clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here's what a busted electronic voting machine looks like in action (update)

New, 199 comments
voting error
voting error

A voter in Pennsylvania trying to make a selection for president using an electronic ballot appears to have had some difficulty this morning, when a press on the screen for Barack Obama registered a selection for Mitt Romney multiple times. The voter released an authentic-looking video on YouTube showing off the error (see video below), but as of now the story is still unconfirmed. In a response to discussion of the video on Reddit, a person claiming to be the voter who shot the video says that "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." The voter says that no such error occurred when selecting Jill Stein, but it could still be a touchscreen calibration issue and not necessarily something nefarious.

Considering that we haven't heard widespread reports of voters experiencing such blatant selection issues, it's likely that this is an isolated incident — the voter says "I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not." Still, it's a powerful demonstration of where electronic systems, promoted for their accuracy and reliability, can go wrong. To make matters worse, the voter says that election officials seemed unconcerned with the issue. "I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it," he says. "She him hawed for a bit then calmly said 'it's nothing to worry about, everything will be okay,' and went back to what she was doing." We've asked the voter to confirm the story and will update you if we receive more information.

Update: MSNBC is reporting that the offending machine has been pulled. We'll keep you updated if we hear of any similar incidents in Pennsylvania or elsewhere.