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Technical and human error more likely to disrupt election than hacks

Jason Wojciechowski
Last Updated: September 13th, 2020

Beware of paper jams, old machines and confused poll workers. What’s causing long lines at the polls? Adrianne Jeffries investigated the technical issues and human error for The Markup that should worry us as November 3 approaches.

She found:

  • Voters taller than six-feet experienced an optical illusion that made votes appear to flip in Arkansas.
  • Workers during the primary in a Michigan precinct blew the power because they had too many Crock-Pots plugged in to cook food over the long day.
  • 1200 new machines this year in L.A. County (5% of the total) failed due to faulty printers.
  • Many of the machines bought as part of the Help America Vote Act in 2002, following the 2000 debacle, have not been upgraded.

But the real culprit is chronic underfunding at both the state and national levels. This will be worsened by the lack of in-person training in many locations as part of COVID-19 safety restrictions this November. Eight-hour long lines in Georgia during their June primary were mostly the result of poorly trained workers operating brand new technology. We are in for a bumpy ride.


Why Do Voting Machines Break on Election Day? – The Markup

Power outages, paper jams, and ancient technology are more likely culprits than hackers

Adrianne Jeffries  —The Markup

Tall voters at disadvantage? - Arkansas Times

Pulaski County election officials yesterday took a touch-screen voting machine out of operation at the Laman Library precinct in North Little Rock because some voters complained it was registering the wrong selections.

Warwick Sabin  —Arkansas Times

Voting Machines

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