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Vote count marred by computer woe
From Boone County, Indiana:
Lebanon -- Boone County officials are searching for an answer to the computer glitch that spewed out impossible numbers and interrupted an otherwise uneventful election process Tuesday.

"I about had a heart attack," County Clerk Lisa Garofolo said of the breakdown that came as an eager crowd watched computer-generated vote totals being projected onto a wall of the County Courthouse rotunda.

"I'm assuming the glitch was in the software."

A lengthy collaboration between the county's information technology director and advisers from the MicroVote software producer fixed the problem. But before that, computer readings of stored voting machine data showed far more votes than registered voters.

"It was like 144,000 votes cast," said Garofolo, whose corrected accounting showed just 5,352 ballots from a pool of fewer than 19,000 registered voters.

"Believe me, there was nobody more shook up than I was."

Source: The Indianapolis Star. [Thanks to Dan Margolis for the pointer.]

Note that MicroVote calls themselves, "The leader in Direct Recording Electronic Voting Technology". (Google also reveals that the hidden page description meta-information on this page calls MicroVote, "the most reliable DRE voting system". Heaven help us!) The states and counties using MicroVote machines are disclosed here and here: Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee. They make both Voting Hardware and Election Management Software; no indication from the Star story which was at fault. If we're lucky it's the Election Management Software, because remember the first principle of these Direct Recording Electronic Voting machines is: THERE IS NO BACKUP! Nothing you can go to for a recount. So it's hard to imagine how they could resurrect any sort of credible vote tabulation (read, declare a winner) if the MACHINES were at fault.

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MicroVote is accurate and relaible

I can add that MicroVote is not a manufacturer of any of its hardware. We do however produce the software. We have had years of election experience with consistent and flawless results. There are many levels of back up I can assure you of this. The mishap with the vote total software was entirely user error and was quickly.

Please address my last three sentences in the article. And, I would like to see proof that:
  • You have protections in place against malicious hardware (since you don't produce it yourself).
  • Your years of election experience actually produced consistent and flawless results (and were not just the beneficiaries of lax public oversight).
  • Your "many levels of backup" are themselves immune to programmer error.
  • The contested election was actually corrected (where did you get the 'correct' vote data? How do we know it was correct?)

I remain utterly unconvinced. The point is not whether or not your machines can be made to work: the point is how to check that they *are* working correctly. Voter-verified paper ballot provide means for recount, correction, and independent auditing, which are the only ways you (or anyone else) can *prove* that your machines are tabulating correctly.

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