists? Check out what was just reported in Ohio. It’s a sad day when we can’t trust the legitimacy of our voting system. Doubtless you wouldn’t feel the same if it was Bush.

    • I urge you and every American to watch Votergate ( and educate yourself to the REAL story in regards to electronic voting machines. This is real and happening now. It is absolutely Un-American to not investigate and take a non-partisan look at this new system at a time when clearly the country is sharply divided. There is nothing responsible as an American in your expose about Bush.

      Unless he’s in your immediate family, why would you care so much about supporting him over all Americans and our rights under the Constitution of the United States? We are all allowed an EQUAL vote and I would think that all parties would want the legitmacy of that.

      As it stands, the world has questioned Bush’s legitmacy since the end of the last election and now with allegations of voting manipulation that is now being investigated (and confirmed btw), his legitmacy may be in question for the remainder of his term in office. As an American, this is bad for us in regards to foreign policy as it undermines his credibility to the world especially after ignoring foreign policies that contribute to the safety, wealth, stability and growth of America and ultimately the world. It’s not one or the other here....we are all alive at this time on this planet. As the leader of the free world, we need to lead by example and unfortunately, his examples of got-it-alone foreign policy has created more questions of his credibility, not less. These are not intangibles; these are the facts today and they are not helping anyone.

      Read, think, educate yourself to international relations, history, political science. Understand the most successful leaders and what is the standard for diplomatic and foreign relations. It is essential that our President have the legitmacy of America and the rest of the world. Our country is too divided for this right now and our foreign allies and acquaintances see his actions as aggression against a people that were not a threat to our safety. Period. Real. Facts. That’s the scoop. Please open your intellect to include what is really happening in the world not what Fox News or other segmented news stations will spin and report. Read it all and in a non partisan an American, not a Bush Republican but a heartfelt American. Decide to be an American for the world instead of a Bush Republican against the world. Other than terrorists, there are a lot of wonderful allies out there waiting to support America to make us all safer. Without their assistance, it can never be.

    • Sorry, but the "sore loser" slogan is old. Please attempt something original. Oh. Wait a minute. You’re a bush supporter, a/k/a known as a schlock strap. So nothing original ever has the chance to form in your mind. Garbage in, garbage out. See ya, suckah!

    • Red States, pray that your sons don’t have to go to war. Pray that come January you have a job. pray that your morals get you some good insurance.

    • What is this american acceptance of bigotry against southern whites? It is the only form of racist discourse still acceptable in this country. Bush did not win because of "rednecks." It is very convenient for Americans to continue to blame all racism, bigotry, and ignorance on the white people of the south.
      Most unfortunately, racism, bigotry, and ignorance seem to be endemic in all parts of this country. No geographical area has a monopoy on it. Highly educated Supreme court justices are chomping at the bit to legalize an intolerant theocracy. Highly educated white people across the country are intent on ramming their religious beliefs down all our throats and insisting, ignorantly, that Bush is winning the war on terror. As a matter of fact one of the most "redneck" (sound anything like "redskin" to you?) counties in Tennesee, a place where there is no black population to speak of, a poverty stricken mining rural county, Grundy county, voted for Kerry.

    • I’m sore, but I’m not a loser. I’m sore because the country is a loser....of more lives. Our sons and daughters will be sent to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and other such "evil" places, all in the name of the sick, avaricious, power grubbing, politicians who sit in the White House, and who don’t care who gets killed so long as it is not anyone in their families....and, of course, in the name of God. Gawd. Oh, yes, sore losers, indeed. You will find out when your sons and daughters fight for the great cause, and don’t come home again. You who call us "sore losers" can prove how much you love your "president" by signing up right now and putting on your camouflage, but don’t expect body armor, it’s too expensive, the money is needed to help Mr. Cheney add to his Halliburton stock.
      Go GOP!!!

    • Rednecks with red noses, too, for they can’t stop getting drunk with power and revenge toward all those "liberals" who dare to think for themselves. What nerve.

