E-Voting News and Analysis, from the Experts

Tuesday November 02, 2004

Software Problem in Indiana Forces Hand Count

Filed under: — Felten @ 2:06 pm UTC

Several counties in Indiana are unable to machine-count their optical scan ballots in some local races, due to incorrect tabulation software, according to an Indianapolis Star story by John Strauss.

The problem arises in so-called “at-large” races, in which voters choose more than one candidate from a list. In an at-large race where voters choose N candidates, if a voter chooses a straight ticket for one party, and then casts some votes – but fewer than N – for the other party in the at-large race, Indiana law says that the straight-ticket vote is to be ignored for that race.

The ES&S tabulation software assigns votes differently in this case, so counties that use at-large races will have to count those races by hand. ES&S said this is a change in Indiana law from previous elections, and they were only notified of the change in late October, much too late to revise and test the software.

Fortunately the voting system in question uses paper ballots that can be counted by hand.

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