Voting Machines Refuse to Power Up, No Paper Ballot Backups, 17,000 Absentee Ballots Must be Counted by Hand
Voters Pay the Price, Investigations Are to Come...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006, 11:20am PT  

The meltdown continues.

Cuyahoga County Election Director (and former Diebold proponent), Michael Vu, described Diebold's performance yesterday as "unacceptable" after problems were revealed all across the county in the state's Primary Election.

The panoply of problems included failed Diebold machines, lack of working power outlets and three-prong adapters for them, machines unable to start up, voters unable to vote, paper jams on the "paper trail" printers, and 17,000 absentee ballots that must now be counted by hand because they don't work with the Diebold optical scanners.

All of it now leading to investigations, as called for by Elections Officials. And, of course, there was the 61-year old voter who destroyed two Diebold machines out of apparent frustration.

With all of that, who even knows yet if the tallies acquired by the machines that did "work" are actually accurate?

WKYC covers with a video report here.

Below is just some of the extraordinary litany of problems revealed during elections in just that one county yesterday according to WKYC. We wish someone had warned them of the possibility of such problems in advance...

There were so many problems that there was talk of extending voting hours and concerns over counting ballots. Some politicians asked that they remain open until 9 p.m. The Garden Valley location did just that because of numerous problems. They remained open until 9:30 p.m.
Officials at the Board of Elections knew they'd have problems with the new machines, but say today was worse then what they expected.

Hope turned to despair at 71st and Kinsman when broken electronic voting machines forced voters to wait until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to cast their vote.

"I was incensed when I came in this morning and electronic voting machines were down," one voter said.

The faulty machines frustrated the volunteer poll workers too who said they didn't know what to do when the machines wouldn't work.

"I know we had provisions, but we didn't know anything about the paper ballots," said poll worker Carol Hunt.

There were problems at other precincts around Cuyahoga County as well. In some cases, the voter access cards that record the ballot didn't work or the paper that records the electronic vote got jammed.

"People were waiting around to vote, unhappy and machines weren't working ... I called BOE and was put on hold 30 - 40 minutes," one person said.

"Everybody is confused ... poll workers [were] frustrated because voters [were] frustrated," said voter Chrissy Gallagher.
Regardless of how you cast your vote, election officials say don't worry, it will count.

However, tallying the votes is proving to be problematic too.

The counting of votes in Cuyahoga County will not be finished Tuesday night.

It might take an additional 24 hours to count - the 17,000 absentee ballots - by hand.

There was a lot of finger pointing at the voting-machine maker Diebold.

In fact, Election Board Chairman Robert Bennett gave Diebold an "F" grade for their performance today.

At a two-hour meeting Tuesday afternoon, Diebold representatives were called on the carpet to explain why an optical scanning machine that was supposed to tally those absentee ballots failed in a test run Monday night.
An independent investigation is yet to come.

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