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Updated: Monday, 01 Nov 2010, 6:54 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 01 Nov 2010, 6:54 PM EDT
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A voting machine in Virginia Beach had a problem with it, and it's not even Election Day yet.
10 On Your Side received a report of trouble with a voting machine at the DMV on First Colonial Road.
It can be hard enough deciding who to vote for on election days, but imagine making your choice, only to find a different name keeps popping up.
An elderly woman said she tried to cast an absentee ballot for a Democratic candidate, but the Republican candidate's name kept popping up.
Election officials said with touchscreen voting there's always the potential for human error. If you use a flat finger over two candidate's names, you may accidentally vote for an individual you didn't intend to vote for, which is why voting officials recommend everyone use a cotton swab to more directly cast their ballot. The swabs will be provided at every precinct.
Voter Registrar Pat Harrington doesn't know if that's what happened at the DMV.
She encountered another possible explanation for what went wrong while walking us through how to use the test machine. As Harrington touched the screen, nothing happened.
Machines are calibrated three weeks prior to election day. Calibrate is a fancy word meaning, when you push the candidate's name, the touch screen recognizes who you are choosing.
The test machine needed to be re-calibrated. Once that happened, it worked just fine.
Regardless of whether or not it was a calibration issue at the DMV, the machine has since been taken out of service.
Harrington said the ballots already on the machine, will still be counted. The voter was able to cast her ballot on another machine.
"If someone voted for someone they didn't want they would see it right on the screen as they touched it," said Harrington.
Virginia Beach voting officials said 2 machines were taken out of service last year because of calibration issues. This is why it's critical to look over your choices before casting your ballot. Once you cast your ballot, there are no do-overs.
The ballots are kept on a memory card in the machine and also stored internally should the memory card become corrupt. If there's a power failure, the machines have a battery back up.
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