This Voting Machine Won't Let You Vote for Obama (Updated: It Happened Again)

If this is what it looks like, it's terrifying: an electronic voting machine that won't let you vote for who you want to vote for.


The video, uploaded today which surfaced on Reddit, is allegedly from a voting station in Pennsylvania—a major state in the election. The man who recorded the faulty machine, which is either deliberately not allowing a touch vote for Obama, malfunctioning, or maybe just has a bad touchscreen, said the following:

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.

Again, there's no proof that this is deliberate vote manipulation—or even that it's real. Maybe the video is edited. But maybe it's not. And if there's a day we should err on the side of scrutiny, it's the day when we pick the President of the United States with fallible machines. The original poster says he's "not a video guy, but if it's possible to prove whether a video has been altered or not, I will GLADLY provide the raw footage to anyone who is willing to do so. The jumping frames are a result of the shitty camera app on my Android phone, nothing more."

This shouldn't be happening anywhere, not even once.

[via Reddit]

Update: Our bros at Gawker talked to Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, who says the problem is "obviously" a miscalibrated touchscreen.

Update 2: NBC says the machine in the video is no longer in use.

Update 3: Mother Jones reports that the misfiring machine has been recalibrated and is back online.


Update 4: CNN reports a second machine in Pennsylvania has exhibited the touchscreen malfunction—but has been restored.


I wonder if everyone is offset. So, for example, if you select Jill Stein it ends up selecting Obama. I think if I were going to make a video of this I'd start pressing all over the screen to see what was happening. This is so overt an error that it has to be incompetence. And keep in mind that last week someone complained that they selected Romney and got Obama.

If this thing operates like old-school touchscreens, which it almost certainly does, it needs to be calibrated. And if not properly calibrated it can be way off. No one can produce over-priced malfunctioning garbage like a government contractor can.