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Some Voting Machines Chop Off Candidates' Names

Officials in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville have discovered that their electronic balloting systems truncate names on the summary pages.
Officials in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville have discovered that their electronic balloting systems truncate names on the summary pages. (By Ricky Carioti -- The Washington Post)

Moran is the one lucky James in Alexandria whose last name made the summary page, although without the "Jr."

"That situation is not acceptable," Hurysz said. "There's enough voter confusion as it is."

Jensen said Hart InterCivic has created an upgrade for their firmware and recently applied for state certification to apply the fix. That process, she said, can be time-consuming because of security measures in place .

Hart InterCivic officials yesterday said they hoped to correct the problem by next fall.

"The newer voting systems will not be certified and installed before the Nov. 7 election," said company Vice President Phillip Braithwaite. Hart InterCivic "does intend to install the newer system version before the next major election in 2007, assuming certification from the commonwealth."

In the meantime, Jensen said, the three affected jurisdictions have begun educating voters to prevent confusion on Election Day and will place notices in each of the polling booths that explain the summary page problem.

"We have a very conspicuous posting in the booths and if [voters] say, 'Hey I don't like what I'm seeing on the summary page,' we can refer them to the chart," Parkins said.

Three years ago, Alexandria purchased about 225 Hart InterCivic machines for $750,000. "We're not comfortable with [this problem] in the long term . . . but we have every reason to expect it will be rectified before the next election," Parkins said.

Sheri Iachetta, general registrar for Charlottesville, said the city purchased 72 machines in 2002. Election officials have had trouble displaying long names ever since.

"We do have people complain and say they don't get it," Iachetta said. "I completely understand what they're saying, but it's not something I can control. We do a pretty good proactive job getting the word out. . . . We've tried to let the voters know that their vote will count even if they can't see the entire name on the summary page."


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