Why are Texas voting machines switching votes and what can you do about it?

Hart eSlate voting machinesIf you’ve voted in Travis County, you are familiar with the voting machines that bear more resemblance to rotary telephones than to any technology currently in use. Those machines have been buggy in the past few elections, and this one is no different—except that there is massive national attention on the race at the top of the ticket between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz.

Zenén Jaimes Pérez of the Texas Civil Right Project explained to GQ that “for nearly two decades, Texas has relied on Hart eSlate voting machines, which look sort of like giant PalmPilots and are manipulated using a selection wheel and an ENTER button. Manipulating both of these things at the same time, it seems, is what can lead to unintended and very unwanted results.”

Thanks in part to the Texas Civil Rights Project’s petition campaign, the Texas Secretary of State issued further guidance for how to ensure your vote is counted properly:

  • When voting a straight-party ballot, wait at least 3-5 seconds for all choices to be rendered on the eSlate voting machines. Counties in which voters have longer ballots may require additional time to allow the screens to load fully.
  • Once all the candidate choices for that particular party have been fully loaded, take your time to slowly review each choice in each race before advancing to the next screen.
  • When advancing to the next screen, be sure the screen is fully loaded before scrolling through to the subsequent pages.
  • Once you have reached the summary page, carefully review each choice listed to ensure the candidate selected is, in fact, the candidate for whom you wish to cast your vote.
  • If you find that one or more of your choices are displayed incorrectly on the summary page, hit the ‘PREV’ button and choose the candidate for whom you wish to cast your vote.
  • If any issues persist, ask for assistance from an poll worker at your polling location, and the poll worker will ensure that the machine is working properly and advise you on the proper steps to take to cast a ballot with only the candidates of your choosing.

What to do if you encounter a problem at the voting booth

Call 866-OUR-VOTE. The Texas Civil Right Project (TCRP) is fielding calls for our state. We know and trust the people handling those calls. When we first heard about the problem with the eSlate machines, we contacted our friends on the election protection team at TCRP, and will continue to follow up with them when we hear about voting challenges.

Texas Civil Rights Project, League of Women Voters-Texas, and Voto Latino are among the groups that make up the Texas Election Protection Coalition. When you call 866-OUR-VOTE your call isn’t going to a random call center somewhere outside of Texas. Although the number is a national hotline, calls for Texas will be answered by locally trained election protection volunteers who can assist with recommendations of what to do in the moment, and then help elevate problems to attorneys. TCRP has trained election protection volunteers across the state, and will continue trainings in the DFW and Houston areas this week.

The hotline is available in several languages. Please report voting challenges when you see them. Don’t ever leave the polling place feeling as though something didn’t go quite right with your ballot.

English  | 866-OUR-VOTE  | 866-687-8683

Spanish / English  | 888-VE-Y-VOTA | 888-839-8682

Asian Languages / English  | 888-API-VOTE | 888-274-8683

Arabic /  English |  844-YALLA-US  | 844-925-5287

One thought on “Why are Texas voting machines switching votes and what can you do about it?

  1. Great advice. Check The Summary Page! Call it to the attention of the Election Judges! Do Not Leave Unhappy!
    (Veteran Election Judge!)

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