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Yavapai County Election Day Report

Generally, everything went very well in Yavapai County. 
More than 60% of the vote centers (56 out of 89) had modemed in their results within a half hour of the polls closing ( 7 PM ).  All but one had been uploaded by 9:45 (regional centers uploading or driving the units in.)  The last one uploaded at 10:30PM (had to be driven in from an outlying area.)  Outside of the usual heavy voter registration inquiries on election day, the customer was pleased with this election.  The turnout was approx. 67% of registered voters.  One point that was significant for them was that approx. 50% of the ballots cast for this election were done through early ballots (mostly paper but some touch screen.)  They seemed to prefer the "mailed ballot" approach to elections.
There were some anomalies that I would like to outline below for edification and comment.
  1. AV-OS Dropping Ballots.  They had experienced ballots being dropped by various OS units (no SNs) before the election, during testing and demonstrations.  This is a problem previously identified with 1.94w Bug 275 (http://staff.dieboldes.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=275) and Bug 1393 (http://staff.dieboldes.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=1393) and has been resolved in AV-OS firmware version 1.96.4.  I believe Wyle certification efforts are in progress for this release and when it has become certified in Arizona, support can inform the customer of the resolution.
  2. AV-OS Unit Freeze.  They had one AV-OS unit "freeze" at the Prescott Community Center (Prescott Valley).  I went to that precinct and found that the unit was not turning the motor ON when a ballot was inserted and the poll count read 308 .  When the time was appropriate to investigate, I had the poll worker open the front door on the BB and I held in the NO button for 3 - 5 seconds.  The message that should have been displayed wasn't displayed, which indicates that the AV-OS CPU board was "hung up." It should have indicated "Read Aborted / By User" if the CPU was waiting for a ballot to be inserted into the reader.  The unit was then powered OFF and ON, and accepted ballots for the rest of the day.   At this time, there is no resolution for this freezing condition.
  3. Ballots Hanging in BB Chute.  A BB had ballots hanging in the curved chute, which caused ballots which were trying to be processed to hit those ballots in the curved chute and cause the processing ballot to be rejected as an "invalid ballot."  The pollworkers had tried to shake the BB to dislodge the ballots but they would continue to hang up in the chute.  When it was an appropriate time to investigate, I had the pollworkers open the BB lid.  The curved chute was within spec (the distance between the end of the curved chute and the nearest horizontal spacer rod was between 7-1/2" to 8-1/2".)  Although I couldn't see any debris on the paper path surfaces, using a dry piece of paper towel, I wiped down the surface of the curved chute and the deflector surface.  Afterwards, all ballots processed properly.  I'm making a recommendation that, for maintenance purposes, the curved chute and deflector surfaces be wiped down with a cloth dampened with a silicone sealant (e.g., Armor-all).  The surfaces are dressed that way from the factory and should probably be redone annually to maintain a slick surface.  As the ballots are gravity fed into the bins, the paper path surfaces need to have very low friction.
  4. Pre-election BB Repairs.  On Nov. 4th, I had reviewed six BB that had been tagged as "Deflector not working".  I found that two of them had one of the deflector connector pins pushed in so as to not make contact with the AV-OS deflector connector.  Those units will require a replacement of the BB Cable Assy.  On the other units, I found that the single Flathead Countersunk Phillips screw that connected the plastic deflector to the brass coupler was loose.  After tightening this screw and re-aligning the deflector, the deflector worked properly.  I'm making a recommendation that, for maintenance purposes, this screw be checked to ensure that it is tight and to re-align the deflector if it requires tightening.
  5. Memory Card Errors.  There were 3 units that experienced "Please re-insert / Mem Card" and then upon re-insertion, they displayed "Txt Check Error /  OK to Continue?"  One was experienced during training the day before election day, one was experienced at a precinct on election day, and the last one was experienced just before performing a direct upload.  In each case, the "YES" button was pressed to continue. The units performed without any further error and the uploads worked properly.  At this time, there is no resolution to prevent this error.
  6. AV-TS VIBS Audio Complaint.  The customer has a complaint about the redundancy of repeating the AV-TS VIBS instructions, header info, etc. which extends the time it takes to get through a VIBS ballot.  They commented that it took them 2 hours to get through the ballot and that even with all the propositions on the ballot, it could have been a lot shorter without the repeated instructions and header info (they actually sat through the casting of a ballot during a test prior to the election.)  They were running BS4.1.11.  I said I would bring this up for discussion and have their account manager get back to them.  Perhaps this redundant audio may have been trimmed in later releases of the BS software and they just don't have it certified in their state as yet.  Their account manager can address this with them at a later date.
  7. Incorrect AV-TS VIBS Audio.  The county noticed that when the Spanish language was chosen for a VIBS ballot, the following audio was in English and not Spanish "You have not voted for any candidates in this race."
  8. AV-TS Uploading Problems.  The county had some procedural problems with the uploading of the early voting AV-TS units on the Friday prior to the election.  They couldn't modem upload their remote early voting location because they weren't aware that a Media card had to be inserted in the unit to perform a modem upload.  They then transported the unit back to the election office and tried to perform a direct upload.  (Their words) with a media card inserted in the unit at power up, the system didn't seem to go into the upload screen, so they removed the media card (still powered on), and the upload screen was displayed with the previously accumulated totals (from the 4 AV-TS units at that site).  They then inserted the Media card and found that the system now only wanted to upload that one card's totals (they could tell from the cards cast quantity), so they removed that Media card and the previously accumulated totals returned (again they could tell from the cards cast quantity.)  They then were able to perform the direct upload.  I discussed this with Tari Runyan (their account manager) and she believes it was just a procedural error on their part and as nothing was done to disturb the accumulated totals in the Current Election file folder, that the integrity of the accumulation upload would be fine.  I think that this should be tested more thoroughly to determine the effect of this scenario on the integrity of saved accumulations in the Current Election file folder.
Ian S. Piper
Diebold Election Systems, Inc.