Video shows machine changing vote in Mississippi Governor runoff
JACKSON, Miss. – There have been at least three reports confirmed by officials of voting machines in two Mississippi counties changing voters’ selections in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary runoff.
In one case, the glitch was caught on video.
Tuesday morning, Facebook user Sally Kate Walker posted a video showing what appeared to be a touch-screen machine changing someone’s selection from Bill Waller Jr. to Tate Reeves.
While officials confirmed the problems with only three machines in two counties, the Waller campaign Tuesday evening said it had received more widespread reports of the same issue.
The campaign said it had received reports of the same issues from Leflore, Lamar, Pearl River, Lincoln, Washington, Forrest and Scott counties.
Waller, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, and Lt. Gov. Reeves are in a runoff for the Republican primary to determine who will face Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the November general election.
Reeves led the Aug. 6 balloting with 49% of the vote to Waller’s 33%.
In the footage posted to Facebook, a voter clicks Waller’s name more than a dozen times over the course of the 14-second video. The vote automatically changes to Reeves.
He says, “It is not letting me vote for who I want to vote for.” A woman in the background asks, “How can that happen?”
According to a comment Walker made under the video, the malfunction occurred at the Burgess voting precinct in Oxford.
Anna Moak, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said officials were made aware of the issue Tuesday morning and contacted Lafayette County. Officials there then dispatched a technician to the precinct, she said.
The machine was a TSX machine, Moak said, and is being replaced. Moak pointed out that “machines are county-owned and tested by local officials” and “to our knowledge, only one machine was malfunctioning.”
Nineteen votes were cast on that machine prior to the error being detected, she said.
Two other machines in Calhoun County have also “jumped,” with at least one voter also attempting to vote for Waller but seeing the ballot automatically changed to Reeves, circuit clerk Carlton Baker said.
At the Northeast Calhoun precinct, also known as Chickenbone Baptist Church, a woman complained after “mashing the button” three times to vote for Waller, but seeing the machine switch her vote to Reeves, Baker said. On her fourth attempt, the machine cast her ballot for Waller.
At the Masonic Hall precinct in Vardaman, another voter complained of the machine “jumping” when they tried to cast their ballot. Baker did not know who that voter was attempting to vote for. That machine was taken out of commission until a technician could arrive, Baker said.
There are 9,328 registered voters in Calhoun County and 10 precincts, he said.
Like the machine in Oxford, the machines in Calhoun County were TSX models. Both were purchased from Election Systems and Software, Baker said.
He did not immediately know how many votes had been cast on the machines.
“We’re doing what we can to rectify the situation,” he said.
Follow Sarah Fowler on Twitter: @FowlerSarah