LHS Drops Support For 41 Mass Communities

Worcester Telegram: Election technology needs update, Vendor won’t service city’s current system <read>

City Clerk David J. Rushford said LHS Associates of Methuen, the company that provides technical support for the city’s election system, has indicated it will cease providing such support for the generation of Accu-Vote System machines used by the city as of July 1.

In addition to Worcester, Mr. Rushford said, 41 other communities in the state that use the same generation of Accu-Vote machinery will be affected…

In the hand recount of the mayoral ballots, the difference in the margin of victory for Konstantina B. Lukes over Frederick C. Rushton increased by only 11 votes compared to the initial computer tabulation of ballots on election night. None of the four candidates who ran for mayor lost any votes as a result of the hand recount.

“The (optical scanner) technology cannot get much better,” Mr. Rushford said. “People seem very comfortable using this system and it has proven to be reliable. But the fact of the matter is that our (ballot) machines are getting tired. This is the 15th year we’ve been using them, and more and more problems have begun cropping up. In the last election, there were instances when people tried to put their ballot into the machine and for no apparent reason it rejected them.”

Fifteen years is a pretty good life expectancy for computer technology. What expectations were set by LHS and Diebold when the equipment was purchased? How old are your computers and fax machines?

But there is disturbing news here: Increasing a margin by only 11 votes – that would be quite a difference. Frequently local races are decided by less than 11 votes. The Secretary of the State, some registrars, and at least one State Representative are considering calling for the elimination of manual recounts of our voting computers. If these calls become reality then, close elections like those in the 2nd Congressional district would never be counted by hand, since by law they are also exempt from audit.

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