RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – With early voting now in full swing, polling locations are seeing thousands of voters per day. But with automated polls in use, errors are bound to happen. One Pope County voter ran into trouble when her voting machine wouldn’t let her select her choice for president – and was instead choosing a different name.
Two days into early voting, Arkansans are hitting the polls and filling out their ballots. But with thousands showing up to vote, mistakes are bound to happen – one woman experienced that firsthand.
“The screen was locked,” explained Freddie Harris, Elections Committee Chair Person for Pope County.
“They couldn’t move away from the candidate it showed they had voted for, [who] they said they had not voted for.”
Donna Ogle and her husband voted Tuesday morning, one of more than 1,800 Pope County voters that hit the polls. But she ran into trouble when it came to casting her vote for president. “At the very bottom of the front row was Joe Biden and Harris, that was the last one,” Ogle said, “and then it said “more”. Instead of taking it to “more”, it voted for, you know, Mr. Biden.”
Harris says this error occurred more than once that day, but wasn’t a common issue. “It happened twice today, but this is the first time ever.”
As soon as poll workers were notified, they took action to remove the defective machine. “[They] turned this machine off, they immediately took it down, [and] we moved it to the back,” said Harris.
The issue was also reported to the Secretary of States office, and a report was filed with the voters.
Although polling mistakes may be concerning to voters, errors are possible even with automated ballots. “It was definitely a machine problem,” Ogle said. “It wasn’t anybody working there that did it.” The best thing to do is let workers know when there’s an issue, and always check your ballot over before turning it in.