Saturday, March 13, 2004

Delays at poll sites blamed on batteries

By Helen Gao, San Diego Union-Tribune, 03/11/04

San Diego county officials issued a preliminary report on their March 2 voting problems. Most significantly, nearly forty percent of the county's polling places -- 573 out of 1,611 -- failed to open on time because of problems with Diebold's smart card encoder. Here's the link for the county's report

Excerpt from the SDUT story:

More than a third of San Diego County's polling places opened late on March 2 because a key component of the county's new electronic voting system suffered an unexpected loss of battery power, according to an initial report released yesterday.

The in-house review by a team of county managers represented the first look at the widespread problems affecting last week's election. It's one in a series of reviews that county, state and federal agencies are conducting.

The 15-page report said that in future elections, the county should provide paper ballots as backups at all polling sites. During the March 2 election, voters could vote by paper ballots only at the Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa.

Other recommendations include better training and troubleshooting instructions for poll workers; earlier setups for polling places; and improved communications between polls and the registrar's office.

Tech support phone lines were jammed on election day when poll workers tried to get help to resolve computer glitches.

Registrar of Voters Sally McPherson, who has not granted media interviews since the election, said in a statement that she will put all the recommendations in place by the Nov. 2 election. County officials intend to continue using electronic voting machines.

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