Hoping for a quiet, orderly election day? Dream on. In recent days -- a full week before most Americans go to the polls -- election observers have already reported problems with electronic voting machines:
- Selections made on Diebold touchscreen voting machines in Florida have registered for the wrong candidate, evoking widespread reports of similar problems in 2004.
- Hart Intercivic voting machines in Virginia are truncating the names of several candidates on the summary page, including the name of Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate James H. "Jim" Webb, whose name appears as "James H. 'Jim.'"
This year's election will feature hot races for no fewer than sixty House and a dozen Senate seats, along with a slew of contested state and local races. With many races likely to come down to the wire, election irregularities could lead to disaster.
Along with our partners in the Election Protection Coalition and numerous volunteers, EFF will once again be on the front lines to ensure that voters' ballots are counted as cast. We will help solve technology-related problems at the polls, document voting machine-related incidents for future examination, and bring any legal action that might be required by equipment failures.
EFF today released Electronic Voting Machine Information Sheets that give election observers (and the general public) a quick glimpse into how today's voting equipment works as well as the types of problems that have been reported about these systems in the past. EFF is also investigating reports of voting equipment irregularities and discussing them with on-the-ground observers as well as election officials. Finally, in case something does indeed go wrong next Tuesday, EFF and its partners are preparing legal pleadings that will allow us to go to court to keep polls open, to halt the use of malfunctioning equipment, or stop illegal or erroneous practices by election officials.
If you encounter any type of problems on election day, call the Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE. With your help, we'll be able to help protect voters in the short term as well as continue to improve the accuracy, integrity, and transparency of voting technology over the long term.