Voters around the state are complaining Tuesday of voting machine malfunctions, particularly when candidates from different parties are chosen.
For instance, one voter at Banneker Elementary School in New Orleans reported that she noticed that after finishing, her presidential choice had been unselected, requiring her to go back and reselect her candidate. The voter told the poll worker, fearing that other voters wouldn’t notice.
“So far, we have identified at least four different Parishes where this problem is occurring: Orleans, Lafayette, Caddo, and East Baton Rouge,” Victoria Wenger with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. in New York City said in a statement.
“The malfunction deselects or changes voters’ selections for the presidential election, requiring a voter to both notice the malfunction and reselect their presidential votes — sometimes multiple times — in order to ensure that their ballot is completed, otherwise the ballots are submitted with the voter’s presidential choice changed or blanked out,” Wenger wrote. “Although the majority of reports concern the Presidential selection, one report mentioned this issue occurred on down-ballot races as well. It has become very apparent that this issue is not isolated to one or two machines, but rather spread across the state.”
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office told The Advocate | The Times-Picayune on Tuesday afternoon that despite the election’s record-high turnout, “we have not experienced any difficulties outside of the usual scope of Election Day issues.” The office’s technicians have remedied a few voting-machine issues that have arisen but described the situation as “intermittent.”
Ardoin reminds voters that this occurrence, like any other problem, should be reported by the voter to the polling commissioner. A procedure is in place to resolve issues through state and local channels.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund asked Ardoin to “issue emergency guidance for parish Clerks of Court to distribute to election commissioners alerting them of the malfunction and providing public guidance for polling sites instructing voters to double-check their ballots for machine errors before submitting their ballot.”
Louisiana had hoped to replace most of the state's aging voting machines in time for this election, but problems with the bid process caused a delay.
This story was produced with the help of tips reported through ProPublica's Electionland project. If you experience or witness a problem voting, please let us know.