Hidalgo Co. Woman Claims Problem with Voting Machine

Posted: Updated: Oct 26, 2016 07:24 PM

MCALLEN – An Hidalgo County voter said her concerns over a glitch in a voting machine went ignored by poll workers. She said it’s a ploy to rig votes.

Three companies supply the voting machines across Texas. Hidalgo County uses ES&S electronic touchscreen machines.

Sylvia Sanchez cast her vote on Tuesday at one of the Hidalgo County’s most popular voting sites – Palmer Pavilion in McAllen.

“I feel that the machines are rigged. This is not a fair election,” she said.

She said she opted to vote straight ticket Republican. She voted, then scrolled through the ballot just to make sure and noticed only the first page had all GOP candidates selected.

“There were seven Democrats that did get my vote, even though I voted Republican. I got Democrat candidates marked on,” Sanchez said.

She went through and fixed the errors manually and reported the problem to poll workers.

“They said that there’s nothing that they could do,” she said.

Sanchez fears the same could happen to other voters who didn’t notice the problem before casting their votes.

The Hidalgo County Elections Department sent CHANNEL 5 an email statement saying, “With over 34,000 votes cast in two days, we have not had any complaints. If something like that were to happen, it would be because the voter may have rested their palm on the electronic screen.”

They declined an on-camera interview.

We called the Secretary of State’s Office. “It is possible through human error when you vote straight ticket to accidentally undo that,” Alicia Pierce said.

Pierce said they did not verify any machines that changed votes. She said if there is a problem, county election crews can check the calibration of a machine to make sure the touchscreen is working right.

If needed, they can recalibrate it. The state’s advice to make sure the voter’s ballot is cast correctly.

“The one thing we can tell voters for sure is always look at your confirmation screen, and do not press cast ballot until you have looked at it and made sure that your votes are correct,” Pierce said.

Sanchez said she seconds that advice. “Go back and check your ballot,” she reaffirmed.

The Secretary of State’s Office said if anyone has a problem or notices a violation at a polling place, report it to poll workers at the location and to the county’s main elections office.

People can also file a complaint with the Secretary of State

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