Friday, November 17, 2006

Transportation Committee Chairman Mike Krusee wins a squeaker via 'black box' voting

System counts too many votes

County confident glitch did not affect results


By Daniel K. Lai
Taylor Daily Press
Copyright 2006

After finalizing all the results from election day, the Williamson County Elections Department found an error in the total votes calculated by computer software.

According to Williamson County Elections Administrator Debra Stacy, the error did not affect the results of the Nov. 7 election.

“Voter sign-in sheets at each voting precinct showed that approximately 84,500 people voted in Williamson County out of 208,521 registered voters for a 40 percent voter turn-out,” she said in a written statement. “However, the elections computer software program that tallies all votes, both scanned ballots and electronic votes, recorded more than 91,000 votes.”

Stacy said the problem occurred within the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) software program.

“While tallying the final results, the software took the number of electronic votes and multiplied that number by three,” she said. “Although there were more votes recorded, it was at the same percentage for both Republican and Democratic candidates. This means that the software problem did not affect the outcome of any election.”

Amanda Brown, a spokeswoman for ES&S, said the company is working closely with the county elections division to understand the origin of the problem.

“It hasn't been determined it was a software problem,” she said. “It could've been, but it also could've been machine or human error as well. We're working diligently to address what exactly caused the problem.”

Brown said ES&S provides election-related services to 43 out of the 50 states throughout the country and cannot specifically say if this is an isolated incident.

“We literally support thousands of customers so there has certainly been some issues in the past, but each one is unique,” she said. “There has been an historical change in the way elections are carried out today and overall voting across the country went very well from what we understand.”

Stacy said the county Elections Administration office is currently reviewing the election process in order to make recommendations to the commissioners court for changes that would prevent the problem from occurring in the future.

Final election results including provisional ballots will be available on the county's Web site at

Copyright © 2006 Taylor Daily Press: