Voting Rights Watch: Relatively few e-voting problems, but GOP still readies for possible action

Unlike the last two elections, yesterday's balloting took place without significant, widespread problems with electronic voting machines -- at least not the kind of problems that raise questions about the outcome of the presidential race. The watchdogs at Black Box Voting have compiled only a handful of fairly localized reports so far involving e-voting concerns:

* In Kenton County, Ky., elections officials pulled 108 E-Slate voting machines after they dropped a state senate race when voters tried to select a straight party ticket. County officials are hand-counting the votes for that race.

* A voting machine failed in Jim Wells County, Texas, requiring ballots to be set aside in an emergency bin.

* A scanner at a polling place in Palm Beach County, Fla. was not working. Poll workers put ballots in boxes for processing later.

* Problems have been reported in various locations with Election Systems & Software's M100 ballot scanners, with some machines giving erroneous over-vote messages that poll workers had to override.

Folks at the Election Protection Coalition's 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline also noted widespread problems with optical scanners in Michigan, which they suspect may have been caused by poor maintenance. In addition, they reported machine problems in New Jersey.

Election officials in Florida's Hillsborough County report that Premiere Elections software failed to upload information remotely from the precincts last night. Workers drove the optical scanning machines to the election supervisor's office, where vote totals were being directly downloaded and counted today.

And in suburban Chicago's Cook County, computers stalled for more than an hour last night, and it reportedly took two teams of software engineers from Sequoia Voting systems to figure out what was wrong.

The Election Protection Coalition promises to offer more analysis of e-voting issues soon; we will bring you more information as it's available.

Despite the relative lack of Election Day problems with computerized voting, the Republican National Committee has still taken steps to investigate possible computer-related fraud. Forensicon, a Chicago-based computer forensics firm, released a statement yesterday reporting that it had been contacted by a security firm helping the RNC "with consulting related to potential allegations of computerized voter fraud."