Presidential Race Missing on Ballots; Machines Go Down; Votes Not Recorded; Printers Jam
Attorneys Decline to Take Action to Remove Machines From Service, Ensure Paper Ballots for Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2008, 7:31pm PT  

Wide-spread voting machine failures have been reported to the Obama/DNC election protection hotline in Nevada since early voting began more than a week ago in the state, The BRAD BLOG has learned. All voters who vote in person in the crucial battleground state are forced to cast their votes on 100% unverifiable Sequoia EDGE touch-screen voting machines with the VeriVote "paper trail" printer add-on.

Attorneys monitoring the incident reports coming in to the hotline have taken no action in regard to removing the failed machines from service, despite reports of the presidential race not appearing at all on some ballots; voters having problems selecting their preferred candidates; machines not starting up at all; "paper trail" printers jamming or running out of paper, and; a number of machines at a number of sites which refuse to work at all.

And this is just during early voting. A number of those startling reports are posted at the end of this article...

Democratic Officials Refuse to Impound Machines, Despite Myriad Failures...

We've been reporting for weeks about the lack of action being taken by the Obama campaign and the DNC in regard to wide-spread voting machine problems across the country (e.g., detailed story on that here, Obama attorney responds here).

We've noted that while Obama/DNC has, this time around at least, compiled a sophisticated "election protection" database in each state, their continuous assertions of "thousands of attorneys on the ground on Election Day if anything goes wrong," is both too little and too late, as well as being precisely what we heard from Kerry/DNC in 2004 before they failed to take appropriate action with failed machines. They then quickly conceded the race just hours after polls in Ohio finally closed.

The Obama/DNC response to wide-spread problems with voting machines failing in state after state has been no better than Kerry/DNC's, in that failed machines have been allowed to stay in service, and their attorneys have not fought for paper ballots for voters instead.

In fact, in Pennsylvania, state Democrats have been fighting against paper ballots. Even after the NAACP successfully sued the state Dems (who were joined for a time during the case by state Republicans) to require them to have some emergency paper ballots on hand, it's become clear that county officials in that crucial battleground state are likely to not have enough paper ballots at polling places for voters in the completely-predictable event of voting machine breakdown. PA also uses 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems across most of the state.

We've urged the Democrats to take action to remove problem machines from service, such as those flipping votes on screens in so many states and even failing to register Oprah's vote. We advised them to impound such machines rather than dangerously calling for them to be "recalibrated" in the middle of the election. They have not done so. Anywhere.

The following reports from the Obama/DNC "Atlas Voter Protection" database in NV, concerning the state's faulty, error-prone, hackable, 100% unverifiable Sequoia touch-screen systems are remarkable. These are the same machines that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) recently said voters in his state were "fortunate" to have, during a radio interview in Reno. (3 minute MP3 here.)

The senator was convinced that the "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" printed by the machine somehow offered protection for voters, even though the paper trails on such systems often fail and are not properly verified for accuracy by a majority of voters. Moreover, the "paper trails" on these machines can be hacked as well, in such a way that the tampered totals would match the internally tampered numbers, even if officials bothered to count them, which they don't. (See UCSB's video demonstrating how to hack such machines in seconds, in such a way that even a 100% hand-count would be unlikely to reveal the tampering.)

The machines used in Nevada --- and illegally certified there, see the exposé we published in Mark Crispin Miller's Loser Take All on that --- are also the same ones that dropped Oprah's vote when she early voted in Cook County (Chicago), IL, last week.

So read on for just a few of the hundreds of startling reports coming in to the Obama incident report database, including details of machines on which the presidential race is not available at all (as reported by even a GOP poll monitor, according to the incident report!), voters unable to select Obama, and machines which are failing to start up at all in many locations across the state...all before Election Day voting has even begun...

(And see the list at the bottom of this page for steps you can take if you are forced to vote on touch-screen machines and have similar problems with one of them!)

Selected incident reports from the Barack Obama/DNC "Atlas Voter Protection" database in Nevada...

