WASHINGTON -- A Virginia Republican congressman and the state’s GOP are claiming they’ve received reports of faulty polling machines in almost two dozen locations, with voters intending to vote Republican accidentally selecting the Democratic candidate instead. But the voter registrar in his district is reporting considerably fewer irregularities.
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) is running for re-election against Democrat Suzanne Patrick, a retired commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Rigell said at a press conference Tuesday morning that he’d received reports from 25 people in 19 precincts across the 2nd District who had tried to cast votes for him, but had their votes initially redirected to Patrick. The voters were ultimately able to switch their votes back.
“We know it's going to grow through the day,” he said. “That is not an anomaly, that's a pattern, in each and every case it's going against us and in favor of our challenger.”
The Republican Party of Virginia also wrote a letter to the state Department of Elections on Tuesday indicating that there were problems across multiple congressional districts. “Voters have difficulty selecting the candidate of their choice using the touch screen because the screen's touch sensor is not properly aligned with the text that appears on the screen,” the letter reads.
Virginia Beach Voter Registrar Donna Patterson did not respond to HuffPost's request for comment, but she told The Virginian-Pilot that misfiring machines are put out of service once they're discovered. She also said her office had only received a few calls about voting problems.
“To be honest with you, we've had more calls from Rigell's office than from voters,” she said.
Michelle Gajewski, Patrick’s campaign manager, downplayed any irregularities. “In Virginia, we have elections every single year," she told HuffPost. "We’ve kind of got this down to a science. I’m very confident in our State Board of Elections."
She noted that she had not heard of anyone trying to cast a ballot for Patrick and accidentally voting for Rigell instead, but pointed out that there are always a few people who have trouble voting in any election.
Rigell's office released a video of a voter encountering the problem:
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