Long lines, computer glitches and other isolated problems marked Election Day 2016, a far cry from the widespread chaos, cyber-assault, vote-rigging and voter intimidation that had been predicted by both sides for months. At least four counties in the battleground state of Pennsylvania reported malfunctions with their controversial electronic voting machines, giving Donald Trump evidence to level his charge that the presidential election isn’t happening on the up and up. But the problems in Pennsylvania, according to Democrats, some Republicans and many computer scientists who know these aging voting machines best, are not out of the ordinary. What’s more, they insisted no votes have ultimately been miscounted. “Things are moving well, “said Will Estrada, chairman of Virginia’s Loduoun County, which includes the Washington D.C. suburbs. “We’re almost afraid to jinx ourselves candidly because it’s gone smoothly,” added Alex Triantafillou, chairman of Ohio’s Hamilton County, home of Cincinnati. Indeed, even Republican chairmen in three crucial battleground counties told POLITICO that everything was running smoothly through early afternoon – with no significant concerns about fraud, irregularities or vote-rigging.
Among the more isolated problems, Republicans in Butler, Lebanon, Luzerne and Westmoreland counties have all reported that Trump votes flipped to Hillary Clinton, an error that could be exacerbated by the fact all of the counties appear to use the kinds of machines that don’t create a paper trail, and therefore make it impossible to conduct a post-election audit.
In Westmoreland County, a heavily Republican suburb of Pittsburgh, GOP chairman Michael Korns said in an interview that about a dozen voting machines were taken offline because they had been recording votes for Clinton that had been intended for Trump. “We started getting reports were miscalibrated and recording Republican votes as Democratic votes,” he said.
Korns said he was confident the issue had been resolved, but he was troubled by the fact he didn’t know how many votes were affected.
“As far as the question as to how many votes it affected, I can’t really tell you that, which is obviously incredibly disheartening to see that happen,” he said. “It’s really important that people have a lot of confidence in their vote.”