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Rather report rundown (*updated)

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Just finished watching Dan Rather’s “The Trouble With Touch Screens” on HDNet. Frazier Moore at the AP has filed this summary of the piece without repeating any of the names of the companies Rather and his team investigated. From Moore’s article:

[The report explores] the very paper from which punch-card ballots were made and glaring shortcuts in how certain touch-screen voting machines were produced.

“Our story is not that the election would have turned out differently in 2000 if certain things hadn’t happened. No one can know that,” Rather said Monday. But his eight-month investigation has “dug down vertically as deep as we were capable of doing” to probe the brewing problems — including on-camera interviews with workers who had a front-row seat.

As soon as I get a hold of the episode transcript I’ll post bits from the report here.

* Late Tuesday night update: WIRED’s Threat Level blog does look into some of the companies that Rather named in his investigative report, and finds that voting machine manufacturer ES&S didn’t disclose a Manila manufacturer of its voting machines to the appropriate government agency. Rather’s crew visits that factory to interview workers who speak about poor wages, working conditions, and flaws in the design of the voting machines. ES&S contacted Threat Level to respond to the post. Kim Zetter writes:

After this post was published, ES&S responded to my query about why the Manila factory didn’t appear on its list of manufacturers by saying that it was an “unintentional oversight” and that the company would promptly update the list it had sent the EAC and “ensure future reports contain all information required.”

3 Responses to “Rather report rundown (*updated)”

  1. AllAboutVoting Says:

    My thoughts on the 12 minute teaser.
    I hope that the full hour becomes available on line.

    Of note from the clip:

    • In Lee County Florida, voting elections operations staff found that they had to have triple the staff that they did when they used punch systems to cope with maintaining and testing the machines.
    • The machines were assembled in the Philippines by workers making minimum wage there ($2.15-$2.50/day)
    • Factory temperature often was 90 degrees plus with inadequate cooling systems
    • Lots of creepy crawlies had to be cleaned out of the factory
    • The manufacture involved no quality tests aside from a shake test – even that was not always used
    • The principal machine fault was with ‘bubbling’ of the touchscreen component. This is consistent with reports of misaligned touch screens.
  2. AllAboutVoting Says:

    I summarize the full video here and link to a few relevant sites and posts.

    To me, the most interesting part of the video was the information about the incompetence or fraud of Sequoia voting systems in producing the punchcard ballots used in 2000 Florida. They went from having a very high quality product to a very shody one under suspicous circumstances.

  3. AllAboutVoting Says:

    Tell congress to investigate the allegations brought up by this show!

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