Thursday, May 17, 2012

One in three votes in South Bronx precinct invalidated by Omaha World-Herald company's voting machines

ES&S: "...our business has grown to
serve four countries, 41 states
with more than 4,000 election offices"
Recent stories about ES&S practices and products:
ES&S is a subsidiary of McCarthy Group, LLC, which is jointly held by the holding firm and the Omaha World-Herald Company, the publisher of Nebraska's largest newspaper. In 2007 it became the largest manufacturer of voting machines in the United States. In 2009, it absorbed its biggest competitor, Diebold/Premier.
      Last week, WNYC reported that tests on an ES&S electronic voting machine that recorded shockingly high numbers of extra votes in the 2010 election show that overheating may have caused upwards of 30 percent of the votes in a South Bronx voting precinct to go uncounted.
     ...A review by the state Board of Election and the electronic voting machines’ manufacturer ES&S found that these "over votes," as they’re called, were due to a machine error. In the report issued by ES&S, when the machine used in the South Bronx overheated, ballots run during a test began coming back with errors.
     “After lunch [when the machine was idle for about an hour] almost every ballot was read incorrectly, in all orientations, even ballots that had read correctly just before lunch,” the ES&S report said.
Aldo Tessi, whose company counts nearly all Florida
The Brennan Center wrote him a letter.
     ...The Brennan Center brought a lawsuit in 2010 after reports of voters being given a confusing warning screen when an over vote was detected. The legal process led to the finding of the South Bronx districts where more than one out of every three votes were invalidated.
     “Commissioner [Naomi] Barrera, [the Democratic Bronx commissioner] and I pushed for the New York City board for us to get this machine replaced by ES&S and they have agreed to replace this machine immediately so the voters can rest assured that this machine will no longer be deployed,” [Board of Election Commissioner J.C.]Polanco said.
     Norden said so far the machine in the Bronx was the only machine found to have this problem, but it’s also the only machine that’s been tested...Given that the city uses more than five thousand of these electronic voting machines, an error like this, unresolved, could have disastrous consequences in a close election.
An incompetently designed user interface worsened the effects of the mechanical failure of ES&S's machine:

Design Deficiencies and Lost Votes

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