FYI, Election Day Freakout 2012 Is In Full Swing On The Internet

11.06.12 12 Comments

In the future, remind me to take presidential election day off so I can stay away from the internet and not be subjected to the hysteria currently circulating everywhere on both sides over voting irregularities. For instance, the video about has been on the front page of Reddit for a while now. The Redditor who uploaded it writes

I’m the guy who shot the video, hopefully this doesn’t get burried. You guys have questions, I have answers.

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.

EDIT: 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.

Look, this sucks but it happens. Technology isn’t perfect. AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE MALFUNCTIONED. It probably just needs to be restarted or something. And last I checked old people and technology don’t exactly mix. I doubt the old ladies at this voting station are in the tank for Romney — they’re just not the people do deal with such issues. Can we all just calm down?

Meanwhile, Florida is and will always be a third world country.

UPDATE: Gawker’s Max Read tracked down Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, who had this to say about the incident documented in the video above…

It’s a concern but not because of fraud… that’s an obviously miscalibrated iVotronic (ES&S) voting machine… we would recommend that poll workers would recalibrate the machine and everything would be fine…The number-one recommendation I can make is make sure voters “check their work”; that is, if you’re voting on a voting machine, it will usually summarize your selections on a final screen before you cast your vote (and if there is a paper trail-a printer on the side, be sure to carefully make sure it prints your choices correctly). Make sure this ballot summary reflects how you want to vote because this is the most likely step where voters would make a mistake or an attacker would try and take advantage of an inattentive voter and show something different on the screen versus the paper. If you have a problem, tell the poll workers and then call us at (non-partisan) Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE.

So there.

UPDATE #2: The malfunctioning voting machine has been shut down for the day.

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