Monday, March 8, 2004

Mishaps run deeper than new machines

By Jeff McDonald and Luis Monteagudo, Jr., San Diego Union-Tribune, 03/07/04


The registrar's office is still calculating the number of precincts that experienced problems and for how long, but by any measure it was high. The day after the vote, officials said at least 250 of the 1,611 precincts had not opened by 7:30 a.m. They have since declined to update those numbers.


San Diego County investigators are not the only government officials reviewing the performance of the electronic voting system. State and federal regulators also are conducting independent reviews.

The state could move to decertify the machines, but it is more likely to order improvements in training and responses to glitches that might arise during the general election.

No matter what investigators find or recommend, many voters are still angry about the confusion. More than a few worry that their ballots may not have been properly registered.

"I've been voting 50 years, and I've never been denied the right to vote before," said William Fore, a retired clergyman from Escondido. "This is like a banana republic."


John Pilch, a retired insurance agent who worked as a polling place inspector in San Carlos, said that when polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, the number of people who signed the voter log differed from the number of ballots counted by computers.

"We lost 10 votes, and the Diebold technician who was there had no explanation," said Pilch, who registered complaints with elections officials, his county supervisor and several others. "She kept looking at the tapes."

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