Tarrant County Elections Addresses Voting Equipment Concerns

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips responded to complaints Tuesday, a day and a half into early voting for the November general election.

He said his office has received several calls the past two days alleging that some equipment has changed straight party votes, specifically the choice for President.

Phillips said the majority of the allegations have not come from voters who claim to have had the machines change votes, but from other people who have heard about an incident occurring to someone else.

Phillips said voting equipment used for Tarrant County voters is secure and operating as it should.

“From time to time Tarrant County Elections receives these complaints,” he said. “Tarrant County takes these complaints very seriously and we always call the sites and speak with the election judge to see if they have been told about this issue. If the judge can confirm that someone has brought this issue up, we then take that machine out of service until we can test it. We send a technician out to every one of these calls to test the machines. We also try to replicate the issue in our office. We have never been able to replicate the issue, either at the site or in our office. We have instructions in our electronic voting booths that explain how to use the voting equipment along with instruction on how to vote the straight-party option.”

Phillips went on to explain, “Our investigations have indicated that the voter did not follow the directions for straight-party voting when they inadvertently click the “enter” button or turn the wheel, causing the change in votes,” said Phillips. “Further, in each incident where we could actually speak to a voter, they tell us that they discovered the changed vote on the summary screen display. This shows that the machine is working exactly as it should. The voter gets to review a summary of vote choices made and make any changes as needed before actually casting the vote.”

Phillips said studies show that electronic voting systems offer the most accurate and secure method of voting available, said Phillips.

“It is important to remember that voting equipment is only one component of an overall election system that includes citizen involvement, transparency, external security measures, management policies and procedures, and professional election officials,” said Phillips. “All of these people, procedures, and technologies work together to ensure reliable and trustworthy election results.”

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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