The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 7, 2012

Election 2012 Notebook | Jackson Township glitch investigated

JOHNSTOWN — The Cambria Elections Office sent a technician to a Jackson Township polling location after receiving a report that at least one voting machine was switching presidential picks.

A woman said it happened to her around 12:30 p.m. but she caught the glitch and was able to correct her picks before casting an electronic ballot at Vinco’s Jackson Township fire hall.

“Every time I tried to select a Democrat it would revert to a Republican (challenger's name),” said Chris Wyrwas, who said she talked to fellow voters who also said they had issues.

“If I pushed the button a little bit on the left or the right, it would choose the Republican instead,” Wyrwas said.

“I can understand how these things can happen with these machines,” she added, noting that she has an information technology background. The touch screens are sensitive and display somewhat small buttons that voters must press to select candidates. “But it’s still concerning,” she added.

A service technician was sent to Vinco early in the afternoon, Cambria Elections Director Shirley Crowl said.

A caller indicated her vote for President Barack Obama instead showed up for Mitt Romney, but said the error was caught.

She said the machine did not show signs of issues, but was recalibrated as a precaution and was working properly when technicians left.

The Tribune-Democrat spoke to more than a half-dozen voters at the Vinco precinct around 5 p.m. Several said they cast votes for Democrats and all reported no issues.

A woman supporting Democratic candidates outside the station said she didn’t of hear of voting troubles since she started working there at 3:30 p.m.

Crowl stressed that voters are encouraged to closely review the summary screen, which details all picks, before casting their ballot by pressing “vote.”  

The summary screen allows voters the opportunity to change their picks before giving them final approval.

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