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EFF: Presidential Votes Miscast on E-voting Machines Across the Country
From: EFF Press <press () eff org>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 20:16:22 -0800

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 01, 2004


Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy () eff org
  +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office), +1 415 307-2148 (cell)

Matt Zimmerman
  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  mattz () eff org
  +1 415 436-9333 x127

Presidential Votes Miscast on E-voting Machines Across the

Voters from at least half a dozen states reported that
touch-screen voting machines had incorrectly recorded their
choices, including for president.

Voters discovered the problems when checking the review
screen at the end of the voting process. They found, to
their surprise, that the machines indicated that they voted
for one candidate when they had voted for another. When
voters tried to correct the problem, the machine often made
the same error several times. While in most cases the
situation was reportedly resolved, many voters remain
uneasy about whether the proper vote was ultimately cast.
Meanwhile, voting experts are concerned that other voters
are experiencing the problem, but failing to notice that
the machine is indicating the wrong choice on the "summary"

Election observers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF) and Verified Voting Foundation (VVF) reported today
that the problem, which some voting officials initially
attributed to "voter error," is evidently widespread and
may even be relatively common with touch-screen machines.
Incorrectly recorded votes make up roughly 20 percent of
the e-voting problems reported through the Election
Incident Reporting System (EIRS), an online database in
which volunteers with the Election Protection Coalition, a
coalition of non-partisan election observers dedicated to
preventing voter disenfranchisement, are recording and
tracking voting problems.

For voters, these incidents underscore the need to
carefully review ballots during the final portion of the
electronic voting process. But they also point to the
larger issue: using touch-screen voting systems vulnerable
to this kind of error, combined with poll workers and
voters unfamiliar with the new systems, substantially
increases the chances of voter disenfranchisement.

"We're likely to see these types of problems repeated on
Election Day," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "As
a short-term measure, we strongly encourage voters who use
touch-screen voting machines to proof their ballots at the
review stage. But while we can try to address obvious,
visible problems like these, the problems we really worry
about are the ones that the voters and poll watchers can't
see. Often the only you catch these flaws are through
audits - yet most of these machines lack even the most
basic audit feature: a voter-verified paper trail."

Election Incident Reporting System:

For this release:

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to
websites in the world at http://www.eff.org/

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