Vote-Flipping Reported On E-Voting Machines
By Matthew Cardinale, News Editor, The Atlanta Progressive
November 3, 2008
Atlanta Progressive News
CHARLESTON, West Virginia, Nov 3 (IPS) - Several U.S. citizens reported watching their votes flip on electronic voting machines in different states during the early voting period, highlighting the continued vulnerability of "e-voting" systems, which about 50 million U.S. citizens will use on Tuesday, despite problems since as early as 2004.
Most of the voters with complaints so far have said they saw their votes flipped from the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, to Republican Sen. John McCain, although at least three voters in Tennessee reported the reverse.
Vote-flipping has been reported so far in at least four states -- Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia -- out of the 31 states where early voting has taken place.
However, the reports of vote-flipping are just of the tip of the iceberg, according to Emily Levy of Velvet Revolution, a voter rights group.
"Votes can be flipped inside an electronic voting machine without there being any indication to the voter," Levy told IPS. As previously reported by IPS, the machines have been proven by academic experts to be vulnerable to hacking and manipulation.
Moreover, there is no meaningful way to conduct a recount with Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines, because with DREs, there are no ballots to recount, only a final tally. There's no way to know whether there's any relationship between that total and how voters voted that day.
"So, while visible vote flipping on the screen is clearly a problem, the absence of that doesn't indicate the absence of a problem," Levy said.
"These machines don't work. The worst thing is... there is still no way to verify that any vote ever cast on them in any election for candidate or initiative on the ballot has ever been recorded accurately as per the voter's intent. Impossible," Brad Friedman, a noted elections integrity blogger at Bradblog.com, told IPS.
"The solution is hand-counted ballot papers," Levy said.
Virginia Matheney of Jackson County, West Virginia, reported problems on the first day of early voting.
"When I pressed to enter my vote for the Democrat, the check mark jumped to the one above, to the Republican. Well, I pressed the Democrat again, and it jumped up again," Matheney told Video the Vote, a nonprofit election protection organisation, according to a video posted on the website, Youtube.com.
"So I asked the poll worker, well, why would this machine not allow me to vote for my candidate? She said, well, it's got a sensitive screen. She said you're touching it too hard, just use the tip of your fingernail to touch it, which I did. Then I went to the next candidate, well, it did the same thing," Matheney said.
"I proceeded to have problems all through the ballot," Matheney said.
The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia has since reported of a total of least 16 voters in six counties in the state who saw their votes flip.
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