welcome to the machines

Watch This Voting Machine Hilariously Refuse To Accept A Vote For Barack Obama (Probably Because It Is Racist)


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.

Fucking conspiracy theory loons.

About the author

Rebecca is the editor and publisher of Wonkette. She is the author of Commie Girl in the O.C., a collection of her OC Weekly columns, and the former editor of LA CityBeat. Go visit her Commie Girl Collective, and follow her on the Twitter!

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    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Touch screen voting should be banned. Do not like. Every state should do it like mine. You fill in the little circle with your black pen.

      Why is this so hard?

      1. comrad_darkness

        And them count select bundles by hand to make sure they were scanned accurately. At least the paper record is there, but it doesn't help if there is never a recount to verify they were counted correctly.

      2. Fare la Volpe

        In Tennessee you vote by sinking a birdie on a par 4.

        Why no, we don't get a lot of poor, black, or women voters; why do you ask?

  1. Barbara_

    They sensed the estrogen and the voting machine had ways of shutting this thing down before you got to cast your girl vote. It's just old white men protecting us and stuff.

    1. Anne_Athema

      This is what my husband says when I talk about the myriad of Repub voter fraud in the news of late. How did I marry this man?!

  2. Goonemeritus

    Sweet Mother of the Baby Jebuss , I just hope there is a member of the New Black Panther Party close by who can kick that poll worker in their sorry ass and get them to do their job!

  3. Woodshedding

    Me too. If Obama wins despite the INCREDIBLE number of ways the GOP is stealing votes, it'll indicate he actually did get that 82% or whatever, even though the vote counts showed him as having maybe 1% more than fecking Zomney.

  4. BoroPrimorac

    Think of all the old folks down here in Florida or Ohio or Pennsylvania who will not notice this discrepancy. Good times.

  5. MissTaken

    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.

    Well that certainly makes me feel OK now.

    1. clecinosu

      Those voting machines are the ones used in my precinct in Ohio. That's another reason why I voted early — and on PAPER.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      And it looked *so* sunny out the other day, you thought you'd make use of it to go rake some leaves.. but then that old howlin' wind kicked up and mocked your efforts, eh? Stinkin' bully, that weather is!

  6. ph7

    The machine also simultaneously transferred your 401(k) balance to an anonymous account in the Grand Caymans.

      1. Mumbletypeg

        To his credit.. The contributor of this story wanted to "troubleshoot" with votes.
        Grateful here that he at least *shot* a video of the ordeal for us to appreciate, too.

  7. Lazy Media

    That looks like a bad terminal. I'd be curious to see if the same thing happened on other pages of the ballot.

  8. Serolf_Divad

    What the fuck?! I mean, really, they couldn't take the time to calibrate the fucking touch screen before putting it on the floor? Nice.

    1. Designer_Rants

      I don't think it's a calibration issue, it's someone who set up the GUI and they drew a rectangle for BO's button that is treasonously small and a rectangle for Mittens that overlaps OB's button. I used to do this as a job (Graphical User Interfaces). This is sloppy.

      edit: the "rectangles" I write of are invisible.

  9. RomneysLogCabin

    I don't condone hacking, but we could use LuLz Sec or Anonymous to come through and give Barry 99% of the nationwide popular vote.

  10. Anne_Athema

    Holy fucking Homer Simpson, Batman… er, Rebecca!

    I hope you contacted your state/local FBI branch toute suite, baby.
    Very frightening to think that many would possibly not notice. Or care.

    This shit freaks me out so much (seriously, I live in fear today of a stolen election because of these electronic machines) that even though I used a paper ballot, I still took a picture of it with my cell phone.

    (adjusts tin-foil hat)

    1. alteredimages

      I'm voting, but if Mittens cheats and wins, never again. I won't have votes against the GOP counted as votes for them. Voting thereafter wil be even more of a charade than it was before.

  11. memzilla

    How about a new law that says for every time a computerized voting machine fu**s up, the C-suite of the manufacturer loses $10,000 in pay?

  12. boskolives

    And the name of the candidate who has a son that owns a company that provides electronic and easy to tamper voting machines is………..
    Crap, I just remembered that Obama doesn't have a son, so I guess the choice got easier.

    1. alteredimages

      You think Obama's concession speech will be as weakwilled and pathetic as Kerry's was? Especially since Kerry's came minutes after Edwards promised to fight in the "tossup" states?

