Days before Alaska's primary election, Democrats were warning voters to stay away from the Diebold electronic voting machines. But US election officials poo-poohed the concerns. "Anyone should be allowed to vote on this equipment and have trust and confidence, and they should have, and I think they will have tomorrow,” said Paul DeGregorio of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
So who was right? Those warning of problems, of course. The Associated Press reports that Diebold machines in seven precincts had problems uploading results, largely as a result of modem glitches. Votes had to be hand-counted.
“We’ve got new technology. Particularly in rural Alaska, we’re going from the paper ballot to cutting-edge technology and the entire process is being slowed down,” said Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster.
State Democratic leader Kay Brown said the glitches are indicative of the problems with the machines.
“I can say there are many systematic problems with Diebold machines that have been identified in many contexts,” Brown said. “That there were technical glitches with the machines is not surprising, and it’s one indication of the kinds of things that can go wrong with the machines and it’s something to be concerned about.”
But, said Brewster, not every technical problems is proof that the voting process is fundamentally compromised. "“Just because they’re not being uploaded doesn’t mean they’re not being recorded accurately,” he said.