Donald Trump is worried about “vote flipping” in Texas, a state where Republicans control every statewide elected office, oversee county elections supervisors and maintain the voter registration system.
“A lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas,” Trump tweeted. “People are not happy. BIG lines. What is going on?”
A Tarrant County woman said her vote switched from Republican to Democrat when she cast her ballot at an electronic voting machine earlier this week, but an investigation determined she did not follow the proper instructions.
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“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,” Tarrant County elections administrator Frank Phillips said in a statement. “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.”
Phillips said on Thursday his office investigated six first-hand cases of voters claiming their votes were not tallied correctly since the start of early voting on Monday. None of the investigations showed a machine tallying votes incorrectly.
Whenever a voter expresses concern over a malfunctioning machine, Phillips said his office shuts down the machine and a tech inspector double checks to make sure it’s working properly.
“These things take on a life of their own on social media,” Phillips said. “People who have their own agendas use misinformation. People who work in every elections administrative office in Texas are just here to make sure things are fair and accurate.”
Elections officials urge voters to check the summary screen display to ensure accuracy. The screen allows voters to double check their selections before making a final decision.
“Our office has yet to find a verifiable report of anyone’s votes being switched by an electronic voting machine,” said Texas Secretary of State director of communications Alicia Pierce on Thursday. “What we do encourage voters to do is to make sure they thoroughly look over the confirmation screen when they vote and if they see anything that concerns them to make sure they address it before they hit the cast ballot button.”
Pierce said her office is receiving fewer phone calls today from concerned voters than earlier in the week, a sign that voters are being educated on how to properly cast their ballot.
“If they see something that looks suspicious, let their poll worker know...so the poll worker can make sure that the vote was cast correctly,” Pierce said.
Texas officials are investigating voter fraud in Tarrant County, but the investigation focuses on mail-in ballots that allow people to vote from home, not machines that are used when a voter physically shows up to the polls.
“Whether there is lawbreaking or not, the issue of voting is polarized and revelations this close to an election are bound to have an effect on Democratic Party and affiliated groups’ efforts to get out the vote,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Voters may be hesitant to sign up for or vote through a mail-in ballot, let alone give it to someone else. This may reduce turnout in some heavily Democratic areas that utilize this process.”
The attorney general’s office has declined to comment on the investigation.
Early voting is underway in Texas, and early returns indicate turnout is at an all-time high.