Michigan: Voting machines reaching end of useful life | The Oakland Press

The machines that will count ballots on election day Tuesday aren’t your grandparents’ voting machines. No punch cards. No levers to pull. Those went the way of the dinosaur after the 2000 election 14 years ago, when punch card voting resulted in the “hanging chad, dimpled chad” controversy in Florida, invalidated a couple million ballots, and delayed the outcome of the presidential election as recounts and courts sorted it all out. When the smoke cleared, Republican George W. Bush claimed Florida’s electoral votes and the presidency even though Democrat Al Gore won the nation’s popular vote. What came after that was the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which in part required states to replace punch card voting with updated electronic voting machines built to federal standards. Congress, so far, has appropriated $3.8 billion to assist states with the upgrades. The updated optical scan machines were first used in Oakland County in 2005.

Arkansas: State Representative Wants Answers On Washington County Ballot Glitch | KXNW

A local state representative says he wants answers to how candidates’ party affiliations were left off of Washington County digital ballots Monday, the first day of early voting for the November general elections. Rep. Justin Harris (R – West Fork) is afraid some voters’ voices may not be properly heard because of the electronic ballot glitch. Harris said he may file an official complaint if election officials do not remedy the issue. County election commissioners met Tuesday morning to address concerns over the ballot problem, after voters and officials noticed Monday morning electronic voting machines did not include party affiliations. The problem was noticed within the first few voters, and officials temporarily fixed the situation by placing paper ballots, which included parties, next to electronic voting machines for reference, said Jennifer Price, Washington County election coordinator. She said the problem was fixed in time for the second day of early voting Tuesday.

Northern Mariana Islands: Tabulating machines could ‘skip’ Article XII initiative on ballots if ordered by court, says election official | Marianas Variety

Tabulating machines, if so ordered by the federal court, could be programmed to skip House Legislative Initiative 18-1, according to court documents submitted in support of a motion for sequestration of ballots pending appeal of a federal lawsuit challenging Article XII. In his declaration, Commonwealth Election Commission executive director Robert A. Guerrero said, “I have confirmed with ES&S [or Election Systems & Software] that the tabulating machines could be coded in such a manner as to ‘skip’ a certain section of the ballots. The proper code needs to be entered into the tabulating machines before the [election] Commission begins tabulating the ballots. If the court so ordered, the tabulating machines could be programmed to skip Legislative 18-1” on the ballots for the Nov. 4, 2014 elections. On Wednesday, District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona said an Oct. 29, 2014 motion hearing will be held, since a decision on the motion for sequestration was needed by Nov. 3, 2014 “in order for any relief the court may grant to be effective.”

Arkansas: Election commission meeting reveals ballot error | Baxter Bulletin

The Baxter County Election Committee held an emergency meeting Thursday morning to discuss an error discovered after testing voting machines earlier this week. In its findings, the commission found paper ballots to be correct. However, after testing, touch screen voting machines for three precincts, 8-1, 6-2 and 6-3, left the state representative race for District 100 between Democrat Willa Mae Tilley and Republican Nelda Speaks off the ballot. The three precincts in question represent a total of 1,705 registered voters. … By state law, the election commission had to hold a public meeting concerning the ballot error, but was unable to give public notice due to time constraints, as cited by the commission. According to the law, the election commission either has to correct the error immediately or show why the correction should not be done.

District of Columbia: Elections Board Says All Voting Machines Need To Be Replaced | WAMU

The D.C. Board of Elections says that the city’s voting machines are outdated and in need of replacement, an admission that comes only weeks before what could be a close mayoral election. In a report on the Apr. 1 primary published last week, the board said that a majority of the city’s touch-screen and optical scanner voting machines are outdated, exceeding the recommended 10 years of use. As such, they will be difficult to maintain for future elections. “The District of Columbia’s mechanical and digital voting and tabulation system… is in need of replacement,” says the report. “The BOE’s voting systems are over a decade old and are reaching the end of their operational life.” In the report, which was supposed to have been published in July but was delayed by three months, the board says that a large number of the city’s voting machines are refurbished units purchased “at a steep discount” in 2009. Given that they were in use before being purchased by D.C., the report says that the machines are older than what a federal election assistance commission recommends for use by local jurisdictions.

