Problems in Maryland Just Now Surfacing?

elections, news, wtf?, problems

(Cross-posted to the Evoting-experts blog)

It appears, if this report pans out, that there were massive systemic failures across Maryland involving Diebold AccuVote-TS machines last November; problems including lost votes, multiple machine failures and even unreadable data cartridges.

Why have we only heard about this now? It's unclear. From the first report I've seen on this:

Scoop: Emerging Scandal on MD Voting Machine Performance

Montgomery County, Maryland. According to county election officials and other sources, all Maryland voting machines have been on ''lockdown'' since November 2, 2004 due to statewide machine failures including 12% of machines in Montgomery County, some of which appear to have lost votes in significant numbers. The State Board of Elections convinced the media that Election Day went smoothly, when in fact there were serious statewide, systemic problems with the Diebold electronic voting machines -- so serious that the SBE and Diebold still have not figured out how to prevent the loss of votes in the future.

"Election Day was anything but smooth. Votes were lost, computer cards storing votes were unreadable, thousands of error messages were reported, machines froze in mid-voting and machines refused to boot up. The problems with the machines were so widespread and serious that efforts to hide the problems have failed," said Linda Schade, director of TrueVoteMD.org. "It is not sufficient for Diebold and the SBE to investigate themselves. They have misled the public about this problem and an independent investigation is needed. Further, these problems indicate that the Diebold machines should be decertified as required by Maryland law and as provided for in the Diebold contract. This is an opportunity to correct the mistaken purchase of paperless electronic voting machines. Diebold should refund Maryland tax dollars and we should start anew with a system that voters trust because it can be independently audited and recounts can be meaningful."

We'll need to see some corroboration of this report and what evidence is consistent across the report and what the Maryland elections officials have to say for themselves. I truly hope that this hasn't been shrouded in secrecy for more than four months... that would be an unqualified disaster of the electoral system and responsibility would lie on the shoulders those we entrust to ensure our votes count.

UPDATE [2005-03-09 17:03:57]: A bit more information on this situation has surfaced in an AP story and in a few critical documents on the TrueVoteMD website.

Apparently, the Montogomery County Board of Elections just released a report, "2004 Presidential General Election Review - Lessons Learned", which is the basis for the data cited in the story below. Note that the Maryland State Board of Elections claims to have not seen this report and disputes these numbers saying that only 12 out of approximately 3,000 machines in Montgomery County failed.

TrueVoteMD has posted copies of the report (linked to above) and an internal memo, "Montgomery County Root Cause Failure Analysis". These documents appear to be authentic (that is, no county official is yet disputing their authenticity).

Here's the skinny from the AP story:

Report Shows Problems With Montgomery Voting Machines

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - A review of voting machines used in Montgomery County on Election day found that 7 percent of the machines had problems such as frozen screens or failed to boot up.

An additional 5 percent had vote tallies that were considerably lower than other machines used in the same precincts, causing elections officials to deem them "suspect," according to the report drafted by the county in December for the local election board. [...]

[Montgomery] county's review of the election concluded that 189 of the units failed. Of those, 58 would not boot up and 106 had the screen freeze.

"In staff opinion, this is the most serious of the problems," the report states of the screen freezes.

An additional 122 units had results that were deemed suspect, meaning each had 25-50 votes recorded when all other units in a polling place had more than 150 votes.

Margie Rohrer, spokeswoman for the county election board, said some of the machines have been sent to Diebold for testing. She referred all other questions to the state board. The report does not mention whether the vote tally was affected by the problems. [...]

How will Supremes decide MGM v. Grokster?

copyright, p2p

I'm sitting in Pam Samuelson's p2p class, and we just took a vote on how we think the Supreme Court will decide and should decide the MGM v. Grokster case. The results:

Will it? Should it?
Supreme Court siding for MGM 11 1
Supreme Court siding for Grokster 10 22
Don't know 5 1

This surprised Pam. I think she expected more should votes for MGM.

NYT: White House Approves Pass for Blogger

blogging, politics

The first blogger has been issued white house press credentials. Check it out ("Inside the Gaggle"):

This post, it seems, marks the first blog from a White House press briefing.

How to fix the H07 (HO7, HOT) Error on your Panasonic DVD player (DVD-RP62)

hacks

Link: http://www.ledcar.com/pdvdh07/

So some guy, stefan, has been good enough to post detailed instructions on how to fix the H07 (HO7 or HOT) error that our DVD player (the Panasonic DVD-RP62) has been experiencing. Essentially, all the oil on the motor's spindle has gone dry and the motor gets to hot too fast. (I have cached a copy of the page with instructions just in case you come here via Google and the page linked to above no longer works. The cache is here.)

Apparently, the best solution to this problem (if it's worth the time, and I don't think it is) is to replace the spindle motor with something else (from this form post):

i have repaired about 9 of these units ,the problem is with one of the three coils in the spindel it shorts sending BAdriver chip in to thermal shutdown . replace with 5.9/6volt low profile 1/2 spindel ,almost any spindel motor with thoes specs will work.

Martin Denny, 93, Dies; Maestro of Tiki Sound

music

Martin Denny has died at 93.

Martin Denny, the bandleader who mingled easygoing jazz with Polynesian instrumentation and jungle noises to exemplify the "exotica" sound that swept suburban America in the 1950's and 60's, died on Wednesday at his home in Hawaii Kai, near Honolulu. He was 93. [...]

Mr. Denny's recording of Les Baxter's "Quiet Village," a stately piano theme surrounded by crunchy island percussion - an instrumental but for the parade of jungle cries supplied by his band - was released as a single in 1958 and reached the Top 5 of the Billboard pop charts. His first album, "Exotica," with its image of a sultry model of indeterminate ethnicity peeking through a bamboo screen, stayed at No. 1 for five weeks in 1959. [...]

His music, along with that of Esquivel and others, faded in popularity with the spread of rock 'n' roll in the 60's, but found an underground audience in record collectors and fringe musicians, then enjoyed a full-fledged renaissance decades later as kitsch. The pioneering British industrial-music group Throbbing Gristle dedicated its "Greatest Hits" album to Mr. Denny, and through the 90's arty bands like Stereolab, Air, Combustible Edison and Stereo Total mined the exotica era.[...]

I've long been a favorite of Ultra-Lounge and the tiki sound that he and his cohorts crafted and perfected. (Michelle has about 12 of the Ultra-lounge series... and there are many, many more.)

So, this weekend, raise your tiki drinks and shake that hula ass in rememberance of the soft-spoken king of tiki sound.

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