Problems with Voting Machines Cause for Concern

Dec 19, 2008

During an audit of the performance of voting machines across the state, some problems with voting machines in Montgomery County has raised concern. Among the more serious problems, five ballots were found missing from the memory card of one of the Premier Election Solution machines, formerly known as Diebold.

The glitch happened in the Trotwood precinct, where the machine showed 43 people had voted, when in fact, 48 people had voted when compared to paper records of the cast ballots.

Ellis Jacobs represents the Miami valley Voter Protection Coalition.

"It's a real problem because this is just a random audit. They only found this one problematic precinct but it could be a symptom of a much larger problem, and if even if just one vote is lost by a machine, that's one vote too many," says Jacobs.

Robert Diekmann, a sales associate with Premier Election Solutions says this is a new problem that they've not encountered before.

"Election solutions are dedicating our management team and our IT team to resolving the problem that occured and rather than rushing to judgement, we need to take our time and be sure that we have the correct answer," says Diekmann.

But voter advocate Jacobs says it's his hope that the Board of Elections in Montgomery County will conduct an independent investigation as well.

"The Board of Elections was very concerned because the machines have been criticized on a number of fronts, for mechanicial problems, for security problems, and now, as it appears, the machine may not actuually count the votes correctly, that's a serious problem for the continued use of these machines," says Jacobs.

Montgomery County Elections Director, Steve Harsman, says that their first step will be finding out the vendor's results before moving forward.

"I think what we're going to try to do is identify what happened before we make any judgements or any conclusions and once we identify exactly what happened, [we will] see if we can mitigate that to make sure it never happens again before we make any final decisions on anything," says Harsman.

Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner says that their office is monitoring the situation and will be working with Montgomery County to resolve the issues.

The voting machine problems did not affect the outcome of any of the races.