The good news is people are out there voting early, but the bad news is that some of their votes might go to a different candidate. We are just seven days away from the midterm elections, and people in Texas and Georgia have reportedly had their votes switched as soon as they cast their vote at the polls. There appears to be a malfunction with voting machines in Texas and Georgia and state and federal officials aren’t doing anything to fix the problem.
People have been voting early in record numbers, but some have said that their votes are getting switched to the other candidate.
The issue seems to be with the Hart eSlate machines in Texas, but some are saying that it’s not an issue of the machines but rather the people not voting correctly.
“The Hart eSlate machines are not malfunctioning, the problems being reported are a result of user error — usually voters hitting a button or using the selection wheel before the screen is finished rendering,” Sam Taylor, spokesman for the office of Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, told the Associated Press.
Some Texas voting officials claim that this is a typical story they hear each election cycle from the side of the Democrats. However, according to the AP, Republicans are also saying their vote intended for Sen. Cruz is switching to Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
But there is some truth to the fact that voting switch does occur, but it’s not so much because of a rigged system but because of old machines.
“This kind of thing happens every election. We’ll see more of it; with some systems vote-flipping gets worse as machines age,” Lawrence Norden, a voting machine expert at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, told BuzzFeed.
There have been similar complaints in Georgia, but a Federal Judge said that is no reason to change from voting machines to paper ballots.
In August, voting advocates said that by not providing a paper ballot option to Georgia’s 6.8 million voters, the machines would be “vulnerable to hacking — especially by foreign governments like Russia,” the Washington Post reports.
“While [the] plaintiffs have shown the threat of real harms to their constitutional interests, the eleventh-hour timing of their motions and an instant grant of the paper ballot relief requested could just as readily jeopardize the upcoming elections, voter turnout, and the orderly administration of the election,” U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg wrote in her opinion.
Here’s what to do if you feel your vote has been compromised.
The Texas Civil Rights Projects also agrees that the switch isn’t because of a conspiracy to switch votes from Democratic candidates to Republicans but rather because they’re old machines.
Here’s a step-by-step process on how to ensure your vote is correct, according to The Texas Civil Rights Projects:
- When voting a straight-party ballot, wait at least 3-5 seconds for all choices to be rendered on the eSlate voting machines. Counties in which voters have longer ballots may require additional time to allow the screens to load fully.
- Once all the candidate choices for that particular party have been fully loaded, take your time to slowly review each choice in each race before advancing to the next screen.
- When advancing to the next screen, be sure the screen is fully loaded before scrolling through to the subsequent pages.
- Once you have reached the summary page, carefully review each choice listed to ensure the candidate selected is, in fact, the candidate for whom you wish to cast your vote.
- If you find that one or more of your choices are displayed incorrectly on the summary page, hit the ‘PREV’ button and choose the candidate for whom you wish to cast your vote.
- If any issues persist, ask for assistance from a poll worker at your polling location, and the poll worker will ensure that the machine is working properly and advise you on the proper steps to take to cast a ballot with only the candidates of your choosing.
If you’re still not satisfied with the outcome and are not getting help from a poll worker, call the election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE