In response to a flood of Facebook posts and messages, Channel Six investigated reports of election fraud and found no evidence of voting machine tampering in our area.
As websites like Snopes have already pointed out, the now-viral video of a Tarrant County woman claiming a voting machine switched her vote was untrue. The individual at the center of the tape later admitted she accidentally selected the wrong candidate.
Even so, Channel Six is determined to help ensure a fair election, so the station dedicated resources on Wednesday to look into claims of local vote switching. Despite calls and messages to concerned voters who had written in, not one person contacted by Channel Six was willing to speak about his or her claim.
"I probably get a handful every day of people just expressing concerns," Bell County Elections Administrator Shawn Snyder, who said there is no evidence of vote switching in his jurisdiction, told Channel Six.
Snyder said he was in touch with the Secretary of State's Office on Wednesday. But, even the state had not seen a single confirmed case of vote switching in all of Texas.
Voting machines are subjected to major scrutiny. In Bell County, for example, the ballot readers are tested three times before they are used in a real election. And, since paper ballots are used and fed into an optic Scantron machine, there is no computer to switch the vote as some concerned citizens have claimed.
Milam County does use computerized voting machines. However, they are not connected to the Internet, so they cannot be hacked remotely. And, the voting equipment is locked away securely.
The company the produces the voting systems used in Milam County has never had a verified vote-flipping incident ever. And, the device itself does not use a touch screen. So, Facebook claims about people touching the device and it reversing their selections are incorrect. In fact, if a voter were to select a candidate that split from a previously selected straight party vote, the system would automatically display a message reminding the voter that a change was made.
Milam County Clerk Barbara Vansa, who oversees elections, said one woman called to complain about vote switching on Wednesday. But, like the ones on social media, that claim had not been verified. Vansa said voters should always review the summary screen that pops up before you officially submit an electronic ballot.
"Do not cast your ballot until you know for sure that is how you want to vote," Vansa added.
Election officials in many counties have been working 60-80 hours a week in order to ensure voting is done properly. If someone were to attempt to rig an election, the consequence could include jail time.
Channel Six is committed to investigating claims of fraud. If you were personally affected by an voting incident and are willing to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also report it to your local election judge and the Secretary of State's Office.
(© 2016 KCEN)