Keep Calm and Vote On: North Texas Voting Machines Are Not Rigged

Oct 26, 2016

From Texas Standard

Something strange happened behind the curtain when Randall County resident Lisa Houlette was casting her ballot in Amarillo. As she described it on Facebook, she voted a straight Republican ticket. But as she scrolled to submit her ballot, she noticed that even though the Republican straight ticket box was highlighted, so was the box for the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine ticket.

She said she tried to fix it, but couldn't. She asked for help from one of the polling workers, but they couldn't fix it either. So another election person came over and reset the ballot.

Houlette’s social media post was intended to be a warning to double-check before clicking the ballot submit button, but that's not how it went down on the internet. It went viral, some claiming it as proof that, as Donald Trump has insisted, the system is rigged. As the story began to spiral into conspiracy territory, the election administration official in neighboring Potter County rang up local judge Nancy Tanner, asking for help.

Judge Tanner, a Republican, released a statement: the voting machines are fine: “There is nothing wrong with any of the machines we use for voting. They do not flip your vote. They do not flip parties. Humans do that.”

That's when Tanner found herself in the crosshairs of some social media forums, accused of being part of a suspected cover-up – an allegation she denies.

The county's voting machines are calibrated and tested daily and they've been used for six different elections.

Despite all this, Tanner says people are taking Houlette’s post and running with it. She’s gotten more than a few concerned phone calls and emails, and one threat to her safety. But she says she’s not worried.

"There is gonna be some that don't agree with me. They think that there is voter fraud and that it is a conspiracy and that they're out to get somebody," Tanner says. "They can probably think that all they want. I have to stay in the middle."

Post by Beth Cortez-Neavel.