Saturday, November 04, 2006

 

Uh-oh

Beyond incompetent.
But Cuyahoga officials discovered late in the week that their Diebold Election Systems scanners do not accurately read test ballots. The malfunction is similar to what happened in May, when the inability of scanners to read 17,000 misprinted absentee ballots forced a hand count that delayed election results for a week.

. . .

Cuyahoga could end up without any scanning, though, unless they get their scanners running right. They will try again today to figure out what's wrong.

The scanners performed adequately in tests when blank, unfolded ballots were scanned, but the machines produced inaccurate counts during tests with ballots that had been folded.

Nearly every absentee ballot submitted by voters arrives in the mail, folded.

Diebold Election Systems, which makes the optical scan machines, flew in at least one specialist from Texas to diagnose the problem. Other Diebold technicians are working on it, too.
Is there any defensible reason why elections officials waited this long to give a hard test to the scanning system given past history?

That last paragraph also gives us pause. At first glance, it might not seem unreasonable to reach out to Diebold. But given the number of scanners and problems inherent with relying on a one-source manufacturer, why didn't the Cuyahoga County BOE develop the internal technical capacity to trouble-shoot these scanners?

Giving Diebold access to voting equipment just days before the election, ya' know, isn't really the smart thing to do to inspire a lot of confidence in voters.

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