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Saturday, August 26, 2006 

From the inbox

>Election Machine Problems Surface Again
> In Crittenden County Special Election LITTLE ROCK (Aug. 25, 2006) - A
>letter sent this week, via email, to Republican Secretary of State
>candidate Jim Lagrone from Dixie Carlson, an election commissioner for
>Crittenden county, outlined in detail how problems with the Ivotronic
>voting machines and lack of attention by ES&S personnel once again
>caused major problems with a special election held in that county
>August 8. For that election there were nine precincts voting with just
>one item on the ballot.
> According to Carlson, when it came time for early voting election
>officials had to carry on with paper ballots printed locally - even
>though the election commission had sent the ballot information to ES&S
>in plenty of time to have the machines programmed before the special election.
> Said Mrs. Carlson in her letter, "A call was made to ES&S to find
>out when the PEBs (software information necessary to run the electronic
>machines) and flash cards would be received. They told us they were
>waiting for the ballot information. When (we) told them to look in the
>box that the PEBs and flashcards were in - that they had received three
>weeks earlier - they did so and declared, 'Oh, there it is.' Because
>of this we only received the PEBs and flashcards in time to use for two
>and a half days of early voting."
> Says Carlson, "They didn't even look in the box to see if the
>information was there, and even then, should have called asking for the
>ballot information - but they did neither!"
> In addition to early voting snafus, Carlson told the Lagrone
>campaign that there were major problems with the machines on the day of
>voting, as well.
> "As far as the performance on the day of election, out of nine
>machines two jammed and two needed assistance from ES&S to work
>properly, and six of the machines had to be taken and closed out at the
>courthouse," says Carlson.
> "If this company had such difficulty in a small election with only
>one ballot item being conducted in nine precincts, how can we have any
>confidence in ES&S being able to correctly handle a major general
>election in eight weeks?" asked Carlson.
> Carlson told Jim Lagrone in a follow-up telephone conversation that
>a letter, outling these problems and concerns and signed by all three
>Crittenden county election commissioners, has been sent to the
>secretary of state.
> "I've also asked for permission to go back to using scanners for the
>general election, as it's my understanding that the scanners meet the
>criteria by HAVA. We don't want to just sit and wait until it's time
>for the general election and deal with these same problems all over
>again," she concluded.
> "Charlie Daniels is putting out press releases about how all of
>these problems have been cleared up and he's pleased and confident that
>things will run smoothly with the general election," says Lagrone. "Yet as of Aug.
>8, it's evident absolutely nothing has changed. County clerks and
>election commissioners all over this state are calling and writing to
>me, like Carlson, to expess their concern that the general election
>will just be a repeat of the primary and runoff - yet all we hear from
>the SOS office and in the media is how everything is good and how
>'pleased' Daniels is with how things are going.
> "It's very disconcerting," concludes Lagrone, "because I know it
>doesn't have to be this way. Everyone should feel secure that their
>vote is going to be counted accurately in this very important upcoming
>election and I'm afraid that just isn't the case."

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