VOTING GEAR CHECK REJECTED - Mitch Perry

06/30/04

Top election officials are dismissing a request from an election watchdog group to conduct an independent review of the state's touch-screen voting systems.

Yesterday The Miami Dade Election Reform Coalition urged the governor to conduct audits of the electronic touch-screen voting machines used in 15 Florida counties, and do random audits of the optical scan machines used in the other 52 counties, to determine if they are working correctly during the August 31st primary.

Audit problems in Miami-Dade County have been acknowledged by the company that produces touch screen machines there and 10 other Florida Counties, including Sarasota and Pasco....That would be Electronic Systems & Software, or ES&S , based in Omaha.....

Sandy Wayland is from the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, which was formed after election problems in the 2002 State Elections. (roll tape#1 o.q."and never checked")

The software glitch Wayland referred to in Miami Dade involves a failure to provide a consistent electronic log of the vote activity when the machine is asked to reproduced what happened during an election, such as during a recount.

The machine is capable of recording every entry made on the touch-screen as well as producing an image of every ballot cast. But when Miami-Dade officials conducted tests last October of last year, they discovered that when the information was transferred from the voting machines, the serial numbers were corrupted, and in 2 incidents, the iVotronic machines failed to record 162 votes.

Spokespeople for Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Glenda Hood did not respond to the request, instead accusing the coalition of trying to erode confidence in the state's elections systems.

E&S has told election supervisors that they can avoid the problem if poll workers download the information from each touch-screen machine onto a laptop computer......And that's what Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent tells WMNF is exactly what she intends to do (roll tape#2 o.q."a problem to anyone")

____is a spokesperson for Electronic Systems & Software.

Secretary of State Glenda Hood has criticized Miami-Dade Officials for failing to notify her office when they learned of problems with the iVotronic machines last June....Her office claims they only learned of problems with ES&S a few months ago...

But Sandy Wayland from the Miami=Dade Election Reform Coalition says her group attempted to tell Hood about problems BEFORE then (roll tape#3 o.q."many, many months ago")

A spokeswoman for the Florida Secretary of State's office, Nicole De Lara, said in a statement that: " Florida has conducted hundreds of successful elections using touch screen equipment since 2002. Our state has the most rigorous certification process in the country and uses the most secure and accurate technology available today. When organizations set out to erode voter confidence, they do a disservice to the constituents of Florida who should feel nothing but confident that their votes will be counted."

Florida election officials likewise argue that the computer flaws in the iVotronic machines manufactured by Election Systems & Software can be fixed and do not affect the ability of the machines to accurately record votes.

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