With roughly 33 percent of all voters using new electronic equipment to cast their votes in the Nov. 7 midterm election, there was little surprise when precincts began reporting problems with the machines. In fact, counties in at least seven states—Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina—extended polling hours as a result of system glitches.
At the moment, however, the reported errors have been attributed to poll workers who were improperly trained on how to set up and operate the machines—not to malicious tampering or hacking of systems, as many e-voting experts had feared. David Bear, a spokesperson for e-voting equipment manufacturer Diebold Systems, says the reports show that while election officials need time to become more familiar with the new electronic systems (which are mandated by the Help America Vote Act), “it isnt a matter of problems with the technology or the equipment.”
No formal allegations of tampering have yet surfaced. However, yesterdays election should be a wake-up call to all state secretaries nationwide: Better management and tighter procedures are needed to ensure the security and accuracy of future U.S. elections. What follows is a roundup of the elections biggest foul-ups, compiled from newspapers across the nation.
Montana: Voting glitches in Yellowstone, Gallatin and Flathead counties prevented Montana from completing its tally last night, reports ABC News. As a result, election officials are currently recounting ballots by hand and hope to have the results later today.
Indiana: Like most states, Indianas e-voting problems surfaced early in the day. According to The New York Times (registration required), roughly half of the 914 precincts in Marion County (which includes Indianapolis) reported problems getting machines to start in the early hours, and 175 were forced to resort to paper ballots as a result. In Delaware County, officials extended voting hours to 8:45 p.m. after a glitch kept citizens in 75 precincts from voting.