Illinois: Solution sought to voting machine issue in Madison County | The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Should a tornado or other catastrophic event cause a power outage during the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza is fairly certain that early voting would proceed without much disruption. That’s not the case now, as the county continues to be in the precarious position of operating with two different hardware and two different software systems for its elections. But Ming-Mendoza is seeking federal Help America Vote Act funds to purchase early voting tabulators and Ballot on Demand printers and software that would bring both systems onto an even platform. The package costs $228,000 though the HAVA grant would cover the cost entirely. Ming-Mendoza said the purchase would also drop the county’s annual licensing and maintenance expenses from $98,000 to $41,000 since the it would be decreasing its election machine inventory from 162 to 17.

Florida: Purchase of new voting equipment will be delayed, Manatee County elections chief says | Bradenton Herald

A purchase of high-tech digital voting equipment will be delayed until after the November election, an official said Wednesday. “We were concerned we would not have the equipment in time to train for a major election,” said Mike Bennett, Manatee County supervisor of elections. Over the past few weeks, discussions have been continuing with an Omaha, Neb., company that manufactures digital high-speed scanners and specialized equipment designed to accommodate the handicapped, but those negotiations have ended for now, he said. “We can do with what we’ve got,” explained Bennett.

District of Columbia: Problems Plague Tallying Of Results On Night Of D.C. Primary | WAMU

A number of technical glitches delayed the posting of full and accurate results of the D.C. primary on Tuesday, leaving voters frustrated and campaign workers unsure of where their candidates stood in relation to the competition. The polls closed at 8 p.m., but it wasn’t until almost 2 a.m. the next morning that full results for the primary were posted on the website of the D.C. Board of Elections. In between, reports provided to media on-site and those posted on the website showed significant discrepancies, while other reports listing results only included paper ballots, not electronic ones. Election officials also reported problems with electronic voting machines at five polling places, though they did not specify what the problems were or where they occurred until after most precincts had reported their results. The problems started at 10 p.m., when the results of early voting were posted. A printed report provided at the board showed just over 10,000 early votes cast, while the same report posted on the board’s website put the number at 9,000. Election officials were unable to explain the discrepancy at the time, nor were they able to say why the numbers were less than the 14,000 early votes announced Monday.

Texas: Hidalgo County grand jury to hire forensic analyst for voting machines | The Monitor

An Hidalgo County grand jury Thursday took a step toward investigating possible criminal tampering with voting machines in the recent Democratic primary, District Attorney Rene Guerra said. The grand jury signed an order to hire a forensic analyst to inspect the voting machines used during early voting in late February and Election Day on March 4. The order is “requesting that experts be hired to look at the machines and determine if they were properly functioning during the primary election,” Guerra said. “I think it’s necessary and I think we can do it real quick-like,” he added.

Guam: Election Commission will get new tabulators for election | Pacific Daily News

The Guam Election Commission is getting new tabulators in preparation for the upcoming General Election. During a meeting on Thursday, commissioners voted to approve the GEC’s Invitation for Bid committee’s recommendation to award a bid for new machines to Election Systems & Software for new voting tabulators. The company was the lowest bidder out of the three that submitted bids, said Maria Pangelinan, election commission executive director. The other bidders were Hart InterCivic and Dominion Voting Systems. Election Systems & Software offered three central voting tabulators at a price of $134,250, Pangelinan said.

Illinois: Big election night errors discovered in Champaign County |

A lengthy retabulation of the March 18 primary results in Champaign County uncovered major discrepancies in some unofficial vote totals reported on election night. In the uncontested race for 13th Congressional District Democratic Central Committeewoman, for example, Jayne Mazotti of Taylorville now has 5,284 votes — rather than the 450 votes with which she was credited on March 18. In another race — for 15th Congressional District Democratic Central Committeeman — Brandon Phelps had 517 votes, not the 574 votes he was credited with on election night. The badly erroneous election results all were in the Democratic Party primary and all in uncontested races where there was just one candidate for one position.