South Carolina: Richland County Elections Board chairwoman: ‘I am not confident’ in voting machine security | ColaDaily.com

The first meeting of the new Richland County Elections and Voter Registration Board on Tuesday included confusion over rules and a dispute over the security of the county’s voting machines. The meeting opened with state Sen. John Scott swearing in the board’s four new members, appointed by legislators after a recent shake-up. The board then elected new member Marjorie Johnson as chairwoman in a 4-0 vote with the other nominee, Pete Kennedy, abstaining. The board’s lone veteran, Adell Adams, was elected vice chairwoman in a 3-2 vote after a motion by Jane Dreher Emerson to postpone that vote was defeated. Johnson initially abstained in the vote for a vice chairperson, and confusion ensued over whether the chairwoman should always vote or if she should vote only when needed to break a tie. Adams said the chairwoman always voted and was not allowed to abstain. When Johnson questioned this, Adams said, “We have five votes. We always vote.” Johnson then voted for Adams as vice chairwoman, breaking the tie. The board did not consult any rules or bylaws concerning the powers of the chairwoman.

Maryland: Back to the future voting: Elections board demonstrates new paper ballot | Maryland Reporter

Maryland’s Board of Elections put on a demonstration last week of two potential voting systems that will have voters producing paper ballots again for the 2016 Presidential Primary Election. At the University of Baltimore, citizens could test drive the Everyone Counts and ES&S (Elections Systems & Software) universal-voting systems that will produce paper records readable by optical scanners in every precinct. A 2007 Maryland law required the State Board of Elections to have a paper record of each ballot to be used to efficiently for later audits or potential recounts. State election officials insisted the current touch-screen computerized voting was accurate and reliable, and less prone to voter error.

District of Columbia: Elections officials ‘cannot guarantee’ a smooth Nov. 4 general election | The Washington Post

Top D.C. election officials said Thursday they have fixed problems with computer switches and servers that caused a four-hour delay in reporting results of the city’s April 1 primary. But in sometimes contentious testimony before a D.C. Council committee , the city’s elections chief said he cannot ensure a smooth night on Nov. 4. “While we have resolved the technical issues . . . I cannot guarantee” there won’t be “more glitches,” said Clifford D. Tatum, executive director of the D.C. Board of Elections. Tatum also refused to make any promises about what time the vote tallying would be finished after the close of polls in the city’s general election. “We will plan for every reasonable contingency,” Tatum said, “but we cannot make any guarantees to when the election night process will be complete.” Tatum said that on Nov. 4 the board would have 45 “roving technicians” to deal with any issues that arise at polling places.

Arizona: Election mistake traced to ‘human error’ | San Pedro Valley News-Sun

A report from the vendor of the elections system used by Cochise County during the Aug. 26 Primary Election indicates that the issues surrounding incorrect ballot data being sent to the state on election night was the result of a procedural error at the local elections office. The report from Elections Systems & Software explains that the incoming results from a number of precincts throughout election night were aggregated incorrectly by the county elections staff selecting the wrong option on the system. This resulted in already tabulated election results being added multiple times to the aggregate total for those precincts. County officials received the report on Thursday, Sept. 4. Elections staff reviewed the report individually before holding a meeting by telephone with ES&S personnel on Monday, Sept. 8.

Nebraska: Judge must rule on ballot switch as deadline nears | Columbus Telegram

The clock is ticking on a legal battle over who will appear as Pete Ricketts’ No. 2 man on Nebraska ballots this fall. The federal deadline to have ballots sent to military and overseas voters is Friday, and the printers are already running for some counties. “My ballots have gone to print,” said Cass County Election Commissioner Nancy Josoff. She’s also emailed ballots to a couple traveling abroad. Most counties are in the final stages of proofing the many versions of ballots they distribute within their areas. Those proofs are then generally sent to Election Systems and Software, the Omaha company that produces ballots for 90 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. Meanwhile, attorneys are wrangling over whether state Auditor Mike Foley’s name should be allowed to replace that of former Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann on the ballot as running mate for Ricketts, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Ricketts named Foley as his pick for lieutenant governor after Heidemann resigned last week. Democrats and others have balked at Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale for allowing the switch despite a Sept. 1 deadline for a person to agree to appear on the ballot as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Gale is a Republican.

Arizona: Flawed Cochise County election returns recounted | Tucson Sentinel

Primary election tallies from Cochise County have been updated, after being temporarily pulled from statewide totals because incorrect results were reported Tuesday night. “We’re still trying to figure out what exactly happened,” an election official said. The results uploaded Tuesday showed “unusually high” turnout in Cochise primaries, alerting county officials that something was wrong, said Jim Vlahovich, a deputy county administrator. The data showed “more than 60 percent of the total number of registered voters had turned in ballots,” he said Wednesday. The preliminary results were pulled down early Wednesday morning, he said. “We’re still trying to figure out what exactly happened,” he said Thursday.