    • Yeh , like you said !

      F W

    • It is something we have to examine(e-voting without papertrails....heck.we expect ATM’s to provide them!). Unfortunately, I feel that Bush & Co used the attack of 9/11 to further divide us and that this was intentional (the abuse of 9/11 as a political tool). I also feel that e-voting MUST provide a paper trail for us to have faith in the system.

      But, beyond that, we must hold feet to the fire of politicians who outright LIE (such as Bush) in order to gain votes. Holy cow, this guy had one set speech, which he only delivered to the Kool-Aid drinkers who agreed to sign a loyalty oath before they would be allowed in to his closed PUBLICALLY FINANCED appearances.

      If there’s something of value to us middle-class folks, then explain it to us. I cannot see any reason to support Bush unless he is willing to really cross the aisle to shake hands with agnostics, small business owners (like me), and progessive activists.


      Kathy Ready

    • from a friend who’s been watching in horror from a foreign country:

      Please don’t start fighting among yourselves; don’t believe the media portrayal of the country as divided into red states and blie states.

      There are red people in blue states and blue people in red states — but guess what? there are more blue people than you think there are, all over the country. The polls were all slanted in favor of the red guys. The exit polls showed a big blue win in the making. All the vote counts are suspect in my view. Don’t waste time thinking about why the red won and the blue lost! Because the blue won!

      Blue people have to start working together now and expose the fraud that makes so much of your country look so red. This is likely your last chance. Don’t wait another four years! The world cannot wait another four years.

      Talk to all your friends about this. Get them talking to their friends. It doesn’t take long to get something happening.

    • Gee I thought trashing Northeastern "libruls", fags, welfare queen blacks, wetback hispanics, feminazis etc etc was the stock in trade of the highly moral red states.

      We’re angry and you’ve taught us that hate succeeds.

      As far as we’re concerned you’re all Confederate SOBs - You connivining hypocritcal warmongers WON. Okay. Stop all this whinging about being victims - You won by lying and slandering, by fear-mongering and coded bigotry disguised as moral piety.

      We have tried again and again to reach out and find common cause and you have spat on us time and time again and for what? To honor a man who will rob you, kill your children in a phoney war fought only to pad the pockets of his rich buddies? George Bush detests you. He’s your real enemy. What will it take for you to see the contempt he has for you?

      I pray for you. I pray for all of us.

    • What is this American acceptance of bigotry against Northeastern & Hollywood liberals? It is the only form of racist discourse still acceptablein this country. Kerry did not lose because of the "liberal elite." It is very convenient for Americans to continue to blame all social ills, divisiveness, and coddling of weakness on the elitist of the northeast and west...

    • YES! Everyone in the country should be demanding proof that this was a free and fair election. I have been writing to my elected reps, talking to as many people as I can. I have been discouraged by comments that "it won’t change the result". How do we know? And it that the main point?

      This does not have to be a partisan issue. It goes beyond whether the results change. Thousands and thousands of people were disenfranchised. There are actual people who make the decisions that cause these problems and they have to be exposed and punished.

      I think that even many republicans, if they see enough evidence of foul play, will see that this is basic to the continuance of any semblance of democracy in this country.

      The patterns of systematic minority exclusion is wiping out the civil rights gains of the 60s. We need to get used to fighting over every inch to safeguard our civil liberties against the Bush gang. If theses shady practices that don’t get exposed today, they become common practice tomorrow. has a lot of good information.


    • Grundy County Tennessee going for Kerry is a beautiful thing and something to be paid attention to. Something happened there that is very very important to the future of the Democratic party. Howard Dean understood that this segment of the population (southern poor whites) deserved to be included in the dialogue of the campaign. He caught alot of heck for mentioning that. Clearly a sore subject. Respect to Dean for going there in the face of the knee jerk hostility made so clear by some of these responses. Also, I think that these "hillbilly rednecks" are probably quite aware of where Iraq is considering that is the poorer classes of America that have their flesh and blood over there fighting this stupid, tragic, horrific war. They probably know street names in Iraq by this point. Anyway, a majority in this poor white southern county realized that the Republicans do not have their backs. They saw through the Rovian spin. Why? How? What happened here that did not happen in so many other American counties? Isn’t it worth finding out instead of just writing them all off as " confederate SOBs?" They didn’t spit on the Democrats that were obviously busy at work reaching out in their county. Hate succeeds? I guess that depends on how you define "success."

