The manufacturer of North Carolina's touch-screen voting machines says the devices can't be programmed to default votes to Democrats, as was alleged by state Republican Party chairman Tom Fetzer last week.
Adam Carbullido, the director for consumer service for ES&S, said in a letter to the State Board of Elections that the iVotronic machines used in 35 North Carolina counties "has no capability or coding mechanism that would allow the system to default to any specific selection, whether it is a candidate or party."
Fetzer said Thursday that the GOP is compiling written statements from voters who said they tried to vote a straight-ticket Republican ballot, only to see their votes tallied on a final review screen as being casts for Democrats.
He said the problem appears to occur when the touch screen is unsure of the voter's selection, after which it is programmed to record the vote to the first candidate listed in the race.
Democrats are listed before Republicans on the electronic ballots and therefore get the vote, Fetzer said. State election officials, and now ES&S, say that Fetzer's allegation is simply untrue.
Carbullido pointed out that the voting machines, like all touch screen devices, must be calibrated to accurately detect the voter's selection, and that voters are prompted to confirm their selections at the end of the process before the ballots are cast.
In response to a federal lawsuit filed Friday, U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard ordered the State Board of Elections to have all poll workers tell each voter using the touch screens to read the alert, then ask to be notified of problems. All precincts using the ATM-style devices must keep logs of complaints and how they're resolved.