Machines reportedly switching votes plagues Indiana county for second straight election

Machines reportedly switching votes plagues Indiana county for second straight election

Voting machines reportedly switching people’s choices have troubled a county in Indiana for the second consecutive election.

Tippecanoe County experienced issues with machines switching people’s selections on Election Day on Tuesday at multiple locations, according to the Lafayette Post & Courier.

Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush was notified by a voter who called in saying their selection on a voting machine at a local polling location would be changed by the machine, which would mark an “X” for someone other than the candidate the voter wanted. Roush said she checked the calibration on three different voting machines after receiving a call.

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Robert Kurtz, a resident of West Lafayette who went to vote Tuesday, recorded a video of a touch screen on a voting machine that would not record the proper selection.

“When I touched a square next to a candidate's name, the machine selected the square for the candidate above,” Kurtz told the new outlet. “If I touched the square for the candidate at the top of the list, nothing happened.”

Kurtz notified poll workers of similar issues on Election Day in 2018, according to the Post & Courier. County election officials that year weren’t able to replicate the issues voters experienced when they recalibrated the machines and tested them.

Kurtz added that election workers told him to put his finger below the desired selection to alleviate the problem, something he said shouldn’t be necessary.

“Then they went over to help someone else who had questions,” Kurtz said. “They’re just volunteers, so I don’t blame them, but these machines are junk and need to be replaced.”

Mike Smith, a staff member with the Tippecanoe County Election Board, told the news outlet that the office had received one official report from a poll worker on Tuesday about calibration issues.

“In that case, they worked it out,” Smith said. “We’re deploying massive resources based on one report. … Unless someone comes up and shows me, it’s hard to make a diagnostic guess about what’s the problem. Is it the machine? Is it a matter of coaching the voter or giving them a stylus? … We’re staying on top of it, though.”

Roush added that the machines are not changing people’s votes, saying it is simply an issue of the touch screen machines needing to be calibrated.

The Hill has reached out to the county election office for comment.

A similar issue affecting the county in 2018 led to a federal lawsuit to be filed against the Indiana Election Commission and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by nonprofit Indiana Vote by Mail is Vicky Woeste, who ran unsuccessfully for county clerk in 2018 against Roush.

The complaint alleges the state has exhibited a lack of urgency in eliminating the use of direct recording electronic voting machines, which the group says are susceptible to manipulation, the news outlet notes.