2012 Election | News | Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Voting Machine Filmed Changing Obama Vote to Romney: VIDEO

For the record:

VoteA Pennsylvania voter says that his electronic ballot changed a vote to Romney that he intended for Obama. While some are suggesting that the clip might be a fake, the uploader insists it is not. Commenters on YouTube are calling for the Justice Department to be notified.

YouTube user CentralPAVote writes:

My wife and I went to the voting booths this morning before work. There were 4 older ladies running the show and 3 voting booths that are similar to a science fair project in how they fold up. They had an oval VOTE logo on top center and a cartridge slot on the left that the volunteers used to start your ballot.

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. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said "It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK." and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

WCityMike writes:

That's likely nothing sinister, just a miscalibrated touch screen. If you were to "vote" for Jill Stein on that machine, you'd likely register a vote for Obama. You'd let the local official know and insist they decommission or recalibrate the machine -- if they don't, then you'd take whatever loud, noisy action would be necessary.

CentralPAVote responds:

I thought this was also the case, so before recording the video I tried your suggestion. I selected Stein and it worked fine. I selected Romney and it was fine. Additionally, I did call over a vote official who told me, and I quote, "Don't worry about it, everything will be fine."

Writes another commenter:

If the last frame is correct, this is in Wilkes-Barre, PA. "Betsy Elizabeth Summers" is on the ballot. On the face of it, it is a poorly calibrated device. At the very minimum, the precinct captains need to take this machine offline until it is properly calibrated.


UPDATE: Here's an excellent interview with electronic voting machine experts about concerns for this election.

UPDATE II: And Gawker spoke with Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, about this particular video in Pennsylvania:

It's a concern but not because of fraud... that's an obviously miscalibrated iVotronic (ES&S) voting machine... we would recommend that poll workers would recalibrate the machine and everything would be fine. Also, with some models of voting system if you place a thumb on accident while resting on the machine it can "bias" the calibration of the touchscreen up towards the errant thumb. That could be happening to, if it's only for this one voter.

Hall says the most important thing is, MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR WORK when you're done voting.

And one of my Facebook followers, Andrew Edwards, writes:

No matter who you're voting for, a voting machine should not do this. If it happens to you, be sure to document it with your phone and call the Voter Hotline at 855-444-6100.

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  1. Paper ballots.

    Posted by: Mikemike | Nov 6, 2012 11:55:15 AM

  2. This literally made me sick to my stomach.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Nov 6, 2012 11:58:56 AM

  3. this had better result in a massive investigation. and charges.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 6, 2012 12:00:15 PM

  4. You're falling for a fake. There's a really good debate going on at reddit this morning. The video keeps skipping, the original poster refuses to say where specifically this was, and they just kinda gave up and left. Right...

    Posted by: joe | Nov 6, 2012 12:04:13 PM

  5. a "good debate on reddit" is like "clean coal" or "healthier cigarettes"

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Nov 6, 2012 12:08:27 PM

  6. I don't know if this is a scam or not, it does seem fishy to me. But this most certainly should be investigated and I question the motivations of ANYONE who would so easily just dismiss this as a fake.

    Regardless how this alleged incident turns out, I don't trust those damn electronic ballot machines and I'm so glad we don't have them here.

    Posted by: James | Nov 6, 2012 12:14:43 PM

  7. It's real, but probably just a buggy machine. If you were going to try to swipe votes, you wouldn't program the machine to advertize the fact, would you?

    Posted by: jim Donaught | Nov 6, 2012 12:19:32 PM

  8. If s*ht like this happens when you vote, demand a paper ballot, and report the problem to the Election Protection Coalition hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE or email them at info@866ourvote.org.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Nov 6, 2012 12:22:57 PM

  9. We had a similar problem in WV when we first starting using the machines in 2006. Since then, every voter is given a pencil and use the eraser tip to select the candidates.

