Shell Game

Nothing up my sleeve...

As if being duped into registering as Republicans wasn't enough, there are more shenanigans going on as people try to vote early, this time in West Virginia. We've heard of this happening before, and it's time for the return of our old friend, the Mighty Morphin' Power Votes. Watch your vote mutate from Democratic to Republican in the blink of an eye! (All bolds mine)
WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.

This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to "John McCain".

In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. Both county clerks said the problem is isolated.
How interesting that this is happening in "isolated" counties where Republicans are in charge. But, of course, it has nothing to do with them, or their machines...
They also blamed voters for not being more careful.

"People make mistakes more than machines," said Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright.
Oh, of course, how silly of me. The problem is stupid, sloppy voters, not machines. Except when it is the machines:
Shelba Ketchum, a 69-year-old nurse retired from Thomas Memorial Hospital, described what happened Friday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield.

"I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican," she said. "I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.

"I asked them for a printout of my votes," Ketchum said. "But they said it was in the machine and I could not get it. I did not feel right when I left the courthouse. My son felt the same way.
It's our old friend, the electronic voting machine with no paper trail. Hello! So awful to see you again! But I'm sure this is just a case of an older, easily confused voter, right? Right?
Ketchum's son, Chris, said he had the same problem. And Bobbi Oates of Scott Depot said her vote for incumbent Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller was switched to GOP opponent Jay Wolfe.

"I touched the one I wanted, Rockefeller, and the machine put a checkmark on the Republican instead," Oates said of her experience Thursday.

She said she caught the mistake, called over a worker in the county clerk's office and was able to correct her vote. But she worries other voters may not catch such a mistake.

When asked if she is sure she touched the box for Rockefeller, she said, "I'm absolutely positive."
And the hits just keep on coming. If your vote is wrong, it's your fault. And you can't change it. And you can't prove it. You should have been more careful.
"My son Chris said, 'Mom, I didn't vote for the people who came up on that machine. I wanted to go back and vote again. I called the lady at the polls and she said it was my fault because of the way I was punching the buttons.'

"I want a paper ballot. I think it was very bad when they did away with paper ballots. I wish you had something in your hand that is a record of how you voted.

"I never felt that way before. It was early voting, so we went over there to get it over with. We won't do that again," Ketchum said.
This is, of course, infuriating. Particularly because we've gone through all of this before. Twice. If you're like me, and you believe that the last two elections were stolen, then you're probably, shall we say, tense regarding the voter fraud issue. Sure, this is a handful of votes in over 400, but I would like to point out that these are the people that noticed their votes changed. And as much as they scoff and insist that everything's safe, it must be voter error, and TRUST THE MACHINES, DAMMIT, we can't just sit back and assume everything is okay.

This is why I get insane every time I hear ACORN mentioned on the news; because it couldn't possibly be more obvious that this is a simple shell game, a misdirection magic trick to keep everyone hysterical about fake "voter fraud." While we're watching their right hand waving the ACORN handkerchief, the left hand is swiping votes away. And it's working. ACORN organizers have received death threats, and offices are being vandalized*, all over a ridiculous fraud scare that isn't even true. The myth has gotten completely out of control.

I can't find the post right now (so I'm probably paraphrasing really poorly, sorry John), but John Cole opined that this whole ACORN nonsense is partially being created by the Right so when McCain does lose, they can claim a stolen election, and use that theme to delegitimize the Obama Presidency for the next four years. I agree with that completely, but I think the larger purpose is smokescreen. Mirrors. Nothing up my sleeve, and watch me pull a Presidency out of my hat. Let's remember where the real evidence lies.

Third time's (not) the charm.

UPDATE: Salieri in comments points to this in Texas:

Kaufman's office was informed early Monday that some of the first voters had cast straight-ticket Democratic ballots only to discover that the machines had recorded their presidential vote as Republican.

DeLeon said the equipment was tested and found to be working properly, but he suggested that voters should double-check their selections before submitting the vote.

So, he says this once; we're supposed to believe that voters have heard and received this message, and will actually do it?

(h/t to Flewellyn in comments for the orignal story, and *John Cole.)

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