With early voting occurring in many states, stories of malfunctioning voting machines are beginning to come to light, raising suspicions of voter fraud. Local election officials are ascribing the incidents to technical faults or voter error.
Some voting machines in Nevada are showing up with Senator Harry Reid's name already checked.
"Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent; Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked.
"Ferrara said she wasn't alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen."
In North Carolina, an incident was reported in which a voter tried to vote a straight Republican ticket and instead the voting machine indicated that a straight Democratic ticket was voted.
"Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.
"'They pushed it twice and the same thing happened,' Laughinghouse said.'That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted.'"
With an important, possibly history-making election drawing nigh, the idea of voter fraud is being raised on talk radio and other venues. The fact that the current president learned politics in the rough and tumble atmosphere of Chicago, a place known for ballot manipulation, does not exactly assuage suspicions.
Still, these instances can be ascribed to more benign causes. More importantly, an alert voter can address the situation, either by changing his or her vote or by bringing the matter to the attention of precinct workers and poll watchers.
Vigilance would seem to be the proper response to these kinds of reports. There have been instances of voter fraud in this election cycle. The Obama administration has shown a marked reluctance to prosecute voter intimidation when it benefits them. So one cannot guarantee there will not be any hanky panky at the polls on the part of public officials looking at forced retirement in the face.
In this kind of situation, the role of volunteer poll watchers becomes of paramount importance. Tea Party groups and other organizations are taking time to ensure the integrity of the election. It is difficult to cheat if someone is watching.
Ultimately, there is the old truism that if the margin of victory is wide enough, it is impossible to steal enough votes to swing the election the other way. Anyone thinking of sitting out this election should keep that in mind.
Sources: Nevada Voters Complain Of Problems At Polls, Fox 5 News Las Vegas, October 26th, 2010
Voter reports problem with ballot machine, P. Christine Smith, Sun Journal, October 23rd, 2010
'True the Vote' Uncovers Voter Registration Fraud in Houston, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, October 1st, 2010
Dismissal of Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case 'Racially Motivated' Charges Former Justice Department Lawyer, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, June 30th, 2010