Voting machine trouble looms | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Voting machine trouble looms

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2006 at 10:15 AM

The Pulaski County Election Commission held an emergency meeting this morning to discuss impending problems with voting machines as the May 23 primary election approaches.

"We made the commissioners aware that we are going to be shorted the expected number of touch screen units," said commission director Susan Inman. "The state didn't order enough for us to fulfill our request."

It's not just the machines that are late in arriving. The machines need special software to operate, and the vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), has not provided the software in time to test it before early voting begins.

"We had to order ballots, but we have no method to test the ballots to make sure they properly tabulate," Inman said. "In other words, we are having thousands of ballots printed, but we don't know if they work or not. It makes me nervous."

Inman said they almost certainly will not have enough units in time for the primary voting, as they expected, so they are making alternative plans that include utilizing paper ballots at early voting locations, "which we do not want to do."

This is a statewide issue, because the transition to touch-screen voting is taking place throughout Arkansas. Therefore other counties have the same problems and concerns, Inman noted. She said she is staying in constant communication with ES&S and the secretary of state's office.

The Pulaski County Election Commission will meet again on Friday morning to continue discussions about the issue.

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