Voting Rights Watch: Possible e-voting glitches continue to worry voters

reported on the controversy surrounding e-voting machines' technological glitches during this early voting period. Touch-screen electronic voting machines (such as those by Election Systems & Software iVotronic) have been observed in several states - including West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas - "flipping" votes (often switching votes from Democratic to Republican candidates, but sometimes from Democratic to third party candidates).

In response to critics, the West Virginia Secretary of State's office said most of the problems occur because the e-voting machines are not calibrated properly, arguing that daily recalibration is the solution to potential "vote-flipping" problems. In fact, this week two national voting rights groups - The Brennan Center for Justice and Verified Voting - touted West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland's decision to urge counties to recalibrate their machines each morning and are calling on other states to take up the practice.

But some voting rights groups fear that recalibration will not fix the problem. As we reported yesterday in a post since removed due to concerns it was misleading, a county clerk in West Virginia invited a video crew to watch his demonstration of the reliability of the disputed ES&S iVotronic touch-screen e-voting machines. But instead the video crew recorded the machine flipping the votes even after the clerk recalibrated the machine. Since the video aired, the West Virginia Secretary of State's office has disputed the video clip, calling it "fraudulent" because it was edited and not shown in its entirety.

Nevertheless, critics of e-voting machines continue to argue that the technology is unreliable, prone to malfunction, and is open to inaccuracy and technological glitches. Moreover, the reliability of firms used to certify these machines has also come into question this week. Colorado's SysTest Labs, an independent lab that tests and certifies electronic voting machines, is being suspended by the federal Election Assistance Commission for failing to comply with national standards. According to the EAC, SysTest failed to create and validate test methods, maintain proper documentation of its testing and employ properly trained or qualified personnel.

SysTest Labs was responsible for verifying machines by two vendors: Election Systems and Software (including the ES&S iVotronic machines that are allegedly flipping votes) and Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold.