Saturday, October 23, 2004

voting machine crash in Florida

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. A pre-election test of electronic voting machines in Florida has been postponed after heat caused the crash of a server that tabulates the data.
Critics were quick to say the episode underscores the need for touch-screens to be backed up with paper records. The glitch happened in Palm Beach County, home of the infamous hanging and pregnant chads from the 2000 election dispute.

Nearly one in three U-S voters will use touch-screen voting machines to cast their ballots Election Day.

A former senior testing engineer says heat is a serious problem for touch-screens, especially in locales like Florida and Louisiana.

KRON4 - AP - October 14, 2004 or earlier
Computer crash linked to excessive heat deepens concerns about electronic voting

Submitted by George Wiman.

Wired News reported it as

Tuesday's public dry run had to be postponed until Friday because a computer server that tabulates data from the touch-screen machines crashed, said county elections supervisor Theresa LePore. Such "logic and accuracy" tests are required by law.

She said she suspected Hurricane Jeanne, which struck in September, may have zapped electricity and air conditioning to the room where the server was stored, causing temperatures to soar to 90 degrees or more and possibly causing the crash. The storm wiped out power to nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses throughout Florida.

The incident raised questions in the minds of computer hardware and software engineers about the reliability of other computers on which Floridians will depend for an accurate vote count on Nov. 2 — especially touch-screen machines.

An Achilles' heel of electronic voting equipment, just like any machines whose circuits get hot with colliding electrons, is its inability to tolerate extreme conditions, many experts say.

Wired News - AP - Oct. 14, 2004
E-Vote Snafu in Florida

Slashdot reported it as Florida Electronic Voting Machines Crash /.
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