[Paleopsych] Glitch gave Bush extra votes in Ohio

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Thu Nov 11 17:23:25 UTC 2004

Friday, November 5, 2004 Posted: 4:15 PM EST (2115 GMT)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An error with an electronic voting system gave 
President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials 

Franklin County's unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to 
Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 
638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

Bush actually received 365 votes in the precinct, Matthew Damschroder, 
director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, told The Columbus 

State and county election officials did not immediately respond to requests 
by The Associated Press for more details about the voting system and its 
vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could have 
affected the outcome.

Bush won the state by more than 136,000 votes, according to unofficial 
results, and Kerry conceded the election on Wednesday after acknowledging 
that 155,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted in Ohio would not change 
the result. (Full Ohio results)

The Secretary of State's Office said Friday it could not revise Bush's 
total until the county reported the error.

The Ohio glitch is among a handful of computer troubles that have emerged 
since Tuesday's elections. (Touchscreen voting troubles reported)

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.

In the Ohio precinct in question, the votes are recorded onto a cartridge. 
On one of the three machines at that precinct, a malfunction occurred in 
the recording process, Damschroder said. He could not explain how the 
malfunction occurred.

Damschroder said people who had seen poll results on the election board's 
Web site called to point out the discrepancy. The error would have been 
discovered when the official count for the election is performed later this 
month, he said.

The reader also recorded zero votes in a county commissioner race on the 

Workers checked the cartridge against memory banks in the voting machine 
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.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a glitch occurred with software designed for 
the city's new "ranked-choice voting," in which voters list their top three 
choices for municipal offices. If no candidate gets a majority of 
first-place votes outright, voters' second and third-place preferences are 
then distributed among candidates who weren't eliminated in the first 
round. (E-vote goes smoothly, but experts skeptical)

When the San Francisco Department of Elections tried a test run on 
Wednesday of the program that does the redistribution, some of the votes 
didn't get counted and skewed the results, director John Arntz said.

"All the information is there," Arntz said. "It's just not arriving the way 
it was supposed to."

A technician from the Omaha, Neb. company that designed the software, 
Election Systems & Software Inc., was working to diagnose and fix the 

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