The District of Sechelt won’t likely be using voting machines made by Election Systems and Software ever again, after two of four machines provided by the company broke down during the 2011 municipal election.
“Needless to say, I will be recommending that we do not use the same machine supplier again in the future,” said Sechelt’s chief election officer Jo-Anne Frank. The first machine broke down during advanced voting at the Seaside Centre. A faulty sensor was found to be the issue.
Frank said she sent a staff member to Vancouver to trade the faulty machine for a new one, expecting that would solve the problem. But on election day Nov. 19, a second machine, this one at the Seniors’ Centre, had the same faulty sensor issue, after just seven ballots were cast.
When a machine malfunctions, Frank explained, it does not count the ballot cast, as is verifiable by the display on front of the machine. Instead, the ballot is rejected. In each case, once the issue was identified, election officials switched to manual voting.
“Election officials opened the slot in the manual compartment and voters placed their ballots there,” Frank said. The data from previous votes tallied in the machine was saved onto a computer data card.