Computer Glitch puts a Hitch in vote counting... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

And this in the paper just two weeks after the Auditor gave a talk at the Kiwanis meeting saying "all was Y2K well with the county computers, why they had just put in a new election computer and it was going to make everything just work wonderfully"

They just upgraded for Y2K:

Primary results delayed

Computer glitch puts a hitch in vote counting


MOUNT VERNON -- The Skagit County elections office had just put in a new computer software system in December, hoping to make the job of counting ballots a little easier.

But it didn't work.

Officials had to resort to the old-fashioned way of tabulating ballots this morning -- by hand.

This morning, about 15 ballot inspectors began counting primary election ballots involving 13 municipal, school boards, port and fire district races.

The glitch showed election officials that their early absentee ballot counts were wrong. Preliminary election results may not be available until later today or Thursday.

About 20 candidates and supporters filtered into the courthouse annex shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday to check the election results.

Earlier in the evening, Port of Anacortes Commission incumbent Merrill Thibert was confident that he was going to be competing in the Nov. 2 general election.

He was nine percentage points ahead of challenger Jerry Annett when the first absentee ballots were counted and the results posted.

Early tabulations seemed to confirm his expectations until County Auditor Kathy Hill emerged from her office shortly after 10 p.m. to announce that the computer software used to tabulate the ballots had malfunctioned.

"The system is not tabulating correctly," Hill said. "We want people to disregard the results so far."

Thibert smiled and rolled his eyes, mumbling, "Hooey!"

Election officials knew something was wrong with the results when the early runoff of absentee ballots indicated no one had voted in Lyman, Hill said.

Lyman residents were voting on a Town Council position. The top two vote-getters from the three-person field will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

Election officials consulted a software engineer from the software company, Votec of San Diego. A Votec representative tried to fix the problem over the phone with Chief Deputy Auditor Dave Cunningham.

Hill called it a night about 11:30 p.m.

Hill said Votec's software has been used by Skagit County and has been reliable. The same software had also been used in King County until last year, when they want to an optical-scanning system.

Skagit County elections officials upgraded computer software in December, Hill said. A logic and accuracy test of the computer system, conducted by the Washington Secretary of State's office Friday, came off without a hitch, Hill said.

"They've been a fine company," Hill said, referring to Votec.

Hill said that the software is tabulating correctly, but isn't reporting the numbers accurately.

With almost 10,000 absentee and polling place ballots to count, election officials aren't sure when they'll have results available. Hill said it could be later today or Thursday.

She said 11,151 absentee ballots were sent out. She expects there to be 85 percent returned absentee ballots, so about 4,000 could trickle in for counting.

The ballots were sealed and locked in a vault at the courthouse overnight Tuesday with officials watching.

While election officials scramble to get the first results out, candidates can only wait to see if they'll be running a campaign next month.

"I'm disappointed that the results were not available in a timely manner," said Sedro-Woolley mayoral candidate Sharon Dillon.

"I'm surprised they put a system in this close to an election," Dillon said about the computer upgrades.

Election Returns

The Skagit Valley Herald will provide primary election results today if they become available.

* Internet: Access Skagit Valley Herald Online (

Copyright 1999 by Skagit Valley Herald.

-- Sammie DAvis (, September 16, 1999


More likely, the programming to output the desired pre-arranged results got hosed. There's a book called "Votescam". YOUR VOTE IS WORTHLESS. Any bright high school computer geek can write a program to output whatever the political bosses want -- THEN ERASE ALL TRACES OF ITSELF!!!

"Votescam : The Stealing of America" by James M. Collier, Kenneth F. Collier (see -- price: $10.82

The publisher, Victoria House, , November 2, 1998
Votescam is one of the most important books you can read.
"Votescam: The Stealing of America" is a crash course in how our country has been bought and paid for - how our computer vote is now almost totally controlled -- and how the American public is deceived by the powers that be and will continue to be, until the people literally "rise up" and take back their vote. Investigative reporters James and Kenneth Collier spent over 20 years investigating what they termed "a cancer spreading across our country." Their story has been documented, names have been named, and we can assure you that nobody has sued. As the Colliers would say, don't only read Votescam and weep -- read it and do something! Victoria House Press New York

-- vbProg (, September 16, 1999.

We're done! We're ready! We're compliant!
Uh, but we've had to go back to manual.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 16, 1999.

Someone else posted elsewhere: Paper ballots.

Actually, that would be better, Y2K problems or not. Of course, with paper ballots, they have to be counted, which means the network news can't project the winners based on East Coast results even before voting is over in the West.

It's a lot harder to rig paper. The political bosses got to prepare duplicate ballots and physically switch boxes to get the count they want.

-- vbProg (, September 16, 1999.

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