Against Machine Counting


The Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots focuses specifically on the fraud and error of electronic voting machines and the solution of hand-counted paper ballots. However, we include Voter's Unite here that also lists other kinds of election problems, because it is such an excellent source for anyone concerned with the honesty and fairness of our elections, including electronic voting machines malfunctions.

Furthermore, we highly recommend seeing Hacking Democracy, a 2006 documentary by Robert Carrillo Cohen, Russell Michaels, and Simon Ardizzone. This film was originally aired on HBO, and is now available for free viewing online, and runs approximately 81 minutes. This film shows hacking of the electronic voting machines.

VotersUnite! began this problem log with the November 2004 election. It continues its compilation of problems reported in the media by adding news stories about subsequent elections.

View the problem log>> 


General and state-specific election problem reporting tools (Hotsheets)

For the Nov 2, 2010 election, Roy Lipscomb, of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, developed a Hotsheet for citizens to report election irregularities directly to the public, and is offering to clone and customize the Hotsheet for other election integrity groups and individuals. Customized Hotsheets were available for: MA, IL, TX. Although this election is past, keep these tools in mind for the next one, which is not all that far away; given the continued spread of machine voting, you will be more likely than ever to need these hotsheets.


DC internet voting pilot hacked almost immediately

By Dr. J. Alex Halderman, Professor of computer science at the Univ. of Michigan

October 5, 2010

The District of Columbia conducted a pilot test of an internet voting system, advertised as enabling overseas and military voters to vote absentee. Dr. J. Alex Halderman describes how his team hacked this system "within 36 hours of the system going live". They were able to collect supposedly secure data from it, modify already-cast ballots stored in the system, rig the system to modify ballots yet to be cast, changed the system password, installed a back door to enable ongoing spying on voters ballots, and programmed the system to play the University of Michigan fight song. More about this on CNN. In particular, they discovered that attackers in China and Iran were also trying to break into the system.


If you can program a voting machine to play Pac-Man, you can program it to do anything

By Dr. J. Alex Halderman, Professor of computer science at the Univ. of Michigan

August 9, 2010

Dr. J. Alex Halderman and Ariel J. Feldman of Princeton Univ. reprogrammed the Sequoia AVC Edge touchscreen voting machine to play Pac-Man. See embedded video below.

Kim Zetter adds: "No word on plans to give Ms. Pac-Man suffrage."

An earlier video from the same Princeton researchers about stealing votes wholesale and without a trace

By Ariel J. Feldman, Dr. J. Alex Halderman, Professor of computer science at the Univ. of Michigan; and Edward W. Felten

September 13, 2006

Here is their YouTube page about writing software to steal votes that can infect previously uninfected voting machines via memory cards, and about the ease of breaking through physical security on the Diebold (later Premier Election Systems, now owned by former competitor ES&S) AccuVote TS voting machines.


Serious Error in Diebold Voting Software

Caused Lost Ballots in California County -- Update

By Kim Zetter

December 08, 2008

"Election officials in a small county in California discovered by chance last week that the tabulation software they used to tally votes in this year's general election dropped 197 paper ballots from the totals at one precinct. The system's audit log also appears to have deleted any sign that the ballots had ever been recorded..." 

   Read More>>   


E-Voting Machines [ES&S M-100]

Used in Disputed Franken, Coleman Race Failed Tests

By Jason Leopold

The Public Record

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Electronic voting machines [ES&S M-100] that a Michigan election official said last week incorrectly tabulated vote counts during pre-election tests in the state were used in Minnesota where the senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken is in dispute...." Read more>>

Ritchie: Senate recount will involve hundreds, cost $90K

by Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio

November 5, 2008

"Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told reporters today the recount to decide the U.S. Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken will involve hundreds of people and will cost at least $90,000.

St. Paul, Minn. ­ Every single ballot cast yesterday will be recounted by hand...."  Read more>>

Letter to EAC about problems with optical scans

by Ruth Johnson,

Oakland County Clerk, Michigan

Read the letter>>

ES&S Voting Machines [optical scan MS-100]

in Michigan Flunk Tests, don't Tally Votes Consistently

By Kim Zetter 

November 03, 2008 | 6:47:24 PM 

"Optical-scan machines made by Election Systems & Software failed recent pre-election tests in a Michigan county, producing different tallies for the same ballots every time, the top election official in Oakland County revealed in a letter made public Monday...."

Read more>>

Election Equipment 2008

Usage distribution of the ES&S M-100 optical scan machines in the U.S. can be found in this link



1225 New York Ave. NW -- Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20005

*For Immediate Release

*October 31, 2008; Updated November 20, 2008


Jeannie Layson

Sarah Litton 

(202) 566-3100

EAC Suspends SysTest Labs

”WASHINGTON- The U.S. Election Assistance Commission today suspended the federal accreditation of SysTest Labs. Correspondence from the EAC and SysTest concerning this decision is available here and here. The EAC announced its intention to suspend SysTest Labs earlier this week. Background information on the events leading to the decision is available here.

The EAC is an independent commission created by the HAVA. The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The four EAC commissioners are Rosemary Rodriguez, chair; Donetta Davidson, vice chair; Gracia Hillman and Gineen Beach.”


SC Voting Machines Prone to Problems,

Warns USC Computer Science Chairman


Published: October 28, 2008

News Channel 7HD

"There have already been a record high number of voter registrations and absentee voters in South Carolina, so a record-high turnout on Election Day is likely. But will your vote register for the candidates you want?..."

