Texas officials have pushed back against speculation that their ballot machines are flipping votes cast for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to votes for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a rumor that Trump himself has stoked.
The Lone Star state began early voting this past week, but some voters have already complained about their votes for Trump incorrectly being set to votes for Clinton. Anecdotes from a voter in Randall County and another in Arlington city have drawn thousands of people sharing on social media, CNN reports.
Trump commented on the complaints on his own Twitter account, describing them as vote flipping, or having a machine convert a person’s vote to an incorrect candidate.
“A lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas,” the business mogul tweeted out. “People are not happy. BIG lines. What is going on?”
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Local officials are pushing back, asserting that there is nothing faulty about the ballot machines and that these anecdotes are likely cases of voters not following the rules.
Elections administrator Shannon Lackey of Randall County said that vote flipping “is not happening in any way, shape or form. I stand 100 percent behind what I do. I stand behind my machines, my staff.”
Judge Nancy Tanner of Potter County, where some voters have also been complaining about their ballot machines, issued a statement attributing the incidents to human error.
“There is nothing wrong with any of the machines we use for voting,” Tanner said. “They do not flip your vote. They do not flip parties. Humans do that.”
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Elections administrator Frank Phillips of Tarrant County conducted an investigation of alleged vote flipping and found that these instances happened because “the voter did not follow the directions for straight-party voting.”
Lackey recounted that voters have complained about their voting machines in past elections and recounted how these instances were always due to human error. She also noted that voters will always be presented with a summary screen that recaps their choice. If the screen shows the wrong candidate, they can always change it; the vote is not cast without their confirmation.
For the past several weeks, Trump has been vocally accusing officials of rigging the election against him. During rallies, the business mogul has encouraged his supporters to informally monitor minority communities on election day to root out voter fraud.
This maneuver may be illegal. The Republican Party is bound by a consent decree, which forbids them from harassing voters at the polls and suppressing their turnout.
On Oct. 26, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) asked a federal judge to hold the Republican National Committee (RNC) in contempt of court, citing that the GOP nominee is encouraging his supporters to violate the consent decree, Business Insider reports.
Aggregating the last three state polls released since Oct. 12, Real Clear Politics found that Trump currently leads a four-way race in Texas by an average 4.7 percentage points.