Illinois: Democratic ballots being recounted over ‘undervotes’ |

Every Democratic ballot cast in Champaign County in last week’s primary is being recounted after irregularities were discovered in the results of several races. Election authorities began a machine recount Tuesday afternoon. The errors occurred in the vote tabulations for 13th and 15th Congressional District committeeman; the 13th and 15th Congressional District committeewoman; and all precinct committeeman races. All were at the bottom of the ballot — but only the Democratic ballot. In every case, the candidates were unopposed. In one instance — the race for 15th Congressional District committeewoman — Jayne Mazzotti of Taylorville was credited with only 450 votes in Champaign County, while there were 7,325 “undervotes” (ballots where no vote was cast). But a Tuesday morning handcount of Mazzotti’s votes in the city of Champaign’s Precinct 19 found she got 40 votes — despite being credited with none a week ago. County Clerk Gordy Hulten acknowledged the mistake, which Democratic Party chairman Al Klein highlighted as a reason Hulten — who for now is unopposed in November’s general election — should face competition.

Texas: Commissioners Court drops Hidalgo County voting machine investigation; DA’s probe to continue | The Monitor

Hidalgo County commissioners will have no more official involvement with an investigation into irregularities in voting machines, they decided Tuesday morning. Instead, they’ll leave the investigation in the hands of state District Court judges and the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office. DA Rene Guerra will continue a criminal investigation into possible tampering with electronic voting machines, starting with asking a grand jury to hire an expert to analyze the machines’ logs.“We’re going to present to a grand jury asking them to assume the jurisdiction of the machines through a proper court order so that they, the grand jurors, with the court’s assistance and disposition with proper orders, will be able to look into the allegations as to the election machines and help us hire an expert or two to investigate,” Guerra told reporters at the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

Guam: 3 bids filed for election tabulators | Pacific Daily News

The Guam Election Commission has received three bids for voting tabulators and the commission’s evaluation committee can begin reviewing the submissions. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan gave commissioners an update on the machines at their meeting Thursday night. Pangelinan said she couldn’t give specifics about the bids or say which companies put in submissions. The four tabulators the GEC has now are old and outdated and caused some problems during the last election in 2012. The four tabulators are based on technology from the 1980s, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Texas: Hidalgo County voting machines seized; tampering investigation to follow | The Monitor

A state District Court judge on Wednesday ordered the impounding of all voting machines used in the Hidalgo County Democratic primary this year. Voting machines and other materials used in the primary during early voting in late February and Election Day on March 4 were impounded Wednesday afternoon following an application the District Attorney’s Office filed in the morning in the 398th state District Court alleging possible criminal vote tampering. “Upon review of information received by the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, regarding the forenamed election, criminal conduct may have occurred in connection with said election, therefore requiring impoundment of all the election returns, voted ballots, signature roster and other election records and equipment for an investigation and ultimately a determination of whether or not criminal conduct occurred,” the application states.

Guam: Election Commission Expects New Central Tabulators Just in Time for This Year’s Election | Pacific News Center

Today was the bid deadline on the Guam Election Commission’s RFP for vote tabulators. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan says a number of bids were received from a variety of companies. She could not say how many or who submitted the bids. Nor could she say how many tabulators will be purchased, since all that depends on the capabilities of the machines being offered, and their cost. And they won’t know that until the bids are opened and examined in the week ahead. Pangelinan said the staff  will start evaluating the bids Monday, and she expects a recommended bidder will be presented to the Election Commission at their next meeting on Thursday, March 20th.

Tennessee: Sevier County election commissioner: ‘I don’t trust the machines’ | The Mountain Press

The chairman of the Sevier County Democratic Party, who serves on the Sevier County Election Commission, said he believes no candidates from his party are running in upcoming county elections in part because they don’t trust the machines being used in the election. Michael Fitzgibbons said he has no issue with any of the personnel working for the election commission, and isn’t accusing any of them of tampering with the machines. He isn’t saying he has evidence of a specific instance of tampering. But he said his research has indicated it’s possible to tamper remotely or on site with the Election Systems & Software Ivotronic voting machines used in Sevier County, and he doesn’t believe the possibility can be ruled out until different machines are used.

Guam: Election Commission puts out bid for new vote tabulators | Pacific Daily News

The Guam Election Commission wants to have new voting tabulators for this year’s elections and now is one step closer to that goal. The commission released an invitation for bids on Feb. 19 for a central count voting system with software and professional services, according to the bid documents. The bids are due by March 14, said Maria Pangelinan, the commission executive director. That’s a system capable of counting voting results from multiple precincts at a single location. During the 2012 General Election, the GEC had problems with at least three of its four tabulators.

