Chris Hudson, a former investigator with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Department who unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Sheriff Fred S. Clark in the Nov. 3 election, told supervisors they need to act immediately on replacing the county’s voting machines. Hudson, who came in third in the sheriff’s race in November behind winner Fred Clark and Thomas Logan, voiced concerns during the public comment period of Monday’s board of supervisors meeting about what he described as “a major issue” with the county’s 51 voting machines used in the Nov. 3 election. Filing for an investigation to take place immediately after the election, Hudson said his issue was to address a calibration problem with the machines. “I was advised I had to wait 30 days before the process could start, so the process started Friday,” he told supervisors.
According to Halifax County Registrar Heather Harding, of the county’s 51 voting machines that were tested since Friday, 22 will not calibrate. What that means is the 22 machines are very sensitive, the registrar explained, and if a voter touches within one-eighth of an inch to the top of the name in the middle, it will select the candidate’s name on top.
However, she added, when casting ballots, voters also have an opportunity to review who they have voted for in each race upon completion of casting their votes.
“There is a review page to make sure the candidate you voted for is selected. If that candidate is not selected, the voting machine provides an opportunity for the voter to return to that race and correct that vote for the candidate of their choice,” she said. “We have been recalibrating since Friday,” Harding said, noting findings indicate these instances seem to be localized to races that were listed on the left hand side of the screen where the sheriff’s race was located.