50 voters in Maryland complain voting machines changing GOP votes to Dems (updated with video)
Coming in the wake of similar problems reported in Illinois’s Cook County, the Maryland Republican Party states it has “received complaints from about 50 voters in 12 Maryland counties who say machines at early voting centers ‘flipped’ their Republican votes to count toward Democratic candidates.”
Michael Dresser reports in the Baltimore Sun:
Marsha Epstein of Pikesville said she ran into the problem when she went to vote at the Reisterstown Senior Center's Hannah More campus. She said she tried to vote for Republican Larry Hogan for governor but the machine recorded a vote for Democrat Anthony G. Brown.
Epstein said she pointed out the problem to an election judge, who told her to try again.
"I had to do it three times to keep it on Hogan," Epstein said. She said she had no problems voting in the other races on the ballot. Voters from Howard and Harford counties called The Baltimore Sun to report similar problems.
William Childers of Havre de Grace said something similar happened to him when he cast his ballot Sunday at the Higher Education and Technology Center in Aberdeen. He said his vote for Hogan registered without a problem but when he tried to vote to re-elect Republican Rep. Andy Harris, that line lit up temporarily but then switched to Democratic challenger Bill Tilghman.
"My concern is if you're not alert, you would think you were voting Republican but you're voting for a Democrat," Childers said.
All of the problems being reported are in the direction of changing Republican votes to Democrats.
I find this reaction absolutely bizarre:
Joe Cluster, executive director of the state Republican Party, said he believes he knows the reason the vote-switching reports are only coming from Republicans. He said it's not a matter of fraud, but of ballot position. The Democrat in each race is listed above the Republican, he noted. His theory is the when the mistake crops up, it's more likely to penalize the bottom candidate.
"The mistake happens on the upside rather than the downside," Cluster said.
Why are Democrats all listed first? That is preferential treatment. And why is Mr. Cluster so sanguine about the problem?
State elections board officials said they had received reports that fewer than 20 machines statewide had displayed votes for candidates other than the ones the voters selected. Deputy administrator Nikki Baines Charlson said 12 had been tested and no problems had been found.
I guess the problem is the GOP voters have large fingers, or else they are stupid:
According to the board, voters with long nails or large fingers, as well as those who hold the touch screen with their palms on the screen, appear to be reporting such problems more than others. The board advises voters to use the tips of their fingers when voting and to alert an election judge before casting a final ballot if they have problems.
So it is mere coincidence that 50 Republicans and no Democrats complain about their votes being changed? You can probably count on Maryland to remain solidly blue.
Update: watch this amazing video of a voting machine in Moline, Illinois changing a GOP vote to a Demcorat one.