Presidential contest doesn't appear on ballots:

"A GOP poll monitor, Derek, told our poll monitor that he had personally observed on 7 separate occasions the machines fail to show a choice for president. The GOP monitor saw this at Spanish Springs (2 times) and Northwest Library (5 times). Martin Putnam, our poll monitor, received 1 report from a voter about this at Sierra View on 10/18/08."


"Voter personally had no problem, but voter next to him at voting machines had complained he wanted to vote for obama, but 'it wasn't there'; poll worker assisted, and issue was resolved satisfactorily to voter. Making incident report only in case there's a problem with machine; more likely, voter may have somehow accidentally triggered touch screen."

"Veronika Baumgartner was not able to select a choice for president. She reviewed her printout and did not see a vote for president. She cast her ballot without revising it. It was the second machine from the right."

Machines broken down. For example:

"One machine down--Sequoia called. Team leader told Nancy that machine was down yesterday--they had it fixed and it worked for 1/2 hour today is down again."

"Only 5 of 10 machines up and running at UNR [University of Nevada, Reno]. Poll workers are trying to fix the problem."

"All voting machines down due to team leader error. Estimated delay of 30 minutes to begin voting."

"There is an electrical problem at the Downtown Reno Libarary. 6 out of 11 machines are down."

"Three out of 12 machines broke down. Broke while three voters were voting. Broken machine numbers #32965, #32969, #32873."

Voter registration (e-pollbook) problems at several sites. For example:

"Both check-in laptops have gone off-line (internet issue) and no one is being permitted to check-in to vote. Apparently the line hasn't gotten that long yet. Observer will call back in 5 - 10 min to update the situation."

Machines behaving oddly:

"Machine wouldn't let voter edit choices."

"Elizabeth marked her votes on the electronic voting machine at Sun Valleys Library at around 2 pm - on Machine number WC1384. She was directed to review the ballot, which she did. She was then directed to review the ballot on the printout, which she did. Everything seemed to work correctly UNTIL she touched 'CAST YOUR BALLOT'. At that point, instead of casting the ballot the voting machine returned to a page she had seen approximately four screens before that said 'return' or 'continue'. After that she tried to press continue. The screen went blank and her card was ejected. Then the screen looked like it was ready for a newvoter. Elizabeth said her profession has to do with data, so that is why she wrote down the machine number. Also, she said the machine took so long going between the 'wrong' screens that it made her wonder if there was some computing going on - and if that was going to cause some inaccuracy in the electronic recording of her vote on the voting machine data cartridge - even though the printout had looked correct. Elizabeth told the poll worker named Diane H. who remarked that she was aware of the misfunction. After that, Elizabeth went to another polling place, Scolari's Food and Drug at 3310 S. McCarron and asked the voting official if they had noticed anything like that. The official told her something similar had happened at that polling place."

"Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printers failing:

"Machine printer broken, not recording votes. Several voters have voted on machine without being able to verify their paper record."

"As [BH] was voting, experienced machine malfunction --tape did not advance so she could review her own vote, continued to display votes of previous voter (who voted for Obama, which Ms. [H] did not wish to do). Team leader told her the electronic vote had been recorded on the cassette. Machine involved was # 34348."

"Paper roll shortage at UNR. They have told the county. Five machines are down because of lack of paper. All ran out at the same time. Paper is on the way. The line wait is about 30 min. Only 3 or 4 machines are operating. I don't understand why they haven't anticipated this."

"Machine #34124 had a jammed paper receipt. Poll workers unjammed it. Manny, the assistant team leader for Mobile Team #7 stated that the machine vote tally at the time was 295"

"Printer 411 on machine 34319 stopped working after first vote so printer was switched to printer 424."

"Printer on voting machine #34241 was replaced at 4:00 pm. Team leader Carol told our PM that it was jammed. Vote tally was aprpoximately 560 at the time"

"Voting machine had to have printer replaced. Machine was down 10 minutes."

(Thanks to Ellen Theisen of for crucial help in compiling data for this report.)

The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great election integrity documentary films in return. Details on that right here...
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