D.C. City Council investigates voting malfunction in primary

The D.C. City Council launched an investigation on Tuesday into the District’s bungled primary election last week to prevent further errors in the November general election.

During last Tuesday’s primary, the D.C. Board of Elections misreported voter tallies and the number of write-in ballots. They determined that the final outcomes of the races – including the victory of Councilman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) – were not affected by a malfunctioning voting machine.

Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), a GW Law School professor, is leading the investigation. In addition to questioning election officials and procedures, Cheh will likely ask to subpoena Sequoia Voting Systems, which provides D.C.’s voting machines, according to a news release.

The committee will also look into last February’s presidential primary, in which several precincts across the city ran out of paper ballots.

At one point last Tuesday night, the number of write-in ballots cast in the Ward 2 city council race was tallied at 1,554 and total votes were 9,030. The board later confirmed an accurate count of only 14 write-in ballots and 5,334 voters.

After the election was settled, the board declared Evans the winner of the Ward 2 race. Alumnus Cary Silverman, who ran against Evans, conceded two days after the election, though he said he is still not completely confident in the results.

“Removing 3,000 recorded votes here, 1,500 supposed write-in votes there, is no trivial matter,” Silverman wrote in a statement on his Web site. “It is deeply troubling and, while I do not believe the ultimate outcome will change, I have very little confidence in the results.”

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