Failure to Upgrade Software Blamed for LA County Election Glitch

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A software mishap – not a cyberattack – was to blame for over 118,000 voter names being left off rosters at their polling places in Los Angeles County on primary election day, according to the findings of an independent study released Wednesday.

On June 5, Angelenos went to the polls to vote, but 118,509 names were missing from printed voter rosters at polling locations, according to the County Registrar’s Office.

County officials said no one was removed from the voting roster and approximately 12,000 voters cast provision ballots. An independent review of the incident said changes made at the state level were not compatible with software used in Los Angeles County to print out voter lists for polling places.

The review, conducted by IBM Security Services, said the county did not update their software by election day. The failure resulted in the field for birthdates being left blank, which caused the system to leave voter names off the list because it mistakenly though the voter was ineligible to vote.

IBM said there was also a 21-minute outage of the county’s voting website right after the polls closed, but the review said there was no evidence of a cyberattack.

The company recommended the Registrar’s Office update its software and increase the bandwidth on the county’s voting website.  According to county records, IBM was paid $230,000 for its review.

LA county approved an overhaul of its voting system earlier this year at a cost of approximately $282 million. The new system will include touchscreen ballots and would serve LA County’s 5 million voters. County officials expect the system to be online by 2020.

County Clerk Dean Logan said his staff is making sure nothing like this June’s error happens during the November 6 general election, where voters will select the next governor.


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