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Wed Oct 10, 2012, 11:21 AM

Florida Election software Flips Vote: Losers Certified as Winners [View all]

Election officials always say "human error" is to blame, not computers. But Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher refuses to be silent about her concerns for elections including the upcoming presidential election. Bucher said: “You know the first thing that they tell you is you’re going to scare the voters,” Bucher said. “Well you know what… we’re scared too.”

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher is scared because her office discovered, and then proved, that a software error flipped vote totals between candidates, assigning losing candidate's the vote totals of the winning candidate. See http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/10/09/cbs4-investigates-palm-beach-countys-2012-ballot-debacle/ Winners of at least two local races from March had previously been announced and certified, but had to be reversed because of the software problem.

Bucher is concerned that many problems will not be detected by the required audits, and that the presidential election could be affected. Id.

“The company didn’t own up to it real quickly and neither did the state. And we had to prove that it was a software error and we did so.”

Bucher said its time to hold Florida accountable– the State of Florida tests and certifies the voting machines for the state. Florida is one of just a handful of states that opted out of the federal program that certifies voting machines… deciding to do it on its own. Bucher said she is not confident in the system and would love to change the system she uses. She also said that the pickings are slim when it comes to finding a better choice.

“What we’re finding out, is that there are problems with almost every system in the United States,” said Bucher. Id.



Supervisor of Elections Bucher was also recently in the national news for being one of ten counties to discover apparently fraudulent voter registration forms (many filled out with similar handwriting) that had been submitted by the Florida' GOP's GOTV effort. Many of these registration forms, as outlined by the LA Times, were "slamming" - changing voters' addresses or party registration and other details without their knowledge (creating problems for these voters at the polls, and likely disfranchising them in a way that escapes exit poll detection).

Many on DU have known that audits don't catch all errors, and in any case arrive too late (the elections with the wrong winner certified were way back in March of this year, and just announced in the media locally in Florida yesterday). Bush v. Gore helps ensure that the clock will run out of time (in the Supreme Court's view) to conduct hand recounts because they must be done statewide and are interrupted by legal challenges. As a practical matter, the vote counts must be done right the first time, and software is a totally unreliable way to do this.

What's news here is that a prominent elections official is admitting what has been known by activists for a long time, and further admitting that she's scared, and not wanting to hide the truth from voters.

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