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‘Calibration issue’ pops up on Maryland voting machines

By   /   October 27, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

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BUSTED? Voting machines in Maryland are moving Republican votes to the Democrats’ column.

 

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org

Voting machines that switch Republican votes to Democrats are being reported in Maryland.

“When I first selected my candidate on the electronic machine, it would not put the ‘x’ on the candidate I chose — a Republican — but it would put the ‘x’ on the Democrat candidate above it,” Donna Hamilton said.

“This happened multiple times with multiple selections. Every time my choice flipped from Republican to Democrat. Sometimes it required four or five tries to get the ‘x’ to stay on my real selection,” the Frederick, Md., resident said last week.

Queen Anne County Sheriff Gary Hofmann said he encountered the problem, too, personally.

“This is happening here as well. It occurred on two candidates on my machine. I am glad I checked. Many voters have reported this here as well,” Hofmann, a Republican, wrote in an email Sunday evening.

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Two other Maryland voters reported the same in Anne Arundel County on Friday.

A similar vote switch turned up in Chicago earlier last week.

Illinois Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to the Schaumburg Public Library last Monday to vote for himself. “Instead, it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan told Watchdog.org.

“You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat,” Moynihan said.

He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

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Back in Maryland, two voters in Anne Arundel County experienced the same problem: A Diebold touchscreen voting machine switched their Republican votes to Democrats. The voters had to cancel their votes and start over.

Joe Torre, election director in Anne Arundel, called it a “calibration issue” involving a single machine.

Hamilton said she notified officials of the problem she encountered at the Frederick County Center, where she voted. “I’m not sure what was done about it. If someone is not paying close attention, they could end up voting for the wrong candidate,” she said.

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Kenric Ward is the San Antonio-based reporter for Watchdog.org. A California native and veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 and previously reported from Virginia. Kenric can be reached at [email protected]