NEW BERN, N.C. (CN) - Early voters who tried to vote Republican claim that poorly calibrated iVotronic touch-screen machines switched their votes to Democrats. The voters say "improperly calibrated touch-screens have been recognizing the voter's intended vote at a position on the screen that is higher than the point actually touched by the voter." Democrats were listed above Republicans on North Carolina ballots.
Six plaintiffs say officials at the North Carolina State Board of Elections were aware of problems with the iVotronic machines, but failed to protect the integrity of the election.
They add that the defective touch-screen equipment violated their right to cast a secret ballot because they had to get help from poll workers when the machines screwed up
The plaintiffs say they collected affidavits from other voters, before Election Day, with similar complaints about the iVotronic machines.
Most complained that the machines interpreted voters as touching the screen higher than they actually had. In contrast, the complaint states, "there are no or far fewer complaints by voters who vote was reflected on a touch-screen at a point lower than the point actually touched by the voter."
The plaintiffs say the state board of elections "received no or far fewer complaints from voters who intended to vote a straight Democratic ticket or for Democrat[ic] candidates who instead had their vote reflected on the touch-screen as a Republican vote."
Plaintiff Dianna Creel claims a voter ahead of her in line told her to be careful because the voting machine was not recording votes correctly.
Creel said she twice tried to vote Republican, and both times, but her vote was registered as a Democratic vote. Creel said she complained to the poll judge, who contacted the head of her county board of elections.
That official, Erin Burridge, "conceded that the voting issues were a result of a calibration problem with the touch-screen machines," according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs say: "All North Carolina voters, regardless of party affiliation, have the right to have their votes counted accurately and to keep their candidate and party preferences private. The defective voting equipment approved and used by the defendants is depriving classes of voters from the equal protection of laws."
They sought a temporary restraining order and injunction, preservation of all the voting machines used in the state, and all the cards used in the machines, and preservation of all iVotronic machine audit logs.
They are represented by Thomas Farr with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart.
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