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The Approaching 2006 E-Voting 'Train Wreck' - Are We Making Headway or Losing The Battle?

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Summit County Ohio; the Poster Child For Equipment Failures

Yes, the same Summit County that has been having memory card problems, has reported that there seems to be no end to the problems. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:

"The voting system uses paper ballots, marked in pen by the voter, that are fed into a scanner. The elections board has been having problems in practice runs with the machines' memory cards, which are inserted into ballot scanners to record and tabulate those votes. Some of the cards' batteries have run out and other cards have broken.

""One card is physically coming apart at the seams," said elections chief Bryan Williams. Also not working properly is the main ballot tabulator, called the election reporting manager or ERM. It's supposed to read the memory cards and report totals but has been dropping off dozens of races for Republican candidates for precinct committee members.

"The machines the county purchased to accommodate disabled voters also are having problems. Those machines are supposed to have a computer say candidates' names for voters but the names are being mispronounced, or the ballot is being misread or not read at all."

And what is the result for the county of all of these failures by ES&S? As reported earlier this week by the Akron Beacon-Journal:

"Now, in what is clearly a show of "No Confidence" in their voting machine vendor ES&S, the county elections director is predicting failure with the system in the May 2 Ohio state primary.

"Summit County Board of Elections Director Bryan Williams is predicting Election Day failures with the memory cards in the county's new optical scan voting system.
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"''I don't think we can assume anything else,'' Williams said at a meeting Tuesday, where the elections board reviewed the latest list of troubles."

It is amazing that ES&S has driven a county election official to say that he actually has no confidence in the elections in his county. It has actually gotten that bad.

Oregon's Secretary of State Sues ES&S For Breach of Contract

Bill Bradbury, Secretary of State of Oregon, has finally had his fill of ES&S and announced that he has filed, on behalf of the state, a lawsuit against ES&S for breach of contract for failure to deliver the electronic voting machines that would allow people with disabilities to vote privately and independently.

Oregon has contracted with ES&S for AutoMark voting machines to satisfy the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirement for disabled-accessible voting. The contract terms were agreed to by all parties. Over six months later ES&S decided that they wanted to change the terms of the contract. The state would not agree to these changes so ES&S told them they would not deliver.
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In a statement Secretary Bradbury said:

"I'm disappointed in ES&S," said Bradbury. "They agreed to provide us with voting machines, they didn't follow through on that agreement, and that failure directly punishes people with disabilities."

In the meantime the state has decided to use telephone voting for their disabled voters. This is the same system that has been used successfully in Vermont.

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John is the Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org

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