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2 Mar, 2016 01:26

“Beyond upset” Voting irregularities reported across the nation on Super Tuesday

“Beyond upset” Voting irregularities reported across the nation on Super Tuesday

Voters in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia and Texas flooded voter hotlines to complain about dysfunctional polling booths and ballots in Republican primaries. Callers to an Austin radio station complained of machines switching their vote for Trump to Rubio.

By lunchtime on Super Tuesday, Election Protection, a nonpartisan coalition of groups that run election-day hotlines, said their hotline has received more than 1,000 calls. The majority of calls came from Alabama, Georgia and Texas.

Election Protection said voters in Georgia reported long lines in Fulton and Gwinnett counties due to poll books malfunctioning. At the Inman Middle School precinct in Fulton County, only one out of three poll books were reported to be working leaving 80 to 100 people waiting in line.

Austin radio station KLBJ received around half a dozen complaints that Texan machines had changed their votes, mostly from Donald Trump to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, according to Raw Story.

The hosts of KLBJ’s Todd and Don Show told a caller they had already received three complaints about their votes being switched from one candidate to another. The fourth caller said her vote for Trump was switched to Linda Gray.

“That’s not good,” one of the hosts agreed. “You are the fourth person to call us in the past half hour to say they had that same problem. They voted for Trump but it popped up Rubio or somebody else. You’re the first to have somebody else, but the other three were Rubio.”

Another caller said he was able to vote without any problems in northwest Austin, but another caller from Williamson County, a total of six callers, said he noticed his vote was switched.

“When I reviewed my ballot at the end, the person I voted for president was marked differently than how I voted,” the caller named Eddie recalled. “And I know that when I touched the button that I hit the right button.”

“If half the people don’t check their ballots, half the people could have the wrong information,” the radio host observed. “That’s not good, that’s not a system that we trust.”

RT contacted KLBJ’s station manager to find out if they had any further calls about voting irregularities, but no comment had been provided by the point of publication.

An advocate for electoral integrity and voters’ rights, Brad Friedman, of The Brad Blog told RT this happens every single election given that voters continue to have to use 100 percent unverifiable touch-screen systems that routinely flip votes from one candidate to another.

“The machines reported failing in Williamson County, TX are apparently ES&S iVotronics. The same systems that have failed in election after election for more than a decade,” said Friedman of BradBlog.com. “Those are the machines which, in Florida, lost some 18,000 thousands in a Special US House Election ultimately decided by just over 300 votes in 2006, and In South Carolina, resulted in the nomination of a completely unknown candidate as the Democratic nominee for the US Senate in 2010, and other inexplicable results.”

Election Protection reported in Gwinnett County, some precincts were only providing ballots to Republican voters to registered Democrats.

A Lowndes County voter told Valdosta Today she filled out a paper, gave it the poll worker, who gave her a card to insert in the machine. When she pulled it out she realized she had been given the wrong ballot.

“Turns out that anyone voting Democrat received a Republican ballot,” Brianna Fleener told Valdosta Today. “After making some phone calls, we were told we could it fix, but we were showing up in the system as voted when none of us had casted our ballots.”

The Election Supervisor Deb Cox blamed the problem on voter error, which Fleener disputed.

“We were then given sheets that explicitly read ‘To find out if your vote counted,’” Fleener told the news outlet. “If my vote counted? As a citizen, I meet all the requirements for my vote to count. I am beyond upset.”

“No eligible voter should be denied the right to successfully cast a ballot,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement.

Voter hotlines were also receiving complaints that state websites that allow voters to verify their polling place location and confirm their voter registration status in Alabama and Texas were not working. By mid-morning the state website wasn’t functioning in Colorado.

In Massachusetts, former President Bill Clinton sparked outraged on Super Tuesday by holding a campaign event for his wife Hillary outside of a polling place in New Bedford. He also visited polling places in West Roxbury and Newtown.

NewsCenter5 reported Clinton entering polling places. He was seen shaking hands with workers, but didn’t hand out any flyers.

Under Massachusetts state law the handing out or posting campaign flyers within 150 feet of the door to a polling place is prohibited. Collecting signatures for petitions or nomination papers is also prohibited within 150 feet of a polling place.

A spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin (D) said no laws were broken during Clinton’s visits.

"No one was prevented from voting," Galvin spokesman Brian McNiff told NewsCenter 5 about the New Bedford event. "The city and voters were notified well in advance of the event."

McNiff told The New York Times that they took extra precaution because “You don’t usually get a president doing this.”

This marks the first presidential election without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. The act passed on August 6, 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson was a landmark piece of federal legislation which prohibited racial discrimination in voting.

In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down crucial components of the act in a case called Shelby County v. Holder, when it ruled that states with histories of voting-related racial discrimination no longer had to "pre-clear" changes to their voting laws with the federal government. Immediately following the Shelby ruling, 16 states passed laws that made it harder for people to vote including Alabama, Texas and Virginia where ballots are all being cast today.