Voting machines in Hinds County have apparently been allowing crossover voting in today’s primary runoffs.
Normally, voters who voted in a party’s primary are restricted from voting in the other party’s runoff in Mississippi; however, at one precinct in Hinds County, a machine malfunction allowed voters to cast ballots in either primary regardless of which primary they voted in on Aug. 6.
Hinds County Republican Party Chairman Pete Perry told the Clarion Ledger that he was informed of the problem around 9:15 a.m. at Casey Elementary School in Jackson. About half of the 108 precincts in Hinds County use electronic voting machines.
The machines, provided by Election Systems and Software, did not respond to the “party lock” that should have prevented cross over voting.
Perry said he and a technician from ES&S tested one of the machines to verify the problem was happening with a mock vote, and he claimed, “We know that it’s already happened” at the polls.
“It’s a hell of a big mess, and you can quote me on that,” Perry told the newspaper. “We ought not have the problem. We ought to be sitting right there and enjoying coffee and enjoying the day because everything is running smooth.”
Perry indicated that voter rolls from the primaries were uploaded into the machines last Friday. As voters use the machines, they should be able to tell which primary the user voted in previously, forcing them to vote in the same party’s runoff. Because that didn’t happen, voters may have voted in a runoff they shouldn’t have. After the problem was reported to him, Perry reached out to the county’s precincts with electronic voting machines instructing them to distribute paper ballots instead.
Asked if he knew how many votes may have been wrongly cast, Perry said he had no idea. “… it could be one, one hundred, five hundred,” he said. “Pick a number. It could be it.
Perry added that, to his knowledge, ES&S provides voting machines to about 75 Mississippi counties.