Evans County election officials comment on rumors

Evans County election officials comment on rumors
Published: Oct. 28, 2016 at 7:17 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2016 at 10:17 PM EDT
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BAXLEY, GA (WTOC) - Plenty of voters have gone to the polls early ahead of Election Day. But voters in two local counties have reported problems with the electronic systems that take their selections.

A voter in Baxley told a poll worker they touched the screen to vote for one presidential candidate and the vote went to one of the others. We're seeing social media reports about similar problems scattered around the nation.

The election supervisor here said they'd had only one reported problem and they pulled the machine and recalibrated it, so she did not want to talk about it on camera. But I spoke to someone elsewhere who explained how it could happen and what to do.

Judge Darin McCoy oversees elections in nearby Evans County. He said the touch screens can get out of calibration and cause the machine to misjudge where you touched and which candidate you selected. He says a machine error or accidental choice can be corrected if you see it in time.

"Once that X appears, simply touching the other candidate's box does not make it disappear. You've got to touch the box with that X to get rid of it before you can cast a vote for the other candidate," said McCoy. "You need to be aware of what you're doing. Review as you go along. In the end, you have a final chance to review your ballot before you cast it," said Darin McCoy, Evans County Probate Judge.

There are also more rumors swirling about machines potentially being hacked.

McCoy tells us there are safeguards in place to keep such a thing from happening.

"Nothing is connected to the internet. So if it's not connected, it can't be hacked," McCoy said.

McCoy said each Georgia county uses a computer separate from the vote counting system to input results to the Secretary of State's Office.

His advice for anybody who has this happen, you can either follow the menu to remove the selection and recast the vote or ask a poll worker to help you.

We've also received reports about voting machine issues in Bryan County.

The Election Supervisor there released a statement saying in part:

The voter was presented with a screen which did not accurately reflect their choice... and as such, it allowed the voter to make the corrections to ensure that their vote was accurately cast.

We also know the machine was taken offline as a precautionary measure in keeping with state guidelines.

We also spoke with the "Georgia Election Protection," a nonpartisan, voter protection coalition.
They say voters should always double and triple check their ballots. A number of things could lead you to accidentally selecting something. There may be a calibration issue with the machine or if you simply have long fingernails, you could press the candidate's name you're not choosing to elect.

"Once you press cast ballot, nothing can be done. So if you see that it switched the candidates you're voting for, ask a poll worker for assistance. Do not press cast ballot. Once you do that, there's nothing else that can be done," said Harold Franklin, with the Georgia Election Protection.

The coalition has opened a toll-free hotline to answer your voting questions at 1.866.687.8683.

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