Human error blamed for N.M. election glitch

Human error blamed for N.M. election glitch

By Donna Young

GCN Staff

NOV. 13—Election officials in New Mexico's Bernalillo County, the state's most populous area, found that 67,000 absentee and early-voting ballots were incorrectly counted following last Tuesday's presidential election.

The panicked officials first thought computerized tabulation machines or balloting software might be at fault. The county uses the AccuVote optical scan system from Global Election Systems Inc. of McKinney, Texas.

Frank Kaplan, Global's Western regional manager, said that although the tabulation system and software worked correctly, a county technical employee failed to set up an element of the system properly. 'It was simple human error,' Kaplan said.

New Mexico's ballots are designed for voting by party, but voters can cross over to candidates from other parties. A programmer did not link the candidates' names to their respective parties, Kaplan said. When the tabulation machine scanned the ballots, it didn't read each vote, only the party.

'There was nothing wrong with the machines or the software, and the problem took 22 minutes for us to fix,' Kaplan said. 'It was just a matter of clicking on the correct link.'


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