Indiana: Marion County holds off on voting machine upgrade | Indianapolis Star

The Marion County Election Board is holding off on plans to replace all voting machines this year because there’s no money to foot the cost and because its members have a more pressing issue on the horizon. Without money available for a purchase that could cost up to $15 million, Clerk Beth White and two party appointees say they will focus instead on the details needed to pull off a newly mandated centralized count of absentee ballots for the May 6 primary. The three-member board unanimously agreed to table the idea, for now, of soliciting proposals from voting equipment venders. White said the board could revive the issue after the primary. Plans called for any new equipment to be used for the first time in 2015, after this year’s elections.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Nation Election Commission votes to buy election equipment | Cherokee Phoenix

The Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission on Dec. 10 unanimously voted to purchase election equipment from Texas-based Hart InterCivic with the expectations of running its own elections in 2015. Election Services Director Connie Parnell said she first contacted the Tribal Rights Employment Office to see if there were any Cherokee-owned election manufacturers from which the EC could purchase the equipment. After learning there were no such companies, the EC moved forward with finding a provider. “There is not a lot of companies left. They’ve all bought out each other,” Parnell said. “And of those that are left – ES&S, Dominion, Hart InterCivic – those are your three major companies that produce election equipment. And they are the manufacturers. They aren’t the middle man.” Parnell said she contacted five companies but only two were interested in working toward the EC’s goal of running its own elections, Hart InterCivic being one.

Illinois: Lake County Elections Board prepares for future purchase of voting machines | News-Herald

Lake County Elections Board officials are preparing for the day — in the not-too-distant future — when the county will have to purchase new voting machine equipment. The county last purchased 864 iVotronic electronic voting machines from Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems and Software in December 2005 for a total price of $2,749,194, said Janet F. Clair of the Elections Board. Federal funding paid $2,330,770 of that cost through the federal Help America Vote Act and Lake County paid $418,423 toward the purchase, Clair said. That purchase was required to ensure the county was compliant with a new state requirement at the time that voting equipment provide a voter-verified paper audit trail.

South Carolina: Survey notes accessibility problems for Richland Co. voters with disabilities | The State

When Richland County voter Dori Tempio went to cast her ballot in November’s library referendum, a poll worker held the voting machine on her lap. She asked for privacy. He turned his head. “The person could see what I was voting,” said Tempio, 43, who uses a wheelchair. “Other people walking by could see what I was voting. … That makes you somewhat uncomfortable.” Tempio said she considers voting to be a sacred right; she has voted in every election since she turned 18. But a survey of Richland County precincts by Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc., found many residents with disabilities faced barriers when trying to exercise their right to vote Nov. 5. The survey identified a lack of accessible ballots as the top issue, affecting 63 percent of Richland County precincts.

Virginia: Machines for 11th District vote to cost Roanoke $36,000 | Roanoke Times

Roanoke voter precincts will have electronic voting machines for the Jan. 7 special House of Delegates election – but at an unexpected cost of $36,000. The impending recount in the Virginia Attorney General election required all voting machines to be locked down, including those in Roanoke. Though the recount will take place next week, the machines must remain in lock down for a period in case the one of the candidates chooses to contest the integrity of the results after the election. That means the city won’t have its own machines available for the special election for the 11th District House of Delegates seat vacated by Democrat Onzlee Ware, who resigned citing concerns about his mother’s health. Voter Registrar Andrew Cochran had to go in search of 95 machines to borrow or rent for the day, and eventually found them at a North Carolina vendor called Printelect, with which the city has done business before. “They moved at lightning speed, and I appreciate that,” Cochran said.

Editorials: It’s time for Guam Election Commission to update election equipment, policies | Pacific Daily News

With the 2014 elections fast approaching, it’s imperative that the Guam Election Commission moves with urgency to address its outdated equipment. The 2012 elections made it clear that the island’s current tabulating machines are old and falling apart. During the 2012 General Election, the Election Commission had problems with at least three of its four tabulators. Those problems drew attention to the age of the machines. The four tabulators are based on technology from the 1980s. It’s time for the Election Commission to move forward with its primary focus on updating equipment and technology. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said the commission is expecting to announce an invitation for bids for new tabulators by next month. Pangelinan and the commission need to ensure that these new tabulators fit the needs of our community and come with the appropriate support and regular maintenance.