    Posted by: Michael | Nov 6, 2012 12:28:37 PM

  10. I love the idea of citing "commenters on YouiTube". Class journalism, even for a blog.

    Posted by: Bingo | Nov 6, 2012 12:32:12 PM

  11. Why do the touch areas have to be so small, anyway?

    Posted by: atomic | Nov 6, 2012 12:32:36 PM

  12. @Bingo: that's where the word starts in this world of social media, as you no doubt are aware.

    And it's highly suspicious that a machine would have calibration issues in favor of Romney.

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Nov 6, 2012 12:44:19 PM

  13. I'm going to have to agree with Mike on this, PAPER BALLOTS

    Posted by: Will | Nov 6, 2012 12:50:11 PM

  14. In past stories about "calibration issues" with voting machines, by some mysterious coincidence the malfunctions ALWAYS seem to favor the Republican candidate. How very odd...

    Wasn't PA one of the states where the voting machines are supplied by a company in which Tagg Romney is an investor?

    Posted by: Caliban | Nov 6, 2012 12:52:01 PM

  15. Here's the thing. When I voted in Nevada, there was a printed copy that comes up to verify what you votes are before you finalize your vote. If all these electronic machines are the same or similar, then this person should have shown this problem to the polling rep showing that the error. If the rep verified it and did nothing, then it's a problem.

    Posted by: Ronnie | Nov 6, 2012 12:53:08 PM

  16. I JUST VOTED FOR Governor Gary Johnson AND Incumbent-Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.



    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Nov 6, 2012 12:55:00 PM

  17. Check out my posting over on my blog: Reform Our Electoral System and find out why I believe all voting should be done using optical scan paper ballots.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Nov 6, 2012 1:10:26 PM

  18. I highly doubt this is the last time we'll be hearing about problems like this. The GOP is absolutely intent on putting Mitt Romney in office, even if they have to break the law to do it. I really can't help thinking that we're going to wake up tomorrow, and the headlines will say "Romney Wins Election," no matter who gets the most votes.

    Posted by: AJD | Nov 6, 2012 1:15:44 PM

  19. we tried electronic voting and rejected it in favour of paper ballots only.The electronic machines gave rise to too many disputes and unverifiable errors.All the electronic voting machines were sold off.

    All ballots are now examined by humans and if there any doubt about a ballot it is scrutinised by each side and an independent returning officer.
    I believe the Netherlands also withdrew electronic voting machines.....but I'm open to correction.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Nov 6, 2012 1:27:23 PM

  20. @Ronnie

    Amazingly, not all states even require that voting machines leave any paper trail at all, including giving you a receipt.

    Two recommendations to the US, so we can get our act together:

    1) Switch to mail-in voting for everyone, just like Washington state. If you're homeless you can vote in person.

    2) At a minimum, stop all paid political advertising three months before the election, like they do in France. Instead, just like in France, all candidates get equal, free air time on television to make their case.

    Posted by: Eric | Nov 6, 2012 1:42:12 PM

  21. If this is the way the Romney Campaign plans to swing this election they are not only going to be defeated but they will completely destroy the GOP in the process. There is no way that the Republican Party will have any credibility left once this is all brought to light. And with this being the most highly anticipated election in recent history, with cameras, media, lawyers, researchers, technology/polling experts, on-site, literally, everywhere, there is simply no way that they will not be caught. If true, the Romney Campaign and the Republican Party has made yet another huge mistake, reckless and politically fatal.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 6, 2012 1:42:34 PM

  22. Drudge is doing a nice job of chronicling Democrat mischief. From Obama posters in polling places to Obama caps on election workers to Black Panthers patrolling in Philly. Keep crying, guys. What doesn't kill us (and so far they haven't beaten anyone, yet) only makes us madder.

    Posted by: MarkUs | Nov 6, 2012 1:51:14 PM

  23. I really dislike Blacks. Almost as much as my mother and father dislike having me as a son.

    Posted by: MarkUs | Nov 6, 2012 1:56:12 PM

  24. That video is so fake. Watch his finger jump at :04. He's using stop-motion technique.

    Posted by: L_Dave | Nov 6, 2012 2:00:46 PM

  25. Very, very scary.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Nov 6, 2012 2:13:56 PM

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