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If You Aren’t Cheating You’re Not Trying

Needless to say, with a close election for Governor, even a little bit of voter fraud will go a long way.  Maryland has a long history of voter fraud going back centuries and given the stakes and tone of this year’s race for Governor, there is no reason to doubt that Maryland democrats, who control so much of the state’s election apparatus, will try to cheat to pull Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown over the finish line.

As voting has begun in Maryland, more and more evidence has appeared that at least some voting machines have encountered “calibration issues” in which the machines change votes for Republican candidates to Democrats.  As detailed below, this is not a problem only occurring in Maryland but also in other states, namely Illinois, with similar machines and early voting.

So, let’s survey how we got here.

One of the first reports was on October 28 from the Examiner’s Kenric Ward who stated,

Voting machines that switch Republican votes to Democrats are being reported in Maryland.

When I first selected my candidate on the electronic machine, it would not put the ‘x’ on the candidate I chose — a Republican — but it would put the ‘x’ on the Democrat candidate above it,” reported Donna Hamilton.

“This happened multiple times with multiple selections. Every time my choice flipped from Republican to Democrat. Sometimes it required four or five tries to get the ‘x’ to stay on my real selection,” the Frederick, Md., resident said Thursday.

Queen Anne County Sheriff Gary Hofmann said he encountered the problem, too.

“This is happening here as well. It occurred on two candidates on my machine. I am glad I checked. Many voters have reported this here as well,” Hofmann wrote in an email Sunday evening.

Two other Maryland voters reported the same in Anne Arundel County on Friday.

The reports began to snowball from there. The Washington Times reported the story, including a report from WBAL, largely rehashing the original Examiner report.

The story was picked up by Top Right News which included a video of a similar problem occurring in Illinois.

The Maryland Republican Party held a press conference calling on election officials to investigate the problems with the voting machines and to set up a hotline for voters to report irregularities.

Maryland Reporter reported on the press conference as follows:

Leaders from the state Republican Party also sounded the alarms Tuesday at a press conference in Anne Arundel County amid reports during early voting that faulty voting equipment was converting Republican-cast votes to Democratic votes.

Joe Cluster, executive director for the Maryland Republican Party, said 50 voters from 14 different counties have reported the problem to his and Larry Hogan’s campaign offices.

Many believe it is a problem with the voting machine’s calibration. Attorney Dick Haire, who is counsel to the state Republican party, said the selected choice is not in sync with the visual on the screen.

In Maryland, the candidates of the current governor’s party — Democrats — are listed first on all ballots so Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s name appears above Larry Hogan’s, the Republican nominee.

Kerry August, a Hogan poll watcher, said she experienced the calibration issue when voting for three candidates at an early voting center in Chevy Chase.

“It happened on three candidates, it wasn’t just one,” said 71-year-old August. “It took me three times to get the correct vote accepted. After the second time, I raised my hand and I related the story to the [election official]. Her quote to me was, ‘don’t worry the machines are old and this happens, so basically work with it.’ I said that was not good enough and asked for the chief judge. [I] got the same response. Eventually they did come and check that machine, and it was taken out. They refreshed my card and I went to another machine, and it was smooth as silk.”

The Baltimore Sun reported on the press conference and noted that state elections officials admitted this problem was occurring on at least 20 machines throughout the state.

The Hogan for Governor campaign issued a press release  on the 29th stating that

“After ongoing reports of “vote switching” throughout the state, the Hogan campaign has now called upon the Attorney General to set up a hotline so that all voters who have experienced the problem can quickly, easily, and officially report their complaints.

Dozens of voters across the state have complained to election judges and the Hogan campaign that their vote for a Republican was automatically switched to the Democrat. Over the last two days alone, the Hogan campaign has received reports of such “vote switching” from voters in the following counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, and Worcester.”

State elections officials have consistently deflected and denied any real concern about the acknowledged errors changing votes all over the state. Eight of these machines were taken out of service but twelve remain in place because officials insisted that they could not duplicate the problem.  State election officials insist that this level of error is not that unusual or that it was voter error or give some other excuse to deflect from the established evidence that machines throughout the state were changing Republican votes to Democratic candidates. They have denied that they can do anything about it after the fact even though the pre-election testing of these machines have been proven to be faulty.

The true extent of this error is unknown and may never be fully known.  The undisputed facts are (1) that multiple machines are registering incorrect votes in voting locations throughout the state (2) that state elections officials are dismissing these concerns while acknowledging 20 malfunctioning machines logged improperly cast votes and (3) as the Maryland Democratic Party and the Brown campaign summarized it so succinctly “they were not aware of any similar concerns being raised by voters on their side.

Admitted voting irregularities affecting only one side of the election and dismissed by elections officials, who are almost exclusively appointed and selected by the party benefiting from the error, is a recipe for sewing permanent doubt about the outcome of what may be a very close election.  There is a dark specter that this problem could blossom on election day if this “acceptable level of error” continues when the voting scales up statewide.  There will be little time to correct errors and the entire election, which by all accounts seems to be very close, may be cast into the abyss of endless litigation or partisan determination after the voting ends.

Some on the left view voter fraud as civil disobedience and have an “ends justify the means” attitude about the integrity of the voting system.

All of us, though, should be very concerned when the voting public has cause to doubt the reliability of electoral outcomes.

UPDATE:  More reports of faulty machines on social media.

 






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