Oh, Lovely: This Voting Machine in Pennsylvania Isn't Accepting Votes for Obama

Here's video one Pennsylvania voter captured of an electronic voting machine refusing to accept a vote for President Obama, instead repeatedly selecting "MITT ROMNEY" for President when the voter clearly intended to vote for Barack Obama. This glitch is even more chilling when you consider the fact that Pennsylvania's governor, Republican Tom Corbett, told attendees at a Mitt Romney rally on Sunday that he was confident the state's electoral votes would go to Governor Romney, despite the fact that Obama's got a relatively safe lead in most state polls. Hold me, Nate Silver. Hold me and tell me that this is going to be okay.


The man who shot the footage says that the following happened at his local polling station this morning,

My wife and I went to the voting booths this morning before work. There were 4 older ladies running the show and 3 voting booths that are similar to a science fair project in how they fold up. They had an oval VOTE logo on top center and a cartridge slot on the left that the volunteers used to start your ballot.

I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said "It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK." and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video.

This is important, guys: if you're turned away at the polling place for any reason, ask to file a provisional ballot, ask for the name of the person who turned you away, and call 866-MYVOTE1.

Meanwhile, I'll be over here biting my fingernails down to the quick.

Update: Expert opinion is that the machine is "obviously miscalibrated," and that the way to fix it would be to ask one of the old ladies running the polling station to recalibrate the machine.

So while the presence of fraud is unlikely, the likelihood that your vote might count on the ability of a poll worker to understand what "recalibrate" means isn't very comforting, either.


Update 2: The faulty voting machine has reportedly been taken offline.




Could someone explain to this non-American why oh why you guys use voting touch-screen machines??!! What's wrong with paper or scantron ballots? Is it because you have too many citizens? Wouldn't it be better to just use a more old-fashioned but less glitchy way of voting and then employ more people to count the votes. Am I talking crazy here? It seems like, you know, counting actually valid votes is maybe one of the most important things that a democracy must do... so maybe just maybe it shouldn't be facilitated by crappy-ass machines. Just a thought!