18 October 2008

Early West Virginia Voters Report Ballot Problems (Updated)

A trio of early voters who tried to cast their ballots in Jackson County this week tell The Charleston Gazette that touch-screen voting machines "kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates."

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," Virginia Matheney of Kenna told the newspaper.

Two other voters alleged the same problem while trying to cast their ballots for the Democrat. Matheney and one of these others also reported it occurred while trying to vote for the Democrats running for governor, the state Supreme Court and the local state Senate seat.

"Why didn't she [the polling clerk] tell me before I even used the machine that might happen?" said Calvin Thomas, 81, of Ravenswood. "And how many people, especially my age, didn't notice that?"

Deputy Secretary of State Sarah Bailey told The Gazette that "When we received a call about this, we immediately called the county and told them to recalibrate the machines to make sure the finger-touch [area] lines up with the ballot..."Sometimes machines can become miscalibrated when they are moved from storage facilities to early voting areas. We get a couple of calls about this each election year."

Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright said his workers recalibrated the machines after getting the call, but also said voters may not be touching the right parts of the machine screens.

"People make mistakes more than the machines," he told the paper, "but I went in yesterday and recalibrated the machines. We are doing everything we can not to disenfranchise anybody."

Update: Voters in Putnam County report similar problems to The Gazette.


Dave said...

Thanks for reporting this. I very much hope there is nothing malicious going on here and that it simply is miscalibration on the touch screen machines.
Maybe we should go back to paper.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's 81 year old operator error.

My 81 year old grandfather can't operate a calculator.

Guy said...

Funny how the "machine error" only happened when they tried to vote Democrat...

clear eyes said...

Funny how only Democrats have trouble voting. Could it be that the party lawyers are trying to set the stage for contesting the results?

MountainLaurel said...

It's also funny how the counties in which these errors happened are run by Republican clerks.