ONTD Political

Vote Flipping in Davidson County, Tennessee

3:14 pm - 10/20/2008
By Mary Mancini

This political season, more than any other in recent memory, is irony-filled. So why this incident involving my friend and the wife of UNCOUNTED filmmaker, David Earnhardt, surprises me, I can’t tell you.

My wife, Patricia Earnhardt, had an early voting experience here in Nashville, Tennessee, where she saw her vote momentarily flip from Barack Obama to Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. She voted on a touch-screen paperless machine. Here is her story:

“A poll worker directed me to a touch screen voting machine & instructed me how to use it. I touched “Obama” for president & nothing lit up. I touched 2 or 3 more times & still nothing lit up. I called the poll worker back over to tell him I was having a problem. He said I just needed to touch it more lightly. I tried it 2 or 3 more times more lightly with the poll worker watching & still nothing lit up. The poll worker then touched it for me twice — nothing lit up. The third time he touched the Obama button, the Cynthia McKinney space lit up! The McKinney button was located five rows below the Obama button. The poll worker just kind of laughed and cancelled the vote. He hit the Obama button again & it finally lit up. I continued on to cast the rest of my votes. After completing the process & reviewing my votes, I went to the VOTE page, hit the VOTE button & nothing happened. Again after several tries, I called the poll worker over & he finally got the machine to register my votes. Hurray — I voted! — or did I? I left the polling place feeling uncertain.” Patricia Earnhardt - Friday, Oct. 17 - Howard School Building - Nashville, Tennessee

I also had similar problems with the machine I was voting on that same day, although no vote flipping. I would touch the screen numerous times before I could get my various candidate choices to light up. It was strange and very frustrating. When I finally got through my slate of candidate choices, I could not get the VOTE button to light up when I touched it. I finally called over a poll worker and he told me that I needed to touch lightly. I touched the VOTE button more lightly, but was only able to get it to work after several more failed attempts.

David Earnhardt

Producer/director/writer, “Uncounted”


Need more sad irony? The machines David and Patricia voted on in Davidson County, TN - ES&S iVotronic - are the same machines used in the West Virginia counties (Putnam & Jackson) where vote flipping is also being reported. Go to the election info page on the state of Tennessee and click on Davidson County. Or download this PDF.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please, if you experience anything unusual, stay at your polling place, ask to speak with the supervisor, call the election commission (they will have the number), and insist that the machine be quarantined until it can be examined.

Flipping Sauce
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bnmc2005 20th-Oct-2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'm taking my video camera into the booth with me.

WTF is going on here? It seems if the GOP wanted to rig the election they would do so in less blatent and obvious manner.

This could be a technical glithc, but if that is so my question is , WHY are these FAULTY machines still in use?

Someone needs to walk around the back of these machines– pull the god damned plug and demand there be a technician on site to work on them.
very_veggie 20th-Oct-2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
Here in KY, the secretary of state administers elections. I just checked his website, and electronic recording equipment is not allowed in the polling place. You might want to check your SOS's website before trying to bring a camcorder in with you. I'm sure they couldn't stop you from bringing in your cell phone, tho.
boyracer1211 20th-Oct-2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
I've said it once and I'll say it again:


(I can't spell. LOL).

Edited at 2008-10-20 07:50 pm (UTC)
nyychick23513 20th-Oct-2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
This is a big damn problem. Seriously, aren't they checking these machines beforehand? If there are that many issues, something needs to change.

I would hate to walk out of the polling place feeling unsure about whether my vote went to the right person or if my vote even counted at all.
christyedna 21st-Oct-2008 08:42 am (UTC)
:) One of the speakers at the rally today said to look for someone in a blue hat if you have any trouble. I was like "Screw that, I want to be one of the people in the blue hats. I'll vote early and go help on election day."
asexy_hamburger 20th-Oct-2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
This is why I'm glad we use the bubbling in method on paper ballots.

Hopefully Florida won't find a way to fuck it up this year.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
jenxhawkins 20th-Oct-2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I voted Saturday w/no problems. I'll fwd this to my friends who haven't gone yet tho.
surrenderface 20th-Oct-2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I like how, Hamilton and Shelby counties are the only two in green, and when I click the page for the machines used in Hamilton, where I live, I get an error message.
ccf_8002 i'm scared.20th-Oct-2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
"Most of the country (56%) will cast ballots into optical scanners, which are more vulnerable to hacking than antiquated voting gear like punch-card readers. Only electronic models are more vulnerable than optical scan, coloring some states red."


(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
asoneill 20th-Oct-2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
If the counter went up on the digital read-out, the vote was counted. Since the poll worker was working so closely with the woman, s/he probably wouldn't have let her leave until it went through. (People do leave without actually hitting the "vote" button. Laws vary on what to do in that instance, I imagine. But I'm guessing since the worker was *right there*, s/he probably made sure it went through fine.)

(Just went through training for working the polls (Virginia) on Saturday. My district is doing a combination of touch-screen and paper ballots.)
(no subject) - Anonymous
bushy_brow 20th-Oct-2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
misatojaganshi 20th-Oct-2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
ugh its like that simpson's episode come to life!!! with all the technology available why can't they make these machines work properly? or maybe its not a matter of making them work but wanting them to work properly ugh D:
shinika 20th-Oct-2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
I don't know when that Simpson's episode came out but voting fraud and problems with voting machines have been going on since 2000
peggycarter 20th-Oct-2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I live in Nashville. I hope this kind of thing doesn't happen to me.
_jenbug_ 20th-Oct-2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
I live in Nashville and voted last Wednesday without a problem. I did double check myself three times just in case though.
misao7 20th-Oct-2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
I live in Brentwood, which is 20 minutes from Nashville, and my parents are going to early vote for Obama soon. I should let them know.

Ugh I saw "vote flipping in Tennessee" and I got excited, I thought TN had mysteriously gone blue this year.
jezabel 20th-Oct-2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
That's why I like absentee ballots. PAPER. Circle. Filled in. With pen. Yes.
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