‘Calibration issue’ in Maryland voting machines switches GOP picks to Democrat

BUSTED? Voting machines in Maryland are moving Republican votes to the Democrats’ column. By Jessica Chasmar

A calibration issue in multiple Maryland voting machines is reportedly switching voters’ picks from Republican to Democrat.

“When I first selected my candidate on the electronic machine, it would not put the ‘x’ on the candidate I chose – a Republican – but it would put the ‘x’ on the Democrat candidate above it,” said Donna Hamilton, who voted at the Frederick County Center, Watchdog.org reported.

“This happened multiple times with multiple selections. Every time my choice flipped from Republican to Democrat. Sometimes it required four or five tries to get the ‘x’ to stay on my real selection,” she said.

Miss Hamilton said she notified officials of the problem. “I’m not sure what was done about it. If someone is not paying close attention, they could end up voting for the wrong candidate,” she told Watchdog.org.

Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann, a Republican, said the same thing happened to him when he voted early in Queen Anne’s County.

“This is happening here as well. It occurred on two candidates on my machine. I am glad I checked. Many voters have reported this here as well,” he told Watchdog.org.

Two other Maryland voters reported the same issue Friday in Anne Arundel County. A Diebold touchscreen voting machine switched their Republican votes to Democrats, Watchdog.org reported.

Joe Torre, election director in Anne Arundel, called it a “calibration issue” involving a single machine, Watchdog.org reported.

A similar issue was reported in a Chicago-area voting machine last week, as a Republican candidate for the Illinois state legislature tried to vote for himself and ended up selecting his Democratic opponent.

“While early voting at the Schaumburg Public Library today, I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Jim Moynihan said in a blog he linked to on Twitter. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

He said he also tried to vote for fellow Republican Larry Kaifesh in the 8th Congressional District race, but the vote was again cast for the Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Mr. Moynihan said he brought the error to the attention of a judge, who determined the machine hadn’t been calibrated correctly.

Jim Scalzitti, deputy communications director for the Cook County clerk’s office, said the machine in question was removed from service to be re-calibrated immediately and that there were no other reports of voters having similar problems.

Mr. Moynihan was eventually able to cast the correct votes.

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