The Texas Secretary of State’s office issued a statement this week addressing vote switching allegations.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, voters have been reporting across the state switched votes, while using the Hart eSlate voting machines. Voters say the machines appear to choose another party’s candidate after selecting a straight-ticket voting option.
In a memo to county clerks and elections officials, Texas Secretary of State Election Director Keith Ingram says this switching appears to be caused by voters taking extra keyboard actions on the machine.
“We have heard from a number of people voting on Hart eSlate machines that when they voted straight ticket, it appeared to them that the machine had changed one or more of their selections to a candidate from a different party,” Ingram said in the memo. “This can be caused by the voter taking keyboard actions before a page has fully appeared on the eSlate, thereby de-selecting the pre-filled selection of that party’s candidate.”
More specifically, Ingram says the machine uses a keyboard with an enter button and selection wheel. The enter button selects a voter’s choice, while the wheel moves up and down the ballot. Voters are advised not to use both buttons simultaneously, as well as to refrain from selecting “enter” until a ballot page has been fully rendered.
Regardless of the use of a voting machine, Ingram said in the memo voters should always be aware of their ballot prior to finally casting a choice for their selected candidates.
“As a reminder, voters should always carefully check their review screen before casting their ballots,” Ingram says. “If a voter has any problems, they should notify a poll worker immediately so the issues can be addressed and reported.”
Potter and Randall Counties both use a Hart voting machine, although it is not the same machine used in the counties where the candidate switches have been reported.