Touch screen voting machines -- all of them, as far as I know -- are made by companies loyally contributing big piles of money to the GOP and its candidates.
AND, still more:
Voting Rights Watch: One company's machine behind vote-switching reported in early balloting across the SouthWith early voting underway across the country, there have been reports of glitches with one company's electronic voting machines in states across the South:
* In Beaufort County, S.C., voters discovered that some races were missing on the final review screen of the touch-screen voting machines. When they tried to re-cast their ballots, it didn't work again, so they had to cast paper ballots. Affected voter Nancy Roe told the Hilton Head Island Packet:"I'm real political, so I checked the ballot," she said. "If I had only given it a quick glance and punched 'vote,' I never would've known."* In Davidson County, Tenn., a woman reported having her vote for Obama flipped to Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, according to a post to the Black Box Voting website:"A poll worker directed me to a touch screen voting machine & instructed me how to use it. I touched "Obama" for president & nothing lit up. I touched 2 or 3 more times & still nothing lit up. I called the poll worker back over to tell him I was having a problem. He said I just needed to touch it more lightly. I tried it 2 or 3 more times more lightly with the poll worker watching & still nothing lit up. The poll worker then touched it for me twice — nothing lit up. The third time he touched the Obama button, the Cynthia McKinney space lit up! The McKinney button was located five rows below the Obama button. The poll worker just kind of laughed and cancelled the vote. He hit the Obama button again & it finally lit up.Coincidentally, the woman who had her vote flipped is the wife of David Earnhardt, the producer and director of "Uncounted" -- a documentary film about problem voting machines.
* In Palo Pinto County, Texas, at least two voters say touch-screen machines kept switching their straight-party votes from Democrat to Republican, the Mineral Wells Index newspaper reported:"When I cast an early vote [Wednesday] at Palo Pinto County Courthouse, my vote was switched from Democrat to Republican right in front of my face -- twice!" reported Lona Jones, a Precinct 1 county resident.An elections judge helped her cancel her vote and switched her to another machine. Precinct workers told her that the machines give them problems.
* In West Virginia's Jackson County, voters report that touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates. The Charleston Gazette reported on the experiences of 81-year-old Calvin Thomas:"When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor's office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. When I went to Karen Facemyer [the incumbent Republican state senator], I pushed the Democrat, but it jumped again.Deputy Secretary of State Sarah Bailey said her office instructed the county to recalibrate the machines so the finger-touch areas line up with ballot. They sometimes become miscalibrated when they are moved from storage facilities, she explained.
"The rest of them were OK, but the machine sent my votes for those top three offices from the Democrat to the Republican," Thomas said.
* In West Virginia's Putnam County, voters also say e-voting machines switched their votes from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to Republican John McCain, and from incumbent Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller to GOP opponent Jay Wolfe, according to the Gazette:Shelba Ketchum, a 69-year-old nurse retired from Thomas Memorial Hospital, described what happened Friday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield.* Similar vote-switching problems have also been reported in recent weeks in West Virginia's Berkeley, Ohio, Monongalia and Greenbrier counties, according to the paper.
"I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican," she said. "I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.
"I asked them for a printout of my votes," Ketchum said. "But they said it was in the machine and I could not get it. I did not feel right when I left the courthouse. My son felt the same way."
Something that all these locales have in common is the machine involved: the iVotronic (pictured above) manufactured by Election Systems & Software, a Nebraska firm founded by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel. ES&S is now the world's largest election equipment firm, with more than 170,000 systems installed worldwide -- including about half of the electronic systems used in the United States.
As we reported earlier this year, an in-depth report by an elections watchdog group faulted the ES&S iVotronic for the suspiciously high undervote rate in Sarasota County, Fla. in the Congressional race that Republican Vern Buchanan narrowly won over Democrat Christine Jennings.
There have been other serious problems with ES&S equipment in previous elections. Wharton County, Texas did away with iVotronic machines after the equipment switched votes on state propositions last year. And during the January Republican primary in Horry County, S.C., iVotronic equipment malfunctioned in 80 percent of precincts due to programming problems.
The watchdogs at Black Box Voting encourage people who will be voting on iVotronics and other direct-recording electronic machines to use a cell phone video or video camera to videotape the screen during the whole voting process [please read the important update on this below!]:It is crucial to capture this on video; it happens often enough that if many people videotape BEFORE spotting vote-flipping, some are likely to catch it. Be discreet, or you may not be allowed to do this.To find out what kind of voting system your county uses, click here.
UPDATE: It turns out that Black Box Voting's suggestion to videotape the balloting process via DRE equipment could put you on the wrong side of the law in some states, including North Carolina. As the New York Times reported in yesterday's story about what may well be the most recorded election in history, N.C. law says that no one "shall photograph, videotape, or otherwise record the image of a voted official ballot for any purpose not otherwise permitted under law," since the practice could encourage the sale of votes. So before hitting the record button, you might check with elections officials in your state.
State After State, ES&S iVotronics Are Flipping Democratic Votes to Republican!
What You Can Do About It, And Where the Hell Are Those 'Thousands' of Obama/DNC Attorneys?...
This is just getting worse and worse. Now it's happening in Texas. (And in MO, if you read to the end of the article). And the vaunted "thousands of attorneys" from the Obama campaign and the DNC are still nowhere to be found.With every incident so far reported of touch-screen vote-flipping during early voting in this year's general election --- from county to county in WV and in Nashville, TN) --- it's been the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machine that has failed, flipping votes from one candidate to another not chosen by the voter. In every instance [see update below], it's been an attempted Democratic vote, flipped to a Republican, or another party.