Arizona: Software ‘glitch’ confounds election | The Sierra Vista Herald

The interim county elections director and two independent monitors of the elections office believe they may have narrowed down where things went wrong during Tuesday’s Primary Election, which resulted in erroneous data being added to the Secretary of State’s election results. After the polls close, data is transferred electronically via modem from the ballot counting machines to the elections office. That data is then received and tabulated by an Election Systems & Software program, placed on a thumb drive, transferred from the thumb drive to a server, which then sends the data on to the state. “Somehow, when the information on the server went to the state elections system, that number got corrupted,” said Jim Vlahovich, interim director of the Cochise County Elections Office. … Elections office staff first noticed that something may be wrong on Tuesday night, when the print out of the results reported an abnormally high voter turnout of 62 percent. Then, this morning, calls to the elections office prompted further inspection, resulting in the discovery that the server used to transfer the voting data to the state had crashed.

Texas: Hidalgo council candidates drop election contest | Brownsville Herald

An election contest from losing candidates of the Hidalgo City Council election will end quietly after investigators found no evidence of abuse in county voting machines, a plaintiff said this week. The contest, from former mayoral candidate Guillermo Ramirez and council contenders Guillermo Cienfuegos Jr. and Mario Degollado, centered around the same argument as contests filed in the Hidalgo County Democratic primaries — that someone had tampered with voting machines.

North Dakota: Results stand in Foster County election | Jamestown Sun

The results of the June 10 election in Foster County will stand after the county canvassing board re-canvassed the results following last week’s recount that falsely showed 300 ballots were missing. “We re-fed all the official ballots that we had in our possession back through the election machine, and those counts matched with what the recount board hand counted last week, which is 1,153 (ballots),” County Auditor Teresa Risovi said. “Taking the official ballot count looking at how many ballots I had ordered, how many official ballots that were left that were never used based off of how many I sent out, how many were received and the difference, we ended up being short six ballots and in the (North Dakota) secretary of state’s mind that is dead on. The company I ordered the official ballots from, ES&S, they have a disclaimer that says their packets could be over or under five ballots each, so as far as the state is concerned, we’re golden.”

South Dakota: High-speed ballot-counting machines to Minnehaha coming for fall election | Argus Leader

Minnehaha County election workers will be able to count ballots faster this fall. Commissioners approved the purchase of two high-speed ballot-counting machines Tuesday, using $217,625 from the Help America Vote Act. The new machines can count 300 ballots a minute, more than twice as many as the four old machines that are being replaced. The new tabulators will used for this fall’s general election. Auditor Bob Litz said that will make results available more quickly on election night. Even as the county population grows, he said they’ll be able to keep up with ballot counting “and still not break a sweat.”

Guam: Election Commission receives new voting tabulators | Pacific Daily News

The Guam Election Commission has new voting tabulators and is gearing up for the Aug. 30 Primary Election. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said the three tabulators arrived Aug. 1 and the staff started training on Monday. The Legislature in June appropriated $134,250 to buy a new ballot tabulation system and $48,500 for ballot stock and coding services. The four tabulators the election commission had were old and outdated and caused some problems during the last election in 2012.

US Virgin Islands: Test data causes glitch in early vote counts | Virgin Islands Daily News

A former Elections official has raised questions about what appear to be discrepancies in unofficial vote counts that the V.I. Elections System posted at different times on Saturday evening as the results from the primary election were rolling in. However, a spokeswoman from the company that sold the V.I. Elections System the DS200 vote tabulating machines said there is a simple explanation for what occurred – and that the final unofficial tallies posted in the system from Saturday’s count are the correct ones. “The results are absolutely correct at this time,” said Kathy Rogers, a spokeswoman for Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software. Former V.I. Elections System Supervisor John Abramson Jr. raised the issue in a letter Monday to St. Croix Board of Elections Chairman Adelbert Bryan. Abramson seeks an explanation of “discrepancies,” in which a few candidates appear to lose votes that had already been counted. Bryan said Monday afternoon that he had not yet seen Abramson’s letter.

