Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004



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11/16/04 [Permalink]
Numerous voting irregularities in Maryland, mostly involving malfunctioning touch-screen machines; hundreds of student voters told that their registrations were invalid

Via Votersunite, here are various reports. 


Some voters complained about missing races on their ballots and the hypersensitivity of the screens, which caused them to accidentally vote for the wrong candidate. Machines malfunctioned at several polling places, leaving voters waiting in line. And some people weren't ready when machines automatically skipped forward to the next screen.

Linda Schade, whose group TrueVoteMD stationed volunteers at polling places across the state to record voter complaints, said the group had received more than 400 phone calls by late afternoon. A national watchdog organization that monitored polls across the country reported more than 1,000 electronic voting problems.

"We got lots of calls about some pretty serious stuff, I feel," Schade said. Several of the group's volunteers returned from the polls last night with reports of vote counts that did not match the check-in numbers.


Hundreds of student voters at the University of Maryland, College Park, were turned away because they had been improperly registered by a campus organization. Students lined up at the Stamp Student Union, many to cast their first vote. But once inside, many were told their registrations weren't processed properly because the paperwork for 500 new voters never made it to the Board of Elections.

Those students were told to cast provisional ballots, which will be counted next week if the voters are deemed legitimate.


One complaint heard across Maryland was that voters were a little uncomfortable with a lack of privacy, which allowed others to see how they cast their votes.

"They probably should have included a curtain," said Towson University student Katie Masterson, 23, after voting at Germantown Elementary School in Annapolis.


Nine voting machines ran out of battery power and nearly 40 votes may have been lost in Palm Beach County, the first major problem reported on Election Day in the state that was the epicenter of the election fiasco four years ago.

The nine machines at a Boynton Beach precinct weren't plugged in properly, and their batteries wore down around 9:30 a.m., said Marty Rogol spokesman for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore.

Poll clerk Joyce Gold said 37 votes appeared to be missing after she compared the computer records to the sign-in sheet. Elections officials won't know exactly how many votes were lost until after polls close.

She said voters seemed "very distressed" at the prospect of losing their votes.

"When it happened I was really panicking. They were panicking," Gold said.


The software running on the touch-screen machines used across the state failed to record some votes correctly, jumped to other pages on the ballot without being prompted by the voter and inadvertently omitted some political races, according to TrueVoteMD, a nonpartisan citizens’ group focused on protecting voting integrity.

“We have received hundreds of calls from across the state,” said Bob Ferraro, the group’s co-director, said Tuesday afternoon.

The group set up a voter hotline and deployed 600 poll watchers throughout Maryland to monitor its new touch screen voting machines manufactured by Diebold Inc. of North Canton, Ohio.

Yet officials at the Maryland State Board of Elections said they had received no reports of any major problems. The only problem the board reported yesterday was a failure to have a piece of equipment capable of encoding voter access cards available at one precinct, said Pamela Woodside, the election board’s chief information officer. That was attributed to human error, not equipment failure, she said.


Ferraro offered several anecdotal stories of touch-screen software mishaps encountered by voters. A woman in Baltimore County pushed her selection for president and senator repeatedly, but couldn’t get the machine to register her choice properly. A man in Montgomery County said the machine skipped right past the presidential and senate races. A woman in Montgomery County tried to make her selection for the county school board, but the machine advanced to the next screen after she had chosen only half of the candidates.

Software advancing to the next screen on the electronic ballot before a voter has completed casting his or her vote was a new occurrence in the presidential election, Ferraro said.

















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