Many voters in Richland County, South Carolina are seeing their voting machines give their votes to their favored candidates’ opponents.
That’s according to CBS affiliate WLTX, which initially reported on the bug prominent at many Richland County precincts in various Richland County precincts. Richland County elections director Rokey Suleiman told WLTX that the error was a “calibration” issue that is common with older equipment.
“Whereas the equipment gets older, we’re going to start seeing more mechanical issues, more hardware issues, some more software issues,” Suleiman said. “That’s why it’s really important that we try to transition to new voting equipment as quickly as possible.”
South Carolina election commissioner Chris Whitmire said aside from calibration, voting machines could also be showing the wrong candidates due to human error.
“This is usually a matter of millimeters, so that if you touched near the edge of one candidate it could highlight and check the adjoining candidate,” Whitmire told local media.
Even though South Carolina is a red state with a mostly Republican Congressional delegation, the state’s black residents are heavily Democratic. Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) is the only Democrat in Washington representing the Palmetto State, and his district includes parts of Richland County, which is majority black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In addition to Clyburn, all of South Carolina’s seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for re-election. South Carolinians will also decide whether or not to keep Henry McMaster as their governor, or elect Democrat James Smith.
The error in Richland County’s voting machines is not unlike one seen in Texas last month, when the state’s outdated eSlate voting machines mistakenly listed votes for Beto O’Rourke as votes for Ted Cruz (and vice versa).
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.