Thursday, November 30, 2006

17 states report voting problems, including machines that flipped votes

By Diane Silver

Earlier this week we reported that voting problems in Florida may well have sent the wrong person to Congress. (No surprise. It was the Republican). Today we take note of a new study reporting that at least 17 states suffered major voting problems.

Hat tip to Pew's for pointing out the report by However, I'd like to quibble with Pew's lead. Pew notes that "voting in the 2006 midterm elections went relatively smoothly nationwide."

That would be an accurate statement if you were expecting bumpiness to look like the 2000 presidential election or to end with blood on the streets. Read what Pew says further down in the story.
The nonpartisan research group that tracks states' voting procedures found that long lines, machine malfunctions and human error resulted in people choosing not to vote, or votes being counted incorrectly nationwide. On top of that, voter fraud and intimidation and the occasional freak occurrence -- including bomb threats and invasive squirrels -- stymied voters.
How can any of that be seen as "smooth," or even democratic?

Nearly every state encountered some kind of hurdle, the report said. Some snafus remained under the radar, especially in races where margins were not very close. But in tight contests, these irregularities took center stage.
The electionline report also discovered a problem that should send us all out into the streets to march.
Machine malfunctions caused by computer and human error turned up in many states. The most frequent problem was vote flipping, when voters chose one candidate only to have the machine mark another. This happened in at least a dozen states, including Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Texas.
Take a look at the full 32-page report on this election's "bumps."

How about some real election reform?

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