An electronic voting machine in Pennsylvania has been removed from service after it changed votes for Barack Obama into those for Mitt Romney.
An 18-second clip posted onto YouTube shows a voter’s finger repeatedly pressing the button for Barack Obama, but the check mark instead comes up next to Mitt Romney’s name.
This is the latest in a flurry of voting glitches across the country today from West Palm Beach in Florida where ballot counting machines broke down, to vast swathes of New Jersey where text alert systems for residents sent them to the wrong polling stations.
In comments attached to the clip, the anonymous user named “centralpavote” said that “all the other buttons worked fine” and asked voters either side if they were experiencing similar problems – which they denied.
NBC News has reported that since the clip was posted to Reddit this morning, it spread across the Internet and the offending machine has been retired from service.
The video which was filmed on the YouTube users Android phone shows the potentially serious malfunction affect only a vote for the incumbent president.
A vote for any other of the candidates for the presidency and vice presidency resulted in a successful choice – it was only a vote for Barack Obama that caused the machine to change to Mitt Romney.
“I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted,” said “centralpavote” on the introduction to his video on YouTube.
“I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.
“Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode.
“I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine.
“Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney’s name and started tapping very closely together to find the <<active areas>>.
“From the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney.
“From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama.
“Stein’s button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.”
The voter reported the problem to an electoral official who declared it a non issue.
“I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it,” said “centralpavote”.
“She him hawed (sic) 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.”
However, far from evidence of electoral fraud, experts have weighed in with the theory that this is a calibration problem specific to the machine.
“It’s a concern but not because of fraud… that’s an obviously miscalibrated iVotronic (ES&S) voting machine,” said Jospeh Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology to Gawker.
“We would recommend that poll workers would recalibrate the machine and everything would be fine.
“Also, with some models of voting system if you place a thumb on accident while resting on the machine it can <<bias>> the calibration of the touchscreen up towards the errant thumb.
“That could be happening to, if it’s only for this one voter.”
Further controversy over voting continued at a polling place in a Philadelphia school where workers ignored a judge’s order to cover a mural of President Barack Obama “in its entirety”.
The art work which is positioned behind voting machines contains the words “change!” and “hope” together with a quote from the president and a painting of him.
However, electoral poll workers only covered up the mural with three pieces of paper – leaving the Obama logo and quote from the serving president in full view of all prospective voters.
Seeing an attempt to influence the votes of those attending the polling place in Ward 35, Republicans were outraged.