An unexpected glitch almost caused one central Pennsylvania voter to cast his ballot for the wrong candidate, highlighting concerns about voter fraud in a number of states on an already tense Election Day. The Election Protection coalition, for instance, has reported ballot scanning problems in Ohio in Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo. “I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted,” writes Centralpavote on YouTube, of the glitch in central Pennsylvania. “I assumed it was being picky so I de-selected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.”
The man, a software developer, tried troubleshooting the screen, selecting different names. But “the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney.” A few more taps, and he discovered that the only way to select Obama was to click on a small sliver of the screen. All of the buttons for the other candidates seemed to work fine.
Other voters at the precinct didn’t have the same problem, he said, and the volunteer didn’t seem concerned. “She him hawed for a bit then calmly said, ‘It’s nothing to worry about, everything will be OK,’ and went back to what she was doing,” he wrote. “I then recorded this video.” He insists that the video is unedited—the jumpy frames are from the camera app on his Android phone, he says.
Reports are pouring in from other voters who say they’ve had the same experience with electronic voting machines in other areas, and the computer-savvy among them are quick to point out that the problem is less about fraud and more about faulty electronics.
“This happens to ALL touch screen machines (your phone, kiosk, computer, etc),” writes Cheeta219 on YouTube. “These are crudely, haphazardly built machines that will fail sometimes.”
In North Carolina, Kansas, and Ohio, some electronic voting machines recorded votes for Obama even when voters had selected Romney. Joan Stevens, a voter in Marion, Ohio, told The Marion Star that it took her three tries before her vote for Romney was recorded properly.
“You want to vote for who you want to vote for,” she said, “and when you can’t it’s irritating.”
She reported the problem to Sophia Rogers, the director of the board of elections for Marion County, who said that no one else had reported problems with voting machines, and that the machine Stevens used worked fine when Rogers tried it. If voters tap the screen with more than one finger or don’t hit a button correctly, mistakes can occur. She said that she had contacted the vendor to inspect and recallibrate the voting machine.
Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Dominion Voting, a touch-screen voting machine vendor, told TheBlaze that many of the machines being used on Tuesday were “legacy machines” that were “up to 10 years old.”
“They have been in the field many years and through many election cycles,” Riggall said. “It is certainly possible [for them to get] out of calibration.”
The frequency with which machines are serviced can vary state-by-state, or even district-by-district.
There are other problems occurring as well. In some minority neighborhoods in Galveston, Texas, polling places opened late, making it impossible for people to vote earlier in the day. (The Galveston County Daily News reports that those 45 voting centers will stay open two hours later, until 8:54 p.m., to make up for the delay.)
And thanks to a different kind of technological glitch, there were also some voters in Pinellas County, Fla., who received phone calls on Tuesday morning reminding them to vote on Wednesday—the day after Election Day. In Oregon, an election worker was fired after she allegedly tampered with ballots by writing in Republican candidates in places where voters had left sections blank.
And in the heavily Democratic city of Philadelphia, the Republican Party reported that 75 legally credentialed voting inspectors were kicked out of polling places. Local prosecutors are investigating.
But the biggest problems reported by voters so far? Long lines.