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Faulty machines dampen turnout in mid-term US polls

Tuesday, 7 November 2006 - 11:16pm IST

Though candidates gave positive comments about the voter turnout, there are reports of programming errors in voting machines.

WASHINGTON, DC: As candidates were giving positive comments about the high voter turnout — some researchers put the figures at higher than the 55 per cent turnout during the 2004 presidential election — reports began coming in about programming errors in the electronic voting machines.

At 11:30 am Eastern (10:00 pm IST), just four hours into the elections, four states had already reported problems in the electronic voting machines. Programming errors were the primary problems, but inexperience of the election officials delayed the voting process by more than an hour.

At the time of filing this report, voting had just begun on the American west coast which is three hours behind the east coast.

The four states where voting machine problems were reported were Ohio, Maryland, Florida and Indiana. Meanwhile, a peculiar controversy cropped up in Virginia on the eve of the elections when Jim Webb, the Democratic nominee in for the Senate, accused the incumbent Republican George Allen of intimidating voters with pre-programmed telephone calls. According to NBC News, the Federal Bureau of Investigation might initiate an inquiry into the matter.

News4, a Washington-area affiliate of NBC, reported on its website that its Web site that it had received an e-mail from a viewer in Virginia, who said he received a phone call from so-called volunteers threatening voters with arrest if they cast ballots.

According to News4, “The viewer’s e-mail stated after he had voted, he received a call from an unknown caller who said they knew the voter was registered out of state and would be arrested if they voted today. The viewer’s e-mail stated he’s been registered to vote in Virginia for the last three years and has the Virginia Voter Registration card to prove it.”

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