Electronic voting advocates praise the machine’s accuracy and convenience, but are we sacrificing our democracy on the altar of convenience? What we do know is that the machines are vulnerable to attack, and can be programmed to cheat with undetectable codes that disappear when the voting stops. And if that’s not enough to give you pause consider that the CEO of Diebold, manufacturer of one of the most commonly used voting machines is a big time Republican donor who once promised to ‘deliver the election’ to George W. Bush….and he did. Once again, there are reports of voting machines “flipping” votes from a Democrat candidate to a Republican, with this most recent occurrence coming to us from North Carolina.
When resident Percy Bostick, 69, of Greensboro attempted to cast a ballot for Kay Hagan at the Old Guilford County Courthouse, the machine instead registered the vote for Republican opponent Thom Tillis.
“I called one of the poll workers over,” Bostick said. “She said do it again. And again, I touched the screen at the proper place for Kay Hagan, and it again reported it for Thom Tillis.”
Finally, after four attempts, the vote correctly registered for Hagan. A poll worker canceled the vote altogether, and directed Bostick to instead use another machine, where there were no issues.
Another voter at the Craft Recreation Center also attempted to vote for Hagan but a machine there registered the vote instead for Tillis. Like Bostick, that voter was moved to another machine, where it was registered correctly.
This issue is hardly localized to North Carolina. The Pulaski County Election Commission in Arkansas has received a dozen reports of machines changing people’s votes. Bryan Poe, the county’s Director of Elections, says that the issue is widespread there, as well.
“We’re not the only ones that have experienced something like this. I’ve heard reports from Lonoke County, Franklin County, and I have also heard reports from Maryland, Illinois, Tennessee and Texas,” Poe said. “They would go to select one candidate and it would select a different candidate for them. That’s generally an issue that occurs with the calibration of the machine.”
In Collin County, Texas, TruthOut reports issues with voting machines, as well. According to a reader, a friend “tried to vote a straight Dem ticket and the machine flipped her votes to all-Republican straight ticket. When she complained, they unplugged the machine, put her on a second one, and THE SAME THING HAPPENED.” Sharon Rowe, the Election Administrator in Collin County, said she received a similar report.
In Tennessee, multiple voters watched as he said “no” to restrictive anti-abortion legislation — but the machine said “yes.”
These issues are not restricted to Democrats’ votes, either, though the Brad Blog notes that it is a more common occurrence when voters attempt to cast their ballots for Democratic candidates.
In Maryland, the State GOP is demanding that the Board of Elections ” investigate reports that voting machines are switching ballots cast for GOP candidates to their Democratic rivals.” About 50 Republican voters in 12 counties have reported that their votes were “flipped” to Democratic candidates.
Often the explanation is a ‘calibration error’ however there is a simple solution that’s inexpensive, time-tested and sure to preserve democracy: A voter-verified paper ballot. Give me a pencil and paper, and you can keep your machine.