Friday, November 05, 2004
A Regrettable Isolated Incident 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Or at least, that's how this will be spun. A minor error, with virtually no impact on the final outcome of Tuesday's election:
Computer error at voting machine gives Bush 3,893 extra votes

[Associated Press] COLUMBUS, Ohio - A computer error with a voting machine cartridge gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna precinct.

Franklin County's unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 260 votes in Precinct 1B. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Matthew Damschroder, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, said Bush received 365 votes there. The other 13 voters who cast ballots either voted for other candidates or did not vote for president. Damschroder said he received some calls Thursday from people who saw the error when reading the list of poll results on the election board's Web site. He said the error would have been discovered when the official canvass for the election is performed later this month.

Damschroder said after Precinct 1B closed, a cartridge from one of three voting machines at the polling place generated a faulty number at a computerized reading station. The reader also recorded zero votes in a county commissioner race. Damschroder said the cartridge was retested Thursday and there were no problems. He couldn't explain why the computer reader malfunctioned.

Workers checked the cartridge against memory banks in the voting machine Thursday and each showed that 115 people voted for Bush on that machine. With the other machines, the total for Bush in the precinct added up to 365 votes.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch
[via Freon]
Columbus, Columbus...why does that name sound familiar? Oh, that's where the friendly folks are. But wait, there's more - the CBC reports,
In one North Carolina county, more than 4,500 votes were lost because officials mistakenly believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. And in San Francisco, a malfunction with custom voting software could delay efforts to declare the winners of four races for county supervisor.
Yes, these could simply be regrettable isolated incidents. The trouble is, we may never know if that's really the case.