Electronic Voting Failures in 2008

Electronic voting machines are more accurate than ever, according to the electronic voting machine vendors. Yet, the 2008 season of Democratic and Republican primaries was full of examples of electronic voting machine failures that threatened to affect the election.

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Electronic voting machines were supposed to be the answer to the hanging chads and human error that threatened to undo the democratic process. But eight years and billions of dollars after the infamous Florida recount, electronic voting is proving to be just as unreliable.

The 2008 primary elections offered five prime examples of electronic voting machine failures with potential impact on the election:


In the Aug. 26 primary in Palm Beach County, several votes in a judicial contest disappeared during a recount, then reappeared in a second and third recount, flipping the outcome to a different winner each time.


In the Jan. 19 Republican presidential primary, touch-screen machines in 80 percent of precincts temporarily failed, and a number of precincts ran out of paper ballots and sent voters to cast provisional ballots at other precincts.

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In the March 4 primary, votes in at least 11 counties were "dropped" when memory cards were uploaded to computer servers due to a software flaw.


In the Sept. 9 primary, three different counts produced three different vote totals, with thousands of "phantom votes" appearing in the first two counts.


Union County officials reported some of the electronic voting machines gave incorrect party vote totals in the Feb. 5 presidential primary election.