Technology is such an integral part of our daily lives, and we often mistakenly assume we can trust computers and machines to work properly all the time. But in the case of voting machines, it is wise to not be so trusting and to instead assume that they can and do malfunction.
And here is a perfect example of why that is true: People voting early in the Texas midterm elections were attempting to cast straight-ticket (either all Republican or all Democrat) ballots, and the voting machines somehow changed their votes to the party other than the one they intended to support.
This was hardly an isolated incident, as it happened in at least 80 counties throughout the state. It has even happened with votes for U.S. Senate, which is a highly publicized race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his Democrat rival Beto O’Rourke.
The Source of the Problem
Apparently, the problems stem back to a certain type of voting machine called the Hart eSlate machine, and it has to do with how a voter uses the machine and navigates through the machine’s screens and selects candidates. The Texas secretary of state’s office is saying the fault is not with the machines themselves but rather with the voters who are using the machines and that people are using the machines incorrectly.
“The Hart eSlate machines are not malfunctioning, the problems being reported are a result of user error — usually voters hitting a button or using the selection wheel before the screen is finished rendering,” the secretary’s spokesperson said.
Old Technology in Play
Hart InterVCivic manufactures the voting machines and said the problems being experienced by early voters in Texas are a result of the technology being 16 years old. They also claimed the machines are accurate in keeping track of votes.
It sounds like the machines’ technology needs to be upgraded, but making that happen could provide difficult. Taylor in the secretary of state’s office said they cannot force the voting machine companies “to make upgrades if their voting systems are otherwise in compliance with federal state and law.”
Voters should be warned of the issues so they know to be on the lookout for potential problems. Some proactive communication would go a long way.
Also, voting machines possibly having technology that is too old is an issue that needs to be addressed. Elections matter, votes matter, and there needs to be a level of trust and accuracy when it comes to vote tallying and tracking.
If the voting machine malfunctions happened in Texas, it is possible for them to happen in another state. So all voters should keep that in mind, whether they are voting early or on election day. Check and double check all selections before finalizing any and all votes. If necessary, ask a person working at a voting center for assistance with the voting machine.
All people voting using machines should pay extra attention to verify that their votes are cast for the parties and candidates they intend to support.
~ Conservative Zone