Feeds

Computer voting snafus plague California

Come back chad, all is forgiven

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Bizarre election results in California have been traced to an electronic touch-screen ballot system. But no one is quite sure what went wrong, and because there is no paper trail, no one is ever likely to get to the bottom of it.

In several Orange County precincts last week, more ballots were cast than the number of registered voters can account for, the LA Times reports.

Around 5,500 citizens appear to have unwittingly cast votes in the wrong districts, out of a total of 7,000 who experienced some manner of snafu, the newspaper reckons.

The unlikely number of ballots cast in certain precincts alerted officials to the difficulties. This does not mean that less obvious errors did not occur at the same time. But at least, in those areas where the ballots cast exceeded voter turnout, it is known that some manner of snafu occurred.

A spokesman for the voting system manufacturer hastened to make a virtue of the bungling: "David Hart, chairman of Texas-based Hart InterCivic, which manufactured Orange County's voting system, said it would be impossible to identify which voters cast ballots in the wrong precincts because of steps the company had taken to ensure voter secrecy. For this reason, an exact account of miscast ballots is impossible," the LA Times says.

Fortunately, the discrepancies - at least those that have been detected - are too slight to have influenced the outcomes of any elections. However, had any of the races been close, Orange County would have found itself in the awkward position of knowing that an election is doubtful, and having no hope of sorting it out.

Since a paper recount is impossible with the majority of these machines, one has to wonder if touch-screen voting might eventually inspire nostalgia for the hanging chads, political wrangling and mass confusion that propelled George W Bush into the Oval Office. The old system may have been a nasty business, but at least we know what went wrong with it. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?