US Virgin Islands: Voters embrace new machines | Virgin Islands Daily News

The new approach to casting ballots seemed to be a hit with the territory’s voters during the primary election on Saturday. Voters, many of them for the first time, familiarized themselves with the DS 200, a product of Elections Systems and Software, or ES&S. The machine allows voters to fill in a paper ballot so that there is a lasting record of the vote, but it also has the speed and convenience of an electronic voting machine. “It was just inserting a paper,” said Courtney Reese, a voter at Charlotte Amalie High School poll location. “You didn’t really even interact with the machine. It was like scanning or faxing something.” The V.I. Elections System purchased the 43 machines from Elections Systems & Software for $646,480 in 2013, and since has been organizing public demonstrations of the machines and how they work. The machines have been certified by the Election Assistance Commission, which is not required under federal law but is required under Virgin Islands law.

Guam: Senators discuss funding for election tabulators | KUAM

Lawmakers went into back to back sessions today to discuss a pair of bills – the first of which would address funding to purchase new tabulation equipment for the Guam Election Commission. “Si yu’os ma’ase to all of them for their support,” said Guam Election Commission executive director Maria Pangelinan. She refers to swift action by lawmakers today on addressing funding for new tabulation machines. It was last week when Bill 334 lapsed into law appropriating $206,000 from the Supplemental Appropriation Revenue Fund for the purchase of the machines along with ballot stock and coding services. However BBMR recently informed her that there is actually no funding in the SAR account. “So because of that, the only option they would have is to see about using fiscal year funding that was brought up to the attention of the commissioners and we all know that the commissioners and I don’t want to have a deficit at the end of the fiscal year,” she said.

Guam: Bill would fund new vote tabulators: GEC director expects machines in July or August | Pacific Daily News

The Guam Election Commission could soon get new tabulators if a recently passed bill becomes law. Bill 334, passed by the Legislature on Monday, appropriates $134,250 to buy a ballot tabulation system and $48,500 for ballot stock and coding services for the Guam Election Commission. Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said she hopes the commission will have new voting tabulator machines by the primary election on Aug. 30.

Virginia: New voting machines to improve voting in Fairfax County | WTOP

Residents of Fairfax County will be able to use a new voting machines in this upcoming November election, the first such comprehensive equipment replacement in more than a decade. The Fairfax County Office of Elections purchased 1,125 voting machines from Election Systems and Software, which includes 525 paper ballot scanning machines and 600 paper ballot generating machines, with the initial price at approximately $6.4 million. The new equipment will provide and scan paper ballots for voters, and will also let voters know if their ballot is blank or they voted for more candidates than allowed in any race.

South Carolina: Twice in a row, Aiken County hit with election difficulties | Aiken Standard

The almost three-hour waiting game that resulted in no final vote tally in Aiken County during South Carolina’s primaries on Tuesday was what one person called a “worst-case scenario.” Aiken County was the only county that did not report to the State Election Commission by Wednesday morning. Only by 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday were unofficial partial votes tabulated for the state to report. “The worst that can happen has already happened – you having a delay in reporting your complete county results,” Chris Whitmire, State Election Commission spokesman, said. A State Election Commission technician was sent to the Aiken County Government Center early on Wednesday to troubleshoot why candidates, the press and residents were unable to view any tabulated voting results – both absentee and electronic – until almost 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

South Carolina: New election day, more problems in Richland County | Myrtle Beach Online

So much for the smooth start to primary election day in Richland County: Voting machines weren’t working at Ward 14 at Sims Park in Shandon when the polls opened, and voters tweeted that the Mallet Hill precinct at Polo Road Elementary wasn’t open as of 7:40 a.m. Amanda Loveday, former executive director of the state Democratic Party and now spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Clyburn, said voters at Ward 14 were told they weren’t allowed to use paper ballots and would have to wait for the machines to be repaired. Voters reported the machines were up and running by 8 a.m.

Voting Blogs: Yeah, It’s Big: Primary Election Night in Los Angeles County | Election Academy

When people discuss the election administration challenges that face large urban counties like Los Angeles County, CA it’s easy to look at the numbers (nearly 5,000 precincts and a voting population that would put them in the nation’s top ten if it were a state) and think you can understand the impact of the jurisdiction’s size on the collection and tabulation of votes. Then, you’re standing in the parking lot of the library next door to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s (RR/CC) building as a helicopter – A HELICOPTER! – is delivering ballots from far-flung precincts in places like Catalina Island and Lancaster (over the mountains) to headquarters for counting. That’s when you think to yourself – yeah, it’s big.

