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Glitchy PA Voting Booth Footage Hits YouTube

The footage seems to show a voter selecting "Barack Obama" on a touchscreen system. Each time he presses the button, the screen highlights "Mitt Romney" instead.

Touchscreen voting machines have been a concern since their adoption across the country. By midday Tuesday, the footage above had been circulated on YouTube and the rumors had begun: The fix is in.

The video shows a touchscreen voter from central Pennsylvania apparently trying to select "Barack Obama;" every time he does, the screen instead highlights "Mitt Romney."

The user, registered on YouTube only as "centralpavote," posted an account of his experience along with the video:

I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said "It's nothing to worry about, everything will be OK." and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video.

Another user backed up the initial poster's story and identified the location of the rogue device as the tiny borough of Millerstown, PA.

So was it a case of digital revolt in the polling place? Greasy breakfast fingers? Something else?

Timothy V. Reilly, who chairs the Millerstown Municipal Authority, told Patch that the issue was making local news already in Perry County, PA.

“He kept trying to redo it, and every time he re-did it, he got the same result,” Reilly said. “Eventually, he was able to find a small little spot on the screen just below the edge of the Obama button to get the Obama vote to light up.”

According to Reilly, five people from the local election board were present at the time of the incident. The machine was taken offline and is no longer being used, he said.

It happened “relatively early” in the voting day at the small borough, Reilly said, where the majority of voters tend to show up after work.

“It's pretty thin in the early morning hours,” he said. “They tell me I'm the 11th one there and I show up at quarter to twelve.”

Millerstown has only recently switched over to electronic voting within the last four or five years, Reilly said; prior to that, elections were conducted with punch cards. This is the first time he’s heard of any glitch in the system.

Reilly doesn’t believe there was anything nefarious about the act. Politically, he said, the town—population 679—“is predominantly Republican, as is the county it’s located in,” and hardly the site to stage such tactics.

Instead, Reilly likened it to the kind of frustration that comes of renting a DVD from a finicky Redbox kiosk.

“If you don't touch that screen exactly in the right little pixel, it won't give you the movie you want,” he said. “I have a little problem with touchscreen reliability.”

Nonetheless, Reilly said, even if the situation is little more than a technological failure, it’s an important reminder to verify that your vote is locked in before you proceed.

“I believe that when people hear about it, it would want to make them see what they want to see before casting their final vote,” he said; “make sure that what they wanted is showing on the screen.”

Keith Heffintrayer November 06, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Steve - The user stated that when he selected Romney, the Romney button lit up. He also stated that when he selected Jill Stein (below Obama), her button lit up. Unfortunately those actions were not captured in the video.
Patrick Snoke November 06, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I'm from the area and election official was right, they probably just found out cause he was the first guy vote for Obama at quarter 'til twelve. He was probably the only guy with a cell phone too.
Mr. Independent Voter November 06, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Is this one of Tagg Romney's voting machines?
Ken November 06, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Funny how this works, sounds eerily similar to the voting disenfranchisement in Florida.... if the Man who is behind in practically every swing state poll somehow "has more votes", we know will know why.... electronic voting machines are the worst...there is no physical record...old school machines kept a hard copy log for all to double-check..anyone who has been photo shopped even by a middle schooler into a picture, knows that the inherent dangers of such technology when there are not double-checks.
Becki Graves November 07, 2012 at 03:19 AM
In the original youtube video the poster stated that was not the case. When he attempted that theory all other candidates functioned properly. It was only the box for Obama that was malfunctioning.

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