The Republican National Committee is pushing for North Carolina and five other states to re-calibrate voting machines and gear up in case of any technical troubles that may arise on Election Day, but most of the reasons cited have been shot down by state election officials as overblown.
John Phillippe, GOP chief counsel, said the following in a letter to elections director Gary Bartlett and leaders in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio:
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. I further understand that the causes of this problem are varied, and include miscalibration and hyper-sensitivity of the machines.
Phillippe wants all voting machines to be re-calibrated on or shortly before Election Day; for extra technicians to be ready in case of problems; and for signs to be posted to remind people to double-check their ballot before submitting their vote, and for poll workers to be required to verbally pass along the same message.
While there have been reports from a few early voting sites in Guilford County that voters tried to select Romney and were dismayed to see Obama show up on the screen, problems are rare, not exclusively beneficial to either candidate, and almost entirely avoidable, state elections officials have said.
When voting machines are not calibrated accurately, it’s possible for a voter’s choices to get flipped around, but it's not something that could easily be manipulated for partisan reasons, Bartlett said. Some wanting to support Obama have seen a switch to Romney as well, he added, but in most reported cases voters have been able to backtrack with the help of a poll worker and vote for their preferred candidate.
Most problems in choosing the wrong candidate can be attributed to one of two thigns: People who tend to struggle with the machines are either too short or too tall to properly see the candidate they are selecting through the screen’s angled glass – or they have shaky hands or an unfamiliarity with touch screen devices,.
Because a voter must both choose their preferred candidates and review the choices before submitting, there is ample opportunity to get a poll worker to help make sure everything is in working order. There are already an array of informative signs, as well.