Same Model Used in New Hampshire and Hacked in HBO Documentary, as Other Reported Voting System Problems Crop Up Around the Sunshine State During Today's Primary Election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2008, 5:37pm PT  

Diebold (which now calls itself Premier Election Systems) quietly released a "Product Advisory Notice" last Friday to the state of Florida, concerning an explained malfunction in the paper-based optical-scan voting machine used across the state. While reports of problems on those systems, and others, began surfacing throughout the day today across the Sunshine State.

The Diebold advisory warns that "No Error Message is Displayed when Ballot Fails to Feed Completely Through AccuVote-OS."

The AccuVote-OS is Diebold's precinct-based optical-scan ballot counter. The advisory is said to apply to "AccuVote-OS with Version 1.94w firmware" --- the same system which was used in New Hampshire earlier this month, and the one on which ballots were found to have gone uncounted or miscounted in virtually all of the precincts counted during Dennis Kucinich's election contest in that state.

Diebold's AccuVote-OS with v1.94w firmware is the identical system seen being hacked in HBO's Hacking Democracy after code found to be in violation of federal Voting System Guidelines was discovered on the system, and exploited to flip a mock paper ballot election without detection in late 2005.

Last November, The BRAD BLOG offered an investigative report on Diebold memory card failures discovered in Florida, and other states, about which both Diebold and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- mandated by law as a clearing house for such issues --- refused to notify jurisdictions that use the same system about the problem.

Though it was too late to check by the time we obtained a copy of the advisory, we are aware of no such notice having been sent to either New Hampshire nor any of the many other jurisdictions around the country which use the same, fatally flawed hardware and software...

The two-page Diebold advisory (PDF available here) references "isolated reports from Florida jurisdictions" of "intermittent" problems such as the one described above. It goes on to offer "recommended resolution" steps for the problem, and concludes by noting...

Premier Election Solutions' technical staff is researching the underlying cause of this intermittent AV-OS issue. The above process should be followed until further notice3. Please note that there should be no loss of tabulation for the ballots previously processed. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Problems have been reported today elsewhere in Florida, which is using touch-screen voting systems in some areas, for the last time, since the state legislature has finally decided to trash them prior to this year's November general election.

Among the problems reported, include one by Rush Limbaugh, whose touch-screen voting machine reportedly froze up while he was attempting to vote. Other reports from around the state include a "discrepancy between the number of ballots signed for and the number of ballots cast at the Daytona Beach City Island early voting site," and voters being told in Orange County that there was no Democratic primary voting today. Other problems cropped up in Palm Beach County and elsewhere with both voter registration and voting machine issues.

In Broward County, machines which are supposed to validate driver's licenses reportedly failed this morning. And in Sarasota County, the site of the infamous loss of some 18,000 votes on touch-screen systems during a tight Congressional election in November of 2006, there were reports of failures with memory cards on the county's new paper-based optical-scan machines which required that some of the machines be replaced in the middle of the day today.

As usual, the full extent of such problems doesn't normally become fully clear until after the close of polls and in the days following the election. As you might suspect, we'll stay on it...