Votes Flipped by Aging, Outdated Machines

Sunday, October 28, 2018 (Listed under Observations)

The current "flipped vote" conundrum Texas voters are experiencing is garnering national attention, though most of the reports so far suggest that the issue is restricted to the "eSlate" machines. During the first week of voting in Dallas, TX, however, some voters in University Park experienced their votes being flipped when using iVotronic machines. In these cases, voters have had to check and correct their electronic ballot up to four times before it properly reflected their intended selections. What good is our "free and open" election process if the underlying infrastructure supporting it is malfunctioning and, potentially, capable of altering the outcome of a race or races?

The Texas Secretary of State's office recently issued a warning to Texas polling stations concerning the need to advise voters to double check their ballots to be sure that they accurately reflect their choices before hitting "Submit." But the notice only draws attention to eSlate machines, leaving poll workers in the dark regarding what appears to be a broader, more pervasive electronic machine failure occurring during the early weeks of voting. One wonders why the Texas Secretary of State is not including the iVotronic machines in their alerts to polling stations when they have been receiving calls from voters using these machines. In addition, a letter warning officials about the malfunctioning of the iVotronic machines was sent, in 2008, from the Brennan Center for Social Justice to 16 Secretaries of State, including Texas's, highlighting the system's vote-flipping irregularities. Moreover, just this week, the Brennan Center reposted data relating to the largely aging fleet of electronic machines used in the U.S. and noted that the machine malfunctioning has been an issue in many earlier elections.

Rather than issue warnings during an election, affected states should be replacing outdated technology with reliable systems that, ideally, also produce a paper trail for the voter.

Note: iVotronic is owned by Elections Systems & Software (ES&S), a subsidiary of The McCarthy Group, an asset management firm in Omaha Nebraska headed up by Michael R. McCarthy, who serves as legal counsel for Barrick Gold.


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