Imagine going to the polls November 6th and casting your vote for President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney and somehow the machine thinks you voted for both candidates. That’s called an overvote, and your vote may be thrown out. Sound impossible? It isn’t. “You are getting to the crux of the problem with this technology. We are supposed to trust what goes on back there blindly,” voting rights advocate and attorney Lida Rodriguez-Taseff told CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen. Rodriguez-Taseff has spent a decade battling to pull back the curtain on election transparency. She helped get the touch screen machines tossed in Florida in favor of getting voters a paper ballot and paper trail – only to learn that the variety of optical scan machines now in use now across America and Florida may have flaws no one could have predicted. Or could they have?
“Nobody has done and in-depth study to determine how well those machines are really working,” Rodriguez-Taseff cautioned Gillen. “It absolutely leaves me pause that we’re not looking at those machines more closely. The technology that is used for voting is generally inferior to the computing technology that most people have in their homes. And in their cars and their iPhones and cell phones. So the fact that we’re not looking more closely at this technology is really troubling to most people yes,” said Rodriguez-Taseff.
At the heart of Garber’s concern is how often the machine – the ES&S DS200 in Miami Dade County, registers an overvote. That’s when, according to the machine, a voter has voted for two candidates in the same race. Their vote may then be invalidated… thrown out. Where does Miami-Dade Stand in terms of overvotes visa vie the whole state of Florida? “It’s the worst,” said Garber referring to the top two races studied by the state of FLorida in 2010 and in the top race, she said, “Miami-Dade again came up with 43% of all the overvotes statewide. It’s awful. It’s terrible. There should be virtually no overvotes,” said Garber.