Houston We Have A Problem

One of my favorite sayings is do not attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence. Many people have asked me what I think of voting machines and my answer is simple, we need to go back to paper and pencil and do distributed counting in precincts with multi-partisan oversight.

This came in from Sanpete County today:

When I went to vote, I was so pissed off at Republicans that I voted straight ticket Democrat and didn’t vote for ANY Republican – I left the screen blank when Republicans were running unchallenged. However, when I pressed the screen for a straight party Democrat vote, the paper in the machine printed out a Republican ticket. At the time I thought I was looking at someone else’s vote, since I’m in a heavily Republican district. But the more I think about it, the more I feel that the machines are printing a straight ticket Republican vote for every straight ticket Democrat vote cast without showing anything onscreen except a slight flicker as if you hadn’t hit the touch screen right. If the standard spiel from the Republicans is that this kind of thing is an alignment issue between the touch screen and the computer, then why would the machine allow me to vote twice – once the unauthorized Republican ticket, and once my actual Democratic ticket? And it’s obvious that a vote pattern like that cancels out my vote. Even if I was just seeing the vote for the prior voter, isn’t that still a breach of the confidential voting process?

The person at the County Clerk’s office did ask me if anything went wrong with my voting, and at the time I didn’t think anything about it and I told her no, but now I’m thinking something seriously weird is going on with our voting machines here in Utah. So I thought I should give you a heads up to look into the matter. If the paper trails show a straight party Republican ticket for every straight party Democratic vote – or for a suspiciously high number of them – immediately adjacent to each other, then we have serious problems with the voting systems in Utah. The County Clerks should be able to do a brief audit of the early voting results to see if this pattern emerges.

I imagined this had a possibility of being user error, then someone sent me this story.

When you vote, please look for similar irregularities.

7 thoughts on “Houston We Have A Problem

  1. I heard about Video the Vote (http://videothevote.org/) the other day, and wish it were going on in Utah. I’m on a mailing list for Utah Count Votes (http://utahcountvotes.org/), but there’s so much information out there that it’s not well maintained at this point, though the email list is very active. I am pretty scared about whether or not my vote is going to count, and it’s not just because I’m in an overwhelmingly Red State, this time. Anyone having a problem really needs to get the word out, whether it’s that the machine outright messed up your vote, that it was difficult to use, that the physical box looked as though it could have been compromised, or other irregularities. And I hope everyone will back the efforts to mandate a verifiable paper trail.

  2. Hi Pete,

    I’ve been following stories on voting machines for a while now and became convinced that I’d vote this election with a paper ballot. I went to vote on Monday and had a poll worker argue with me about Diebold machines before finally giving me a paper ballot. I’m hoping it’s an isolated incident, because after talking with the SL County clerk’s office today and two poll worker friends I know, that individual went against their training — which is to provide the voter with a paper ballot when asked. I wrote about the incident with more detail here: http://oneutah.org/2006/10/31/voting-on-a-paper-ballot-dont-forget-to-wear-your-tinfoil-hat/

  3. Hmmmm! That doesn’t make any sense if you look at the situation a little. Helllooooooo! The Sanpete Co. Clerk is a Democrat running for re-election you’d think she’d pad her own pocket if that were the case.

  4. I went paper ballot as well, I don’t trust the new machines either. I opted to vote early you watch what chaos happens on Tuesday, it will be a mess in some places. I don’t blame anyone, but the poll workers need to be thoroughly trained and I don’t think they have been given much to work with.

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