A Texas woman's Facebook post has gone viral after she said Monday her straight-party Republican early ballot was switched to show she voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Lisa Houlette of Canyon, Texas said after two election officials helped her, she was able to fix the electronic ballot before submitting it, but warned others to double check since the ballot had straight party checked, but also checked Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine in the presidential race.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Though that issue was fixed before the vote was officially cast, it was unclear whether at least one other similar mistake was fixed, the
Garland City Councilman Stephen Stanley told the newspaper he went to a polling station to campaign and was told by a woman she had cast a straight GOP ballot, but it was marked straight Democrat. Officials were unable to track down the voter to determine whether her ballot was cast correctly.
Another woman in Texas who called Rush Limbaugh's radio show Tuesday said a woman in line in front of her had a similar experience and was warning others in line to double-check their ballots before casting them.
Democrats have reported similar problems where they voted a straight ticket for their party, but then had their ballots also marked for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
But the problem appears to be voter error and not any kind of election rigging or machine malfunction, officials said.
The explanation: Voters are allowed to mark their ballots straight ticket, but if they choose to then vote for someone else in another party for one or more races, those votes will be switched. It appears the voters who are getting the error are voting straight ticket, then also voting in the presidential race. If they are voting straight Republican, Trump-Pence already will be checked, so if they check it again, the vote actually becomes unchecked for Trump-Pence and switches to Clinton-Kaine.
Democratic Party chair Deborah Peoples said she has received multiple complaints of the same issue with Democratic voters.
"They voted for Secretary Clinton, it jumped to Trump, so we're working with the elections office," Peoples told the Dallas-Fort Worth CBS affiliate.
Tarrant County Republican Party Chair Tim O’Hare said he does not suspect fraud, but voter error.
"The Facebook post has taken on a life of its own," he told the CBS affiliate. "We don't think there's fraud inside the machine or software glitches."
Tarrant County elections administrator Frank Phillips told the Star-Telegram the fact people are seeing the mistake before the vote is cast shows the machines are working as intended.
"Our investigations have indicated that the voter did not follow the directions for straight-party voting when they inadvertently click the 'enter' button or turn the wheel, causing the change in votes," he said in a statement Tuesday. "Further, in each incident where we could actually speak to a voter, they tell us that they discovered the changed vote on the summary screen display.
"This shows that the machine is working exactly as it should," he said. "The voter gets to review a summary of vote choices made and make any changes as needed before actually casting the vote."
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