10/15/2008

Presidential Vote Count Error Found and Fixed in New Mexico

An electronic voting machine test in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, on Friday revealed a programming error that, had it not been caught and corrected before the start of early voting next week, would not have counted hundreds -- or possibly thousands -- of votes for president and U.S. Senate in this Democratic stronghold.

The software error concerned straight party voting, where voters fill in one oval on their paper ballot that indicates they want to vote for all the candidates from a political party. The test revealed that the precinct optical-scanner computers, which read hand-marked paper ballots and compile the precinct vote totals, were not counting "straight party" votes for president and U.S. Senate.

"It was a simple error," said Rick Padilla, a senior system supervisor for the Santa Fe County Clerk office, which runs county elections. "When they did the programming, they didn't link the oval to the (presidential and senatorial votes on the) straight party ticket."

"It is one of the things that always has to be checked really carefully in a general election," said Terry Rainey of Automated Election Services, the company that programs the tabulator and provides other voting services in New Mexico. "That is why we test."
Vote Fraud

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