Thursday, December 14, 2006

More on the Denver election problems

An article by Todd Weiss in Computerworld discusses the problems with Denver's "e-poll book," implemented by the same company that developed their voting machines.

Poor software design, serious IT management inefficiencies and an untested deployment of a critical application were all major factors in last month's Election Day problems in Denver, according to a scathing report from an IT consultant. The problems led to hours-long delays for voters looking to cast ballots and raised questions about the overall efficacy of e-voting...

[I]t led to massive problems on Election Day due to "decidedly subprofessional architecture and construction," according to the report from consultants Fred Hessler and Matt Smith at Fujitsu Consulting in Greenwood Village, Colo. Fujitsu was hired by Denver shortly after the election to find out what went wrong and help to fix the problems. "The ePollBook is a poorly designed and fundamentally flawed application that demonstrates little familiarity with basic tenets of Web development," the report stated...

"Moreover, it appears that this application was never stress-tested by the DEC or Sequoia," other than using it in the spring primary as a test election, the report said. "It is at best naive to deploy enterprise software in an untested state. It is remarkably poor practice to deliberately choose a critical production event (the primary election) to serve as a test cycle." ...

The voting center delays -- with waits in some places of up to three hours -- forced an estimated 20,000 voters to abandon their efforts to vote on Election Day, according to the report.

You don't have to miscount the votes if they aren't even cast!

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