Texas election officials issued additional voting machine instructions to voters in the midterm election after discovering that the type of machines used in 82 counties were changing ballot selections.
Thousands of early voters using Hart Intercivic eSlate voting machines complained that their ballot selections had been switched, said the Texas Civil Rights project, which asked state officials on Friday to release additional guidance for those using the machines.
In response, the Texas secretary of state on Saturday issued a statement with instructions for voters, and ordered county election officials “to amplify these tips.”
“The voting machines are not malfunctioning, nor are they arbitrarily ‘switching’ the choices of voters who cast a straight-party ballot,” Secretary of StateRolando Pablos said in the statement. Instead, he said, the machines “appeared to deselect or change one or more of their choices” when people who voted a straight ticket advanced to the next screen without waiting for the machine to process the choice.
“Each eligible Texas voter heading to the polls during this final week of Early Voting and on Election Day can rest assured that their vote will be cast and counted exactly as they intended,” Pablos said. He lamented the “rampant dissemination of misinformation” related to the machines.
The secretary of state said his office received fewer than 20 complaints of apparently switched selections in early voting. “In each case, these voters were able to properly review and cast a ballot that accurately reflected the choices they made,” Pablos added.
Hart Intercivic, which manufactures the voting machines, said it stands behind its systems.
The Texas Senate race has been the subject of national attention as Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) attempts to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R). Cruz is leading in the polls, but O’Rourke has raised millions, becoming a face of the potential blue wave of Democratic efforts to win back Congress.