Unsurprisingly, some early voters in West Virginia found great difficulty trying to vote for Democratic candidates on some electronic voting machines. We should all understand that these machines are far too easy to manipulate to be useful in any election. What’s wrong with a good ol’ paper ballot and black marker (as we use in Massachusetts)?
An excerpt from the Sunday Charleston Gazette-Mail:
Some early W.Va. voters angry over switched votes
Jackson County touch-screens switched votes, 3 residents say
By Paul J. Nyden
At least three early voters in Jackson County had a hard time voting for candidates they want to win.
Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk’s office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates.
“When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain,” said Matheney, who lives in Kenna.
When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge “responded that everything was all right. It was just that the screen was sensitive and I was touching the screen too hard. She instructed me to use only my fingernail.”
Even after she began using her fingernail, Matheney said, the problem persisted.
When she tried to vote for candidates running for two open seats on the Supreme Court, the electronic machine canceled her second vote twice.
On her third try, Matheney managed to cast votes for both Menis Ketchum and Margaret Workman, Democratic candidates for the two open seats.
Calvin Thomas, 81, who retired from Kaiser Aluminum in Ravenswood in 1983 and now lives in Ripley, experienced the same problem.
“When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor’s office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. When I went to Karen Facemyer [the incumbent Republican state senator], I pushed the Democrat, but it jumped again.
“The rest of them were OK, but the machine sent my votes for those top three offices from the Democrat to the Republican,” Thomas said.
“When I hollered about that, the girl who worked there said, ‘Push it again.’ I pushed Obama again and it stayed there. Then, the machine did the same thing for other candidates.
“Why didn’t she [the polling clerk] tell me before I even used the machine that might happen? And how many people, especially my age, didn’t notice that?