Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Diebold TSx not responding to Touch a "Human Problem"

At the Sprague Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. . .

Hi. I followed up on an email by Heather Bennett, a local candidate, forwarded to me explaining that one of her constituents contacted her about voting at the Sprague Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Diebold TSx was having a problem with recording votes on the lower left of the screen. When I saw that there was nothing with the key words on Google News, I reported it to CNN, which then forwards you to your local county officials.

At the office of the Salt Lake County Elections, I spoke to a young lady (at 2:51 pm MDT) who left the phone for a few minutes then came back to tell me that "The machines are working fine." She got this from someone she called Scott K, a technician regularly employed by the Salt Lake County Elections office, who had been sent to the Sprague Library and he told this young lady that the machines were working fine. She also said I could call him at his phone number, 801-468-3470.

So I did. Scott told me that he'd heard that a voter was having difficulty voting, so he stopped by to see if there was an issue, but that it turned out to be a human problem, not a machine problem.

I asked if the pollworkers had been aware of the problem, and at this point Scott wanted to know if I was calling as a citizen or was I part of a group. I said I was a citizen who will post what I find out online because activist organizations across the country were asking individual citizens to get involved in reporting. We continued.

Scott said that according to the pollworkers, when the voter's vote had not registered, one of them had tried, and failed, but that they solved the problem before the voter actually finally "cast" the vote.

Scott observed a demonstration of what had happened, and he told me that for the vote attempts that did not register, they were touching the screen in a way that he wouldn't expect the screen to be responsive. They were pressing it with a wide surface of their finger, then pressing very hard.

When he heard my typing, Scott asked about it, then said he should have been told that I was doing so, but I simply asked if there was a problem with it, and continued.

Scott reiterated that this was a human problem rather than a mechanical one, that people touch things differently, and that some machines are more responsive than others.

When I interrupted to question that, he said, "Let me rephrase that." Some touches, he tried to explain, "The way people touch the screen has something to do with a machine's responsiveness."

I questioned whether this was information that the voters knew or that the pollworkers knew? Scott's response was to point out the three "feedback mechanisms" in the system that give the voters a chance to check to see if their vote was properly recorded before voting. He insisted that this was a voter problem and not a pollworker training issue. He said that a voter is usually persistent enough to handle this.

Finally, he said that he had told the pollworker that if this should happen again, the voter should be given a pencil, because an eraser head is more precise than a digit.

Then, why don't the machines have a stylus? No response.

Scott's full name is Scott Konopasek, and his phone at the Salt Lake County Elections office is 801-468-3470.

Barbara Bellows-TerraNova

[Click title to go to thread at BlackBoxVoting.org where you can comment.]

No comments:

Post a Comment