November 2, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

No "Plan B" in New Orleans

More details have emerged on the e-voting meltdown in New Orleans. With 80+ incidents being reported through the EIRS in only the first few hours of voting, it seems clear that election officials did not anticipate the machines breaking down and do not have adequate back-up procedures.


Two specific incidents being reported:

1. It appears that a large number of students at Southern University in New Orleans are being turned away. These are reportedly first-time voters, and at one point there were at least 100 waiting in line. The students are reporting that they have registered to vote but do not appear on the list of registered voters. The polling officials are evidently refusing to release provisional ballots, advising the students to sign up on a list. No one knows when or if they will be able to vote.

2. An Iraq veteran is reportedly being prevented from voting. The machine is down, there are no paper ballots to serve as back-up, and the veteran cannot get a provisional ballot because officials are waiting for permission from the registrar and the phones are jammed.

Update: Dan Wallach has additional details at, culled via a local news station website (reg. req.):

  • 9th Ward 43A Osbourne School: 3 machines, 1 working; also, no machines working at 43D
  • 1949 Duels Street runs out of provisional ballots
  • 3411 Broadway, Terrell Mary Church magnet school: voter says only one machine working
  • 3900 Louisiana: machines not working
  • George Mondy School - 2327 St. Phillip - machine broken and voters in precinct 0605 cannot vote
  • Jackson School (ward 1 Precinct 1) No keys for machines

Update #2: Even more details surface at "We can only hope that the three [conflicting] stories [about voting trouble] are not all true. If they are all true, then there are serious problems, and the Secretary of State's office doesn't know about them."

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