A Pennsylvania electronic voting machine was taken out of service after being captured on video changing a vote for President Obama into one for Mitt Romney, NBC News has confirmed. Republicans have also said machines have turned Romney votes into Obama ones.
The video was first posted on Youtube by user “centralpavoter.” It shows a voter’s finger repeatedly pressing the button for Obama, but a check mark coming up next to Romney’s name:
NBC News confirmed that the machine has been taken off line.
Underneath the video, the user gave an account of what happened:
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.
There is a lot of speculation that the footage is edited. I’m 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.
Separately, the RNC last week sent a letter (pdf) to elections officials in six other states, including Ohio, Nevada, and Colorado, raising concerns that machines had wrongly counted votes for Romney as ones for Obama, and asking them to address the problem.
Late Update,2:35pm: A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State told Mother Jones a machine that showed that problem, likely the same one, is back online after being “recalibrated.”
Late Late Update 4:33pm: Rich Gardella and Ellie Hall of NBC News have spoken to the voter who recorded the video. He told them he was eventually able to register his vote for Obama by finding the one area of the screen where the vote would be recorded. When he told the poll worker, she replied that there was therefore “no problem.”
The voter, who asked to remain anonymous, also told Gardella and Hall that as a software developer, he’s offended that a company could allow a machine with such a flaw to be used for a presidential election. If he allowed a defect like that on programs he worked on, he’d be fired, the voter said.