South Dakota: Davison County Voting Machine Fails To Read 700 Ballots | KDLT

Davison County has something no other county in South Dakota has: a new up-to-date voting machine that is supposed to count ballots easier and quicker. But the new device didn’t quite do its job last night. It failed to read around 700 ballots, creating some headaches for the County Auditor. The new voter machine in Davison County is supposed to be a big improvement over the equipment it replaced, but during Tuesday night’s election it worked almost too well. “The ballot marks on the back bled through to the front. You can’t see it with the naked eye, only the machine read it,” said Kiepke.

Mississippi: Election funds up in the air | Desoto Times Tribune

DeSoto County officials feel they are entitled to receive compensation for ongoing maintenance costs of the county’s fleet of election machines just like other counties in Mississippi, despite the fact the county chose another type of machine a decade ago than the one preferred by the Secretary of State’s Office. DeSoto County is one of five so-called “opt-out counties” that chose to purchase optical scanning machines or M-100s rather than a touch-screen voting machine known as a TSX. Other counties which opted out of buying state-sanctioned machines are Yalobusha, Hinds and Rankin counties. Thompson said she has since been told there is no money for the upkeep and maintenance of the five “opt-out” counties. Thompson said maintenance costs for DeSoto County’s machines top $30,000.

Kansas: As counties look at new voting machines, paper ballots are returning | Great Bend Tribune

When it comes to elections, the pendulum just keeps swinging. With electronic voting equipment nearing the end of this life expectancy, Barton County Election Officer Donna Zimmerman is eyeing the future and sees a need for a change. This change could include a return to the old-school paper ballots. With such an evolution on the horizon, Zimmerman hosted a voting equipment demonstration in the Barton County Courthouse Thursday morning. Kansas county clerks and election officials joined her staff for the presentations. Participants witnessed demonstrations from multiple voting system manufacturers. ElectionSource of Grand Rapids, Mich., presented Dominion Voting Systems and Henry M. Adkins & Son of Clinton, Mo., presented Unisyn Voting Solutions. “It appears that the trend is to return to paper ballots with equipment only for used by those with disabilities,” Zimmerman said. “This is the yo-yo in elections. It seems really weird that we’re going back to paper ballots,” said Darin DeWitt, Barton County voter registration clerk. “It’s like two steps backward.” DeWitt and Zimmerman were among the handful of election officials huddled around the pricey new equipment in the Barton County Commission chambers to hear the sales pitch for from ElectionSource.

District of Columbia: Fixing election night delays could cost millions | WTOP

Potential remedies for election night delays in D.C. might cost millions of dollars, according to elections leaders who spoke at a public hearing Tuesday. Most recently, there was an hours-long delay in tallying votes after polls closed in the April 1 Democratic primary in D.C. The public and the media waited well into the night to learn that D.C. council member Muriel Bowser had defeated Mayor Vince Gray. Earlier this month, D.C. elections officials said some problems with electronic voting machines may have led to the delay in reporting results.

District of Columbia: Elections officials change story on lags in April 1 primary tally, say big upgrade is needed | The Washington Post

D.C. elections officials offered an entirely new explanation Tuesday for the major vote-counting delays that plagued the city’s April 1 Democratic primary: The issue was not five mishandled electronic voting machines, but a broad computer network failure. The network failure was a mystery to elections officials as it unfolded, said Clifford D. Tatum, executive director of the Board of Elections. But its effect was abundantly clear to all involved on election night, when vote-counting — including ballots the city had accumulated during weeks of early voting — did not begin until almost 10.  Deborah Nichols, chairwoman of the elections board, said that at least $2 million in new electronic voting machines and server upgrades — and perhaps another $2 million in computers and other office improvements — would be needed to ensure timely reporting of results in future citywide elections.

Minnesota: Washington County putting 90 new voting machines to work | Star Tribune

The dutiful Washington County voter, having chosen candidates and issues after a few moments of intense concentration in the election booth, steps to the counting machine with ballot in hand only to find a problem. But what? Did the voter “overwrite” the ballot by marking more than one candidate for a race? Or stray across party lines in a primary election? Or fail to mark the vote inside the oval spaces provided, circling them instead? A color screen on the county’s new voting machine indicates an error. Once the nature of the error pops up, the screen gives the voter a simple choice: return the ballot or cast it. In the first instance, the voter could ask an elections judge to destroy the ballot and provide a new one. If the voter chooses to cast the ballot, it would enter the machine and become official, with the part in error discarded.