Romney backers accidentally voting for Obama?: GOP cites more reports of machine errors
In a race that remains very much a toss-up mere hours before election day, both sides can agree that a very small margin of voters will decide whether Colorado goes red or blue tomorrow. It is for that reason that some Republican Party officials in the state say they're particularly worried about reports that voters trying to cast ballots for Mitt Romney are seeing Barack Obama show up on the screen.
Big photos below.
As we reported on Friday, the Republican National Committee sent a letter to six states, including Colorado, expressing concerns about reports that votes intended for Mitt Romney were going to Barack Obama. In Colorado, the letter was triggered by an article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, which reported that one voter, who ended up successfully voting with a paper ballot, complained that the machine was not choosing the candidate he wanted.
The Clerk and Recorder for Mesa County told us there was no reason to be concerned, noting that her office re-calibrated the machine in question before taking it out of commission out of an abundance of caution.
Photo by Brandon Marshall Supporters at Mitt Romney's final Colorado rally on Saturday.
Since then, concerns from the Pueblo County Republican Party have emerged, with GOP officials filing a formal complaint after they say they received more than a dozen calls or letters of concern about the machines not working properly and generally favoring Obama over Romney.
"Pueblo is a critical swing county for Colorado," says Pueblo GOP Chairwoman Becky Mizel. "So we are concerned."
In Pueblo, according to the latest turnout data from the Secretary of State's office, 24,514 Democrats, 13,371 Republicans and 10,294 unaffiliated voters have cast ballots during the early vote period.
Mizel says the local party has heard fifteen complaints, with individuals worried their vote for Romney was going to the president. Since this went public, she adds, more people have been coming forward, saying they are worried about possible glitches that could have impacted their vote for the Republican candidate.
"When we first heard about it, it sounded bizarre that a...Romney vote would...go for Obama," she says, "And we kept hearing about it over and over again."
To some, the problem, as we explained in our story on the Mesa County situation, is that it's possible for the screen not to be properly calibrated to touch. In that scenario, an attempt to press a candidate on one place could be recorded incorrectly by the machine.
Officials, however, aren't concerned with this problem. They say the machines have been tested and that it's usually just some form of human error, i.e. touching the wrong place on the screen. Further, there are several steps along the way during which a voter directly verifies that the choice has been recorded properly. For that reason, it would be very obvious if the machine was not recording the candidate the voter wanted.
Once she had seen national news stories about potential problems, Mizel decided it was worth filing an official complaint with the clerk and recorder's office, which she did last week.
"It's not so much the people who caught it -- it's the ones who didn't catch it that we're worried about," she said, "The elderly, who don't necessarily know to double check.... It can still get by you."
She added, "Our problem went all through early voting [which ended on Friday]."
Continue for the response from the Secretary of State's office and the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder.