- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Electronic voting machines caused only minor glitches in states participating in the Super Tuesday elections yesterday, despite concerns that the new computer technology would malfunction or fail.

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine delayed his 6 a.m. trip to the polls after he was informed about a problem with a voting machine in his district, spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said.

“It was very minor. They essentially rebooted the machine, and it started working properly,” Miss Stainton said. “He waited in line for five minutes. It doesn’t appear to have been any sort of widespread problem.”

Meanwhile, tornadoes tore across Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, shutting down several polling places.

Pamela Smith, a spokeswoman for the Verified Voting Foundation, said her organization received about 1,000 complaints nationwide, but mostly about long lines, polling locations and registration. “I’m glad to know there were not a lot of major disasters,” she said. “But stories may continue to trickle in.”

A glitch reported to the foundation yesterday was a failure of some electronic poll books in Georgia, where voters now are required to show photo identification to sign in to vote.

“Long lines were forming behind empty voting machines because they can’t get checked in. That’s one issue we are hearing about,” Miss Smith said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that some polling places were closed when the early voters arrived, and the Verified Voting Foundation logged calls complaining that California polling places and precincts were not ready when the polls opened.

Grace Chavez, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder County Clerk, said all of its 4,379 polling places were “up and running and helping all those voters out there.”

Last night, an Alameda County, Calif., judge extended voting until 9 p.m. because of ballot shortages, according to Bay Area television station KRON. Higher than expected turnout caused a shortage of Democratic primary ballots across parts of Alameda, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties.

A few glitches were reported in Cook County, Ill., where 600,000 voters are registered at 2,290 precincts. Cook County Clerk David Orr said that at least two precincts opened late because equipment was sent to the wrong precinct, but court orders were pending to allow those precincts to stay open an hour later.

Common Cause and the Verified Voting Foundation issued a report last week detailing “high risks” for six of the states holding presidential primaries, including machine malfunctions or vote-tampering. Those states were Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Tennessee.

The groups are lobbying Congress to award funding to states that want to convert to paper-based systems.

The system did not work smoothly yesterday for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the conservative co-host of ABC’s “The View.”

“My name wasn’t in the book, so I had to do the paper ballot. … All of a sudden, the only names I’m seeing are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, everyone on the Democratic ticket,” she told the audience. “It took [a precinct judge] forever to find the Republican ballot.”

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