Sour Pixels

South Carolina Democrat Vic Rawl has lined up hired independent experts and is calling for an official investigation of his stunning loss to unknown Alvin Greene in the U.S. Senate primary last week.

There is a tendency to treat all post-election complaints by the losers as so many sour grapes.  The site TechDirt, however, suggests an alternative and very scary explanation as to how Alvin Greene upset Vic Rawl that needs to be taken seriously.  It starts with a basic question most political writers prefer to ignore. Does South Carolina use electronic voting machines?  Not only does it turn out that the answer is yes, but there are some huge huge red flags about this contest.  According to Rawl's campaign manager, Walter Ludwig, in Politico, it seems Rawl won 84 percent of the absentee ballots in Lancaster county, yet the unknown Alvin Greene carried the county 17 percentage points on election day.  As a rule absentee ballot results provide the first indications of a monumental upset in the making rather than run counter to one.  In other counties the numbers aren't adding up in different ways.

In Spartanburg County, Ludwig said there are 25 precincts in which Greene received more votes than were actually cast and 50 other precincts where votes appeared to be missing from the final count.

According to TechDirt

South Carolina uses ES&S e-voting machines. ES&S has a long history of problems with its e-voting machines. Here are just a few highlights (there are a lot more where these came from). ES&S machines have lost votes in Florida. The company gave California machines that were not certified. After stalling, it finally let security experts review its machines, which were found to be severely lacking, leading California to decertify machines (yes, remember this is the same state that was also given machines that weren't certified in the first place!). In one election ES&S gave the vote tallies to a totally different election. People using ES&S machines have found that they voted for the wrong candidate. It's also quite easy for anyone to recalibrate certain ES&S machines, so that it's easier for people to make mistakes while voting. In South Dakota, ES&S machines added thousands of phantom votes. And then there's Kentucky, where officials were recently arrested for using the confusing interface of ES&S e-voting machines to get people to leave the polling place before submitting their votes, so those officials could change their votes.

Oh, and the best part? Most of these ES&S machines have no audit trail. So there's no way to go back and check what happened.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades