Republicans challenge voting machines in Nevada


CARSON CITY - With Election Day less than a week away, the Republican National Committee on Thursday alleged voting machines in Nevada and five other states are flawed and improperly showing voters choosing President Barack Obama when they thought they had selected GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"I understand that, in a significant number of cases, voting machines in your states have populated a vote for Barack Obama when a voter cast his or her ballot for Mitt Romney," committee chief counsel John Phillippe Jr. wrote in a letter to top election officials in Nevada, Ohio, Kansas, North Carolina, Missouri and Colorado.

The letter does not, however, allege any votes for the wrong candidate have been recorded.

Phillippe alleged the problem's causes include "miscalibration and hyper-sensitivity" of the touch-screen machines, which have been in use in Nevada for several years. This year, Nevadans began using the devices for early voting Oct. 20.

Secretary of State Ross Miller called the Republican committee's allegations "irresponsible and unfortunate" and said the organization failed to provide any evidence needed to open an investigation.

"To date, our multijurisdictional task force has not received any direct, firsthand complaints from voters experiencing voting machine errors of the type you describe," Miller wrote in a response to the committee.

Larry Lomax, Clark County voter registrar, said he has heard of a few complaints about the machines in which people thought they had touched Romney's name and Obama's name came up.

"But nobody is claiming they didn't correct it," Lomax said, adding voters have several opportunities to review and correct their ballots before recording their votes.

"The machines work just fine," he said. "It is possible for a machine to get out of calibration. That simply means if you touch somewhere, it may read the touch in a slightly different place.

"I've seen this happen before, and it's the voter touching the wrong spot almost every single time," Lomax said.

Allegations of faulty machines arose in the 2010 U.S. Senate race between Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican candidate Sharron Angle. Angle's campaign alleged that voters who tried to cast a ballot for her reported that the voting machines instead selected Reid's name. She said she lost because of fraud.

Election officials said there was no evidence the Senate race was rigged and noted that no official complaints were ever lodged with poll workers or election officials.

The Republican National Committee on Thursday asked that all voting machines be recalibrated before Tuesday's election and that more technicians be on hand to address any problems.

Republicans also want polling-place officials to post a sign and verbally remind voters to double-check their ballots before votes are recorded, and to notify poll workers of any problems.

Lomax said during early voting, which ended Friday, machines in Clark County were calibrated every morning, and sometimes twice a day.

 

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