AUSTIN, Texas — After a photo of an apparent electronic voting machine malfunction went viral on Tuesday, appearing to show the choices for the Texas Governor’s race but omitting the Republican candidate Greg Abbott, the company that supplied the machine admitted on Wednesday that the malfunction had in fact occurred.
The controversy began when a San Antonio voter named Jade Stanford attempted to cast a ballot on Tuesday morning and noticed that instead of showing Republican Greg Abbott as one of the choices, the screen displayed David Dewhurst, the Lieutenant Governor who had lost his reelection bid in a runoff election with Dan Patrick earlier this year. Stanford snapped several photos of the screen with her cell phone camera and alerted election officials to the problem. She also shared the photos with a local reporter, and then later posted them on Twitter affirming that she had taken them. As Breitbart Texas reported, the machine was disabled for the remainder of Election Day. Abbott himself shared the photo on his Twitter account, asking voters to keep an eye out for “ballot irregularities.”
— Jocelyn Tovar (@JocelynTovar_) November 4, 2014
— Jade Stanford (@stanford_jade) November 4, 2014
Ballot irregularities omit my name from ballot in Bexar Co. Call Secretary of State if you spot other problems http://t.co/7KEr3k5bC9
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 4, 2014
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen had told the San Antonio Express-News on Tuesday that she thought Stanford’s photo was “a photoshopped deal but we are checking.” Stanford was not happy about this, insisting that the image was authentic and telling the Express-News that she had offered to let officials examine her photo and the photos and conduct any tests they wanted.
The Express-News reported on Wednesday that the company that supplies Bexar County with the iVotronic electronic voting machines, including the one that Stanford had claimed omitted Abbott’s name, released a statement admitting that they had “confirmed that the unit in question was not functioning properly and was incorrectly displaying a candidate in one race on the touch screen.” The company, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), also reported that a total of twelve votes had been cast on the machine and claimed that “all votes were tabulated correctly.” The problem was believed to have been caused by a faulty memory card, but a review was not yet finished.
“I’m happy they were able to find the glitch,” Stanford told the Express-News. “It wasn’t Photoshop, it wasn’t botched, it was real,” adding that Callanen owed an apology to her and the voters of Bexar County, for claiming the photos had been doctored before she knew for certain. “It’s her job to protect the voters,” said Stanford.
Here is ES&S’s full statement:
On November 4, 2014, an issue was reported with a single voting unit in a Bexar County precinct in the General Election. An initial analysis by Bexar County and the ES&S technician on site has confirmed that the unit in question was not functioning properly and was incorrectly displaying a candidate in one race on the touch screen. The unit in question was immediately removed from use and no further issues were reported. There were a total of 12 votes cast on the unit and all votes were tabulated correctly. The results tape did reflect the correct candidates for that race and no votes for compromised. While it currently appears that a faulty memory card is at issue, a full review and diagnostic test is underway to determine and validate the exact cause of this issue. Once this review is complete, ES&S will provide a report to Bexar County detailing the outcome of the forensic analysis. Bexar County followed proper protocol and procedure in all testing, coding and equipment preparation.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.