Another Election Day, Another Failure by America's Largest Voting Machine Company...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2006, 11:54pm PT  

Another Primary Election Day. Another E-Voting Mess. This time in Arkansas.

Mind you, this comes on the heels of earlier announcements that several major counties in Arkansas would be forced to use paper ballots instead of electronic machines after ES&S failed to deliver ballots and programming on time for the start of elections (something like the 10th state in which this has happened with ES&S so far this year, as regular BRAD BLOG readers know. But shhh...don't tell anyone!)

On Monday, the day before the election, at least one county election director in Arkansas pleaded with voters to choose paper on Election Day. "Grab a paper ballot, vote it and put it in the ballot box. It will go smoother," Benton County's election coordinator told voters on Monday.

Well, now it looks like ES&S has failed even further (we're shocked, shocked!) as tabulators in some counties failed to work at all, so ballots can't be counted until tomorrow at the earliest. And now the AR Secretary of State wants some answers about all of it.

From AP tonight...

Little Rock (AP) - Problems with new voting equipment have delayed tabulation of votes in at least one Arkansas county. Phillips County election officials put a note on the courthouse door in Helena-West Helena this evening saying they would be unable to count ballots until tomorrow.

Andrew Bagley, a justice of peace candidate, said the note told the curious that tabulation of votes would be delayed, quote,"because the vendor failed to supply a chip for the tabulator."

Deputy Secretary of State Janet Harris said state officials and technicians for Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Nebraska,which provided the equipment, had been working on the Phillips County issue all day. She said the company plans to reprogram a chip and drive it back to the county tomorrow.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels says he wants to find out why a $15 million contract with ESS for the voting machines wasn't completely fulfilled by the time voting started in party primaries. Officials in four of Arkansas' 75 counties were not able to use the touch-screen voting machines provided by ESS, which meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act.

While the article says that ES&S' machines apparently "meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act," we guess none of those HAVA requirements include anything about the machines actually being required to work.

(Hat tip John Gideon, natch.)

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