VIDEO: Pa. machine doesn’t let voter select Barack Obama (UPDATED)

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In a video that has gone viral, currently on the front page of Reddit with thousands of views, a voting machine near Harrisburg, PA appears to prevent a voter from choosing incumbent President Barack Obama, instead continually switching his selection to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

The man who claims to have shot the video inside a Central Pennsylvania voting booth posted:

“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.”

The man wrote that after some poking around, he was eventually able to select Obama. In an email to Metro, he said that though he does not wish to disclose his identity at this time, the malfunction happened at a polling place in Perry County in the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan area. He said that the video he uploaded to YouTube went viral as he drove to work after he emailed the link to three friends and stressed that he only recorded the video after the poll workers declined to provide help. “It wasn’t until after I detected the problem and the volunteer neglected to do anything about it that I recorded it,” he wrote.

The man said that he is concerned that the machine was not addressed immediately after the problem was identified. “They should have shut the machine down and tagged it,” he wrote. “Instead, I finished my voting on it, and watched the next person walk up to use it. … The fact is, what I intended to pick was not selected. Whether it’s a calibration issue or something else, it should have been fixed prior. The machine’s sole purpose is to record an accurate vote, and it did not do that.”

Technologist Joseph Lorenzo Hall told Gawker that the incident appears to be a case of a miscalibrated machine, not any kind of voter fraud. He suggests that voters double check their selections to make sure they are accurate before they submit their ballot. The man who recorded the video agreed. “I hope they pay attention and ensure they get the vote for who they intended it to go to,” he wrote of other voters.


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