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Texas Voters Urged to Avoid Straight-Party Option, After Vote-Flip Complaints October 30, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Democrats, News, Politics, Repiglicans, Technology, Voting.
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Courtesy Wired:

A number of voters in several Texas counties have been complaining that voting machines they used to cast early votes flipped their votes from Democratic choices to Republican ones.

Voters have reported that when they tried to vote a straight-party Democratic ticket, the machine flipped their choices to Republican candidates instead. In some cases, voters reported a problem only with the presidential race; in other cases voters reported the entire ballot being marked Republican by the machine.

The counties where the problems were reported use different kinds of voting machines from three of the top voting machine companies — Election Systems & Software, Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) and Hart InterCivic.

A Hart InterCivic spokesman said that at least one of the scenarios that a voter described isn’t possible on the company’s machines. A spokesman for ES&S said very few voters had complained and as far as he knew poll workers were never able to replicate the situation they described. The same ES&S machines are at the center of stories in West Virginia and Tennessee where voters also reported the machines flipping their votes, though the scenario in those states was slightly different since voters there weren’t trying to vote a straight-party ticket when the problem occurred.

Voting a straight-party ballot or ticket is an option offered in 15 states whereby a voter can choose to vote straight-party Democrat or Republican and the ballot will automatically mark votes for candidates from that party on the ballot.

Because of the reports of problems, many election integrity groups are urging voters to forego the option.

“We’re asking people to avoid the straight-party option entirely and if you want to vote for candidates who are all from the same party, mark them each individually in each race,” said Ellen Thiessen, founder ofVotersUnite.

Complaints so far have come in from at least seven Texas counties — Collin, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, and Palo Pinto.

Collin County uses Diebold paperless Accu-Vote touch-screen machines; Dallas uses ES&S paperless iVotronic machines;  El Paso uses Diebold paperless Accu-Vote touch-screen machines; Galveston uses Hart InterCivic paperless eSlate machines, which use a dial-and-click system that doesn’t require voters to touch the screen; Harris uses Hart InterCivic paperless eSlate machines; Jefferson and Palo Pinto Counties use ES&S paperless iVotronic touch-screen machines.

Some of the complaints have come in to a national voter hotline (866-MY-VOTE1). Not all of the voters left their name or number, making it difficult to follow up with them to obtain details about the problem. Only two of the complaints have been previously reported; one in Palo Pinto County and one in El Paso County.

Here are recordings from some of the complaints that have been made to the hotline (Threat Level is publishing recordings only from voters who did not disclose their name or other personal information in their recording):

 

  • Collin County (.wav)
  • Galveston County (.wav)
  • Jefferson County (.wav)
  • Harris County (.wav)
  • Lona Jones — of Mineral Wells, Texas, in Palo Pinto County — told a McClatchey-Tribune reporter thatwhen she pressed the button to vote straight-party Democrat on her ES&S iVotronic machine in the county courthouse, the machine returned a screen showing all Republican candidates chosen. She told Threat Level she thought she’d hit the wrong button, so she returned to the first screen and chose Democrat again, this time making sure she pressed the correct button.

    Article with Video, Continued @ Sourced Site.

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