North Carolina: Election officials closely watching state vote on voting systems Friday as 2019, 2020 races loom | Emily Featherston/WECT

Along with everything else it takes to prepare for the upcoming 2019 municipal elections, and the 2020 primaries close on their heels, election officials in southeastern North Carolina are also waiting to see what kind of equipment they will be able to use. On Friday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections is expected to finally make a decision that will dictate what machines voters use to cast a ballot. Most of the attention has been focused on the state’s move away from touchscreen equipment that only generates an electronic ballot, as counties across North Carolina wait to see what equipment will be approved for them to buy. New Hanover County is also waiting for the state’s stamp of approval for the replacement of its outdated voting equipment. New Hanover County last purchased ballot tabulators in 2006, explained county board of elections director Rae Hunter-Havens. Those machines typically have a lifespan of just 10 years — and they are starting to show their age. “We’ve exceeded that end-of-life projection,” Hunter-Havens said, and that means increasing mechanical issues.

Alabama: County voting machines now outdated | Ed Howell/Daily Mountain Eagle

Walker County is one of seven counties in the state with election tabulation machines that are not even manufactured anymore, leaving county officials agreeing that they will have to be replaced soon. Walker County Probate Judge A. Lee Tucker said Thursday that it looks like the machines, which accept paper ballots during elections, cannot be replaced in time for the 2020 elections. However, he said that the machines are tested and currently work. Currently the county has 45 precincts, not counting absentee and provisional ballots. Machines will have to be replaced in all those election sites, plus provisions made for machines to help the disabled. A total of 76 M100 machines and another 45 machines for the disabled are currently used in Walker County, he said. Tucker said some precincts use more than one machine, and extras are also needed sometimes when a machine breaks down.  The reactions come after a national election security report, “Defending Elections,” was published last week by the Brennan Center for Justice noting states need more federal funding to prevent outside cyber threats against elections.

Wyoming: Technology Quickly Outpacing Wyoming’s Election Equipment | Wyoming Public Media

State and county officials have formed a task force to address Wyoming’s aging election equipment. Teton County Clerk Sherry Daigle said it’s now ten years old and the technology has gotten behind the times. “Technology is outdated the day you put it into effect because it moves so fast,” she said. “And a lot of the equipment we have is, you know, they’re computer scanners and readers. So we wanted to make sure we’re not behind the eight ball.” Daigle said the challenge will be coming up with the money. It will cost the state $8 to 10 million dollars to replace the state’s current equipment.

North Dakota: Jaeger asking for new voting machines, electronic poll books | Prairie Public Broadcasting

North Dakota’s Secretary of State says it’s time to replace the state’s voting machines. Al Jaeger has asked the 2017 Legislature Jaeger has asked for a $9 million appropriation for that. He says the current machines were first used in 2004. “Even at that time, though the equipment came in fancy new boxes, the technology was already aged,” Jaeger said. “We’re now at a point where the voting system is not being supported any more.” Jaeger said counties have had to cannibalize some of their devices for parts, to keep some machines running. “We haven’t had any malfunctions,” Jaeger said. “But we know in another election, it would be very difficult to be able to run it.”

Michigan: Detroit to get new voting machines as city clerk blames state, human error | Detroit Free Press

Five weeks after a national scandal involving broken Detroit voting machines and ineffective poll workers, state Elections Director Chris Thomas said Wednesday evening that the city will get all new voting machines in time for the 2017 mayoral and City Council elections. But broken machines were not the biggest problem Detroit endured election night. Citing a memo he just received, Thomas said there were dozens of other problems that occurred Nov. 8. “I got an e-mail yesterday from Wayne County showing me what the issues were on (Detroit) polling places and precincts, and quite frankly, it was somewhat shocking,” he said. Thomas said his staff soon will head to Detroit to get a better understanding of why the city has such problems running elections and to find ways to help. Among the problems cited in the memo, he said: Ninety-one precinct reports were not delivered on time. County officials had to re-create missing poll books. Five precincts had no poll books, so Detroit election officials had to find voter applications and re-create the books — and hundreds of poll worksheets had either too few or too many ballots.

