Politics

Trouble with voting machines

Early voters are turning out across the nation, but the benefits of avoiding long lines and the general chaos that comes with November 4 is being undermined. Many early birds are finding that their votes are being mangled by voting machines. "The Takeaway" checks in with reporters in West Virginia and Florida where warning signs of technology-going-wrong are in plain view.

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Scott Finn, news director of West Virginia Public Broadcasting talks about the problems that have popped up in his state with electronic voting machines: "In two rural counties here, there have been eight reports of voters saying that they have attempted to push the button for Democratic candidates, which have flipped to Republican candidates."

Finn says election officials, who initially blamed the voters for the mistakes, are now taking a closer look at the problem.

Shakaya Andres, a reporter for the "Times Union" in Jacksonville, Florida, reports on issues there with machines rejecting ballots: "First of all we do not have the electronic machines that we had back in 2000; what we have are ballots, and people fill out their person of choice ... and when people ... filled out that form and tried to stick it into the machine, the machine would not take it, and the ballots were being placed in what was called the 'emergency bin' on the side of the machine. And people felt a little uncomfortable that their ballots weren't being scanned in ... the ballots that were placed in the 'emergency bin' were counted later, after the polling places were closed."

According to Finn, "In the blogosphere here, you have Republicans making accusations about voter fraud; you have Democrats now saying that Republicans are trying to steal the election ... again, and it's leaving a bad taste in people's mouth, and it really does taint the system. You would think eight years after Florida, we would have this fixed, but it seems to be not fixed at all."

"The Takeaway" is PRI's new national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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