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Florida Diebold machines help you pick the right candidate

Engadget
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Apparently Diebold's problems aren't limited to Maryland, Georgia or Alaska -- what a shocker. Down in the Sunshine State, during a week of early voting before next week's nationwide midterm election, certain Diebold machines have been registering some votes for Democrats as selections for the Republican candidate. For instance, Gary Rudolf, a voter at a polling site near Ft. Lauderdale, tried to vote for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis (D); however, when the Diebold machine gave him the final review screen, it showed his vote was about to be cast for Charlie Crist (R). The problem took three tries to get resolved with the help of a local poll worker. Mary Cooney, a Broward County Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman, informed The Miami Herald that it's "not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot -- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual." Huh? How exactly does a computer -- one that is being used heavily for one day a year, and not a $100 PDA -- "slip out of sync" ? Further, no one in Broward County is even sure how large of a problem this is "because there's no process for poll workers to quickly report minor issues, and no central database of machine problems." Is it any wonder that major candidates are urging voters to vote the analog old-fashioned way?

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