  13. SkinnyNerd

    Hi Democrats. This is how I feel every time I vote for Jill or Ralph. Welcome to my world of hopeless despair. You get used to it after a while. A sense of forlorn desolate ennui befalls you every election day. "Oh, this again. I suppose my vote matters." Sometimes the television will show that small little number next to the Green's name. It inspires a feeling of euphoria, however short lived. Here's to spending the night endlessly hoping a state, nay, a county gets colored green by accident. Good luck to you Dems, I wish you well.

      1. SkinnyNerd

        Sense of humor much, dude? That is a high horse you rode in on there, sir. You are right, we are talking about presidential politics fraud here. And there is no bigger fraud than limiting a nation to two corporate controlled choices. You want to talk fraud? How about a party that keeps asking for more and more from its voters but keeps offering back less and less every presidential election cycle? Four years ago we were promised we'd get the banksters (yet Republican Reagan got more – 1,000 more to be precise and there was far more crime committed this time – and we cannot blame this on Congress, it is an executive branch power), we'd close Guantanamo (yet we sent prisoners to Bagram – far far worse than Guantanamo), we were promised civil liberties (yet we got NDAA), we were promised an end to NAFTA (yet we got the TPP – NAFTA on steroids). Drones, kill lists, etc. Yeah, you are voting for a real stand up guy. And if it were not for Biden, same sex marriage would go by the wayside as well. I sure hope the Democrats do not also become the party of telling people to get lost if they are different (diversity is still on the platform right?) because that would be one more step in the Republican direction. You may be fine with our party going further and further to the right every year but I am not, and chose to parlay it with a weak attempt at humor. If my best shot at getting my party back is placing a horn on a horse, I guess I do not have much of a choice but to imagine a world full of colorful horny horses.

  14. Lazy Media

    Speaking of Diebold hacks. I had a low-paid flunky job for Diebold when they first implemented those machines in Georgia, teaching technophobe old poll workers how to use them, and I wasn't sure exactly how you'd rig them. It's a dumb terminal customized for each election by an electronic ballot card, and it keeps a paper trail of total votes cast (not individual ballots, but the day's tally). Those paper records at each polling place are bounced against the electronic tallies sent to the county central voting offices. So in order to hack it, you'd have to physically alter each terminal, or the ballot cards. I mean, it's not impossible, but it would need to be a pretty widespread conspiracy within a company of low-paid drones who mostly aren't Republicans, which makes me think it doesn' t happen.

    This just looks like a buggy terminal; if they were going to steal votes, they'd just make it record an Obama vote as a Romney vote, without the voter seeing it.

      1. Lazy Media

        I'm perfectly willing to be startled, but I need some technical explanation of HOW the bad people would do bad things. Don't have it yet.

        1. bobbert

          See Designer_Rants on GUI layout above.

          The thing is, IF somebody did fuss with the software in such a way, they definitely wouldn't do it on every machine. If it appears random, it's much less likely to attract attention (see, poll worker in story).

          Now, the behavior described in the article could easily be a touch-screen calibration issue, so it doesn't bother me a whole lot. The response of the poll worker bothers me much more.

    1. MegPasadena

      It depends on the state. In one of Rachel Maddow's reports she said in some states you still need to select the President separately even you pick the straight Democratic ticket. That button only works with local offices. Very trickery.

  15. T3rbo

    Two things, both of extreme importance and insight
    1)Is anyone going to get anything done today at work? All I am going to do is troll around the internetz for election news. Over and over and over and over.

    2)This alleged election seems to be like the Tour de France, circa 2004. Everyone is cheating, but only the best and least obvious cheater will win, so the bicycle race and election that surrounds the cheating is irrelevant. The people doing the real hard work of competition are the chemists and doctors working behind the scenes (Carl Rove vs Who knows in Chicago). Yes, you don't get to the Tour or to a national election by being a talentless bum, but once you get there, competition between teams of expert cheaters determines who wins and who loses. A contest becomes a farce when it is obvious that all of the competitors are cheating. I wish I didn't have to secretly hope that my guy is able to cheat as effectively as the other guy.

    1. Boojum

      I'm home sick, waiting for Rebecca to bring me a big bowl of homemade chicken soup, so I will get nothing done.

      Of course, I won't get soup, either.

  16. CindynEncinitas

    Start the pyroclastics and blast the Baba O'Reilly. The Repugs are pulling out all the stops to steal this one. Like we couldn't have predicted that. I am on my knees praying real hard and the only thing that seems to help is FiveThirtyEight.

