Early voting began this week for many states across the U.S., including Texas. Unfortunately, it appears there has already been a major glitch that could possibly affect elections within the state.
GQ reports many Texans who showed up to vote throughout the week were met with voting machines that disobeyed their instructions, switching votes to the opposing party in many instances. For example, someone meaning to vote for Democrat Beto O’Rourke would be met with a screen confirming their support for Republican Ted Cruz.
I chose the “straight ticket” option for the Democratic Party on the first screen.
Once I toggled through the 16+ page ballot and reached the final screen to review my choices, I saw that my vote for @BetoORourke had been changed to a vote for Ted Cruz.
— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) October 26, 2018
Since the first complaint was made, about a dozen reports of this discrepancy have been made to the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), picking up momentum as images began circulating on social media. TCRP communications director Zenan Perez claims it is a nonpartisan problem that affects voters on both sides of the aisle. He also believes it’s a symptom of the state’s out-of-date voting equipment rather than a political conspiracy.
“Texas just hasn’t spent the resources necessary to modernize its elections,” Perez told the publication. “Until they do, we’re going to continue to see this kind of thing on a regular basis.”
As for repairing the problem, AJ Plus reports GOP-appointed officials claim they have “no legal authority” to update the voting booths.
Texas election officials confirmed that voting machines used in 30% of its counties (including its biggest) are switching people’s votes, including the Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke. The GOP-appointed officials say they have “no legal authority” to update them. pic.twitter.com/UGui2ox15H
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 26, 2018
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has issued a statement about the issue.
“As a reminder, voters should always carefully check their review screen before casting their ballots,” states the advisory issued by Keith Ingram, director of elections with the Texas Secretary of State’s office. “If a voter has any problems, they should notify a poll worker immediately so the issues can be addressed and reported.”