by David Safier
Florida uses paper ballots,and the results are tallied by an optical scan election system. Sample auditing of the ballots is done after the elections are certified.
In two recent races, the machines flipped the votes, awarding the victories to the wrong candidates. According to Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections, Susan Bucher, this means other elections might have been flipped and nobody caught it.
The culprit? A technical problem with the machines which the vendor knew about but didn't reveal.
“We took over this equipment in 2007. They never disclosed the error,” said Bucher “The company didn’t own up to it real quickly and neither did the state. And we had to prove that it was a software error and we did so.”
“What we’re finding out, is that there are problems with almost every system in the United States,” said Bucher. This issue is leaving some supervisors to shake their heads about the machines their constituents are voting on and how paper ballots in just random races will ever be checked.
“I’m a little bit concerned about the fact that we’re conducting random audits and we might not catch, in the future, any kind of software anomaly that could occur that would call the wrong winner,” Bucher said.
The article doesn't imply there was any conspiracy to rig the elections, just a buggy system that flipped the results on its own. That by itself is terrifying. The very strong possibility that the software can be manipulated by insiders to flip an election on purpose is even worse -- and it's been shown it can be done by someone who has hands-on or electronic access to the machines and a little bit of knowledge.