Adams County ‘quarantines’ machine that switched candidate’s vote

An electronic voting machine in Adams County repeatedly failed to accept a vote for a Democratic state Senate candidate — instead registering the vote for her Republican opponent — at an early voting site last week and has been removed from service, the Aurora Sentinel reports Wednesday. Adams County Clerk and Recorder Karen Long told the newspaper the error doesn’t reflect wider problems in the county’s voting systems, but the candidate said the incident could lead to a lawsuit.

“I always just trusted the machines, and it opened my eyes,” said state Rep. Mary Hodge. “The way it works now, I’m told … is that those votes throw it to Mr. Hadfield that we’ll probably have a lawsuit and a court decision. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Hodge, the Democratic nominee, faces Republican Robert John Hadfield in the race to represent state Senate District 25.

The voter reported the problem to election judges, who canceled her ballot and allowed her to vote — this time accurately — on another machine, Long told the Sentinel. Long said that election officials hadn’t received any other complaints about the particular machine and that no other voting errors have been reported.

“I have quarantined the machine,” Long told the newspaper. “It’s removed and it’s sealed up and it’s in a bag.” She said she is awaiting instructions from the secretary of state’s office.

The voter contacted Hodge after the incident. “She said that she put in, got her stuff and it would pop up Hadfield. She tried it three times,” Hodge told the Sentinel.

Late last year, Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman decertified three of the four electronic voting manufacturers whose machines are used in the state, citing “problems with accuracy and security,” only to recertify them after county clerks complained. Adams County uses electronic voting machines manufactured by Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold Election Systems, which were among those decertified by Coffman. (Watch a demonstration of the machines here.)

On Tuesday, a legal center sent out an alert warning about “vote flipping” — selecting one candidate only to have another register — in some electronic voting machines used in other Colorado counties.

Read here and here for Colorado Independent roundups of voting difficulties as the election approaches.

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Ernest Luning

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