MORE ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES CHANGING ROMNEY VOTES TO OBAMA: WE LOOKED INTO IT AND HERE'S WHAT A VENDOR TOLD US
Posted on October 31, 2012 at 2:09pm by Liz Klimas
Last week, TheBlaze brought you a story from a North Carolina voting precinct using electronic voting machines that was already experiencing issues where votes for GOP candidate Mitt Romney were being changed to Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Now, it's allegedly happening again, this time in both Kansas and Ohio - and we talked to a vendor supporting the machines about the issue.
Nancy from Topeka, Kan., who asked that her last name not be used for reasons pertaining to her husband's work, told TheBlaze she fears if voters aren't double checking their selections, they'll be "robbed of their vote."
Nancy explained that while her husband was casting a vote for Romney, the touchscreen highlighted Obama.
An electronic touch screen ballot machine such as this has to be calibrated correctly to allow voters to chose the correct candidate. (Photo: AP/Tom Gannam)
"He played around with the field a little and realized that in order to vote for Romney, his finger had to be exactly on the mark," Nancy wrote in an email. She said "the invisible Obama field came down about 1/4 [of an inch]" into what should technically have been the Romney area. In a phone interview with TheBlaze, she explained further that her husband said he felt the area on the touchscreen that could be pushed to vote for Obama was larger than that for Romney.
Nancy and her husband called the Kansas Secretary of State to report the problem and were informed that it was most likely a calibration issue.
"My concern is, is this intentional?" Nancy said. Posing this question to the Secretary of State's office, Nancy told us they said it is unlikely that voter fraud would be occurring in Kansas, as it's not a highly contested state.
The Marion Star also reported Wednesday that Ohio resident Joan Stevens experienced a similar case. She alerted a board of elections member at the voting location about the problem, who then called in the vendor providing support for the machines to check for calibration issues.
Sophia Rogers, director of the Marion County Board of Elections, told TheBlaze the Marion Star "got it wrong." She said when techs came out to review the machine, they found everything was calibrated correctly.
The Marion Star reported Rogers saying the machine seemed to have been working fine for her and other voters as well. Still, the local newspaper did note Stevens saying that board of elections member Jackie Smith mentioned to her that the machine had been experiencing issues all day. Smith did not issue a comment to the Marion Star.
Regardless if there was issue or not, the fact remains that direct-recording electronic voting machines can experience calibration issues. It's something that happens every election, and when voters come across a machine not recording their vote correctly, they should report it. With such seemingly inevitable issues, which to be fair do not occur with every machine, TheBlaze decided to look into who was responsible for making sure the machines was calibrated in the first place; how calibration issues occur; and how the problems are fixed.
In Marion, for example, Rogers told TheBlaze it is standard procedure to call in a technician from the vendor to tend to the machine in question. She referred us to the vendor of their touch-screen machines Dominion Voting.
Spokesman for Dominion Chris Riggall told TheBlaze that many of the machines in the field - which he says are "legacy machines" not manufactured by Dominion but by companies that Dominion now owns - are 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."
As when you purchase any electronic, you can sign up for a warranty or added customer support. The same concept applies to voting machine technology. Riggall said he believes the Marion jurisdiction does receive support from Dominion for its machines, meaning it could be called in to check and fix calibration issues. He said there is a calibration test built into the machine's software and that the machine can also be tested through a sample ballot, which of course would not be cast as an actual vote.
"It is not uncommon to put a unit back into service when [officials] are 100 percent confident it is registering correctly," Riggall said.
Although Marion may have vendors helping in such situations, Riggall said tech support provided for machines is jurisdiction dependent. It is up to the states or jurisdictions to decide how often machines will be checked for accuracy, and who will perform this check and fix problems when they occur.