Friday, November 21, 2008

Minnesota Senate Race Could Hinge on Scanning Machine Mistakes

ACM TechNews notes that according to an article in cnet news, the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota is yet undecided and that a hand recount could reveal that several thousand votes were mistakenly rejected by optical-scan voting machines. The outcome of the Senate race may depend on whether scanning machines made mistakes two weeks ago when tabulating ballots. Republican Senator Norm Coleman holds only a 200 vote lead over his opponent, Democrat Al Franken. With Coleman's lead being under a margin of 0.5 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the race on November 4th, the state automatically starts a hand recount of every ballot.

Director of governmental affairs for the Minnesota secretary of state's office Beth Fraser says the optical scanning machines used to read paper ballots could have mistakenly rejected enough ballots to affect the outcome of the race.

Although the optical scanning machines may have rejected some crucial votes, Fraser said the machines are still the best option for counting votes.
"It speeds up the counting but gives us the paper ballots to count on, so the results are fully auditable," she said.

See entire article in cnet news.