Something strange happened behind the curtain when Randall County resident Lisa Houlette was casting her ballot in Amarillo. As she described it on Facebook, she voted a straight Republican ticket. But as she scrolled to submit her ballot, she noticed that even though the Republican straight ticket box was highlighted, so was the box for the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine ticket.

She said she tried to fix it, but couldn’t. She asked for help from one of the polling workers, but they couldn’t fix it either. So another election person came over and reset the ballot.

Houlette’s social media post was intended to be a warning to double-check before clicking the ballot submit button, but that’s not how it went down on the internet. It went viral, some claiming it as proof that, as Donald Trump has insisted, the system is rigged. As the story began to spiral into conspiracy territory, the election administration official in neighboring Potter County rang up local judge Nancy Tanner, asking for help.

Judge Tanner, a Republican, released a statement: the voting machines are fine: “There is nothing wrong with any of the machines we use for voting. They do not flip your vote. They do not flip parties. Humans do that.”

That’s when Tanner found herself in the crosshairs of some social media forums, accused of being part of a suspected cover-up – an allegation she denies.

The county’s voting machines are calibrated and tested daily and they’ve been used for six different elections.

Despite all this, Tanner says people are taking Houlette’s post and running with it. She’s gotten more than a few concerned phone calls and emails, and one threat to her safety. But she says she’s not worried.

“There is gonna be some that don’t agree with me. They think that there is voter fraud and that it is a conspiracy and that they’re out to get somebody,” Tanner says. “They can probably think that all they want. I have to stay in the middle.”

Post by Beth Cortez-Neavel.

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  • Carolyn Caffrey October 27, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Is there any kind of paper receipt or paper trail or exit polling done? Any way to do a verifiable % audit? Are the machines closed proprietary source-code so it is impossible to check for internal programming irregularities? Memory cards can be tampered with. Is there a strict chain of custody of the memory cards? How old are the machines?

    Check out the work of Bev Harris (look under Black Box Voting). Also check the evaluations and recommendations from the Carter Center and the Electoral Integrity Project (run by Harvard and the Univ. of Sydney with over 200 election experts assessing election integrity around the world). The U.S. is ranked near the bottom on certain perimeters.

  • robert owen October 27, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Free speech doesn’t need “moderation”.

  • robert owen October 27, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    People do that? Which people did it, and why? It sounds like a problem to me.