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Maryland Election Issues

On Tuesday April 23rd and Wednesday April 24th we supported elections in
Prince George's County & Montgomery County, Maryland.  I think it is
important to share our issues with each so that we do not repeat these

SPYRUS:  We had 33 SPYRUS units cease working on Wednesday due to what we
currently presume to be dead batteries.  We had a total of 116 SPYRUS units
in the field on election day to give us about a 25% stoppage rate.  This was
the first election for this equipment and we did vote in 58 precincts,
57,000 voters in approximately 5 hours.  This means that the SPYRUS units
were on, almost continuously, as the volume of voters was intense.   The
large number of dead batteries might be attributed to the fact that these
SPYRUS units could have been on the shelf for an extended period of time
before they were shipped to Maryland and the batteries were not at full
strength.  We have asked Pat Green's group to run comprehensive studies on
the SPYRUS units to determine what we can expect in battery life of these
units.  Also, Pat's group will be retrieving the failed SPYRUS units and
discussing with the county personnel their observations.

VOTER ACCESS CARDS:  A number of new Voter Access Cards in the field were
causing the SPYRUS to display the message "Insert Manager Card".  The
pollworkers followed directions and of course erased the setup on the SPYRUS
when they inserted the Manager Card and pressed ENTER.  Unfortunately the
pollworkers often would take the same Voter Access Card to the backup SPYRUS
and repeat the mistake and render the backup unit also inoperable.  When we
finally realized what was happening we were able to read the Voter Access
Cards in advance and sort out the bad cards.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT
THE SPYRUS UNITS WERE LOADED WITH 1.1.2 FIRMWARE.  This version was supposed
to correct the problem with the Voter Access Cards.  Pat Green's group in
Vancouver will be reviewing this problem with the cards at the card
manufacturer and also revisiting the firmware to see if we missed something.

Observations:  It is interesting to note that the day before this election
we voted 4,000 in Prince George's County and uncovered no bad Voter Access
Cards.  We also had less battery failures (about 5 out of 60) but that could
be attributed to the much lower voter turnout causing the SPYRUS to be in
the OFF position most of the time.

TEMPORARY CORRECTIVE ACTION:  We are currently in the process of replacing
all batteries in the SPYRUS units in Maryland with newly purchased
batteries.  We are testing all Voter Access Cards to insure that we have no
bad cards in our inventory.  Procedures are being written to place TS units
in the field as backups for generating Voter Access Cards.  Additional
backup SPYRUS units are being set for each election.

Keith Long
Maryland Project Manager