After waiting a half-hour in line Saturday afternoon on the first of eight days of early voting at the Pay Less Super Market in West Lafayette, Sundeep Rao couldn’t figure out why every time he touched the screen for a candidate labeled “D” for Democrat, an X went into the box next to one with an “R” for Republican. Rao, an information technology director from West Lafayette, was familiar enough with older touch screen technology to back out of the incorrect choice, only to find that it took two or three tries to uncheck one box and position his finger in such a way to make his choice the right way. He said he hadn’t experienced that problem in previous elections, but once he figured out the pattern, he made his way through the ballot. A few voting booths over, he heard Robin Pickett, his wife, muttering under her breath about having the same problem.
“It was pretty unnerving,” Pickett said Sunday. “I was happy to see so many people in line to early vote. But as I was making my selections, it kept indicating the wrong choice, always the same incorrect party choice.”
After warning election workers at the super market polling site – where 667 people voted on Saturday, according to Tippecanoe County election board records – about the calibration issue, Rao sent a heads up to Christa Coffey, the county clerk, on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, Coffey said election officials would check the calibration on the machines before the start of voting hours, which run noon to 7 p.m. through Nov. 3 at the four Pay Less stores in Greater Lafayette.