Summitt County Ohio has new voting machines, but the election director predicts that there will be trouble during the May 2 primary. His equipment is sold by ES & S of Omaha. The following Iowa counties should pay special attention, as they have also purchased similar new voting machines from ES & S:
Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Dallas, Decatur, Delaware, Emmet, Grundy, Hancock, Hardin, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Kossuth, Lee, Louisa, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Pottawattamie, Van Buren, Wapello, and Woodbury.
According to the story in the Akron Beacon Journal, the problem lies in the memory cards that record the vote totals as the scanner reads the paper ballots. Election director Bryan Williams says the cards work one day, but not the next:
“One card is physically coming apart at the seams,'’ Williams said. “We’re seeing at every point of use, a little drop off.'’
Williams said that based on what he has seen so far, he can only expect that some of the 475 memory cards programmed for each county voting precinct will not work on Election Day.
And that’s not all. When the 475 cards (virtual ballot boxes) are in turn read by the machine that adds all precincts together, more errors occur:
The main ballot tabulator, called the election reporting manager or ERM — which is supposed to read the memory cards and report totals — also isn’t working correctly. At one point in practice runs, the tabulator was dropping off dozens of races for Republican candidates for precinct committee members.
And, the machines the county purchased to accommodate disabled voters still aren’t working right, even though by law they should have been available for absentee voting that has been ongoing since the end of March.
When a blind man came to the elections board to vote absentee last week, he had to vote instead with the assistance of a bipartisan pair of board employees.
The conclusion of one member of the board of elections is this:
`If it doesn’t work, we’re either going to ship it back and go into litigation or you’re going to retrofit it,'’ Arshinkoff said. “The manure is going to hit the fan on this.'’
At least they will have the original paper ballots to rely on, even if the machines can’t count them correctly. I’m sure they are grateful for that.
This is another example of why doing your own test ballots and performing audit checks after the election are wise practices.