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Government

IN: Machines fail, hours extended, court fights galore

Problems occurring as expected, security expert says. That's what you get when you stress out new, untested technology, deployed with unskilled poll workers.
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Written by Richard Koman on

In Indiana, voters are suffering serious difficulties at the polls. In Delaware County technical glitches in e-voting machines prevented voting in 75 precincts and a judge extended voting hours in the county until 8:40 local time.

On a blog-like page on its website, the Indianapolis Star is posting updates on the situation. At 3:45, the Star reported that there is a new court fight. Should the votes cast during the extended hours by counted as regular votes or provisional ones?

The Republican attorney for the Indiana Election Division has argued that voters in Delaware County must use provisional ballots after the polls close. Provisional ballots are not initially factored into vote totals. They are typically set aside and counted later if necessary.

Chairman Dan Parker of the Indiana Democratic Party responded “I’m calling on Todd Rokita and Republicans to recognize these voters’ fundamental right to cast a real ballot."

The Star also looked to local computer security expert Steven Meyers, who said the technical glitches were no surprise.

"Any time you switch to new technology that people haven't been using and are not trained well on, you should expect some glitches," said Myers, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Informatics. "There are so many places where things can go wrong."

Technology for technology's sake is not necessarily a good thing," he said. "If they had used the money spent on electronic voting to upgrade the paper process, I think you would have had a better system -- and one that gave voters more confidence."

Still, conspiracy theories that Republicans planned to steal votes by hijacking the systems seem unfounded.

"I'm not accusing anyone of doing anything wrong," said Myers, "but the potential is there and it doesn't need to be."
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