Benjamin Reeves | November 6 2012 5:06 EST
By Benjamin Reeves
Irregularities with voting machines have come to light in Ohio and Pennsylvania, both key swing states in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. In Ohio, a voting fraud case has been leveled against Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted by the state's Green Party co-chairman Bob Fitrakis, alleging that “experimental” software was installed on voting machines which might assist in vote tampering, TechCrunch reported Tuesday. Similarly, a voting machine was taken out of operation in Pennsylvania after a local software engineer posted a video recording of the machine changing his vote for President Obama into a vote for Republican Mitt Romney, MSNBC confirmed.
The Pennsylvania machine malfunctioned Tuesday morning in such a way as to prevent voters from being able to select President Obama's name on the ballot and instead selecting Romney for them. The authenticity of the video (below) was confirmed by NBC News shortly before 1 p.m. ET.
The Youtube user who experienced the voting malfunction and posted the video, centralpavote, gave a description of the machine error:
"I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.
“I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said 'It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK.' and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video."
Since the problem arose, the machine in Pennsylvania has been taken out of use.
The possible problems with voting machines in the important swing state of Ohio may be more long-lived, though, than the as of yet isolated event in Pennsylvania. Husted ordered that so-called vote tabulating software be installed on Ohio voting machines as a simple patch, but the lawsuit filed Monday by Fitrakis alleges that the installation of the software was illegal and could be used to tamper with results.
“Our position is we don't know what's in [the software], but it seems to violate state law and federal law,” Fitrakis alleged, according to CBS News, adding that under state law the new software should have been tested by the Ohio board of voting machine standards.
Husted disagrees with Fitrakis' claims and has denied that the new software could be used to tamper with votes. The court is expected to issue a decision sometime during voting hours Tuesday.