North Carolina: Durham County Elections Chair: No evidence of inaccurate reporting on 94,000 votes | News & Observer

Officials have seen no evidence supporting questions raised about the accuracy of more than 94,000 votes that were counted manually on election night, Durham County Board of Elections Chairman Bill Brian said Tuesday. “We have seen no evidence to that effect,” Brian said during a Tuesday press conference. “Mr. (Thomas) Stark may have some, but we have seen no evidence to that effect.” Stark, general counsel for the state Republican Party, filed a formal protest Friday contending that the Durham County Board of Elections engaged in “malfeasance” with regard to ensuring the accuracy of votes counted Nov. 8. Durham County officials had to manually enter information after they were unable to upload data from six cards that saved information from ballot tabulators. The votes were pivotal on election night, pushing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper ahead of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, whose campaign has expressed concern about the votes. Cooper, the state’s attorney general, leads McCrory by about 5,000 votes with some absentee and provisional votes yet to be counted. McCrory can call for a recount so long as the margin between them remains less than 10,000 votes.

Alabama: Mobile County Officials Admit Election Counting Error | WKRG

The Mobile County Probate Court website still shows that the County’s “pay as you go” construction measure passed with 99.7 percent of the vote. “This was like the perfect storm,” said Judge Don Davis, Mobile Probate Court. But as we’ve learned that’s incorrect. Judge Davis had to wait to figure it all out before he could say there was a problem. … At least 12 complaints were filed with the State Secretary’s Office over these results, leaving Judge Davis in the hot seat. But this Monday a representative for the voting machine is taking the blame. “This issue an issue Election Systems & Software performed, it’s a human issue. The machines counted as they were told to count and the oval was not in the right place,” said Kathy Rogers, Election Systems & Software. Essentially the wrong test ballot was used for the machines to count up the votes.

Michigan: Primary ballot snafus arise in Detroit | The Detroit News

Balloting problems came to light in Detroit on Wednesday, one day after U.S. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off a shocking upset of front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary. Wayne County Board of Canvassers officials discovered that a handful of Detroit precincts registered zero votes during balloting. Memory cards for three precincts showed no votes cast, while five absentee ballot precincts were uploaded Wednesday as zero, acknowledged Daniel Baxter, director of Detroit elections. Canvassers will have to review the ballots in those precincts, but Baxter said they’re unlikely to change the results. Sanders won the statewide contest by 18,350 votes — 595,073 to 576,723 — and the precincts at issue had about 1,500 votes, Baxter said. Another estimate at the canvassers meeting put the tally at closer to 5,000 voters. “This will have no effect on the outcome,” Baxter said.

District of Columbia: Old machines and missing dollars. Is D.C. ready for an election? | The Washington Post

Elections in the District have been handicapped by faulty voting machines, inadequate polling staff, inaccessible polling stations and delays in vote tallying. And yet it is unclear whether any of those problems will have been remedied by the time the District holds its next major election in six months. These are the concerns held by D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie and a handful of other close observers of the city’s election process who say the D.C. Board of Elections appears to have made no clear progress toward fixing its long-standing problems ahead of the June ­primary contests or addressed how the board has managed millions of dollars in federal funds. As of last week, a full month after board members testified before the D.C. Council that they were unaware of how much new voting machines would cost, the board still had not determined whether it can afford to purchase new ones or whether it will lease them. The potential lengthiness of the city’s procurement process also raises the question of ­whether the board will have enough time to test the machines and train election workers, if it does acquire new ones.

District of Columbia: No Leader, Old Voting Machines: D.C.’s Election Agency Faces Multiple Challenges | WAMU

With only seven months left until D.C. voters cast ballots in the 2016 primary, the agency in charge of running the city’s elections remains without top leadership — and on Wednesday struggled to explain whether it has the money to buy new voting machines it says it needs. The issues were at the forefront of a hearing in a D.C. Council committee, where Council member Kenyan McDuffie expressed frustration with the challenges facing the D.C. Board of Elections as the city enters an election year. “This is too precarious a situation,” McDuffie said. “I remain concerned about the board’s direction.” Some of the issues aren’t new, and in the past have resulted in technical glitches that delayed the reporting of election results — most recently in the April 2014 mayoral primary. But one board-watcher said Wednesday that they may be getting worse.

