Local Politics

GOP files suit over touch-screen voting machines

Posted October 28, 2010
Updated October 29, 2010

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— The North Carolina Republican Party on Friday filed a federal lawsuit over concerns about the operation of touch-screen voting machines.

Party Chairman Tom Fetzer said Thursday that the GOP has received several complaints from voters trying to vote a straight Republican ticket that the touch-screen machines recorded their votes as a straight Democratic ticket.

"These machines have a history of being problematic," he said.

He said he suspects the error occurs when the screen is unsure of what the voter pressed.

"The voter's vote is defaulted to the top line, which in most instances is the Democratic line on the ballot," he said.

Johnnie McLean, deputy director of the State Board of Elections, said there is no default for the machines, which she said are recalibrated every morning to ensure they're working properly.

Thirty-five counties are using touch-screen machines for early voting, including Mecklenburg and Guilford.

Fetzer didn't say how many complaints have been lodged or where the voters lived.

Touch-screen voting machine State: GOP claims of touch-screen voting problems 'exaggerated'

McLean said the elections board has received "isolated" complaints from New Hanover and Craven counties. Some complaints are from Democrats who said the machines recorded their votes incorrectly for Republicans.

"We don't see a widespread issue," she said.

Fetzer said he wants warnings posted at the polls to alert voters of the potential problem. He also wants poll workers to retain daily printouts of vote totals to compare later with the tabulations provided by the touch-screen machines and to retain records of all complaints about the machines.

"We're not satisfied at all with the State Board of Elections' response to date," he said. "It's an incompetence situation at the State Board of Elections."

Andrew Whalen, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, called Fetzer's allegations of voting improprieties "reckless and absurd."

"I can only assume he is trying to lay a groundwork of excuses for his party’s upcoming electoral failures or attempting to suppress turnout by alleging fraud when there is no evidence of it," Whalen said in a statement.


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  • independentvoter3 Oct 29, 2010

    Paper, Paper, Paper.... is all we need. Too many things can go wrong with voting machines... namely hackers.

  • North Carolina Home Oct 29, 2010

    """"I know of a lot of Repubs who are embarrassed and are switching their vote this year."""" said iwishihadariver

    Sorry, but I really do not believe that or to give you an out, a few people are lying to you. Aside from the fact that it makes no sense, it is a numerically challenged theory.

  • james27613 Oct 29, 2010

    Why spend the money on expensive electronic voting machines?
    So I can see the photo of the person I am voting for?
    Come on, this is not Florida where they hang chads.

    I like the paper ballots that Wake County uses with the optical scanners. Paper trail and the optical scanners mean no funny business.

  • iwishihadariver Oct 29, 2010

    The Republicans and Fetzer are the biggest whiners I have ever seen. Ever since Fetzer took reins he has whined and brought the Republican party to the gutter. I know of a lot of Repubs who are embarrassed and are switching their vote this year.

  • ewitteborn Oct 29, 2010

    here we go again why is it the GOP is always complaining about the votes not being right or "we need to recount the votes" this has been going on way too long! If the person voting cant take a few seconds to make sure that they checked the right box or clicked the right spot on the screen its their fault if the vote is wrong and no need to waste more tax payer money with stupid lawsuits over these issues! is it just me or does anyone else think it was funny that both times Bush ran for office Florida the state his brother was Gov. of was the state of contention. Stop the nonsence and lets get this over with already

  • North Carolina Home Oct 29, 2010

    """I'm sure you have proof of that. Give me a break.""" PC

    A lifetime of watching it.

  • joedaplumber Oct 29, 2010

    Let Sarah Palin count the votes but if more than 10 people vote she will have to take her shoes off

  • boogerntcsmom Oct 29, 2010

    To err is human, to foul things up requires a computer.

  • Plenty Coups Oct 29, 2010

    "Democratic voter fraud in North Carolina is as entrenched in it's culture as bootlegging"

    I'm sure you have proof of that. Give me a break.

  • North Carolina Home Oct 29, 2010

    """Keep the fear alive, little Tommy.""" by geosol

    Not fear but reality.

    Democratic voter fraud in North Carolina is as entrenched in it's culture as bootlegging.