South Carolina: 1,114 Richland Coubty Votes Not Counted; What’s Done to Protect You | WSAV

The State Election Commission has discovered that the votes of 1,114 people in Richland County were not counted in the November 5 election. The results from one machine were overlooked in the vote count. The votes were from absentee voters who cast their ballots in person at the Richland County Elections and Registration Office. The votes would not have changed the outcome of any of the races or the ballot question if they had been counted. But it raises the question: What’s done to protect your vote and make sure it counts? Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission, says, “There’s no excuse for not counting any ballot and there are ample checks and balances in place that should prevent that from happening.” Richland County Elections director Howard Jackson says, “We had procedures in place and we just didn’t follow those procedures.” He says his office is taking steps to make sure it never happens again.

Texas: Comal County Recount Results Released – No Change to CISD Bond Election | KGNB

The recounted results of the Nov. 5th election were released late Friday by Comal County Clerk Joy Streater after a 2-day long recount process. The recount became necessary after it was discovered that more than 23-hundred votes had not been counted on election night after polls had closed. An improperly authorized audit of the votes the following day complicated matters, and so Comal County went to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office and asked for help in correcting the situation. They laid out a path that included petitioning a Comal County District Court Judge for a court-ordered recount, which was granted on Tuesday of this week. The recount then began Thursday morning, with County Clerk Joy Streater as the appointed Recount Supervisor.

Texas: Election recount drags on in Comal County | San Antonio Express-News

The recount of ballots cast Nov. 5 in Comal County proceeded Thursday evening under the watchful eyes of staffers from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. “We’re going to finish today,” County Clerk Joy Streater, the recount supervisor, predicted from the elections office where the recount of 16,000 ballots had commenced at 8:30 a.m. Schertz Mayor Michael Carpenter later said he’d heard it might be 11 p.m. or later before results would be released for city council races there and for state constitutional amendments and contests in the Comal Independent School District and the Cibolo Creek Municipal Authority.

South Carolina: 1,114 Richland County ballots not counted | The State

A state election audit revealed Thursday that Richland County officials failed to count 1,114 absentee ballots when finalizing results of the Nov. 5 city and county elections. Howard Jackson, county election director, said the electronic ballots came from a single voting machine used by absentee voters at the election office. This was the first countywide election since Richland County’s botched 2012 general election, considered one of the worst in state history. At that time, precincts across the county did not have enough voting machines, leaving some voters in line for up to seven hours, and hundreds of ballots turned up uncounted days later.

Texas: Comal County recount might not resolve ballot mess | San Antonio Express-News

The court-ordered recount of Nov. 5 election results in Comal County, set for Thursday, might not resolve concerns about balloting irregularities in the four affected entities. Accurate results could be impossible if the electronic voting machines were encoded with the wrong ballots, as suspected in one Schertz contest, said County Clerk Joy Streater, the recount supervisor. “It seems that people were given ballots who were not eligible to vote in that particular race,” said Streater, who was appointed Tuesday by state District Judge Gary Steel to oversee the recount prompted by a county petition. She’s unsure if technicians from Electronic Systems & Software, the vendor of the “direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines,” can weed out the improper ballots. Despite discussions about hand-tabulating individual “vote image logs” of each ballot recorded by the machines, Streater instead plans to print out vote tallies from each of the 179 machines. “If we hand count 16,000 ballots, we’ll be here ’til Christmas and we’ll just get the same results that are now in the machines,” she said, noting the recount may not conclude until Friday.

Texas: Comal County voting concerns affect Schertz council races | San Antonio Express-News

A voting machine malfunction in Comal County has forced a recount of the Nov. 5 election results, which include three Schertz City Council races. Comal County officials are trying to determine how 2,415 ballots that were not included in the initial election results were discovered in an audit of the county’s electronic voting machines The revised election results so far have not affected the outcomes of the three Schertz council races – Places 3, 4 and 5. Schertz’s city limits extend into three counties — Bexar, Guadalupe and Comal. Today, Comal County election officials will canvass the results of the Nov. 5 election. After the canvassing , county elections administrator Julie Kassab said the county will request a court order for a recount. “We will canvas the original results from (Nov. 5) even though we know they are inaccurate,” Kassab said. “As soon as we’ve canvassed (the ballots), we will go to the district court judge to request the recount be done as soon as possible.” Kassab said the recount, which will be done by hand, should take three to five days to tabulate.