  • It is truly criminal that after having 4 years to perfect our electoral system and avoid problems reminiscent of 2000, it was not done! Oviously it was no accident! We need a recall vote using paper ballots, no matter how long it takes to count them accurately. Truly a sin against voters and against democracy.

  • I have wondered since day one of installation of the E-Voting machines here in Florida. 52 counties(Republican leaning have optical scan voting. The rest (Democrat leaning) have the E-Vote machines. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. I believe this is true in Ohio also. We had no paper trail. This is obvious also. Without a trail how can we be sure that all our votes were counted properly. Computers are hackable. There were errors throughout the country.The US committee on election reform didn’t do a very good job. The Supreme Court handed Bush the 2000 election on the Equal Protection rule.

    I’m very distressed by this whole thing.
    Beverly Kwasha

    • My Problem with the use of E voting machines is the fact that everyone knew for all of the two years of campaigning that fraud was possible.........Why didn’t the Democrats start an investigation two years age.....W e all know that the CEO pf Diabold promised the election to Bush......This could only be accomplishe if he knew that the machines could be rigged......Sooooooo he started right then to hire people to make this promise a reality........I have asked myself over and over what can lawyers,,,poll workers etc accomplish after the fact.......The Repubs were laughing all the way to their victory.....They Knew they had everything going for them.....and no way on God earth to prove that anyting corrupt was involved.....Clever in 2000 and briliant in 2004........ Biblicvally speaking don’t you think that the moralists ARE SORT OF KIND OF LIKE THE CROWD THAT CHOSE BARABAS......OH .GOD THIS IS SO AWFUL IT’S ALSO SO SCARY FOR THE WONDERFUL WORKERS OF AMERICA WHOSE BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS MADE AMERICA GREAT HUMBLY WRITTEN BY A PROUD DEMOCRAT MARY


  • North Carolina: Incorrect tabulation gave additional 22,000 votes to George Bush, other winners become losers.

    The computer that tabulates the totals choked when officials uploaded the early voting numbers, which was a particularly large batch of data. (Note: Guilford County uses ES&S Votronic Touchscreen voting machines, no voter verified paper ballot).

    "So it just threw some of (the votes) away," said Guilford County elections director George Gilbert.

    Before the votes were retallied, Cobb, who looked like a loser on election night, had won by 1,500 votes, according to the elections board’s Web site. Gilbert, though, had backup tapes that contained the vote tallies.

    When he retrieved those numbers and gave the corrected figures to the state board of elections, Cobb had an additional 4,000 votes and his Republican opponent, Steve Troxler, another 13,000. Troxler was the apparent winner again.
    (Question: exactly how did Gilbert retrieve the data, and how do we know the true intent of the voter, as opposed to
    the "glitched" data?)
    The new Guilford numbers boosted Atkinson’s votes by nearly 12,000 in the superintendent’s race, putting her ahead of Republican Bill Fletcher, who got 3,000 more votes in the update.

    The Guilford totals didn’t change President Bush’s win in the state, but did shift the vote total by 22,000.
    (Question: So, Guilford County’s ES&S Votronic Touchscreen voting machines gave George Bush a non existant 22,000 vote edge on election night?)
    (So why didn’t we have correct results on election night? Should all elections be considered legally un-decided until
    the expensive $3,000 each voting machines can be re-checked for data that may or may not be correct?)

    reporter: Mark Johnson: mjohnson at charlotteobserver dot com.
    (go to to get a free password so you don’t have to register to read the article)

    North Carolina loaded with electronic voting problems - lost votes and miscounts. see