Wednesday, July 21, 2004

E-Voting machine faults ignored

Florida elections officials knew before they bought the first touch screen voting machine that the devices had a history of problems.
The machines recorded cases in which no vote was cast, known as undervotes, at a higher rate than some other machines.
But election officials bought them anyway, partly because they didn't think undervotes would become a major problem.
Now, undervotes are at the center of the latest controversy surrounding Florida's troubled elections process....
But a leading expert on voting machines says undervotes are nothing to worry about.
"A small but significant number of voters in every election intentionally undervote," said Dan Tokaji, an Ohio State College (Diebold Election Systems is located in Ohio. -ed.) law professor and the author of a recent report to the Election Assistance Commission on touch screen machines. "Why would somebody do that? I'm not sure if anyone has a clear answer to that question."
Still, undervoting seems peculiar in elections with only one issue on a ballot. Why would anyone take the time to go to a polling place, get a ballot and not vote? Yet that's exactly what happened in March. In Pinellas, for example, 211 voters cast blank ballots in the March primary in precincts that had just one race.

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