Minnesota: Secretary of state wants to replace aging voting machines | Pioneer Press

Minnesota’s aging voting machines are wearing out and will soon need to be replaced. That’s the message Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he heard “loud and clear” from local officials during his recently completed tour of all 87 Minnesota counties. Most cities, counties and townships use electronic election equipment that is at least 10 years old and getting close to its “10- to 15-year useful lifespan — and 15 is sort of a stretch,” Simon said in a recent interview. There’s a growing risk the voting machines will fail or crash, resulting in lost votes or long lines at polling places. “I’m hearing loudly and clearly from election administrators and others concerned about elections that this is an issue we need to address sooner rather than later and not wait until it becomes a crisis — and they need help,” Simon said.

Mississippi: E-poll books spark controversy | Desoto Times Tribune

A plan put forth by the DeSoto County Election Commission to place a minimum of two electronic poll books at each of the county’s 39 precincts at a total cost of $172,000 has been put on hold for at least another two weeks. The DeSoto County Election Commission has set aside funds to pay for the e-poll books and did not ask county supervisors Monday for any more funds to pay for the new devices. The plan for the new electronic poll books, which would eventually replace paper poll books, was approved by four of the county’s five election commissioners. District 5 Election Commissioner Tina Hill is the lone holdout, saying that she expressed reservations about implementing the e-poll books at the present time, saying that new scanners need to be purchased instead.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kansas: Computer problems lead to vote discrepancy | Garden City Telegram

The Finney County Clerk’s office is reporting that a computer system malfunction Tuesday night led to an error in the precinct ballot numbers reported by various media outlets covering the local elections. It also led to confusion for people waiting for results to be posted at the clerk’s office Tuesday night. Election workers who posted the results said they were unofficial, but many observers left with the impression that, other than the normal provisional ballots that are counted when all results are canvassed, there weren’t additional regular ballots to be counted. None of the unofficial winners changed as a result of the error. Election results will be canvassed at 9 a.m. Monday in the Finney County Commission chambers at the County administrative Center, 311 N. Ninth St. County Clerk Elsa Ulrich said the computer problem was discovered Tuesday night after polls closed and the results began to be tallied. Ulrich said a card that contains a program reads ballots as they go through the counting machine. The results are saved to a disk. But for an unknown reason, the card would not read in Ulrich’s card reader.
“Until the card was read, I didn’t know how many ballots were counted at each precinct,” she said. “I insert it into one of my card readers and it drops into a software program. The problem was it wouldn’t go into the software program.”

Colorado: HAVA complaint filed in Saguache County election | Center Post Dispatch

Election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks has filed a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office concerning the Saguache County 2012 General Election. The complaint was filed after examination of M-100 machine tapes showed apparent discrepancies in the vote tabulation. Marks’ activities in Saguache County came under fire this summer and fall prior to the general election after commissioners candidates Jason Anderson and Ken Anderson, who later won their election bids made it clear they felt Marks was unjustly interfering in Saguache County business and should butt out.

Montana: Welch seeks recount in Montana, but faces long odds | Helenair

Alleging widespread voting machine errors and other Election Day problems, Republican Sandy Welch requested a manual vote recount Monday in the race she narrowly lost for Montana schools superintendent. Official results had Democrat Denise Juneau leading Welch by 2,231 votes out of more than 468,000 cast in the Nov. 6 election. An elections expert said Monday that slim margin is likely too large for Welch to overcome. But Welch, a Martin City education consultant, said voting glitches in Lewis and Clark, Yellowstone, Beaverhead, Missoula and other counties were widespread enough that she can make up the difference and prevail on a recount.

South Carolina: Richland County vote: Finlay, Dixon, Penny Tax appear winners in count |

In a count delayed a week, Kirkman Finlay appeared to prevail over Joe McCulloch, 7,207 to 6,891 in House District 75, in one of tightest and most closely watched races in Richland County’s botched Nov. 6 election, according to preliminary results from Wednesday’s tally. Finlay, a Republican, had 6,771 votes, and McCulloch, a Democrat, had 6,506 in the original count. Totals came just after 11 p.m. Wednesday – eight days after the election marked by huge outcries from voters and candidates alike and a tumultuous legal back-and-forth that led courts to interrupt Richland County’s vote before the count was complete last week.