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Machine Problems Frustrate Early Voters

by Jennifer Clendenion,

The Decatur County Chronicle  10/22/08

"Several Decatur County voters are concerned about problems with the voting machines at the Election Commission Office. Voters claim they tried to vote for McCain for President but the machine checked Obama instead.

At least three voters encountered the problem when casting their early ballot on Saturday morning. Franklin Boroughs says he intended to vote for Republican but rather the computer had checked the Democratic candidate instead.

Wanda and Barney Blasingim similarly said they tried to vote for McCain but the machine switched the vote.

’I noticed the problem immediately,’ Wanda said Monday. She says she touched the “button” for McCain a second time and the problem was corrected. Her husband said he asked for assistance from election workers and was told the error sometimes occurs when a person’s finger touches close to the line of the box the candidate’s name is in.

While Blasingim maintains that his finger was not on the line, Election Commissioner Rick Box said the trouble may be that when a person is standing in front of the machine, it may appear their finger is poised over one button but it is actually closer to the button above…. "

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Machine ballots omit candidates' names


Island Packet News, October 22, 2008

"A day after problems with incomplete paper ballots were reported, some Bluffton voters said the absentee ballots they cast in person on machines at the Hilton Head Island elections office weren't recorded correctly.

Three of four candidates for Bluffton Town Council also said they have heard complaints about the island election office from residents voting absentee in person.

The three candidates who said voters have contacted them about absentee voting problems -- Jeff Fulgham,

Normand ‘Gus’ Thomas and incumbent Fred Hamilton -- said Tuesday that voters had been reporting problems since last week…"

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More W.Va. voters say machines are switching votes

In six cases, Democratic votes flipped to GOP

Paul J. Noyden

Staff writer, Sunday Gazette Mail

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- "Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.

This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to 'John McCain'...."

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WV voters say machines are switching Dem votes to GOP

Scott Finn


"Voters in at least two West Virginia counties – Jackson and Putnam – say electronic voting machines are switching their votes from Democrats to RepublicanS

The two county clerks, both Republicans, say they don’t think there’s a problem. But these voting problems have gotten the attention of everyone from CNN to liberal website The Huffington Post.

So far, eight voters from Jackson and Putnam counties have come forward to say their electronic voting machines kept changing their votes from Democrats to Republicans – usually, from Obama to McCain…."

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Some early W.Va. voters angry over switched votes

Jackson County touch-screens switched votes, 3 residents say

Paul J. Nyden Staff writer

Sunday Gazette-Mail, October 18, 2008

"At least three early voters in Jackson County had a hard time voting for candidates they want to win.

Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates."

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Avoid Straight-Party Voting

Straight-party voting laws are confusing.

Misprogramming often counts votes incorrectly.

by Ellen Theisen,

updated October 19, 2008


"Straight-party voting (also called 'straight-ticket' voting) means selecting a single bubble or box for a specific political party in order to register your vote for multiple candidates of that party. Only 15 states allow straight-party voting, and the laws vary widely from state to state.

We strongly recommend: avoid using the straight-party option. If you want to vote for all candidates of the same party, mark each candidate individually.... "

Read More>>


Planning to E-Vote? Read This First

By Larry Greenemeier

Scientific American, August 18, 2008

"At the Last HOPE conference, University of Pennsylvania researchers who led EVEREST's analysis of ES&S e-voting technology described exploitable security vulnerabilities in almost every hardware and software component of ES&S's touch-screen and optical-scan systems. Some of these flaws, Clark said, could allow a single voter or poll worker with bad intentions to alter countywide election results, possibly without election officials ever knowing that the results had been tampered with. ‘There wasn't an attack that we tried that we weren't able to carry out,’ she added. ‘We learned that every current e-voting system has serious exploitable vulnerabilities.’…."

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Officials Say Flaws at Polls Will Remain in November 

By Ian Urbina

New York Times, August 15, 2008

"Flaws in voting machines used by millions of people will not be fixed in time for the presidential election because of a government backlog in testing the machines’ hardware and software, officials say.…"

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Ohio Voting Machines Contained

Programming Error That Dropped Votes

By Mary Pat Flaherty

Washington Post, August 21, 2008

"….The flawed software is on both touch screen and optical scan voting machines made by Premier and the problem with vote counts is most likely to affect larger jurisdictions that feed many memory cards to a central counting database rapidly…"

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Company acknowledges voting machine error

STEPHEN MAJORS Associated Press Writer, August 21, 2008

"A major voting machine maker has notified its customers in 34 states that a programming error discovered during testing may cause votes to be dropped when they are uploaded to a computer server from the machines' vote-holding memory cards.

Premier Election Solutions Inc. supplies touch-screen voting systems as well as scanners for paper ballots to large and small customers throughout the nation. The error communicated in a Tuesday product advisory occurs when multiple memory cards are being uploaded at the same time, and it is more likely to occur in jurisdictions that have several voters and use touch-screen voting systems, said Premier spokesman Chris Riggal…."

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Warning on voting machines reveals oversight failure

By Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers

McClatchty, August 24, 2008 

WASHINGTON - "Disclosure of an election computer glitch that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of voting equipment sold nationwide since 2003…."

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ES&S election monopoly blocked. Still at least 17 ways to steal or botch your next election.

By Lani Massey Brown

If you've been following recent news reports concerning Elections Systems & Software, Inc.'s monopoly of America's voting process, you know ES&S will now be required to sell the Premier Systems/Diebold assets they acquired last year, pending approval by a federal judge

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