via The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports – News – Some early W.Va. voters angry over switched votes

Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright said, “After we got a call from the Secretary of State’s Office, we recalibrated the machine. We had already voted over 400 people with no problems.”

Voting problems occur when voters touch the screen, Waybright said, but do not put their fingers inside boxes for their candidates.

Waybright blamed the problem on voters.

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

Matheney remains concerned.

“Leaving the polling place,” she said, “I wondered how many voters might not have noticed that their vote was switched on the machine.”

This election process itself is under fire this year.  I’ve commented on the registration fraud and voter suppression (I would be remiss in mentioning that fraudulent registration does not imply bad votes), and now that voting has started, I get to talk about bad voting machines.

It does not matter whether or not this is malice or incompetence.  It is unacceptable.  In a year where we hear that the margins are so slim, every vote needs to count.  I don’t care if people want to vote for Obama, McCain or Bob Barr–their vote should count for their candidate.

Instead of focusing on Acorn or registration, we should be focusing on voter suppression and faulty voter machines.

13 thoughts on “3/400

  1. “I don’t care if people want to vote for Obama, McCain or Bob Barr–there vote should count for their candidate.”

    I see you left out Ralph Nader. Coincidence? I think not.

  2. Actually, we should be looking at ACORN. Not because it is an example of systemic attempted fraud, but because it is an EXCELLENT microexample of the “free market” in action. Basically, this is a case of YGWYPF.
    You Get What You Pay For.
    In ACORN’s case, they thought they were paying workers to register new voters. In this market example, it would only seem that they were paying workers an hourly wage to register voters. Not so! In fact, they were paying “workers” to turn in voter registration cards and claim that they had worked a give number of hours. The presumption that everyone would actually go out and register voters as opposed to simply sitting back, making out fake registrations, and claiming their checks, is apparently unwarranted.
    Whups. These damn free market things ain’t fraud free: see the sub-prime crisis.
    Remember: without regulation and accountability, you aren’t paying for a good or service, you’re paying for a representation of that good or service. NOT THE SAME THING.

  3. We can Look at ACORN, and given the 24 hour news cycle, it Could get a fair shot of attention. It is worrisome, problematic–fraud is fraud–and it should be addressed AFTER we give Voter Suppression equal time. The Right has spent a significant amount of time working on attacking voter registration, and it appears to be laying the ground work for legal challenges to the election. However, Voter Suppression concerns have gotten about half the air time that registration is–and Voter Suppression is the only significant form of documented voter fraud that has been noted in the legal system (ie: Caging efforts by both parties, but clearly favored by Republicans).

  4. Anyone else read Robert Kennedy’s article about the 2004 elections? This is nothing new and we need to stop this crap. No one’s vote should be miscounted or disqualified for bullshit like this. Every citizen gets a vote, no matter how they choose to vote. That’s Democracy.

    Let’s go back to paper.

  5. I’ve worked with a number of touch-screen systems, and one of the first things you do when setting it up is to calibrate it to make sure that where your finger touches is registered as the same spot by the processor running the screen.

    It’s dead simple to calibrate it so that your finger-presses are offset. For example, if it’s offset by a few inches to one side, you could press “Obama” and it will register “McCain.”

    Depending on the size of the screen, there may not be any spot on the screen that could register the preferred candidate.

    I am also obligated to point out that Canada’s federal election went off without a hitch, and we use nothing but paper and pencil. Of course, we have something like an eleventh of the US population, so doing counts at each polling station doesn’t take that long (we had three just in my neighbourhood).

    I have yet to hear of any machines malfunctioning in favour of Obama. This is, of course, mere coincidence.

  6. I vote via paper. I trust it more.

    Except in states where math is hard for some…

    Please wish Von an H.B. for me!

  7. “I have yet to hear of any machines malfunctioning in favour of Obama. This is, of course, mere coincidence.”


    At least three McCain votes registered for Obama in early voting. Like you said, it’s poor design, with the buttons for the candidates too close together and the touch position not calibrated correctly.

    I don’t trust touch screens; also like you, I prefer marking a physical ballot. I’ve also used an electronic system with a large multi-page ballot that had actual physical buttons by each line with LEDs beside them; you pushed the button and the LED lit up for your choice. You paged forward and back through the ballot using buttons, and the lights lit up beside your choices if you went backward to review them. Still electronic, and still possible to tamper with, but easier for the voter to check than a touch screen (I think, anyway).

    At this rate, bring back the big old clunkers with the curtains and the levers.

  8. Come to Long Island! Old clunkers with curtains and levers is all we’ve got.

    Seriously, WTF NY? Not that I am dying to have some troubled e-voting machines, but I’m fairly certain it is possible to have good post-1950s electoral hardware.

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