IS AN ELECTORAL MELTDOWN IN PENNSYLVANIA'S NEAR FUTURE?
MARCH 27, 2006 -- With the all-important May 16, 2006 Pennsylvania Primary election only fifty days away, many Keystone State counties are desperately scrambling to obtain voting machines that will allow them to comply with the Help America Vote Act.
Although many Pennsylvania counties have yet to sign a contract , most of the vendors who have voting systems certified for use under HAVA in Pennsylvania have bluntly stated that at this point they will be unable to supply the necessary voting machines and training for county staff and pollworkers in time. Those who are still accepting orders have been cutting supplies of machines to the counties (meaning that there may be inadequate numbers of machines and long lines to vote in May), and there is speculation afoot that some vendors are using the desperate "seller's market" to negotiate contracts that will be less than favorable to counties, voters, and taxpayers.
Meanwhile, Cook County IL (Chicago) held a disastrous election this week after rushing into purchase and implementation of an electronic voting system without adequate preparation time for staff and pollworkers. The result? Hundreds of memory cartridges went missing and thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of votes could be lost. Counting was still going on several days after the polls closed, and numerous races remained undecided. And in Texas, at least 100,000 "phantom" votes as well as many other problems appeared in the election results of several counties.
With rush choices being made by Pennsylvania counties, sadly these "meltdown" scenarios may well be Pennsylvania's electoral future.
MORE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN CHICAGO. WILL THIS HAPPEN IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Primary voting-machine troubles raise concerns for '06
Week later, almost all ballots counted
Aldermen mad about election
Aldermen: Halt payments to machine company
Chicago election commission may withhold payments to voting machine vendor
City could withhold payment to voting machine maker
County officials wrap up tally, city still counting
City, county rip voting machine firm
Cook County keeps counting primary ballots
Vote snafu: Some blame new equipment
Poll workers needed voting system training