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Big Presidential Vote Count (Ballot Definition File) Error Found and Fixed in New Mexico [View All]

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-05-08 03:57 PM
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Big Presidential Vote Count (Ballot Definition File) Error Found and Fixed in New Mexico
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Big Presidential Vote Count Error Found and Fixed in New Mexico

A test in Santa Fe County finds and fixes an error that could have cost Democrats thousands of votes.

By Steven Rosenfeld . Posted October 4, 2008.

An electronic voting machine test in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, on Friday revealed a programming error that, had it not been caught and corrected before the start of early voting next week, would not have counted hundreds -- or possibly thousands -- of votes for president and U.S. Senate in this Democratic stronghold.

The software error concerned straight party voting, where voters fill in one oval on their paper ballot that indicates they want to vote for all the candidates from a political party. The test revealed that the precinct optical-scanner computers, which read hand-marked paper ballots and compile the precinct vote totals, were not counting "straight party" votes for president and U.S. Senate.

"It was a simple error," said Rick Padilla, a senior system supervisor for the Santa Fe County Clerk office, which runs county elections. "When they did the programming, they didn't link the oval to the (presidential and senatorial votes on the) straight party ticket."


What is unsettling about the test in Santa Fe County on Friday was the fact that the error affected the two most hotly contested races on the ballot -- president and U.S. senator. A more likely programming error would have have either affected all the party's candidates globally or a single race.


Thus, hundreds if not thousands of potential presidential votes -- most for Democrats -- could have been lost had county officials not discovered the software error in testing.

A ballot definition file error could cause miscounts or lost votes on any electronic voting system.
The only check on the accuracy of these files occurs during pre-election testing.

The M100 tabulator is used in numerous swing states such as Montana, Iowa and Indiana, according to, a nonpartisan group that tracks electronic voting issues.

"The main thing is this is a recoverable error," said Pam Smith, president of the Verified Voting Foundation. "In New Mexico they have paper ballots. They can recount them if you need to. New Mexico has a (vote count) audit provision (in state law). In another state, if this happens, you could miss a ballot definition file error."


Talk about being "Fooled Again". Starting years ago, efforts have been made to point out this vulnerability. Unfortunately, none of them included a big name so there probably wasn't much attention paid.

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  -Big Presidential Vote Count (Ballot Definition File) Error Found and Fixed in New Mexico Wilms  Oct-05-08 03:57 PM   #0 
  - democrats need to KILL electronic voting once and for all nt  msongs   Oct-05-08 04:03 PM   #1 
  - K&R nt  quiet.american   Oct-05-08 04:25 PM   #2 
  - Why is it always Democrat votes that get dumped?  liberalmuse   Oct-05-08 04:31 PM   #3 
  - Why? Divine intervention, of course.  Jackpine Radical   Oct-05-08 04:40 PM   #5 
  - because they promote straight ticket voting - big time  WillYourVoteBCounted   Oct-06-08 12:28 AM   #23 
  - We had TWO YEARS to fix this mess. And what did we do?  cui bono   Oct-05-08 04:37 PM   #4 
  - WE?  garybeck   Oct-05-08 05:08 PM   #7 
  - Yeah, that's what I meant.  cui bono   Oct-05-08 06:55 PM   #14 
  - this mess IS a FIX, and everytime we try to repair it, those with access will FIX things again  diva77   Oct-06-08 08:45 PM   #30 
  - Those ovals have to go.  Festivito   Oct-05-08 04:54 PM   #6 
  - Repeat after me...  GuvWurld   Oct-05-08 05:08 PM   #8 
  - hey bro i got a question  garybeck   Oct-05-08 10:44 PM   #20 
     - I'm not certain, but  GuvWurld   Oct-06-08 01:44 AM   #25 
     - here's what's in the California elections code regarding audits  diva77   Oct-06-08 08:28 PM   #29 
     - turns out the former LA County Registrar, Conny McCormack was NOT selecting precincts randomly  diva77   Oct-06-08 08:24 PM   #28 
  - Are there audits in NM?  garybeck   Oct-05-08 05:10 PM   #9 
  - presidential on 2% of machines, I think  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-05-08 05:18 PM   #10 
     - Looking at their audits, I'm not sure they would catch the problem  garybeck   Oct-05-08 06:13 PM   #13 
     - I agree it's not ideal!  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-05-08 07:29 PM   #15 
        - doing the audit before the canvass report  garybeck   Oct-05-08 07:36 PM   #16 
           - it's like that game show: "is that your (voting system's) final answer?"  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-05-08 08:13 PM   #17 
           - certification of election  garybeck   Oct-05-08 10:10 PM   #19 
              - we burned hours haggling over that wording  OnTheOtherHand   Oct-06-08 04:34 AM   #26 
           - You should "decide on the trigger" BEFORE the audit is started!  Bill Bored   Oct-06-08 12:15 AM   #22 
              - That's exactly what I'm saying  garybeck   Oct-06-08 12:57 AM   #24 
              - I agree. Consider changing the recount request deadline to a later one.  Bill Bored   Oct-06-08 09:33 PM   #32 
                 - i disagree with you and agree with the brennan report  garybeck   Oct-07-08 03:10 AM   #33 
              - And what about chain of custody issues?  Wilms   Oct-06-08 10:58 AM   #27 
                 - What about 'em?  Bill Bored   Oct-06-08 09:21 PM   #31 
                 - well since you ask  garybeck   Oct-07-08 03:17 AM   #34 
                    - The "probably more" in her response suggests she has some reason.  Wilms   Oct-07-08 11:07 AM   #35 
                       - it's worth asking  garybeck   Oct-07-08 11:58 AM   #36 
     - The link to the text of the law is broken. I'd like to see it before passing judgement. nt  Bill Bored   Oct-05-08 11:55 PM   #21 
  - Psssst, these maqchines dont count very well. The evidence is overwhelming  FogerRox   Oct-05-08 05:22 PM   #11 
  - blinking  mbergen   Oct-05-08 05:43 PM   #12 
  - K&R.  bleever   Oct-05-08 08:44 PM   #18 

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