Technology Malfunctions in 2012 Election

Broken and malfunctioning voting machines and confusion about how new technology works caused problems in this year's presidential election.

by / November 7, 2012

In a technology flaw reminiscent of an episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer tries to vote for Obama in the 2008 election but the machine changes his vote, a  Perry County, Penn., electronic voting machine changed a vote for President Obama to one for Mitt Romney -- repeatedly. The same happened in Pueblo, Colo., and Adams County, Colo., as well as in Union County, Penn. The machine from the following video was reportedly repaired and put back into commission without further complaints.

Between malfunctioning or broken voting machines and mismanaged email voting, it appears voting systems need some work, Information Week reported.

Before the election, concerns raised by election watchdog groups about the lack of a paper trail in many new electronic voting machines foreshadowed the problems that would come. On Nov. 5, the Ohio Green Party chairman filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of software upgrades installed on voting machines in 39 Ohio counties, on the grounds that the upgrades were not tested and certified as required by law.

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, there were reports of jammed ballot counting machines. There were also reports of broken or malfunctioning machines in Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City; Rehoboth, Mass.; Milwaukee; Columbia, S.C.; Chandler, Ariz.; and South Florida. In many cases, broken machines led to long lines. Mayor Bloomberg called the situation surrounding New York City's new voting system “a nightmare.”

Email voting was made available in New Jersey following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, but officials were not ready in many cases. Some expressed security concerns, while in other cases, full email boxes prevented votes from getting through. Some people were confused about the whole system and did not understand how to vote.

For more debacles and some positive outcomes of technology being used in the 2012 presidential election, visit Information Week.

Main image courtesy of Youtube/Tomthunkit