Evidence has been released from the office of a United States Congressman from Virginia showing “technical difficulties” in a voting booth, demonstrating a voter trying to cast a ballot for a Republican and the machine instead selecting the Democrat.
The office of Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican member of Congress representing Virginia’s Second District, released a cell phone video taken at a polling station in Virginia Beach showing a voter attempting to vote for Rigell. Upon selecting Rigell, the “X” instead goes to his Democratic opponent, Suzanne Patrick.
A statement was released on Rigell’s campaign Facebook page Tuesday advising constituents to contact his campaign manager if something goes awry with their vote:
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A spokesperson for Rigell told Western Journalism Tuesday the problem is “across the ballot” and could be widespread, leading one to believe the integrity of the vote of Virginia Beach, with a population of almost 450,000 according to the United States Census Bureau, could be called into question.
Rigell, who’s race is rated “Safe R” by Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, also addressed the concerns at a media gaggle Tuesday.
“Well, very early on this morning, right after I voted, we started getting text messages to me personally, and also to our campaign, that when they went to vote–the voters went to vote for me–it actually recorded a vote for my challenger.
“This was very troubling. We thought at first perhaps it’s an anomaly, it’s a one-off kind of a thing. But the pattern has grown. And now we’re up to 19 precincts across Virginia Beach. And these are people who are willing to stand and say, ‘No, this happened to me.’
“And we actually have irrefutable video of this occurring. And this is disenfranchisement of the American voter. And this is not a partisan matter, and I’d like to think that every American citizen here in Virginia Beach–Democratic, Independent, Libertarian–this is not a partisan matter. This is about our vote.
“You know the vote, the stability of that, the integrity of the electoral process is at the very heart of our Republic. So I’m deeply troubled by it, and I’ve been in touch with Ms. Patterson of the Registrar’s Office here. I know they’re doing what they can. But these machines are old.
“But I’d say this: we’ve got, at this point 19 – we know it’s gonna grow throughout the day, which is unfortunate. That is not an anomaly, that is a pattern. And each and every case, it’s going against us and in favor of my challenger. So something’s really structurally, systemically wrong here.”
Rigell was referring to Virginia Beach Registrar Donna Patterson, whose office oversees elections. She issued a press release Tuesday concerning these complaints, noting they have taken bad machines out of service.
“As soon as we learned of these problems, we removed those machines from service. Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that the election results are fair and accurate.
“To that end, we have instructed all election officials to remind voters to double-check the final summary page of their ballots, to make absolutely certain that their votes are properly recorded.”
Virginia’s Department of Elections issued their own press release shortly thereafter, attributing the problem to “touch screen calibration.”
“Based on discussions with local election officials, the issues appear [to be] related to touch screen calibration. All voting machines are tested prior to each election, however some machines may need additional calibration after transportation to a precinct.
“Localities have indicated that voting machines exhibiting any issues are immediately taken out of service until they can be checked by a technician.”
The incident is similar to one Western Journalism reported last week in Rock Island County, Illinois. The problem was also attributed to a “calibration error.” A voter at a machine in a library in Moline, Illinois, comparable to the one shown above, tried to vote for a Republican state Senate candidate, but the machine registered a vote for the Democratic incumbent. A video showed the voter also trying to select the Republican congressional candidate, but the machine again switched the vote to the Democratic incumbent, Cheri Bustos.
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Norvell Rose contributed to this report.