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Arkansas Election Officials Baffled by Machines that Flipped Race PDF  | Print |  Email
By Kim Zetter,   
May 29, 2008
This article was posted at's Threat Level Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.

Bruce Haggard, an election commissioner in Faulkner County, Arkansas, is baffled by a problem that occurred with two voting machines in this month's general state elections. The machines allocated votes cast in one race to an entirely different race that wasn't even on the electronic ballot. The problem resulted in the wrong candidate being declared victor in a state House race.

"I don't understand how it could possibly happen," Haggard told Threat Level.

The problem occurred with two touch-screen voting machines made by Election Systems & Software, which were the only machines used in Faulkner County's East Cadron B voting precinct.

Haggard says the night before the election, officials noticed that the electronic ballot on two machines slated to be used at East Cadron B was missing the State House District 45 race. So officials printed up paper ballots to be used just for that race in that precinct.

Voters cast electronic ballots on the voting machines for other races, then cast paper ballots for the District 45 race. At the end of the day, Dr. Terry Fiddler (D) had beat Linda Tyler (D) for the House seat with 794 votes to Tyler's 770. But a post-election examination revealed that despite the fact that the electronic ballots on the two machines at the East Cadron B precinct didn't display the District 45 race, the machines recorded votes for that race anyway.
Touch-Screen Votes Flipping in Arkansas Run-off Election PDF  | Print |  Email
By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog   
November 27, 2006

Mayoral Candidate's Own Votes Repeatedly Flipped in County Clerk's Office — in Front of County Clerk — Told 'Election Must Go On, Go Get Court Order'


This article appeared on The Brad Blog. It is reposted with permission of the author. 

Heber Springs, Arkansas, mayoral run-off candidate Jackie McPherson began to suspect problems when both his mother-in-law and her mom told him their attempted vote for him flipped over to McPherson's opponent during early voting. He went to the County Clerk's office to test the problem for himself — in front of the County Clerk, who at first told him it was not possible — and then they were both able to watch the vote flip about 20 times in a row.


McPherson says the head of the local Elections Commission then told him "the election would have to go on," and that he "would have to get a court order to review the machines and the problem that obviously exists."

Garland County, Arkansas: More Voting Problems PDF  | Print |  Email
By Jan Cottingham, Arkansas   
November 07, 2006

Voting Equipment: ES&S M-100 optical scanners and iVotronic touchscreen voting machines


Charles Tapp, chairman of the Garland County Election Commission, said Tuesday that voting "is not going smoothly" and that three technicians and three commissioners are working to correct problems.

Tapp, during a Tuesday afternoon a phone interview with, said “voting is going fast and furious and not smoothly but OK.”

“There’s lots of little computer problems with different machines. … We’ve got three technicians and three commissioners going out to the 39 [voting] locations,” Tapp said.


Read the Entire Article at

Arkansas Latest To Discover That HAVA Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving - To The Voting Industry PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
September 01, 2006

No Federal Money To Pay For Ongoing Cost Of HAVA Purchases


Arkansas is discovering what other states across the country have already found out – running elections on electronic voting machines is expensive – very expensive. And while the federal government was very generous in footing the voting industry’s bill for purchasing the machines, the ongoing costs are the responsibility of the individual counties and the state’s Board of Election Commissioners. This all worked out just right for Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, and the others – the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) puts billions in their pockets for equipment that costs more billions every year to service, program, and maintain. What a racket!

According to a Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article “This spring’s primary and runoff elections — the first held since a federal law expanded the use of electronic voting machines — cost Arkansas roughly $600,000 more than elections in recent years, according to estimates released Wednesday. State officials attributed the added expense to the cost of programming the electronic voting machines and printing specialized ballots.”

We’re talking about operating costs – not the cost of purchasing the machines – ES&S got $15 million from federal taxpayers for that. This is just the cost of running the elections - $2.3 million statewide in 2002, $2.9 million this year. Ongoing costs include ballot printing, programming the vote-counting and electronic-voting machines, the audio recordings for blind-accessible voting machines and the paper used to print hard copies of votes cast on touch-screen voting machines.

And the Board of Election Commissioners is expecting 2008 to cost even more - Susie Stormes, director of the Board of Election Commissioners, said preliminary estimates show that 2008 election costs will grow to as much as $ 3. 7 million as the state replaces old voting equipment in more counties.

Facing a budget shortfall for the current fiscal year of $154,000, the Board will be asking for an additional $2 million from the State Assembly for election administration.

Arkansas: Committeee Accepts Election Report's Recommendations PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
August 03, 2006

Election Systems and Software (ES&S) should be required reimburse Arkansas counties for expenses incurred in the states’ primary and run-off elections this Spring, according to a bipartisan Voting System Performance Review Committee. The exact costs will be determined by the Board of Election Commissioners. The committee had been tasked with reviewing a report prepared by Glenn Newkirk of Raleigh, North Carolina-based InfoSentry Inc. that was delivered last month. (Download InfoSentry report) In the report, Newkirk found that ES&S didn’t send enough workers to Arkansas until after elections finished in other states.

The report, which drew on comments from county officials, analyzed the voting system implementation for Arkansas’s primary election, outlined findings and recommendations on project background and history; project planning, organization, and management; meetings and meeting management; testing and test management; documentation management; risk management and issue tracking; and training and communications. The committee found that Election Systems & Software’s Little Rock office was understaffed and unresponsive to the counties’ needs, and delivered faulty voting-machine programming and paper ballots, often behind schedule. The flaws and late delivery also cost some counties money, forcing them to print extra ballots or hire more staff.