Texas: Comal County will seek a recount over election oddities | San Antonio Express-News

Comal County wants to recount Tuesday’s ballots by hand to resolve problems with both the initial election results from electronic voting machines and the revised tallies those machines produced Wednesday. The revised numbers didn’t change the outcome of any race. Confidence in them, though, plummeted this week because they indicate 649 ballots were cast in the contest for Place 3 on the Schertz City Council, despite only 540 voters being registered in the part of the town that’s in Comal County, officials said. County Judge Sherman Krause conferred with the machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, and the secretary of state’s office. The balloting included three at-large council races in Schertz, a Comal Independent School District bond election and a contested seat on the Cibolo Municipal Authority board. An audit of all 179 voting machines Wednesday showed 16,101 votes were cast countywide, not the 13,686 reported Tuesday night. The Schertz numbers didn’t shrink, they grew.

Montana: Error forced recount of 20,000 Missoula ballots | KPAX

An unexpected error last night forced the recount of more than 20,000 ballots, and had election workers clocking hours into the morning. Missoula County Clerk and Recorder Vickie Zeier said they were just about finished up for the night when one of the tabulating workers accidentally zeroed her machine. The officer did save the work, but didn’t hit the “save to disk” option – which combines all the ballots on each machine. Zeier told MTN News that it didn’t take long to decide the only option was to do a recount.

South Carolina: Richland County buying 170 extra voting machines | The State

Richland County’s election director is creating a new position of voter-outreach coordinator as part of efforts to prepare for the June primary. Howard Jackson asked Richland County Council for money to buy 170 voting machines and associated equipment, enough to comply with state standards requiring one machine per 250 voters. But when it came to covering the new $42,500 position, the council balked, trimming Jackson’s out-of-cycle budget request to $615,622.56 – an amount approved Tuesday by unanimous vote. Jackson said he’ll find the money in the election office’s $1.2 million budget to fund the extra position he deems critical this year. … Rush also expressed concern that county voting machines, selected by the state and purchased in 2004, have become obsolete and will have to be replaced before long.

New York: Broken voting machines, mistranslated ballot measures plague low-turnout election | New York Daily News

The modest number of New Yorkers who bothered to vote Tuesday encountered short lines and a good number of busted voting machines, officials said. The problem hit Brooklyn’s 52nd Assembly District hard, where 70 machines at 21 poll sites were out of commission all morning. Voters had to fill out emergency affidavits. Michael Ryan, executive director of the city Board of Elections, said the machines in these neighborhoods — including Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Prospect Heights — were improperly set up. “We traced the issue back to a technician who improperly set up the backup memory device,” Ryan said, noting that all the machines were back up and running by 11 a.m. Ballots in Chinese were mistranslated, swapping text for one proposition measure with another.

Maine: New tech for Election Day; state unveils new voting machines | Sun Journal

It’s voting 2.0. This Election Day, Maine will roll out 428 new voting machines with digital scanners and stepped-up tech in 228 municipalities. Most voters will still exit their polling booths and head toward the ballot clerks, but now they’ll insert their paper ballot into a slot below a digital screen, pause, then get the machine’s OK to walk away. The devices are smart enough to detect too many votes — such as voting yes and no on Question 1 — as well as detecting questions with no responses. The machines will offer to kick those ballots back for do-overs. Seventeen new machines arrived in Lewiston in August inside locked, black cases that looked like something out of James Bond. Staff joked about needing launch codes. They’ve been tested and retested with dummy ballots. City Clerk Kathy Montejo anticipates a smooth day Tuesday. Lewiston is using machines to tally both state and local results. “The beauty of the machine is that it can be programmed to ignore other write-ins (that aren’t for pre-approved candidates),” she said. “Sometimes that would add an hour or two at the end of election night. The workers are extremely happy.”