These are the same machines that lost 18,000 votes in Democratic-leaning Sarasota County in the 2006 U.S. House Race for Katherine Harris' old seat. The Democrat, Christine Jennings, was declared the loser to Republican Vern Buchanan (whose own wife had trouble voting for him that day), by just 369 votes. Several academic studies, and even the GAO, have been unable to rule out either tampering or hardware/software error for the disappeared 18,000 votes.
As we wrote earlier this week, after there was finally one report of a vote flipping from Democratic to Republican in TN (a very rare instance, btw), these machines need to be taken out of service now, impounded and quarantined immediately, and every voter needs to be given a paper ballot where these machines are currently being used. Voters who have such problems need to inform other voters waiting in line which machine should not be used (and we offer other tips below, as well).
[Update: The rare vote-flip from Republican to Democratic now seems to have been a hoax carried out by local Republicans, according to a TN election integrity activist who did some digging and reporting. Details here...]
The latest reports today of ES&S vote-flipping come from Palo Pinto County, TX, where two voters --- one of them an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters --- saw straight-ticket Democratic votes flipped to straight-ticket Republican votes. Two times for the first person, and three times for the alternate election judge!
The report is a doozy...
At least two Palo Pinto County residents say they experienced early voting problems when the touch-screen voting machines they used kept switching their straight-party vote from Democratic to Republican.
"When I cast an early vote [Wednesday] at Palo Pinto County Courthouse, my vote was switched from Democrat to Republican right in front of my face - twice!" reported Lona Jones, a Precinct 1 county resident.
Intending to vote straight party on the Democratic ticket, Jones said she was surprised Wednesday when the electronic voting machine "on the left as you face the machines" in the courthouse basement asked her if she wanted to cast her vote for a straight Republican ticket.
Thinking she had pushed the wrong button the first time the machine "came up Republican," Jones said she repeated her intended straight-party vote.
"The second time I was sure to just touch the Democratic button," she said, further reporting that the machine responded to her selection, "'Do you want to change your Republican straight ticket vote to a Democratic vote?' I pressed, 'Yes,' then it came back up and it was a total Republican ticket again."
We've cautioned many times here at The BRAD BLOG, of the dangers of voting straight-party tickets, particularly in TX, where election officials have ">reportedly been giving disinformation to voters, but everywhere else that they allow it as well. Vote for each candidate, NOT straight-party!
But whether it's a straight-party vote or not, no voter should ever cast a vote on a touch-screen machine unless they are forced to. There is absolutely no way that any vote ever cast on a touch-screen machine --- with or without a so-called paper trail --- can ever be shown as having been recorded accurately.
None. Zero. Scientifically impossible. Or if it isn't a scientific impossibility, our many months of asking for evidence, from anyone, of such a vote having been accurately recorded by a touch-screen/DRE has yielded precisely no such evidence. And we've asked voting machine companies, election officials, and so-called "election experts" time and again, and none have been able to offer anysuch evidence. Ever.
So what do you do about it when your vote flips? Other than demanding a paper ballot, and demanding these machines be confiscated and quarantined immediately?
The article goes on to notes a very good point...
"One of the ladies told me, 'These machines don't work well' and, 'These machines give us problems.' I told her I not only didn't want to use that machine, [indicating the problematic first machine], I didn't want anyone using that machine."
Yesterday, election integrity experts Emily Levy from VelvetRevolution.us' and Kevin Zeese from TrueVote.us suggested that when this problem occurs, voters should first tell officials, and ask them to remove the machine from service.
Then...Alert everyone else in line waiting to vote which machine caused the problem, and warn everyone else not to use it!
These are among the steps recommended, with which I strongly concur:
• Call poll supervisors to observe the problem
• Fill out a problem report
• Refuse to vote on that machine
• Request that the machine be taken out of service
• Get a serial number of the machine if possible (may be unlikely in many cases)
• Tell other voters not to vote on that machine
• Call county/town election office
• Call local reporters
• Call voter problem hotlines (eg. 866-MYVOTE1 and 866-OUR-VOTE)
• Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
• Raise holy hell.
Unfortunately, Lona Jones --- who did contact our associates at VotersUnite.org with the problem earlier this morning (they instructed her to contact the media, which she did, leading to the report we're quoting here) --- was not the only one to have the same problem, with the same failed ES&S iVotronic touch-screens, in Palo Pinto:
Teresa Crosier, an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters, called Jones to remind her to vote early.
"She told me she had already voted and had problems," said Crosier. "She told me her story and I told her I had the same problem Wednesday morning."
Like Jones, Crosier tried to cast a straight party Democratic vote at the courthouse annex, "and it came up straight party, Republican party."
Crosier recognized her election trainer, who was helping to monitor the polls, and called him over. "We went back through the process and it did it again," she said of the third time the touch-screen machine suggested she vote Republican.
This has got to stop. Paging Barack Obama, the DNC and the "thousands of attorneys" we've been told for months that they "have on the ground, ready to move in as soon as any problems are reported."
Are your pagers not on yet?! What are you waiting for? Concession Day on November 5th?
Oh...and this just in from an Election Integrity advocate in swing state MO:Hi Brad,
Just wanted to let you know that Missourians for Honest Elections is in the process of confirming five separate reports of vote flipping --- from Democrat to Republican --- on the iVotronic machines that are the only means the Board of Elections is providing for in-person absentee voting at its headquarters in Maplewood [St. Louis County, MO].
We'll try to offer more details on the problems in MO when we get them. No doubt, thousands of Obama/DNC attorneys are on their way...