Arkansas signed a contract with ES&S for $ 15 million last November and $ 3. 8 million has already been paid. The balance, minus any adjustments related to the committee’s findings, is to be paid after the company reaches certain milestones, including a successful general election in November.

Arkansas: Report On Primary Meltdown Rips ES&S PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
July 23, 2006

Download Full Report 


Secretary of State Charlie Daniels and a bipartisan Voting System Performance Review Committee are reviewing a report submitted by by InfoSentry Services that analyzed Arkansas’s recent primary and run-off elections. The report recommended that Arkansas renegotiate its contract with Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as a result of problems that ranged from reports of a lack of training and difficulty reaching vendor employees to delivery trucks that showed up unnannounced and misprinted ballots repaired with correction fluid.

According to Daniels, the report stated “Elections Systems & Software did not commit adequate resources to the Arkansas voting system project until after other states’ elections concluded [even when those other state’s contracts were signed after Arkansas’s], which was too late to allow sufficient testing, sufficient equipment programming, and ballot printing to meet critical early voting, absentee, and Election Day deadlines.” In response to this finding, the report recommends “ES&S…document to the State the names of every person at ES&S working on any component of the Arkansas voting system implementation project.”


In an article in the Helena Daily World, one county official described the experience of working with ES&S, "This was the most disorganized bunch ever to run an election in Arkansas. They were untruthful in their responses. Their performance left the burden of this election on us and greatly increased the cost."

Election Meltdown Gets Political in Arkansas PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
June 22, 2006

Plenty of Finger Pointing After Primary Meltdowns


In the wake of problem-plagued primaries and run-offs in Arkansas, election administration has become a hot topic in "The Natural State". Secretary of State Charlie Daniels (pictured at right) has, for the most part, placed the blame squarely on the vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), that failed miserably in upholding their $15 million statewide contract.

An Arkansas editorial quoted Daniels, last weekend, “ES&S let Arkansas down,” Daniels told reporters. “They let our election officials down, and they let me down. I am disappointed and frustrated over their poor performance in this state and what I considered to be their shockingly cavalier attitude toward managing this project for the first five months of the implementation.”

Daniels has named a bipartisan ad hoc committee to review the findings of a study focusing on ES&S. The study is being prepared by Glenn Newkirk of InfoSentry. Newkirk had been involved in the state’s RFP and contract negotiations and has a history of advocacy for paperless electronic voting machines and whitewashing reports in various states. His report on Maryland’s voting systems, written specifically to support the position of State Election Director Linda Lamone has been criticized by computer scientists and election integrity activists. Its difficult to imagine anything different from his study of Arkansas’ election administration.


And Daniels is quick to dismiss anyone who questions the reliability of electronic voting machines, no matter what he has experienced in his state or the credentials of those involved. When Stanford computer scientist David Dill's criticism of Glenn Newkirk's Maryland Report was brought to his attention at a press conference recently, Daniels casually dismissed Dill as a "conspiracy theorist". Clearly, Daniels is more concerned about protecting his decision to spend millions of taxpayers dollars on touchscreen machines than he is in a careful examination of the facts.

The Arkansas Legislature has also authorized their own study of the election problems and Governor Mike Huckabee has said that he would call a special session of the legislature if changes to the state’s election laws are deemed necessary before the General Election in November.

Arkansas: Eight Counties To Forego Touchscreens Next Tuesday After Finding ES&S Programming Errors PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
June 09, 2006
The discovery of programming errors on ES&S iVotronic touchscreen machines has led eight Arkansas counties not to use them in next Tuesday’s run-off election. According to an Associated Press article, Pulaski County Elections Director Susan Inman said that county decided not to use the machines after reviewing the programming code from voting machine vendor Election Systems & Software and discovering errors.
"In its entirety, it was wrong," Inman said. "I forwarded to them in time for the deadline I was given the information for the runoff."

Pope County Election Commission Chairman Dale Brown said election officials opted to not use the touch-screen machines because they didn't believe enough time would be available to program them.

"We just told them not to send them because we were not going to use them," Brown said.
Typically, the vendor tried to dismissed the problem, which could have resulted in inaccurate election results.
Jill Friedman-Wilson, a spokeswoman for Omaha, Neb.-based ES&S, said there were not any errors with the programming but said it was a coding problem that could have been easily addressed.

"It's how precincts and polling stations are laid out in the coding," Friedman-Wilson said.
Ballot programming errors on ES&S optical scan machines required a full hand recount of last Tuesday’s primary election in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. A hand count would be impossible should a similar error with the touch screen machines.
Tabulators Fail in Arkansas on Election Day, Secretary of State Announces Inquiry PDF  | Print |  Email
By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog   
May 23, 2006

This article appeared on The Brad Blog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.


Another Primary Election Day. Another E-Voting Mess. This time in Arkansas.

Mind you, this comes on the heels of earlier announcements that several major counties in Arkansas would be forced to use paper ballots instead of electronic machines after ES&S failed to deliver ballots and programming on time for the start of elections (something like the 10th state in which this has happened with ES&S so far this year, as regular BRAD BLOG readers know. But shhh...don't tell anyone!)

On Monday, the day before the election, at least one county election director in Arkansas pleaded with voters to choose paper on Election Day. "Grab a paper ballot, vote it and put it in the ballot box. It will go smoother," Benton County's election coordinator told voters on Monday.

Well, now it looks like ES&S has failed even further (we're shocked, shocked!) as tabulators in some counties failed to work at all, so ballots can't be counted until tomorrow at the earliest. And now the AR Secretary of State wants some answers about all of it.

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