  17. StillGoinGreen

    Here in Texas, you get a whoopie cushion "fart" sound every time you select a democrat on your electronic ballot – and when you try to submit, you get the Pack Man "Game Over" sound.

  18. a_pink_poodle

    He voted more than once! Well since he voted multiple times for Romney, we'll let it slide this time…

  19. subsum

    If you encounter a problem with a voting machine, get out of the voting booth, call on the people running the polling station and speak up. Say something. Getting things on YouTube is good but you need to make sure officials know about this. It could be as simple as a defective screen or it could be something worse. In any case, please speak up. Make sure those around you hear about it. That's the only way we can address these issues.

  20. tessiee

    My email to the United States Attorney General and Department of Justice:

    "To the Person(s) Concerned:
    I am contacting you because I have grave concerns about the upcoming election tomorrow.
    The irregularities I have heard and read about are too many to list in detail, but they include Mitt Romney's son having partial ownership of voting machines in Ohio (swing state) (which surely must constitute a conflict of interest), illegal destruction of paper ballots in Virginia (swing state) by a Republican staffer, and Governor Rick Scott's interference with citizens' access to voting places in Florida (swing state).

  21. tessiee

    Part 2

    I believe that Americans' right to vote is an essential part of democracy, and should be unhampered; and that everyone's vote should be counted accurately. I am sure that the Department of Justice is aware of all the issues surrounding voting access and vote counts in this election, but I would like to respectfully request that you make the utmost effort to ensure that Americans are fully, freely, and fairly represented, and to zealously pursue the resolution of any irregularities that may occur.
    Thank you for allowing me to express my concerns in this urgent matter."

    I sent this yesterday afternoon. Anybody who wants to use this, in part or in its entirety, has my permission.

  22. kyeshinka

    Thankfully the trap door underneath you didn't open when you tried to vote democrat. That's why I straddle the voting desk.

  23. ttommyunger

    This is why I vote absentee in Georgia, not that my ballot will ever see the light of day from the bottom of that dumpster behind the government complex.

  24. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Holy Crap! You would think that the volunteers would shut that machine down immediately and show some concern. That video needs to be circulated now.

  25. outragedcitizen

    Even though I live in the Democratic bastion of Maryland, when I finally got to the voting machines this morning, (even longer line then in 2008), and saw "Diebolt" on the back of the machines, I got a sick feeling in my stomach.

    1. Gleem McShineys

      Exactly! This kind of problem happened in Guantanamo as well!

      Voters are going to be confused by such confounding images, so we should eliminate such things. Perhaps a civil protection force, wearing some recognizable uniforms of, oh, I dunno, brown shirts, could carefully guarantee the elimination of such sources of voter confusion?

  26. anniegetyerfun

    See, a REAL software developer would have found a way to describe this as a feature, not a bug.

    1. savethispatient

      To paraphrase something I saw recently:
      1. It's not happening for me
      2. Are you doing it right?
      3. That's impossible
      4. Well.. that shouldn't happen
      5. Ooh, that's weird
      6. Close error report as "Will not fix"

  27. savethispatient

    People had just voted for Obama so much on it, that part of the screen had worn out!

    Remind me what's wrong with a paper ballot again?

  28. Nostrildamus

    This clearly needs serious investigation, but I'd point out that the user gets pretty good feedback that the wrong result is recorded. If I were trying to bugger the software, I would simply change the internal tally rather than the display, so no one would be the wiser.

    Caveat: There might be some sort of internal encoding to the voting record that makes it difficult to mismatch the vote and its visual display. Any Wonkette coders care to comment?

  29. goat_thrower

    Everyone knows that an elaborate handshake and fist bump combination is required to vote for a black president.

  30. alteredimages

    On our machines, which do have a paper receipt, the Prez candiates went Romney, green, socialist, communist, whatever, whatever, Obama.

  31. tessiee

    I'm not surprised — disgusted, but not surprised — since we all knew that Republicans will cheat, lie, and steal to get their way.

    What I do find really upsetting and infuriating is that the people who were in a position to prevent this from happening stood by and did nothing. They knew about the paper ballots in Virginia. They knew about Romney's son owning stock in Diebold. Hell, they knew about this in 2004! Was anything done to prevent it? Was anything done to protect our rights? Was anything done about any of it?

Comments are closed.