Saturday, July 31, 2004

The New York Times > National > Office Finds Disk Holding Voting Data From 2002

The New York Times > National > Office Finds Disk Holding Voting Data From 2002:
"Ms. Kaplan said that the loss of the data did not affect the tabulation of results in the race between Bill McBride and Janet Reno, the two Democratic candidates for governor in the 2002 primary. The electronic voting records on touch-screen machines are a back-up measure listing everything that happens from boot-up to shutdown, documenting in an 'event log' when every ballot was cast.

The records also include 'vote image reports' that show for whom each ballot was cast. But the state recently prohibited the use of this data for recounts, saying that touch-screen machines do not allow for human error.

Ms. Kaplan said one computer crash occurred when office employees rearranged the tabulation room without properly powering down the computer network first. Since then, she said, the office has begun backing up data daily on external tapes.

The reappearance of the records seemed to provide little comfort to the county commissioners"

One commissioner, Betty Ferguson, asked why the elections office publicly acknowledged problems only after citizens groups or reporters discovered them. The Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, the same group that uncovered the loss of the 2002 records, also discovered through a public-records request this spring that the audit log functions in Miami-Dade's touch-screen machines were flawed.

Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, chairwoman of the election reform coalition, questioned why the office had not used the audit data to investigate complaints of lost votes in 2002. A study by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida found that 8 percent of votes, or 1,544, appeared to have been lost on touch-screen machines in 31 precincts in Miami-Dade County.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/31/national/31vote.html
con·cept: The New York Times > National > Office Finds Disk Holding Voting Data From 2002