October 23, 2009

‘The computer says so’ is not a good answer

Posted in Diebold, Elections, Humboldt county CA, paper ballots, voter verified paper ballots, voting tagged , , at 8:36 pm by bluebanshee

In Humboldt County California, Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich has not had good luck relying on her computer system(s) to give her accurate information. This has created problems.

In November 2008 she found out that the Diebold optical scan system she was using was capable of making an entire batch of counted ballots disappear into thin air without a trace … poof! No warning message … no tellltale evidence in the computer log … just poof, the batch was gone.

It turned out to be a known bug in the Diebold software that might only be avoided with special “workaround” procedures – or at least, that is what representatives of Diebold told her when she contacted them about the vanishing votes. Crnich found out about the problem because of a post-election audit conducted by local activists – not because of any notification from Diebold.

So Crnich did what a conscientious election official might do – she decided to switch to a new vendor and spent recent months getting her brand new system from Hart InterCivic ready for this November’s election. Read the rest of this entry »

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