With today’s midterm elections arguably the most important of our lifetimes — for once that’s not an exaggeration, given the stakes at play — questions about voter suppression continue to bubble up from the left as the right-wing blathers on about non-existent fraud by non-qualified voters.
However, there is another type of voter fraud that has reared its ugly head in this election that is much more pernicious and difficult to measure: Electronic voting machines with no paper trail that are spontaneously and mysteriously changing people’s votes from Democratic candidates to either no vote or, even worse, to a vote for their Republican opponent.
Last week, reports surfaced about this phenomenon taking place in both Texas and Georgia during early voting in two states with highly competitive races that can determine the future direction of not just those states but of the country as a whole.
Today, election officials in South Carolina were desperately trying to repair voting machines in Richland County after voters reported that their ballots had been changed by the machines, according to local TV station WLTX.
As the technicians tried to solve the problem by restarting the machines, Richland County officials blamed the mistakes on “calibration issues'” with the machines’ touchscreens that could erroneously register a vote for a different candidate despite voters having pressed the screen where the name of their chosen candidate appears.
Election officials urged voters to carefully review the final section page of their ballots to make sure it accurately reflects their choices before submitting them.
Richland County Elections Director Rokey Suleman blamed the problems on antiquated voting equipment.
“Whereas the equipment gets older, we’re going to start seeing more mechanical issues, more hardware issues, some more software issues. That’s why it’s really important that we try to transition to new voting equipment as quickly as possible,” Suleman told WLTX News.
While they hope to have new equipment in place in time for the 2020 presidential election, the election officials have to deal with their existing infrastructure in the meantime. The technicians who work with the machines say that they typically get recalibrated two to three times over the course of election day, but that heavy turnout has created the need to recalibrate more frequently.
With the stakes in this election so high and the margins so tight in many races, make sure first of all that you vote and then make sure that you carefully check your ballot to ensure that it reflects what you think it should. After that, all you can do is wait for the results to be tabulated and hope that no one’s votes got counted for the wrong candidate.
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Original reporting by Shelby Heary at WLTX.