When programmer Don Relyea tried to choose one candidate on his voting machine, the computer chose a different candidate—plus four other candidates from the same, incorrect party—right in front of him. He captured the whole thing on video.
Voting! Don't you just hate it?? Luckily, in the future, the machines will go ahead and do it for us. They'll even choose the candidates!
As you can see in the video, Relyea is trying to cast his vote for Rick Perry, the Republican candidate for Governor (I know, I know). But when he presses his finger to Rick Perry's name, the machine selects Deb Shafto—the Green Party's candidate. And not just her, either: the Green Party candidates for each of the other offices are also selected. He tries again, and the same thing happens. Isn't that, you know, a little bit weird?
Relyea says he "had to raise a stink" but that he was "put on another polling machine." He recorded his creepy experience, and one of his coworkers posted the video to the link-sharing website Reddit.
So: Do the Greens finally have their shit together enough to effect a massive hack of electronic voting machines? Probably not. I mean, why would a machine intent on changing votes show the victim that his votes are being changed? (And, I mean, come on: The Green Party?) Based on the video it seems most likely that somehow the "Rick Perry" button is being mapped to the button that allows you to select all Green Party candidates.
But: It should go without saying that regardless of intent (and regardless of the fact that Rick Perry sucks), it's a troubling situation. This Washington Post infographic about the difference in security between slot machines in Las Vegas and electronic voting machines is a quick and easy way to see how scarily relaxed the security standards are with systems currently in use. (The infographic is four years old, but I haven't been able to turn up anything to indicate that the regulations it references have changed.)
Relyea, for what it's worth, wasn't the only Texan who had trouble with a voting machine. Reddit user KaitouKid detailed his experience:
I had the same problem with a voting machine in Collin County, still right outside of Dallas. It was Diebold, and very different from the one in this video.
Another difference was that mine took some convincing to let me vote for Bill White. Every time I would press it, it would select Bill White for a second, then switch to Rick Perry. I eventually did it enough times that it stuck.
Well, at least I hope it stuck. There's really no way of knowing how it recorded the vote, is there?
How sad is the future? You thought there would be a grand electronic conspiracy for one candidate or party, didn't you? Sorry, turns out we're too stupid to do that—instead, you get a bunch of broken-down, useless machines that no one can figure out.