Voters going to the polls on Tuesday would be wise to double check their choices before confirming their ballot given the number of instances reported where voting machines changed people's votes.
Some Republican voters have said that their votes were switched to the Democratic candidate for governor during early voting. The state Republican Party called on the state Board of Elections to investigate the concerns.
The problem appears to be with machines reading the choices incorrectly. State officials said they had received fewer than 20 complaints. In some cases officials are blaming operator error. In at least three cases state officials said machines had been removed from service due to calibration errors.
In his Oct. 29 email blast, Republican Sen. Joseph Getty, who is running for re-election in District 5, said he talked to two people in Carroll who experienced similar problems.
"The root of the problem is that Maryland is using old equipment and the 10-year-old-plus technology of these machines exacerbates the potential that a voter appears to be pressing on one candidate but the vote jumps to the candidate above," Getty wrote. "This has been a long-standing problem with the original Diebold machines that were purchased by the state for the 2002 and 2004 elections. As we all are aware from our smart phones, touch screen technology has been significantly changed and refined over the past 12 years."
The state Democratic Party in a news release Wednesday noted that 123,859 Democrats had participated in early voting through Oct. 28. That represented 62 percent of the total early voter participation. Only 57,128, or 29 percent of the total, were Republican voters. Given the problems that have arisen with voting machines switching votes, you have to wonder if some of those Republicans had their ballots changed in one or more races to the Democratic candidate and did not notice.
The best thing for voters to do is to double-check to ensure that the person they are voting for is registering correctly on the ballot. A final check before submitting your ballot isn't a bad idea either.
These machines are going to be replaced before the next election, so moving forward hopefully we can eliminate the problem. This Election day, however, spend a few extra seconds in the voting booth just to check and make sure that all your votes are being recorded correctly.